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Gangadhar Meher University

Sambalpur, Odisha

Bhima Bhoi Research Centre

Bhima Bhoi Research Centre

Introduction:

Marginalized communities in Odisha constitute a substantial population of Odisha and research on their social, political and cultural aspects is very scarce, often not resulting in solutions to the problems. Their faiths and beliefs are almost invisible in the face of the dominant and assimilating Jagannath cult, the “Maudamani’. Bhima Bhoi and Mahima Dharma, a living faith, manifesting rather late but incorporating many spiritual and philosophical traits of faiths of Indian soil, offers interesting narratives on socio-cultural life of the marginalized/ ‘others’ in Odisha. It is interesting to study how this relatively new religion (It is considered to be of recent origin) has challenged the hegemony of a dominant religion and culture. The most curious aspect of this religion is its emphasis on egalitarianism and liberation from oppression to enlightenment. The Bhima Bhoi Research Centre at GMU was established with a missionary vision to study these aspects of Mahima Dharma and role of Bhima Bhoi in promoting these values.

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