Matua Mahasangha
Thakurbari Temple of Matua Mahasangha
Total population
c. 50 millions
Harichand Thakur
Bengali and Sanskrit
Holy Book
Related ethnic groups
Avarna Namaswej

Matua Mahasangha (Bengali: মতুয়া মহাসংঘ)[1] is a religious reformation movement that originated, around 1860 AD, in modern-day Bangladesh, with a considerable number of adherents both in Bangladesh and in West Bengal of India. Matua is a sect of depressed class AVARNA Bengali Hindus who are Namasudras, a Scheduled Caste group of Bengal. The movement was launched as a reformation by the followers of Harichand Thakur. Thakur attained atmadarshan at an early age and would subsequently preach his Darshan in Twelve Commandments. The teachings of Thakur establish education as preeminently important for the adherent and the upliftment of the population the adherent's duty, while also providing a formula for ending social conflict.[2]

Matua-mahasangha believe in Swayam-Dikshiti ("Self-Realisation") through the chanting of Harinaam, i.e., chanting the Holy name of God Hari. Harichand stressed the congressional chanting of Lord's name kirtan as the sole means to Mukti. His followers in 19th century were enchanted by congregational chanting of Lord Hari, which in Bengali called hariname matoara giving the sect current name 'Matua'. So anyone who has faith in the Darshan or Philosophy of God Harichand belongs to the Matua-mahasangha.[relevant?]


Harichand Thakur was born to a peasant family belonging to the Namasudra community. According to historian Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Thakur "experienced atma darshan or self revelation, through which he realized that he was the incarnation of God himself, born in this world to bring salvation to the downtrodden".[3] Reforming Vaishnava devotionalism, he established the Matua sect of Hinduism.[4] The sect was centered in Thakur's ancestral village, Orakandi, Faridpur, Bengal Presidency (now in Bangladesh).[5] Their most sacred shrines are located there.[6]

A Matua Mahasangha (Matua Federation) was formed by an adherenet before 1915 to organize devotees. In the early 1930s, Pramatha Ranjan Thakur, great-grandson of Harichand Thakur, rejuvenated the organization. It started an ashram in the Labanchora neighborhood of Khulna.[7] After Partition in 1947, large numbers of Matua migrants settled in West Bengal, India.[8] Pramatha Ranjan Thakur was among them. He founded the town of Thakurnagar, which became the new headquarters of the Matua Mahasangha.[9]

Notes and references


  1. ^ "In Bengal, battle for Matua vote heats up". Hindustan Times. 23 March 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  2. ^ Mukherjee, Sipra (3 April 2018). "In Opposition and Allegiance to Hinduism: Exploring the Bengali Matua Hagiography of Harichand Thakur". South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 41 (2): 435–451. doi:10.1080/00856401.2018.1445400. ISSN 0085-6401.
  3. ^ Bandyopadhyay 1995, p. 163
  4. ^ Lorea 2020, p. 2
  5. ^ Bandyopadhyay 1990, p. 2563
  6. ^ Walker 1999, p. 566
  7. ^ Bandyopadhyay 1995, pp. 183–184
  8. ^ Mukherjee 2020, p. 71
  9. ^ Lorea 2020, pp. 11–12