Tribes of Chhattisgarh


Chattisgarh, a state that is at the vanguard of Indian industries and also a repository of minerals has a diverse cultural legacy. Chhattisgarh and tribal culture are two tautological terms since a third of the state's populace is dominated by tribals.

The tribes of Chhattisgarh are an unique race who mainly inhabit the dense forests of Bastar. In fact more than 70% of Bastar's population is composed of tribals who account for 26.76% of Chhattisgarh's entire tribal populace. The lifestyle of the tribal people is unique and imbibed with traditional rituals and superstitions. They are a friendly and jovial lot who are industrious and diligent. Although shrouded in poverty, they live life to the hilt and love to celebrate every joyous occasion. Food, drink, music,dance, mirth and merriment add color to their otherwise simple lives. The tribal women also love to adorn themselves in ethnic jewelry. One of the Chhattisgarh's eminent tribes are the Gonds or the Kotoriya tribe. The etymological connotation of their name comes from the Telegu term "Kond" meaning hills. The Gonds dominate most of Chhattisgarh's tribal population and primarily depend upon agriculture, forestry, cottage industries, hunting and fishing for their subsistence. The talking point of the lifestyle and culture of the Gond tribals is their Ghotul marriage policy, a one of a kind arrangement for conducting the nuptial rituals. Another tribe, the Abuj Maria live in isolation in the dense and secluded enclaves of the forests of Narayanpur Tehsil in Basir. The are a ferocious and barbaric tribe who believe in primitive customs and are hardly tempted by the material pleasures of life.

Gonds

Chhattisgarh is a nature lover's paradise. The state provides a glimpse of central India's cultural potpourri and of the prevailing lifestyle. The tribes of Chhattisgarh are mostly a primitive race who faithfully follow all traditional customs and their archetypal age-old ritual. The oldest and most populous tribe of Chhattisagrh are the Gonds.

The Gonds Tribals, who are also recognized as the Koytorias are widely dispersed throughout the state. However they mainly predominate the dense forests enclosed in southern Chhattisgarh's Bastar District that accounts for more than 20% of Chhattisgarh's population. The three principal sub castes of the aboriginal Gonds are the Dorla, Maria and Muria races. The etymological significance of the term Gond is derived from the Telegu connotation"Kond" meaning hill. The tribal economy is predominantly agrarian. But the poverty stricken people also depend upon forestry, local cottage industries, hunting and fisheries for their economic subsistence. Some of the Gond people are however employed in cushy primary sector jobs as well as other allied industries. The unique and one of a kind Ghotul marriage tradition of the Gonds is renowned all across the world. They mainly practice the traditional Hindu customs and marry within the family in order to preserve the customary completion of the nuptial vows within the family. Of course some of the romantic daredevils choose to elope with their beloved. Gond marriages however are not a bed of roses. Remarriage, widow marriage, divorce and marrying in laws as well as brothers and sisters are a common affair. Gond society is somewhat matriarchal where the groom has to pay a substantial dowry top the bride's family to pay his due respects.

Abhuj Maria

It is indeed a marvel to visit Chhattisgarh with its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse tribal cultural legacy. The fascinating tribal culture can be had at a glance by visiting the picture perfect state. Amongst the various tribals residing in Chhattisgarh, the Abhuj Maria race of aborigines deserve special mention. The Abhuj Maria race of tribal people are one of the principal sub castes of the Gond tribals. They live in isolation and inhabit the secluded enclaves of Narayanpur tehsil of Bastar District. The area inhabited by the Abhuj Maria tribals are a dense forest that sprawls across nearly 1500 miles of lush greeery. The Abhuj Maria tribals are very very much feared by mankind. They are a primitive race whose mannerisms are rather ferocious. They savage and barbaric tribesmen are hostile to strangers are sometimes directly shoot them with their arrows. These hill Maria tribals live in the forest enclosure in a world of their own, completely out of the touch with human society. Money and other material pleasures seldom tempt the people of this race. They are hardly effected by the ravages of time and their recluse lifestyle not only keeps them out of touch with modern civilization,it also helps to preserve their archetypal tradition and customs. In fact the Abhuj Maria are one of the few tribes that have many to keep their quintessential culture alive and unaffected by the vestiges of time. The tribal people are scantily clad and simply cover themselves with a loincloth. However they are very fond of traditional ethnic jewelry are adorn themselves with several iron rings strung around their neck. The women love wearing earring and sometimes pierce as many as 14 holes in their ears and hang two rings or studs from them. The Abhuj Maria tribals are more bestial than human in their characteristics. They seldom clean themselves or their garments. Even when drinking water, they don't use the normal human convention of using a vessel or container. Instead they drink straight from the pond replicating an animal.

Bison Horn Maria

Bison Horn Maria is one of the famous tribal groups of India. Mostly found in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region, they are a major sub-caste of a tribal community called Gond.Apart from the Jagdalpur Tehsil towards the south of the river Indravati in the state of Chhattisgarh, they mainly reside in the district of Garhichiroli in Maharashtra as well as some parts of Madhya Pradesh. Their introvert nature makes them live in isolation in the interiors of dense forest areas of these states.This tribal community of Chhattisgarh derived their name from their unique custom of wearing a distinctive headdress, which resembles the horns of a wild bison. They generally wear that headdress during marriage dances or other ceremonies. This main distinct language spoken by this tribe of Chhattisgarh is Dandami Maria. Some of them even speak mutually unintelligible Gondi dialects, which is an oral language of Dravidian origin.

As per a survey made by the World Evangelization Research Center in the year 2000, the total population of Bison Horn was 10,100. Most the members of this community of Bison Horn follow the traditions and customs of the Hindu religion. Some of them are ethnic religionist though. As per the World Evangelization Research Center's estimation, about 70 % of this tribe is Hindu. Besides worshipping the earth goddess Danteshwari for their retention, Bison Horn Marias worship spirits and non-human objects.Any resource for the religion of Christianity in Dandami Maria language is not available among Bison Horn Maria tribal community. This in turn has made them unaware of this religion. Being followers of the Hindu religion that makes them believe in a super power, this tribe of India believes non-human objects to have spirits. Their religious belief is a combination of Hinduism with animistic beliefs. They worship varied gods. The outskirts of different village are enshrined for the god of that particular clan. Apart from being related to each other, these Clan Gods are supposedly territorial. These Clan Gods are housed on the border of every village so as to protect the village from any external or black magic. Besides this, they even belief in rebirth. This unifying feature makes them check for an identification mark of ancestors in the body of a new born baby to know whose soul has been reincarnated into that baby's body.The spiritual belief of this tribal group includes sorcery or black magic. Legendary and strange stories about their physical and spiritual powers are quite popular. They attribute any illness to be caused by a negative force manipulated by an enemy. Though medicine people are very powerful, still the villages of this tribe remain constantly concerned about black magic and occult forces.

The Bison Horn Maria men have got a distinct hairstyle of long pony tail. Besides that, they carry a tobacco box and a special kind of comb. This comb remains attached to their loincloth. Women of Bison Horn tribal group generally dress in white skirts. They even use varied jewelry for adornment.The bison horn shaped headdress worn by them are nowadays made of cattle horns because of the scarcity of bison horns. Those headdresses are placed on a frame of bamboo and decorated with feathers of peacock or chicken and hanging cowry shell strings. Such a headdress is passed on from one generation to another.

Muria

Chhattisgarh, the "rice bowl" of India is famed for its mind-blowing natural splendor, cultural extravaganzas, storehouse of minerals and power and large iron and steel plants. The populace of Chhattisgarh is mainly dominated by tribals, of which the Muria race of aborigines holds a special place. The Murias are one of one of the innumerable tribes that inhabit Chhattisgarh. They are a prominent sub caste of the Gonds who dominate the populace of Chhattisgarh. The Muria tribesmen primarily reside in the dense forest zones of Narayanpur Tehsil and Kondagon Tehsil of Bastar District, the home of majority of the tribals. Unlike the primitive social outcasts like the Abhuj Maria and BisonMaria tribes who live in isolation in the secluded corners of the jungles, the Murias are more advanced and broadminded and live in the open amidst the vast rolling plains and valleys. The Muria economy is predominantly agrarian. They cultivate rice in plenty. Some Muria tribals also depend up on collecting forest products. The forest products are not only used to make useful products, the edible parts are also consumed by the poverty ridden tribals. In case of illness and maladies they seek the remedial powers of the Mahua plant. The tribals are a highly superstitious lot who believe in worshiping the cult gods and goddesses. The Muria society is devoid of a caste system and the people also practice magic,dark arts and wizardry. Their society is quite progressive and although Ghotul marriages are the common practice, dating and also indulge in free sex.

Halbaa

The nascent state of Chhattishgarh is housed in the heart of Central India and is renowned for a multitude of reasons. The quaint villages situated amidst the lap of nature are inhabited mainly by the tribals. The Halba tribe is a popular tribe who have happily settled in the bucolic lands of Chhattisgarh.The Halba Tribals are widely dispersed all over Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orrissa. One of India's predominant tribes, the Halba tribals inhabit the districts of Durg, Bastar and Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
The mannerisms and lifestyle of the Halbas who inhabit Bastar closely resemble that of their counterpart who reside in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal District. The Halba tribe owes its nomenclature to the term 'Hal' that locally means ploughing or farming. This clearly implies the Halbas were primarily farmers although nowadays they are involved in a myriad of professions of their choice. Of all the tribes that occupy Chhattisgarh, the Halbas are possibly the most affluent and progressive lot. They also enjoy the privileged status of a high local caste and hence are deeply revered in the tribal society. The unique individuality of the Halbas is evinced by their apparels, dialects and traditional customs. What adds to the diversity of their dialect are the pronounced traces of Oriya, Marathi and Chhattisgarhi languages.

Dhurvaa

The term tribal culture and Dhurvaa are tantamount to one another and go hand in hand. Chhattisgarh is a natural paradise with its divergent topography and medley of cultural extravaganza. Almost a third of the populace consists of tribes of which the Dhurvaa tribe deserves special mention. The Dhurvaas are possibly the most significant indigenous tribe that occupy the domicile of Chhattisgarh's Bastar District. In terms of social hierarchy, the Dhurvaas rank second only after the elite Bhatra tribals. The Dhurvaas are also recognized by the popular nom de plume Parjaas that locally mean the Public. However the tribesmen prefer the nomenclature Dhurvaa that in their native dialect means a local village chieftain. The Dhurvaas are a proud, courageous and highly caste conscious race who only mix with people of an equal social standing. Their society is progressive and broadminded and polygamy is a common and accepted practice. The women, who are responsible for all domestic matters are held in high esteem and thus they are very haughty. The men are generally indolent and except for the routine cultivation and hunting, they don't take much interest in domestic affairs. The Dhurvas depend upon agriculture for their economic subsistence. The tribal people are also talented craftsmen whose expertise is manifested by the exquisite handicrafts that they make out of cane and other forest products. They are highly religious and pious and worship several local cult gods and goddesses. Mirth and merrymaking are an eminent part of all celebrations and no religious celebration is complete without animal sacrifice and coconut is also offered to mollify the deities.
Last Updated on: 6/6/2013