“Tribal” is the word used in India to refer to inhabitants known elsewhere as “indigenous”.
British ethnographers classified tribal as “animists”.
As per the National Census, they are classified as “aboriginals” and listed according to the tribe.
The Hindi word for tribal is adivasi, meaning “ancient inhabitants.
Chhattisgarh, the “rice bowl” of India is famed for its mind-blowing natural splendour, cultural extravaganzas, storehouse of minerals and power and large iron and steel plants. The populace of Chhattisgarh is mainly dominated by tribal
The oldest and most populous tribe of Chhattisgarh are the Gonds.
The main tribes in Chhattisgarh are:
- Bastar– Gond, Abujmaria , Bisonhorn Maria, Muria,
Halba, Bhatra, Parja, Dhurvaa
- Dantewara– Muriya, DandamiMariya or Gond, Dorla,
- Koriya– Kol, Gond, Bhunjia
- Korba– Korwa, Gond, Rajgond, Kawar, Bhaiyana,
- Bilaspur and Raipur– Parghi, Savra, Manji, Bhayna
- Gariabandh, Mainpur, Dhura, Dhamtari– Kamar
- Surguja and Jashpur– Munda
The main tribes of the Chhattisgarh are as follows:-
Gond- The etymological significance of the term Gond is derived from the Teleguconnotation”Kond” meaning hill.
- The Gond tribe of Bastar is one of the most famed tribes in India, recognized for their exceptional Ghotul system of marriages.
- 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.
- Gond society is somewhat matriarchal where the groom has to pay a substantial dowry top the bride’s family to pay his due respects.
- The tribal, who are also known as Kyotorias are extensively dispersed throughout Chhattisgarh.
Abuj Maria: The Abhuj Maria tribal 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.
- 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.
- It is one of the major sub castes of the Gondtribal group. They dwell in isolated enclaves of Narayanpur, Bastar.
- Money and material pleasure rarely lure the people of this caste.
Bison Horn Maria: one of the well-known tribal groups. Mostly concentrated in Bastar region. Chief sub caste of ethnic community called Gond.
- Mostly exist in the district of Garhicholi in Maharastra and in some parts of MP.
- 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.
- Bison Horn Marias worship spirits and non-human objects. Their religious belief is a combination of Hinduism with animistic beliefs. They worship varied gods. These Clan Gods are housed on the border of every village so as to protect the village from any external or black magic.
- 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 jewellery for adornment.
- The bison horn shaped headdress worn by them are nowadays made of cattle horns because of the scarcity of bison horns.
Muria: well-known sub caste of Gonds.
- TheMurias 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 tribal also depend up on collecting forest products.
- In case of illness and maladies they seek the remedial powers of the Mahua plant. The tribal 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.
- The tribes of Muria inhabit in the dense forest zones of Kondagon tehsil and Narayanpur tehsil of bastar.
Halba: 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 orfarming.
- Extensively spread in chattisgarh, MP, Odisha and Maharastra. In chattisgarh they dwell in Bastar, Raipur and Durg region.
- 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.
Dhurvaa: most noteworthy aboriginal tribe that occupies the abode of bastar region.
- In social ladder, the dhruvaa position is 2NDafter the elite Bhatratribals.
- 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.
Some other important castes of Chattisgarh are as follows:-
- Kol: general name of Munda, Oraon and Hoadivasi of Bihar, Chattisgarh, MP, Tripura, Assam, Nepal and Bangladesh.
- Korba: one of the famous ST of India. They subsist in forest and hills of
- Kawar: found extensively in Raipur, Bilaspur, Raigarh, Durg and Sarguja.
- Binjwar: community of MP, concenterated in Chattisgarh area. Two endogamous divisions, the SonvahaBijwar and the Binjwar proper instituted in large no.s in region of Bilaspur, Raipur, Raigarh and Sarguja.
Various types of dances among the tribal
Only males participate in this group dance, performed during public functions, national festivals, and political rallies, and in January after cutting the crop. All the dancers hold two hard bamboo sticks and strike the sticks of their neighbour in unison.
This is a dance by which a young girl lets a young boy know she is interested in him. When a marriageable young boy listen this song and sees the girl dancing, he sends a marriage proposal to her parents. It is also danced to please the goddess of wealth.
“Karam” is a tree worshipped by the locals. According to legend, in an ancient war, only a young couple that hid in the hollow trunk of this tree was left alive, and ever since then this tree has been regarded as sacred. The karma dance is performed according to caste, but holds the same significance across all castes. Male and female dancers are chained together to form a circle. A branch of the karam tree is passed among the dancers as they sing and dance in praise of the karam tree. This branch should not touch the earth. At the end of the dance, it is washed with milk and rice beer and later it is planted in the middle of the dancing arena. Also worth watching is the stilt dance.
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