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Tribals world.


Orissa has the largest number of tribes among the states of India . About 62 distinct tribal groups of indigenous people are inhabited in Orissa. Officially known as "tribals" ; but more accurately they known as "Adivasis" .They constitute more than one-quarter of the state's population. Eastern ghat hills range running in the north-south direction is basically the adobe of these tribes.More than the half of the Orissa's tribal populatoin is concentrated in the districts of undivided Koraput,Sundergarh and Mayurbhanj.

There are many tribes like Santala,Munda,Oram,Gond,Juanga,Bhuiyan,Saura,Dharua,Bonda,Koyas,Ho etc. . All the tribal groupings have their own fascinating customs, rituals and beliefs and have become something of a tourist attraction.Their livilihood and economy mainly based on forest . Food gathering ,hunting and fishing like subsistence oriented traits are the backbone of these tribal economy. Larze tribes like Santala,Munda,Oram and Gond are settled in agricultural field.The Kondh have a population of about one million and are based in the south-west,around Koraput, and near Sambalpur. The Santal, with a population over 5 lakhs, live around Baripada and Khiching in the far north. The Saura, with a population over 3lakhs live near Bolangir in the west. The Bonda, known as 'the Naked People', have a less numbe of population live in the hills near Koraput.


These community Bathudis are seen more in the northwestern parts of the state of Orissa, particularly in the areas bordering the districts of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar. Their settlements lie mostly on the plains in the rural areas . Cultivation is their main occupation. They worship all Hindu Gods and Goddesses.Generally they live in houses made of mud walls and thatched roofs. They love to decorate their walls with multi-coloured floral designs. Their dress is scanty. A coarse cotton dhoti fulfils the requirement of a male person. The women wear sari . They love to use silver ornaments. Tattooing is popular among these Bathudi women. It is called Khada. According to their traditions, before marriage, a Bathudi girl tattoos one or two floral designs on her forehead or arm. Most of the Bathudis speak Oriya and only a few have taken to HO as their mother tongue. They worship village deities like Basuli, Sundura Gouri, and Hatiani etc. in shape of blocks of stone. It is the village Dehuri who worships the deities. Impact of modern civilizations and change in the outlook ; the dress and other habits of the Bathudis have changed to certain extent. But in the remote rural areas the old habits still persist.



From the sanskrit word Bhumi, the name Bhuya or Bhuyan is derived from . It means land. These community consider themselves to be the children and owner of the land and hence are known as Bhuyan. The Bhuyans are mainly cultivators and agricultural labourers. They practise shifting cultivation called Toila chasa or podu chasa on hilltops or slopes. They grow paddy, gingili, mustard, ginger, maize, jalli, ragi and other crops extensively. Women are engaged in weaving of mats from the wild date palm and preparation of broomsticks . Collection of forest products is the major occupation of the community. Oriya is their mother tongue. The Bhuyans are broadly divided into two categories, viz. the pauri Bhuyans and plain Bhuyans. The pauri Bhuyans live in the hilly and inaccessible areas of the Bhuyanpirh. The plain Bhuyans live along with the caste Hindu in the villages of plain areas. The Bhuyan vilalges are divided into bandhu villages and kutumba villages. This division of villages regulates their marriages. Matrimonial relationship can be established between individuals belonging to Bandhu village only. In no case it is permissible between kutumba villages. Another important feature of their social organisation is the existence of a village dormitory, locally known as Mandaghar. It is a spacious house centrally located in the village. The open space in front of the Mandaghar is known as Darbar which serves as the meeting place for the traditional village Panchayats and the dancing ground for the villagers. The unmarried boys of the village are the members of the dormitory. This is also utilised as a rest house for guests from other villages.



The Gonds are spread over the hill tracts of central south India .They are the warrior tribe. They sacrifice some grains,fowls and pigs to the presiding deity before sowing in the field .Blood of sacrificed animal is sprinkeled on the seedswhich are distributed among the villagers.They sow those in their filds for luck.They worship a number of deities of which Budhadeo, Jangadeo and Lingadeo are prominent. They speak Gondi, a dialect belonging to the Dravidian family. At present the Gonds of the many district know and speak Oriya. The Gonds are immigrants from the central provinces and wear Brahminical thread. Their caste chiefs are called Mahapatras and Singhs. The Gonds possess good physique. They are divided into a number of clans. Marriage within the same clans is strictly prohibited. Bride price system is prevalent among them. They are mostly settled cultivators. They collect forest products for their own use.


Generally the Hos live with other Tribes. Based on the lifestyle their houses are very neat. The walls are made of mud and the roofs are usually thatched with straw. They paint the walls in red and yellow and their numerous artistic designs speak of their aesthetic sense. Their dress is scanty. Ornaments worn by Hos women are very limited and simple in design. The Ho rigidly follow bride price . In their society marriage is settled by a dutam karji or marriage broker and is solemnized in the residence of the bridegroom . Here marriage within the same sib is also forbidden.The Hos generally bury their dead. The purification ceremony called "Kamani" takes place on the 21st day. The majority of the Hos speak their own language Ho; which is their mother tongue. Some of them have adopted Oriya. A few speak mundari language. The Hos are gernerally afarmers. Their supreme deity is Sing Bonga. They also worship all Hindu gods and goddess. They observe Akshaya Trutiya, Salui Puja, Makarsankranti, Sahrai or Bah Bongu, Gamha punein, Rajasankranti and Karama festival. Of these Sahrai or Bah Bonga is their most important festival. Their main hobby in the was hunting in the forests . But by the passage of time all has changed .


"Juang" means man. In other words, man emerged from the earth . The Juang also refer to themselves as patra-savaras . patra means leaf . By this they mean that they are that branch of the Savara tribe whose members used to dress themselves in leaves.They have got their own dialect which has been described by Col. Dalten as Kolarian. They have acquired many Oriya words by coming in contact with the Oriya speaking people. Most of them know and speak Oriya. In the Juang society, the village is the largest corporate group with formally recognized territory. They shift their village sites frequently as they consider it inauspicious to live at a particular place for a longer period. For their livelihood they depend mainly on primitive shifting cultivation and collection of minor forest produce. The Juang life is marked by the celebration of a number of religious festivals in honour of their gods and goddesses. For them Dharam Devta and Basumata are the supreme deities. There are also a number of hill, forest and river deities in the Juang pantheon. They believe in the existence of spirits and ghosts. They observe Pusha Purnima as a mark of the beginning of the agricultural cycle, Amba Nuakhia as the first eating of mango fruits, Akhaya Trutiya as the ceremonial sowing of paddy, Asarhi, marking the beginning of transplanting and weeding, Pirha Puja for the protection of crops, Gahma for the welfare of domestic cattle and other auspicious days for the ceremonial eating of new rice harvested from different types of lands . All these occasions are marked by dancing and singing. Considerable improvement has taken place among the Juangs after the functioning of the Juang Development Agency.



Most of the Kolha tribes have a separate language of their own . But most of them use Oriya, Hindi and English as a subsidiary language. They eat all kinds of flesh and are fond of Handia (fermented liquor) like the other tribes . The Kolhas take pleasure in shooting animals and birds with the help of bow and arrow, but are generally timid. It is evident that majority of the Kolhas follow Hindu Customs and rites. But they hold the "Sajana" tree, Paddy, mustard oil and the dog in special veneration. Mostly these people serve the well-to-do agriculturists as mulias or field labourers and are generally paid in advance by their sahas or masters.They are very backward in respect of education and lag behind many other tribes mostly.


Mundas generally live in a separate sector in a village inhabited by other castes and tribes. Their society is divided into a number of exogamous clans know as "Killi" which take their name from some animals, plants or material objects. From this it appears that they are totemistic in nature. Marriage within the same "Killi" is strictly forbidden. Each "Killi" is sub-divided into several sub-clans. Nuclear family is commonly found among them. All the members of the family participate in the common economic and social activities. Their traditional headman is known as Munda who along with the village elders looks into the social and religious matters of the tribe. The mundas worship their own tribal deities. "Sin Bonga" is their supreme deity who is responsible for their creations. They also believe in the existence of a number of spirits who are responsible for diseases and death. Mundas are primarily agriculturists but some of them earn their livelihood as daily labourers. Collection of forest products is one of their subsidiary occupations . They sometimes migrate to distant places to work as labourers in mines, quarries etc.



Santal society is well known for its division into twelve patrilineal exogamous clans, the names of which are occasionally used as surnames by the respective members of the group.The Santals have got their own dialect known as Santali which is said to be one of the oldest languages of India. This belongs to the Munda group within the Austro- Asiatic sub-family of the Austric family of languages. At present most of them speak and understand Oriya language.Santals have an eye for beauty . They are always conscious of their personal hygiene and the cleanliness of their surroundings. They live in spacious houses with a front and back verandah. The houses are clean and the walls are generally decorated with various artistic paintings in different colours. Use of alcoholic drink is very common among them. Rice-beer is their traditional drink which is extensively used on the occasion of festivals and socio-religious ceremonies. They observe Karama festival and Makar Sankranti elaborately. Celebration of socio-religious ceremonies like birth, marriage and death are marked by dancing, singing and drinking.The Santals work as cultivators and agricultural labourers. After the agricultural season is over they generally migrate for a temporary period to work as daily wagers.The Santals are also very backward in education.



As mentioned in Hindu puranas, the Souras are the most ancient tribes of Orissa . Soura men are marathan walkers,expert climbers and hunters with a habbit . Soura villages are generally inaccessible. They are generally hidden in the folds of maountains and reached only by negotiating steep,zigzag paths.Amazing in Oriya tradition the Lord jagannath takes his prasad only from Soura which are later called as Suhara.

Kandhas .

The kandhas are the largest tribal communities in Orissa .They call themshelves as KUI .They have the greatest cultural heritage.For them nature is the life . Maliah Kandhas are a majority amonge the kandha sub-groups. Their language is KUI.It is the dravidian roots and is only slight regional variations. Kutia Kandhas well in remote hills in the extreme south-west of Kandhamala district.Dungari Kandhas inhabit in the steep slopes of the Niyamgiri range of the north west undevided Koraput district and over the border into undevided Kalahandi district .For their livehood they work entirely on the steep stopes.


Bondas are fiercely independent,stubborn and aggreshive as a tribe . They live amonge higher hills in near isolation . Even today they practice barter system.They exchange the produce of their filds for articles of their daily requirment.Bonda women prefor to marry younger men , so that in their old age someone shold earn for them.


The orans are most progerssive tribes. They use chemical fertiliser,pesticide,improved verity of seeds and morden techniquws of agriculture. Widow marriage is accepted in Oran society. On the grounds of adultery bad temper and laziness eigther partner can seek divorce. They are economically better off than most of other tribes. They are not being ridden by debts.So they can manage to lead a better lifestyle with mordern ammenities.


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