segunda-feira, 8 de junho de 2009

Indian Tribes

Indian Tribes
Indian Tribes

India is the home to large number of indigenous people, who are still untouched by the lifestyle of the modern world. With more than 84.4 million, India has the largest population of the tribal people in the world. These tribal people also known as the adivasi's are the poorest in the country, who are still dependent on haunting , agriculture and fishing. Some of the major tribal groups in India include Gonds, Santhals, Khasis, Angamis, Bhils, Bhutias and Great Andamanese. All these tribal people have their own culture, tradition, language and lifestyle. This enables the tourist to get an insight into many different cultures at the same time on the tribal tour to India

Santhals Tribe
Places they inhabit :
Santhals are the third largest tribe in India. They are mostly found in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Assam.

History of Santhals :
Santhals belong to the Pre Aryan period. They were the great fighters during the British regime in India. They wagged war against the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis in 1855. During the late 1850 Santhals hero Sidhu had accumulated around 10 thousand Santhals to run parallel government against the British government. Baba Tilka Majhi was the first Santhal leather who raise weapons against the Britishers in 1789.

Language and Identification :
Santhals speak Santhali, which belongs to the Austro- Asiatic language family. Santhals have their script called Olchiki, which was developed by Dr Raghunath Murmu in 1925. Accoring to the census their population is around 49,000. They are generally Bilingual. Apart from Santhali they also speak Bengali, Oriya and Hindi. Santhals have long head and flat nose. Their complexion varies from dark brown to black in colour. Santhals usually have curly hair.

Santhal Economic Status :
The livelihood of the Santhals revolve around the forests they live in. They fulfill their basic needs from the trees and plants of the forests. Apart from this they are also engaged in the haunting, fishing and cultivation for their livelihood. Santhals posses the unique skills in making the musical equipments, mats and baskets out of the plants. This talent is safely passed on from one generation to the other.

Culture :
Santhals love dancing. It is in their blood. Dance is the important part of the Santhals fairs and festivals. After the long day hard work, Santhals relax themselves with the light music music and dance. Santhal women dress in the red bordered white sari and dance in the line sequence. Apart from dance Santhals play great music using Tirio (bamboo flute with the seven holes), Dhodro banam (which consists of belly called lac covered with an animal skin on which rests the bridge(sadam, lit, horse), an open chest( korom), a short neck(hotok)and a head( bohok), Phet banam (a fretless stringed instrument with three or four strings), Tumdak, Tamak, Junko and Singa.

Religion :
Santhals have no temples of their own. They even do not worship any idols. Santhals follow the Sarna religion. The God and Goddess of Santhal are Marangburu, Jaheraera, and Manjhi. Santhals pay respect to the ghosts and spirits like Kal Sing, Lakchera, Beudarang etc. They have village priests known as the Naiki and shaman Ujha. Animal sacrifices to the Gods is the common practice common practice among the Santhals to appease the Gods and Goddess.

Festivals :
Santhals mainly celebrate the Karam festival which falls in the month of September and October. They celebrate this festival to plaes the God to increase their wealth and free them from all the enemies. It is the tradition among the Santhals to grow the Karam tree outside their house after the purification process. Other festivals of the Santhal community include Maghe, Baba Bonga, Sahrai, Ero, Asaria and Namah. They also celebrate haunting festival called Disum sendra on the eve of Baishakhi Purnima.

Munda Tribe
Places they inhabit :
Munda tribe mainly inhabit in the region of Jharkhand, Although they are well spread in the states of West Bengal, Chhatisgarh, Orissa and Bihar. Munda generally means headman of the village.

Language and Physical Characteristics :
Mundas speak Mundari language, which belongs to the family of Austro- Asiatic. The complexion of Mundas is blackish. They have short curly hair. With the passage of time some of the Mundas resembles same features as that of the Bengali's. Common surnames used among the Mundas includes Topno, Barla, Aind, Hemrom, Guria, Herenge, Surin, Horo, Sanga and Samad.

History of Mundas :
Mundas are the tribal communities from the south east Asia. There are some evidences of the Mundas kingdom in the Pre British times. For example the Ho/Munda kingdom of Chota Nagpur, and the Bhumij states, especially Barabhum.

Religion :
Christianity is the main religion followed among the Mundas. Apart from that Mundas have their own religion known as Sarna. Sarna stress on the belief of one God. Mundas believe in the supreme being known as the Singbonga, which means the Sun God. According to the Mundas, he saves them from the external enemies and troubles of life. They say Singbonga punishes them if they break the law of marrying in their ones tribe. Mundas are of the belief that Singbonga is not the jealous God and gives his people the right to worship any celestial being. In Sarna the Mundas worship the nature. The Mundas are highly superstitious people. The Sarna people do not have any written code of moral laws. The ides of what is right and wrong is the adopted from their traditions and cultures. Some of the Mundas also worship Lord Shiva.

Occupation of the Mundas :
Mundas have remained haunters for centuries. But now they have been converted into the settled agriculturist. Most of the then do not have land of their own. They are largely dependent on the labour work in the fields to earn their livelihood.

Food and Clothing of Mundas :
Mundas have been the animal eaters for the long time. They usually eat frogs, snakes, rats, earthworms, shells and snails. They prefer having Tari and Haria wine on the various occassions. As the Mundas are in close touch with the Hindu society. Munda men usually wear pant and shirts. While the Munda Women are seen wearing the cotton saris with the cholis or blouse.

Festivals :
Mage, Phagu, Karam, Sarhul, and Sohrai are the few festivals celebrated among the Munda tribes.
Khasi Tribe
Places they inhabit :
Khasi tribe is mainly found in the sate of Assam and the Khasi Jaintia hills in Meghalaya and in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. They are called by the different names such as Khasi Pahris, Khuchia, Kassi, Khashi and Khasa. Khasi forms the large part of the population in the state of Meghalaya.

History of Khasi :
It is said that the Khasis were earliest immigrant tribes who came from Myanmar, and settled down in the plains of east Assam. Earlier the Khasis had their own kingdom, until the Britishers exercised control over them. The word Khasi find mention in the Shankradeva's 'Baghavata Purana', an Indo Aryan literature.

Culture of Khasi :
Khasis follow the unique culture. The property of the Khasis is passed on from the mother to the youngest daughter. Music plays an important part in the life of Khasis. The musical instruments of the Khasis include drums, guitars, flutes, wooden pipes, and metal cymbals. Khasis are also fond of dancing. Khasis are warm hearted people. They offer Kwai or the Beetle nut as the gesture of friendship on every visit. After marriage the groom comes to live at the brides house.

Language, Clothing and Identification :
Khasis speak Khasi, which is an Austro- Asiatic language. It is the part of the Mon-Khmer group of languages. The Khasi men wears the long sleeveless coat known as Jymphong, which is without the collars. They also wear headgears or turbans. While the dress of Khasi women is mush complex with several pieces of cloths. Khasis also love wearing jewelery. They wear silver or gold crown on their head. Khasi men wear large earrings. Womens also different earrings which are circular or oval shaped. Both men and women gold and silver chains around their waists. Khasis have brown to light yellow skin. They have folds on their skin and have aquiline noses.

Religion of Khasi :
Most of the Khasis follow Christianity as the religion. The Khasi believe in the supreme creator God U Blei Nong-thaw. According to the Khasis this feminine Goddess protects them from all the troubles of the life. Among the Khasis the following major spirits are worshiped Ulei Muluk (god of the state); Ulei Umtang (god of drinking water and cooking water); Ulei Longspah (god of wealth); and O Ryngkew or U Basa Shnong (tutelary deity of the village).

Cuisine of Khasi :
Rice is the staple food of the Khasis. Apart from that they also take fish and meat. On the ceremonial occasions they love drinking Rice beer.

Festivals :
Nongkrem is the major festival celebrated among the Khasis. This five day religious festival falls in the month of November every year. It is popularly known as the Ka Pomblang Nongkrem. Another major festival celebrated among the Khasis is known as the Shad Suk Mynsiem. This festival lasts for the three days celebrated in the month of April.

Angami Tribe
Places they Inhabit :
Angami tribe belongs to the extreme north eastern part of the country, in the state of Nagaland. Nagaland is made up up of 20 tribes and Angami is one of the them.

Language and Clothing :
Tenyidie is the most common language spoken anong the Angamis in Nagaland. The total population of the Angamis is around 12 million. Agriculture is the main occupation. They cultivate rice and grains on the hilly terrains.The design of the clothes worn by the Angami men and women are quite different from each other. Men wear shawls called white Mhoushu and the black Lohe. The women wear Mechala - the wrap around skirt and shawls of unique designs and patterns. Both men and women enjoy wearing beautiful ornaments. Beads, miniature mask pendants, bangles and bracelets are most common among them all.

Religion :
Christianity is the major religion followed among the Angami tribal people. Their religious system revolves around several supernatural forces of life associated with the life cycles. They regard several objects as embodied spirits and have sharply drawn the distinction between the Gods and the soul of the human bodies. They are the firm followers of Ayepi (who bring peace and prosperity in their lives).

Art and Craft Culture :
Angamis are quite popular for their woodcraft and artwork. People all India know them as the as the producer of bamboo work, cane furniture, beds, shawls and powerful machetes. Angamis play great music with the help of drum and flute, which is passed on from one generation to the other. The simple and rythmic music plays the important role in their rituals and festivals. Traditional dancing is the main component in Angami gennas. Angami women also practice pottery at their houses. They re expert basket makers. Pork with bamboo shoot is the common dish among the Angamis.

Festivals :
Sekrenyi is the main festival celebrated among the Angamis in Nagaland. The festival falls in the month of February and marks the beginning of the lunar year. This ten day festival is also known as the Phousnyi among the locals people. The foremost ritual of the festival is Kizie, in which the few drops of the rice water taken from Zumho (top of the Jug), are carefully put into the leaves and placed at three main points of the post of the house by a women. Next morning all the young men of the village get up early in the morning and take a bath in the village well. They adorn themselves with the new shawls (white Mhoushu and the black Lohe). This ceremony is known as Dzuseva. The main attraction of the festival is the Thekra Hie, where the young ones of the village gather all together to sing and dance to the tunes of the traditional music. The participants make fun and enjoy themselves with the rice bear and plates of meat. Haunting is the another important excitement of the festival. The major part of the ceremony falls on the eighth day when the gate pulling or the bri9de pulling is performed.

Bhils Tribe
Places they inhabit :
Bhils are popularly known as the bow men of Rajasthan. They are the most widely distributed tribal groups in India. They forms the largest tribe of the whole South Asia. Bhils are mainly divided into two main groups the central or pure bills and eastern or Rajput Bhils. The central Bhils are found in the mountain regions in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujrat and Rajasthan. Bhils are also found in the north eastern parts of Tripura.

History :
Bhils belong to the race of the pre-Aryans. The name 'Bhil' is derived from the word villu or billu, which according to the Dravidian language is known as Bow. The name Bhil is also finds mentioned in the great epic called Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Bhil women offered ber to Lord Rama, when he was wandering through the jungles of Dhandaka, searching Sita. The popular legend represents them as being descended from Nishada, son of Mahadev by the human female. Nishad was brutal and ugly, who killed his fathers bull and as the consequence he was banished to mountains and forests. During the ancient era they were considered as the great warriors who fought against the Mughals, Marathas and the Britishers.

Language and Costumes :
Apart from other states, Bhils comprise 39% of Rajasthan's total population. speak Bhili, which is an Indo Aryan language. Bhil women wear traditional saris and the Bhil men wear loose long frock along with pyjama. The peasants wear turbans. Bhils also wear brass ornaments. Bhils are tall, well built with the handsome features. They are known for their truthfulness and simplicity. They love independence. They are brave and their National weapon is bow made of bamboo. Earlier they were the great haunters. They now practice agriculture as the source of livelihood.

Culture and Religion :
Religion practice among the Bhils differ from place to place. Most of them worship local deities like Khandoba, Kanhoba, Bahiroba, and Sitalmata. Some of the worship Tiger God called 'vaghdev'. They have no temples of their own. They consult Badvas -the hereditary sorcerers on all the occasions. Bhils are highly superstitious tribal people. They have Bhagat or Gurus who perform the religious rites. They have village headsmen, who deals with their disputes. Bhils strictly follow rules and regulations. They marry only in their own classes. Their close relationships are tightly based on mutual love and respect. They have rich cultural history and gives much importance to dance and music. Ghoomar is the most famous dance among the Bhils. Than Gair is the religious dance drama performed by the men in the month of Sharavana (July and August). The Bhils are talented in the sculptured work. They make beautiful horses, elephants, tigers, deities out of clay.

Fair and Festivals :
The Baneshwar fair is the main festival celebrated among the Bhils. This fair is held during the period of Shivatri (in the month of January or February) and is dedicated to Baneshwar Mahadev also known as Lord Shiva. On this occasion Bhils gather all together set up camps on the banks of the Som and Mahi river. They perform dance around the fire and sing traditional songs. At night they all of them enjoy raslila at the Lakshmi Narayan temple. Cultural shows, magic shows, animal shows acrobatic feast are the main attraction of the fair. This fair is actually the combination of two fairs, which are held in reverence of Lord Shiva and the other one that commenced after the setting up of Vishnu temple by Jankunwari. Holy and Dusshera are the other major festivals celebrated among the Bhils in India.

Bhutia Tribe
Bhutia Places they inhabit :
Bhutia tribes are of the Tibetan origin. They migrated to Sikkim around 16th century. In the northern part of the Sikkim where they are the major inhabitants, they are known as the Lachenpas and Lachungpas. Majority of the Bhutias are concentrated in the dry valley of the north Sikkim.

Language and Costumes :
Bhutia tribes usually speak Sikkimese. Apart from that they also speak Lepcha, Bhutia, Nepali, English and Hindi. Bhutia male wear Bakhu which is a loose traditional dress with the full sleeves. While the women dress consists of Silken Honju, which is the full sleeves blouse and a loose gown type garment. Female also prefer wearing jewellery of pure Gold.

Population and Occupation :
Bhutias forms 14% of the total population of Sikkim. They are extremely warm hearted and simple people. They prefer living in the joint families. A Bhutia house called Khin is usually built in the rectangular shape . Most Bhutia follow tantric Buddhism. The legal system among the Bhutias is termed as the Dzumsa, which means the rendezvous point of the common masses. Dzumsa is headed by Pipon who is the village headsmen. It ensured law and order and is responsible for conservation practises such as grazing, cultivation programs and the seasonal development of the community. Agriculture is the main source of occupation among the Bhutias. While some of them are also herdsmen and the breeder of sheep and yaks.

Cuisine :
Bhutias usually prefer rice with the animal fat. They are common beef eaters. Some of their traditional costumes include Momos, Gya Thuk, Ningro with Churpi, Sidra Ko Achar, Saelroti, Shimi Ko Achar, Pakku, Kodo Ko Roti, Phapar Ko Roti, Silam Ko Achar, Phulaurah Gundruk, Phagshapa, Sael Roti. They are also fond of Chaang (the millet bear). It is served in the special bamboo container called Tongba with the hollow pipe made of Bamboo.

Festivals :
Losar and Losoong are the main festivals celebrated among the Bhutia tribes. Losar falls in the first week of the February. It marks the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. The act of Fire Metho takes place in the evening. Losoong marks the end of the harvest season and also the end of the Tibetan year. It falls in the end of the tenth Tibetan lunar month (in December). It is among the most important festival among the Bhutia tribes in India. Chaan dancings and merrymaking at the monasteries at Palace (Tsuklakhang), Phondong and Rumtek. Archery competition is the main attraction of the festival. They make offerings to the God and exchange feasts among each other. Stage fights and passing through the crowds with the fire torches add more excitement to the festival.
Chenchus Tribe
Places they inhabit :
Chenchu inhabit in the Nallamalai hills, which have been the part of the Nagarjuna Sagar Tiger Sanctuary for centuries in Andhra Pradesh India. They are mainly found in the districts of Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Praksham, Guntur, and Kurnool.

History of Chenchus : The origin of the Chenchus, is connected with the Lord Mallikarjuna of the Srisailam temple, who was the personification of the Lord Shiva. Once their lived husband and wife in the small hut near the Srisailam temple. Both of them were very happy with their life but they had no children. They pay homage at number and temples and worshiped many deities but were in all vain. One day they of them were haunting in the forest. On returning back they found Lord Mallikarjuna in the forest and told him about their sorrow. Lord Mallikarjuna granted their wish on one condition that they would dedicate their child to him. They both adreed and after nine months when the women gave birth to the female child, she dedicated her to the Lord Mallikarjuna. In the three years of age the girl child left her parents and started living in the forests under the Chettu tree. As she was living under the chettu tree she was called as the Chenchita. One day, while roaming in the jungle she met Lord Mallikarjuna and felt in love with him. He was also attracted to the girl and married him. The descendants are called Chenchus, which means children of the girl who was living under the cheetu tree.

Language and Resemblance :
Chenchus talk in Chenchu language with the Telgu accent. Their language is also known as Chenchucoolam, Chenchwar, Chenswar or Choncharu. Chenchus have short height with long head, well defined eyebrows with the flat nose. They have jet black curly hair and their complexion varies from wheat gray to brown. Chenchus have broad faces. They are characterized by independence and personal freedom. Young people are free to marry whomsoever they like and can get apart whenever they like. Their present habitat is confined to the rocky hills of the in the Nallamalai hills, extending on both sides of the Krishna River. They live in bee hive shaped tiny huts with wattle walls. Chenchus are good climbers.

Culture and Economy :
Chenchus live in the forest areas. They move in groups in the forests searching for the fruits, roots, tubers and honey. They make leaf cups and leaf plates out of tobacco leaves, tamarind, mahua flowers and sell them in the local marker, where they are in the great demand. They also make use of the mahua flower in making the liquor, sell able in the market. Chenchus love smoking and make tobacco cigarettes consumed by themselves. Honey is the favoutite among them all. Chenchus are good haunters, they can be seen haunting for the animals like deer, wild boar, rabbit, wild cock, rat and birds. They use bow and arrow for haunting. Apart from root, tubers, and fruits, Chenchus love eating money fresh.

Religion :
Chenchus worship number of deities. They mainly believe in Bhagaban taru who lives in the sky and look after the Chenchus in all their doings. Another deity they worship is Garelamai Sama, who is the Goddess of forest. She is believed to protect them from the danger, especially when they are in the jungle. Apart from these they pay homage to Potsamma- the God who cures the diseases like the small pox and Chicken pox, Gangamma, the deity of water, Mayasamma, the deity who protects the Chenchus from enemies. Chenchus have also adopted certain religious practices from Hindus.

Gonds Tribe
Places they inhabit :
The Gonds are the tribal community mostly found in the Gond forests of the central India. They are widely spread in the Chhindwara District of Madhya Pradesh, Bastar district of Chhattisgarh and also in the parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. The name by which the Gonds call themselves is Koi or Koitur which means unclear. Gonds are one of the largest tribal group in the world.

History of Gonds :
Gonds finds mention in almost the historical books of India. Gonds settled in the Gondawa in the ninth and thirteenth century AD. In the fourteen century they ruled several parts of the central India. They built number of forts, palaces, temples, tanks and lakes during the rule of the Gonds dynasty. The Gondwana kingdom survived till late 16th century. Gond dynasties ruled in four kingdoms - Garha-Mandla, Deogarh, Chanda, and Kherla in the central India. Gonds have been the warriors since the British period. During the British regime in India, Gonds challenged the Britishers in several battles. They also gained control over the Malwa after the decline of the Mughals followed by the Marathas in the year 1690.

Language and Identification :
Gonds tribe speak Gondi language which is related to the Telgu and the other Dravidian languages. In the northern parts Gonds are often seen speaking the local Hindi and Marathi. Some of the Gonds in the southern parts also speak Parsi or Persian. Gonds are mainly divided into four tribes namely - Raj Gonds, Madia Gonds, Dhurve Gonds, Khatulwar Gonds. Gonds men wear Dhoti, which is the lonf piece of cotton cloth wrapped around the waist passing through the legs. Women wear soft cotton saris along with the Choli or blouse. The staple food of Gonds are the two millets known as Kodo or Kutki. Rice is the ceremonial feast of the Gonds, which they prefer eating during the time of festivals. Most of the Gonds are the meat consumers.

Religion :
Gonds have been largely influenced by the Hindus and for the long time have been practicing the Hindus culture and traditions. Gonds are the worshipers of Janani or the mother of creator. They use the title Thakur. Gonds mainly worship Pharsa Pen, who is worshiped under the form of the nail and sometimes a piece of iron chain. Besides Pharsa Pen, they also believe in several other Gods namely Mariai – the Goddess of plague and other diseases, and Bhimsen – the Hindu God. Apart from these God and Goddess, their exist great number of deities and spirits in the beliefs of Gonds. According to them every hill, river, lake, tree is also inhabited by a spirit. They say that the the earth, water and air are ruled by the great number of deities which must be appeased by sacrifices. They have priests (devari) who perform all the religious formalities on all the occasions. Gonds also pay homage to the Gods of household, Gods of Cattle, Gods of fields. Animal sacrifice on the religious occasions is the common practice among the Gonds.

Customs and Festivals : Gonds fair and festivals are influenced from the Hindu traditions. Keslapur Jathra is the important festival of the Gonds. In this festival they worship the snake deity called Nagoba, whose temple is found in the Keslapur village of Indervelly mandal of Adilabad district. Gusadi dance is the most famous dance perfomed by the Gonds. It is performed by wearing head gears decorated with the peacock feathers. They wear cotton cloth around their waist. They smear ash all over their body and beards made of animal hair is also important part of the dance costumes. Madai is the another major festival celebrated among the Gonds. It is the festival when Gonds meet their relatives settled in various parts of the country. During this festival they also sacrifice goat beeath the sacred village tree to appease the tribal Goddess. In the night they enjoy liquor and dance along with the tribal music. Apart from this they also celebrate Hindu festival called Dusshera.

Great Andamanese Tribe
Places they inhabit :
Great Andamanese is the negrito tribe inhabitant in the the Andaman group of Islands. They form the largest population among the other tribes found in these islands.

Language and Clothing :
Jeru, Khora and Andamani Hindi are some of the languages spoken by the Great Andamanese. Great Andamanese men wear narrow belts or girdles of hibiscus fiber. They tuck weapons into their belts when they go for haunting. Men also wear traditional cincture decorated with shells. Great Andamanese women wear branches of leaves cut into stripes and held by belts made of pandanus leaves. Great Andamanese girl wear tail skirt. They also love painting their bodies, which also protects them from the daily insects, direct sunlight and cold temperature. They are fond of wearing human bones around their neck and forehead.

Physical characteristics :
Great Andamanese are jet black in colour. They have broad face with the heavy body. They smear their head with the clay. Great Andamanese also cut their eyebrows. The women traditionally left only two narrow parallel bars from forehead to neck where the hair was allowed to grow longer than 3 mm. The men left a circular patch on top of the head, not more than 20 cm (8 inches)diameter, while shaving everything around the central patch.

History :
Before the advent of the Britishers in India, their was the great population of Great Andamanese in the Andaman islands. There were at least ten sub groups of the Great Andamanese. They had their own language, culture and traditions. But today most of their sub groups have extinct.

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