Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sounti Tribe

Sounti tribes are one of the principal tribes that are mainly found in the Keonjhar district of Orissa.

Among the forty-six scheduled tribes of Orissa, Sounti is the one of the sixteen principal tribes that has attained recognition. These Sounti tribes used to maintain a very good rapport with the rest of the tribes like Bathudi, Bhuyan, Bhumij, Gond, Ho, Juang, Kharwar, Kisan, Kolha etc.

These Sounti tribes mainly are found in the Keonjhar district. Quite a few are also found in the Anandapur subdivision of the state. The census report of India too validates this observation of the anthropologists.

Sounti tribal people are endogamous people and are ramified in exogamous groups called Khilis. Some of the Khilis of Sounti tribes are Baghsingh, Balaria, Naik, Paida, Palia, Das, Sarpuria, Ankulia, Chipindia, Giri, Kusmalia etc.

The people of Sounti tribal groups are basically agricultural people. The women of this tribal group work as daily labourers and household activities. Apart from cultivation, the people of this group are also employed in different services, though the percentage is very low.

The people of the Sounti tribal community converse with each other mostly in Sounti language, which belongs to the famous language family of Indo-Aryans. Festivals, dance, music are integral part of the Sounti tribes. These Sounti tribes are also pious and religious minded and revere a handful of tribal deities. Dharam Devata is the Sun god and Basuki Mata is the goddess Earth.

The stature and characteristics of the Sounti tribal males closely resemble the features of Konda Paroja, Kodaku, Munda, Korwa, Asur, Juang, Saora, Maler etc tribal communities and the female members of this tribal group share similarity with the Kond and Asur tribal communities.

Saora Tribe

Saora tribes of Orissa have got mention in the epic of Ramayana and enriched culture and tradition of Orissa.

Saora tribes are the inhabitants of the district of Ganjam and they are found in great numbers in this area. Regarding the origin of these Saora tribes, a myth is popular amongst the locales.In fact numerous anthropologists have traced that there is a mentioning about the Saora tribes even in the great epic of Ramayana. It has been written that Savari, a Saora woman whom Lord Rama and Laxman met while moving about in the Dandaka forests in search of Sita. Just like many of the tribes of the whole of the region, these Saora tribes too have been able to maintain their originality in tact over all these years. Dance, festivals, music, rites and rituals bear the traces of their ancient culture and ethnicity.

The Saora tribes are adept in art, paintings and craft. Their well known paintings which are fascinated among the people of the India, Saora paintings, are initiated by this tribal group residing in Orissa. Pictures of mundane life of the Saoras are the themes of the paintings. They use trees, tribal people, and animals as their motifs for the paintings. Sometimes they use the sequences from Sambalpuri dance. They draw these motifs in geometrical shapes on Tussar silks. Sometimes, they use these kind of motifs are also used on the walls of their houses.

The Saora paintings are interlinked with the religious belief of this tribal community. For this reason, they think that this kind of paintings in the walls is symbols of luck and fortune. The tribal group also believes in evil spirits and worships them to stave off the demons and spirits.

Gadaba Tribe

Gabada tribes are the ancient tribe of India and are mainly agrarian people.

The Gabada tribe is reckoned as one of the oldest and jovial tribes in India. These Gabada tribes mostly are located in the southern fringes of the Koraput district. Apart from being singularly attractive tribe Gadabas are also friendly and hospitable. Their villages with square or circular houses and conical roofs and gaily dressed women, present a picturesque sight. It is believed that they have their ancestral home in the north Vindhya mountain ranges. In fact Gabada has got a link with Gada, which is a name of brook or a streamlet found in this portion of the Indian Territory. The houses of these Gabada truly reflect their cultural heritage.

The society of the Gadaba tribe can be best understood in the villages. Each community is headed by a leader. Their main occupation is agriculture but they also give due importance to cattle rearing. The social set up this tribe is also interesting because it has unique rules for marriage and even building houses.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the Gabada tribe, thus making their society an agrarian one. Moreover, some of them involve in other activities like gathering forest products, fishing and hunting. They use animals and its products for various purposes. The cows and buffaloes are utilized mainly for ploughing. They do not milk the cows, as they believe it reduces the strength of the animals.

The Gadabas also regard cattle-raising as the true source of their wealth. They believe in sacrificing pigs, cows and buffaloes at the altar of their Vanadevata (god of the jungle). Almost every family rears pigs irrespective of its status and size and keep dogs to ward off evil spirits.

A Gadaba woman usually wears a two-piece dress which is very colourful, often striped in red, blue and white, which is woven by the women themselves. The textile is made from the bark of the kereng plant. The ornaments they wear are not very different from those of other tribals. They wear beads of various colours in the hair, silver necklaces and very big brass earrings. The kerengis are being slowly replaced by the sari. Men wear only a piece of cloth `Languti` with a flail which hangs in front.

The religion of the Gadaba tribe is basically Hindu. This particular tribe worships several gods and goddesses. Religious festivals form an interesting as well as important part of their lifestyle. They worship an array of gods and goddesses. They celebrate festivals and occasions like Dussehra, andapana parab and chaita parab.

These Gabada tribes have developed their own language, which is popularly known as Gutub.

Koli Tribe

Koli tribes are divided into several tribal groups and are descendants of White Huns.

Koli tribes are said to be one of the ruling Kshatriya castes and were settled in several parts of India, especially in Orissa. They were the group of people who earn their reputation for their heroic deeds and courage and are the ancient tribes of India. The term Koli is a derivation of the English term coolie. However, according to few many scholars, Koli comes from a word in Sanskrit language. It is Kula, which signifies a clan.

The Koli society has a number of divisions namely Koli Raja, Koli Kshtria, Koli Suryavanshi, Koli Mahadev, Koli Thakor, Koli Rajput, Koli Patel, Pathanvadia, Mein Koli, Mandhata Patel, Nagarkoli, Gondakoli, Bavraya, Tharkarda, Koyeri etc. Although Koli tribes can be segregated into several groups, the Koli tribes can be broadly divided in to two broad divisions, namely, the Hill Koli tribes and the Sea Koli tribes. Sea Koli tribes are also known as Son Koli. The Son Koli tribes represent the highest group and the Dhor Koli falls just below the Son tribes in terms of the total number of people.

As per the popular saying, the word `Son` signifies turmeric. All the members of these tribes regard this color to be very sacred as the family God Dhandoba, is painted in `Son` color, i.e. `golden` or `yellow` colour. Apart from these three broad divisions, other groups of Koli tribes are Bhas or `pure` Kolis; Akaramase or `impure` Kolis; Dshatreiga, Naiks, Nimar or soldiers; the begging Kolis, Watandars (village sentries), and the Mohammedan Kolis.

A little has been known about the origination of these Koli tribes in Orissa. However, over the years several anthropologists have tried to enlighten the people with various theories. According to one school of thought, they have been migrated from the foreign countries, while another school holds that these Koli tribes belong to the western group of the great Kol or Munda tribal family. As per the history, the Kolis are possibly transmigrated from Sind and were said to be the descendants of White Huns. There are also some other opinions, which also are quite significant. Like the Bhil tribes of India, these Koli tribes too are thought to adapt to the practice of robbery during 18th century. Hence till date, the term `hill robbers` was used to identify a class of Kolhi tribes. Also there is a popular saying that `The Koli was born from Lord Shiva`s wallet.` The Son Kolis have got ancient origin. In fact according to the Mahikavatichi Bakhar Koli tribes and quite a number of other tribes of the region have emigrated in the region as early as 1138 A.D. It was at the time of Pratap Bimb`s invasion to Mahim.

The Koli tribes basically converse in Marathi language, which belongs to the Indo-European language family. Also there are various dialects, which are also spoken widely by several groups of these Koli tribal communities. These Koli tribes have got unique style of building houses, which again differ from region to region. These include simple huts with thatched roofs, mud walls, and also mud floors to decorative homes with roof full of tiles, brick walls, and coated or cement flooring.

As far as the occupations of these Koli tribes are concerned, these tribes mainly have taken up fishing as their major occupation. Some of the members of these Koli tribes too have worked as `village servants`, village sentinels, and luggage `handlers`. The meals that these Koli tribes generally consume in large amount are fish, fowl, and pork. However, they restrained from devouring things like from beef, and different types of alcohol. Unlike many of the tribes of the region, the anthropologists have rightly found out that the status and prestige of these Koli tribes are not that of the untouchables since other tribes of high castes accept water from almost all the groups of Koli tribes.

Marriage plays an important role in the life of any of the Koli tribal communities. They follow the rules of exogamy. Marriage is prohibited between the members of the same clan or sector and also a man cannot marry the daughter of his maternal uncle. Koli girls usually got married at quite an early age. Ceremony, rituals and norms associated with the Koli marriage too are quite luxuriant thereby ennobling the whole culture of the tribal community.

Marriage is a sacred bond among the tribal people of Kolis. The marriage is completed by the priest or Brahman. The marriage is held at the time of sunset when both the bride and the groom hold a cloth and as the sun sets in slowly it is dispatched and they hold their hands. This was followed by the marching of the couple almost seven times round a stone slab covered by four braces of a plough. Maximum of these Koli tribes are devotee of all the Hindu gods and goddesses. Followers of Islam religion are only a handful.

The Koli tribes are basically the followers of Hindu religions. The supreme deity of the Koli tribes is the goddess Bhawani, and almost each and every home of Koli tribe has a silver idol of the goddess. Some of the Koli tribes regard Khandoba, another deity, as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. All the fishermen community reveres the sea as a deity. The Koli also has the custom of either bury or burn down the body of the deceased person.

Sitha Khanda Tribe

Sitha Khanda tribes of Orissa arduously follow the religion of Christianity and also speak in language of the same name

Orissa  state is a holy abode of quite a lot of tribal communities, which are quite ennobled in their culture and tradition. In fact in the state, these Sitha Kandha tribes mainly throng places like Phulbani, Koraput  etc. Huge conglomeration is found in the Udayagiri area of the Ganjam district. The mother tongue of these tribes is Sitha Kandha , which is quite different from other languages that are prevalent here .

It belongs to the Dravidian language family. Some of the anthropologists` even love to refer this language in their alternative names like Kandh, Kondhi , Khond, Khondo, Kanda, Kodu , Kodulu, Kuinga, Kuy etc. Several dialects, namely, Khondi, Gumsai , too are widely spoken by these Sitha Kandha tribal populace.

Most of these Sitha Kandha tribes follow Christianity. In fact all the festivals, rites and customs related to this religion are being feted in proper spirit and enthusiasm. Apart from Christianity, some of the Sitha Kandha tribes too follow the customs and rites of their local religion.

Dharua Tribe

Dharua tribes reside mainly in Malkangiri district, distinguishing in culture and tradition, converse with each other in Dharua language.

Dharua tribe is one of the ancient tribes that are found in Orissa. These Dharua tribes are largely found in the Malkangiri district including the block of Korukonda. These tribes are also seen in several parts of Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Also called Durua tribes, the Dharua tribes are forest tribes.

The Dharua tribes also reside in some adjacent places of Orissa namely Cuttack, Dhenkenal, Koraput, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Bolangir etc. The Dharua tribes are basically agrarian people but some are also employed in hunting and as field labourers. Like all other tribal people of India, the Dharua tribes have developed their culture and tradition that separate them from the other tribal people of the state. Their language, Dharua language is also known as Parji. This language is said to be of Dravidian language family.

Paroja Tribe

These Paroja tribes have a plethora of `totemistic septs`, which they revere as well as protect them with their life

The state of Orissa  of India is one of the states of Indian Territory, which provides shelter to quite a large number of tribal populace. Paroja is quite significant amongst them. These Paroja tribes are noted for the cultural and social heritage that they have maintained over the years. No external influences have been able to bring about any change in their characteristics.

As per the observation of the eminent anthropologists of India, maximum of these Paroja tribes are concentrated in various regions of the state including Jeypore, Kundali, Nandapur, Jeypore. Umeros Paroja tribes are also found in Koraput district. However, the people also call these paroja in different names like Paraja or Parja. Etymologically, the word has been taken from another word in Sanskrit, namely, Parja which means a subject.

Paroja Tribe There is a popular saying about the origination of these Paroja tribal communities. These Paroja tribes have got their ancestral home in the Baster region, from where they have came down. Nowadays these {Paroja tribes are sharing space with all the other tribes like Gadaba, Paik, Mali. Not only these Paroja tribes live together, they maintain a very cordial relation with these tribes.

What is also interesting is that these Paroja tribes have a belief on several `totemistic septs`. These include Bagh (Tiger), Kachhim (Tortoise), Bokda (Boat) etc. The practice is prevalent where the Paroja tribes are being prohibited from murdering or giving about any kind of harm or even devoured. In fact these Paroja tribal communities follow quite a few rites and rituals thus showing respect to the clan totems.

The cultural exuberance is rightly been depicted in the way these Paroja tribes dress up. The attires of both male and female are colorful. Women folks of these Paroja tribal communities wear beautiful ornaments thereby enhancing their beauty. Nose rings and hairs clips are used by Paroja women. The male Paroja tribes have the habit of wearing earrings.