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Gond- The Royal Tribe

It is quite difficult to believe what these tribes say- The Gond couple, created by Badadev from the filth of his body were the first ones to live on this planet earth! This omnipresent tribe in all the nearby vicinity is the biggest and most renowned of all. Even to this day, the tribe has successfully maintained and preserved its cultural values to an extent where they follow the same architecture for their house, similar paintings on the wall, and a distinctive style of painting which has received applauding from the whole world.

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Bhil- The Ones with Rich Culture

Coming across as the liveliest, cheerful and dynamic tribe, Bhil is India’s third largest tribe, spread across various states including Madhya Pradesh. Enriched with rich cultural values, Bhils celebrate life like no one else. They say, “bhidanti iti bhillah”, meaning Bhil is the one who pierces. The most iconic thing about the tribe is their scattered nature, yet an impressive amount of the rich heritage is found everywhere. This tribe takes great interest in dancing and singing. They are also known for wearing bright colors and having a flair for ornaments.

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Bharia – Eschewed By Gods

A very poorly knitted union with the past and almost all have forgotten about the language, origin and myths, this tribe is one of those who are scattered, less known, less enriched and reaching a stage of extinction. According to whatever remains of their knowledge, they are considered to be the least important and have been shunned by Gods in the past, thus, often known as the wanderers in search of roots and tubers to eat. They are extremely fond of hunting and fishing. Their queer taste of food makes them class apart.

 

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Kol –The ones with Unique Abodes

This tribe belongs to the primitive group, so the magnificence. The second largest tribe of Madhya Pradesh after Gond, Kol has as much as 22 sub-branches and remains one of the most ancient tribes of India. Their unique way of constructing their houses in front of each other in a sublime row and especially by mixing straw and clay is worth seeing. Their own characteristics are tentatively reduced in amount and, therefore, currently they have an identity crisis. Collection of forest produces is their main form of occupation.

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Sahariya – The Insightful Storytellers

This servile tribe is a sub-branch of Bhils. The fable that talks about the origin of this tribe is surreal. It states that the entire tribe gradually marginalized in the center of the universe. A rather profound saying which describes the purpose of the tribe has deciphered the idiosyncratic knowledge about the herbs and contentment with whatever little they have about this tribe. A queer talent about this tribe is extracting honey from the beehive. The women practice artistic chores almost every day, especially that of painting the walls with colors and chalk.

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Korku – Stairway to Valued Anecdotes

This tribe opens up a slightly vital belief for the world to know. When Mahadev sent a crow to fetch the clay to the ultimate God, he (the God) demanded it to be returned. Mahadev then sent two herbs with the crow, one for the humans and one for itself; however, the crow ate the one meant for humans, which was Sanjivani. As a result, the crow became immortal and humans die to return the clay. They regard their dead as Gods and are fond of tattoos. Their main deities are Mahadev and Parvati.

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Baiga – Splurging Culture through Their Bodies

The Baigas predominantly live in thick woodland and uneven areas of Mandla, Dindori, Shahadol, Umaria, Balaghat and Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh. The Baigas see themselves as to be hireling of the earth and the rulers of the woodlands.  The Baiga way of life is exceptionally straightforward and their homes are likewise very little adorned. Their tasteful sense has a unique significance, having no space for style or refulgence. The Baiga ladies are so much enamored with tattooing, that they get all aspects of their bodies tattooed with huge figures in subtle elements. There is a particular tattoo for each part and the tattooing is carried out by individuals of Badi-Badanin group.

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Halbi- Brilliant Minds and Warriors

The name of the tribe is derived from the term “hal” which means plough. As self-explanatory as it could be, halba’s were farmers and landlords. Sporadically spread over various parts of the country, this tribe had some active participation in military and politics. The official language of this tribe is a surprisingly beautiful combination of Hindi, Oriya, Chattisghari and Marathi.

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Mariya – Wandering with the Known

Not as popular as other tribes, poorly scattered and less known, this tribe is close to being extinct. In the last census, it had hit the lowest record of all tribes and thence sans the recognition just like other tribes.

The essence of future lies in the chronicles of the past. It is a gateway for unknown expedition that most of us take, oblivious to what it has in store for us. Over the years, Indian states have grown to become modern and beyond contemporary. There have been instances of utter transformation and modification in the name of growth, better prospects and advancement.

Madhya Pradesh stands alone and stands at the edge of such challenges, in having restored and well preserved the relics and reminiscences from the past; not only in the form of culture, rituals, stories but people. Here are some intriguing things one should know about the tribes in the heart of the nation.

Shewali Tiwari