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Gonds - The Gods People

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Gondvana - the Mighty Kingdom in the olden days still stands with the ruins of the Kingdom in its sand. From the 15th century to the 18th century, this region called Gondwana was the home to the Gonds. The Gondwana Land gave its name to the present day Africa, South America, Australia, India Sub Continent and Antarctica. The Gonds lost their lives in saving their lands from the then upcoming tribe called the Banjaras. Most of the Gonds describe themselves as hill people or as Koi or Koitur.

The inheritors of the Dravidian Culture - the Gonds are the simple tribes with a high thinking of non - egaliriatism. Mainly found in Central India the Gonds preach the Gods path and do agriculture as their main work.

Apart from Madhya Pradesh, Gonds can be found in Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. They are the largest Tribe in India, South Asia, and perhaps the world with nine million people (out of which four million resides in India). They speak language related to Telgu and Dravidian language. The spoken languages are generalized as Gondi and Hindi. They practice agriculture growing cereals. Herding cattles is also a part of their livelihood.

Gonds Different Aspects :
A Gond Girl
Gond Girl

The girl in this photograph looks like any of the modern girls who like traditional dresses. Though not to a large extent but the Gonds have changed themselves with the changing times.

Village House
The Home

It looks like any regular house in a small village. The Gonds have begun to live in the wooden houses from quite a time, another big change which is visual in the living ways of the Gonds.

Gonds Villagers
The Culture of Gonds

The main diety of the Gonds is the pantheon - a single Temple which bows to all the Gods and Culture of the World. The Gond Clan is known as Persa Pen who protects all Clan Members.. They believe in the equality of the human beings without the discrimination of higher and lower society. This transparency can be clearly seen as they themselves have inclusions of Bhils and Santals in their tribes. They also worship the most ancient spirits as Gonds speak the unwritten languages related to Dravidians.

Each village of Gonds a Village Guardian and a Village Mother who are worshipped during all regular festivals. The Spirits both good and bad are supposed to be inhabit hills, villages, lakes and rivers. Sacrifices are made by the Village Priests - Devari - in most of the festivals. Most aspects of the Gond life are filled with animal sacrifices. But then most of the Gonds festivals are related to agriculture.

Most of the Gonds live in a Village with a Headman known as Mahji or Patel. A Village Council is also there which divides the Gonds into Castes called Ahir (Cowherds), Agaria (Blacksmith), Dhuli (Drummers) and Pardhan (bard and singers). A Gond Village has typically several hamlets. Houses made of hatch and mud have a verandah (outer space), living room, kitchen, special room for women, shrine room for Gods and a Guest Room. Gonds welcome visitors with tobacco leaves, fruits or other small gifts.

The Staple Food of Gonds is two millets known as Kodo and Kutki. Vegetables are usually grown in kitchen gardens or collected from forests. Gonds grow tobacco for smoking and make liquor for Mahua tree for celebrations.

For the Celebrations, Gonds have Danderi dancers who retell events from Gond Mythology. Dance, songs, cock fighting are the main attractions of any celebration. During the festive time women wear colored glass bangles and necklaces made of small black beads. Tattooing is also a major charm for Gonds.

Marraiges in Gonds are usually self chosen. However, the tribal council approves the matches. The father of the groom pays a bride price. The newly weds live with the elders of the family till they make a house of their own. The same Council also approves the divorces.

Gonds are educated to a pretty decent level. Around 25percent of Gonds in Maharashtra and 15 percent Gonds of Madhya Pradesh. However the ratio of boys to girls still remain 1: 5 percent.

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