Tribal Community Welfare & Empowerment Project
The Rural Life Development Society has initiated and implemented the Vulnerable Minority Community Welfare Project for the welfare and development of the local vulnerable communities through it’s own contribution. The Organization has planned to implement this Project where ever the vulnerable community struggles for their welfare and empowerment. The Project emphasizes upon the community welfare, education and health care facilitation of women and children. Community Welfare Centers need to be constructed for the development and empowerment of the Vulnerable Communities. The Project needs support for the construction of Community Centers.
Tribal Life of Odisha - A World of Its Own
In India there is an admixture of 437 tribes and of all the states of India, Odisha has the largest number of tribes, as many as 62 that constitute an impressive 24 percent of the total population of the state. According to 1991 enumeration, in Odisha the total vitality of tribal people is relatively seven million which establish 22.21% of the total population of the whole state.
Major population in Odisha is Tribal. The number of tribes that reside in Orissa is the highest anywhere in India. All the districts of Orissa have a tribal population in it. While some regions have huge presence of tribals, some have only a handful of tribals. Koraput, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Naurangpur and Malkangiri are few districts where more than half of the population is tribal. In Orissa, few tribes are in a better economic position and are well mixed up in the society, whereas there are many that lead a completely secluded life. They are also the most backward in the economic ladder of Orissa. Different tribes have different culture, traditions, language and rituals. This enables a tourist to get an insight into many different cultures at the same time. The tribes that are living in developed areas sometimes get influenced by the western styles of lifestyle and alter their traditions and rituals. However tribes in completely cut off areas still preserve their age old customs.
Men generally wear loin clothes whereas women wear a lengthy cloth material that they wrap around themselves. Women of few tribes also wear a scarf on their head. Almost all women wear ornaments, bracelets, necklaces made of aluminum and brass. Girls above the age of 5 are seen with tattoos on their faces.
Customs And Traditions
Even though culture of few tribes have been influenced by outside traditions, but most of the tribes have taken great care that they retain their age old rituals and customs. Art and crafts, songs, dances and the festivals are the most visible form of their culture. Almost all the celebrations are accompanied by song and colorful dances. Birth, marriage and death are personal occasions and are kept within the family. And occasion related to harvesting and hunting are celebrated as a community with huge enthusiasm and festivities.
The way people of Odisha Tribes spend their lives is something that teaches us how to live a lot with little. Many areas that are inhabited by the tribes lack even the basic necessities, but their lives still feel complete.
Tribal economy is substance oriented. Their substance economy mostly based on Collecting, hunting and fishing anything for food. They do often plough using agricultural tribe. The large tribes like the Santal, Munda, Oram and Gond, often additive their economy with hunting and conclave. They use very simple technology with a very small division of labour, its often limited for the family. They lose out in the sense because of the small holdings and unproductive, this is due to the lack of irrigation. For example many tribes the Juanga, Bhuiyan, Saora, Dharua and Bonda, practice shifting cultivation or well known as poddu chasa also known as slash and burn.The process of Shifting cultivation is they choose a plot of a land which s generally on a mountain slope after that they slash down all the trees and then burn them into ashes. Then spread the ashes properly over that plot, and then wait for the rain before they plant their crops. The soil of the land get depleted due to the cultivation for two three seasons on the same land, so they move on. Ths is the way of life for them. Tribal culture in natutral state is rich and extraordinary and for that the Adivasis work really very hard to conserve it. A tribal village manages all its internal problems very smoothly. There are two institutions to manage it - the village council of elders and the youth dormitory.
The hilly and forested areas are the big considerable portion of tribal habitat. Mostly the tribal villages are found in the areas which are far away from carnal plains mostly close to rivers. Most of the villages are traditional in nature and smaller in size.
Major Tribes in Odisha
There are 62 tribal communities residing in Odisha today. They are scattered to all parts of the Odisha. The major tribes of the State are Kondhs, Koyas, Gadabas, Oraon, Juangs, and Santals. According to the language, the tribes are divided into four groups, Indo-Aryan group, Dravidian group, Tibeto-Burmese group and Austric group. Tribes belonging to Tibeto-Burmese group no more stay in Orissa, thus all the tribes belong to the other three groups. Tribal people of Odisha are known to be immensely hard working and lead a very subdued life. Various tribes engage in different occupation, but most are either into agriculture, fishing or hunting. Better settled tribes also work in mills and handicraft industries. Few tribes like Bondo and Gadaba have their own looms and make clothes for their own use.
Bondas live in the remote Bonda hills. The landscape is quite inspiring with steep roads to climb up the green hill slopes and amazing jungles that seem to go for ever. The Bondas are national tribe of people approximately 5000 in number, living in the confined hill regions to the Malkangiri district of southwestern most Orissa, near to the confluence to the three states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh. The Bonda are scheduled tribe of India and are also known as Remo.
They are fickle in behavior, and also dislike intervention. The men are very short and leaning from walking up and down with the mountain slopes. Bonda women are almost covered with their religious costumes with strings full of beads and brass ornaments that hang lower waist to their body. Bondas are different from other tribes in Odisha for their behavior to violence. They are loaded with bows and arrows, the Bonda male never hesitate to release his arrow towards his opponent that will mark straight to the heart. Bonda marriage system is that the Bonda girls like to marry younger boys, because they can have someone to earn for the old age.
The Kondhs are one of the well known tribes and one of the largest tribal communities in Orissa which have the population of around 1 million, they are famous in history for their Merial Sacrifice (human sacrifice). The Kondhs very much believe to be from the Proto-Australoid national group. Their language is Kui. The Kondhs are accomplished land dwellers exhibiting great flexibility to the forest environment. Their playground is dense sal forests. Their hunting instruments are of primitive races with bows and axes. They are mostly established in large numbers in Kandhmal (formely Phulbani), Bolangir, Koraput and Ganjam districts of Orissa.
The Gadaba are an archaic tribe mentioned as Mundari or Kolarian on linguistic grounds. They are early settlers of this country and their origins date to the time of Ramayana. The word Gadaba means a person who carries loads on his shoulders. They call themselves Guthan. They always speak a mundari dialect, called Gadaba after tribal’s name. They are primarily called tribe of agriculturists. They are also employed as bearers in the hills and carry palanquins. Emigrated from the bank of Godavari River and settled in Nandapur, the former capital of Rajas of Jeypore. Besides Malkangiri, this tribe is could also be found in Koraput, Kalahandi, Sundergarh, Gangam, Sampalpur and Boudh Phulbani districts of Odisha.
The Saora or Sora are the tribe from Southern Odisha. The Saoras are second most outstanding tribal community in the Rayagada district of Odisha. They are also present in some specific places of Koraput and Gajapati Districts. They sometimes are called Lanjia Saoras because of their dress pattern of wearing a loin cloth hanging from behind which could be mistakenly known as a tail by a stranger. Their highest concentration could be found in the Puttasingi area.
Juang is a jungle tribe of Odisha. They are found in only two of the tributary states, namely Dhenkanal and Keonjhar. The population is estimated to about 10,000. Their language belongs to the Munda family. They have no traditions, and they broke all connections with Hos or the Santal and claim to be the true aborigines. They are skilled in making baskets, which is in demand in nearby caste villages. The Juangs sometimes exchange their baskets for food and money with the village traders. They increased contact with the Hindu villages and also took up the worship of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. They slowly got mixed into the Hindu Caste system as a basket making caste group.
Esteemed as the most-celebrated tribes in the state, Bhumia tribe is rich in tradition and culture. The unique marriage trends and peculiar rituals make Bhumia a must-visit tribe in India.
Considered as the most progressive and developed tribes amongst all mentioned in the list, Oraons are mastered in tea plantation. Today, many of the Oraon people are shifted to Indian metro cities.
Amongst the more than 60 Odisha’s tribes, Koyas is one of the top tribes with rich ancient tradition, culture, art, and customs. Apart from Malkangiri, Odisha, the chivalrous people of Koya tribes also resides in some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
Devotees of numerous gods and goddess, the Prajas are the inhabitants of forests and hills. The people of this beautiful community have a different passion and love for music and dance and are mainly agriculturists.