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Cultural Tradition in Kalahandi

Dr.Mahendra K Mishra
Managing Trustee Folklore Fouondation,Bhubaneswar , Odisha, India

A land of nature, elephant, gem stone , sandal woods, tiger and bison The land is known as Kondhan Desh - the land of the Kondhs- an indigenous community of the state The Kondhs were known for Meriah - Human Sacrifice till it was suppressed by the Britishers during 1835 1860 AD.

Prehistoric cave paintings A hunter throwing a stone at the deer


Elliots Report 1876

There were 2100 habitations Total population was 1,24000 Out of that 88,000 were Kondhs They constituted about 60 % of the total population Now in 2001 tribal population in cluding the Kondhs is 28 %. Demographers have a ground to study why this happened.

1.Geographical Areas 2.Area under Forest 3.Population 4.Scheduled Caste



7920 Sq.KM 2,538.01 Sq.KM (32 %)

4. 5.

5. Scheduled Tribe 6.Density of population per sq.kms. 7. LITERATE 8.ILLITERATE 9. No of villages :

6. 7.

(2001)Census 1335494 ( Male-667526, Female-667968 ) ( Rural 1235275, Urban - 100219 ) 236019 (17.67 )(Male-117344,Female118675) 385273 ( 28.84% )(Male188646,Female-193927) 169 513383 ( 62.45% ) ( Male-349473 ,Female- 163910)

8. 822111 (Male-318053 , Female 504058 ) 9. 2236

Kalahandi in many names across the space and time

Mahakantara 3 century AD Trikalinga 4- 5 century Parvata Dwaraka - and Nala dynasty - 5th century Saravapuriya - 6-7 century Soma Vamsa 7- 9 century Chidaka Naga - 10 Century ganga dynasty 11-13th centiry Naga 14 th centuryAD

Ruling dynasties in kalahandi

Mahakantara [500 BC to 500 AD] Vyaghraraja Nala Kings Parvatadwarakas South Kosal Trikaling Chakrakota Mandala : Someswara Naga Kamala Mandala karunda mandala Kalahandi

Naga Kings 1005-1947

Raghunath Sai (1005-1040 AD) Pratap Narayan Deo (1040 - 1072 AD) Birabar Deo (1072 - 1108 AD) Jugasai Deo I (1108 - 1142 AD) Udenarayan Deo (1142-1173 AD) Harichandra Deo (1173-1201 AD) Ramachandra Deo (1201 - 1234 AD) Gopinath Deo (1234 - 1271 AD) Balabhadra Deo (1271 - 1306 AD) Raghuraj Deo (1306-1337 AD) Rai Singh Deo I (1337 - 1366 AD) Haria Deo (1366 - 1400 AD) Jugasai Deo II (1400 - 1436 AD) Pratap Narayan Deo II (1436 - 1468 AD) Hari Rudra Deo (1468 - 1496 AD) Anku Deo (1496 - 1528 AD)

Pratap Deo (1528 - 1564 AD) Raghunath Deo (1564 - 1594 AD) Biswambhar Deo (1594 - 1627 AD) Rai Singh Deo II (1627 - 1658 AD) Dusmant Deo (1658 -1693 AD) Jugasai Deo III (1693 - 1721 AD) Khadag Rai Deo (1721 - 1747 AD) Rai Singh Deo III (1747 - 1771 AD) Purusottam Deo (1771 - 1796 AD) Jugasai Dei IV (1796 - 1831 AD) Fate Narayan Deo (1831 - 1853 AD) Udit Pratap Deo I (1853 - 1881 AD) Raghu Keshari De (1894 - 1897 AD) Court of Wards (1897 - 1917 AD) Brajamohan Deo (1917 - 1939 AD) Pratap Keshari Deo (1939 till the merge with Orissa state)

The present District of Kalahandi was a former princely state. After Indian Independence, Kalahandi joined with the Union of India on January 1, 1948, and was subsequently merged with Orissa on November 1, 1949. The former capital of the State of Kalahandi, Junagarh, located 26 kilometers from Bhawanipatna

Post Independent era 1952-2009

During 1952- 2009 royal family became the MP . Maharaja PK Deo for 20 years and his son for 12 years total 32 years Rest of the years common people became the MP for 16 years

Religion in Kalahandi
Tribal religion Nature worship Earth Mother Goddess Forest Gods 84 River Goddess 16 Mountain Gods - each mountain and hills have a god Water God : Bhima Water Goddess Seven sisters water fairies Village goddess : Ganga Devi
Clan Gods and Goddess : Each tribe have their clan gods and goddesses and accordingly the kinship of the gods and goddesses also do exists. Sacred centers : No temple- either a hut or open space of the nature Worldview : naturalistic interdependence of man with nature and spirit

Fairs and festivals

Forest related Gods and Goddesses related agricultural festivals Cyclic festivals ( Buffalo sacrificie in every 12 years in a kondh vilage) Worship of clan Gods in every 12 years by the larger clan group Purpose of the nature worship is to perpetuate the forest , air , water and the earth for a better harvest

Bhunjia tribe

The Bhunjia is a endangered tribe. Their number is about 9000. They maintain their cultural purity They build their separate kitchen in front of their house.It is called Lal bangla.( Red bonglow)- a red mud hut. If some one enters and touches the kitchen , they burn the hut and build a new one Once a girl is married she is not allowed to her fathers house to cook food.She is a guest women dont wear coloured dress, except white saree. They are rich in folklore

Paharia tribe
Even smaller then the Bhunjia in number, ( 4000) the Paharia are most primitive and endangered, live as a hunter gatherer community , and shift their settlement depending on availability of water and hunt. They have a lot of forest knowledge that they captured in their folklore and cultural practices They catch fish, melt iron, make bamboo craft and hunt forest animals. Their number is small but their oral tradition is much more- about 37 oral epics. And powerful songs

Classical Indian Tradition

From 5th century AD , Kalahandi was connected to middle and north India for trade and commerce (ivory, gem stone, sandal wood) History of Kalahandi was significant in terms of understanding the power relation between the kings, Marathas, and British Rule during 18th century.

jainism and Buddhism sakta and Shaiva and Vaishinava many temples for Gods and Goddesses of pan Indian classical tradition Manikeswari is the state deity of Naga Kings of Kalahandi Over a period of time it was found that some Buddha images are worshiped by the tribals as village female deity( dokri buddhi) Also Budha Deo- a supreme God of the Gond tribe.

Fairs and festival

Seed Receiving ceremony Seed sowing ceremony Sapling making ceremony Millet growing ceremony Navanna : New Rice eating ceremony Laxmi puja Goddess of padpdy

Tribal festival
Buffalo sacrifice ( a modified form of Meriah ) Taki Parab ( a festival of female infanticide) Am Nuakhai - offering of new mango to goddess Kandul parab offering of pulses to Goddess Budharja parab- festival of Godn supreme God Dasahara : orship of Goddess Durga Chait parab : Spring festival ( 21 days)

first Kondh rebellion

The Kondh were the land owner A proverb runs. Kondhar je Bhuin aru Rajar je Raij- The land belong to the Kondhs and may be the administration belong to the king. Kondhs were practicing Human sacrifice ( meriah) before the earth Mother Goddess. They were buying a victim fro m other communities secretly and were sacrificing the victim. The victim used to marry a Kondh girl and was living like a son in law. In the meriah Day they were sacrificing the victim with a belief that offering the victim to Goddess result ample harvest

The Kondh and Naga kings

While coronation of a Naga prince, a Kondh chief of Budaka clan would tie turban to the prince During coronation theprince wil sit on the lap of a Kondh Chief of Tuduka clan While coronation the naga prince would marry a Kondh bride from the Kondh Chief of Sermelka clan This shows the political and social relation of the Naga with the kondhs Therefore they were not opposed to the Naga kings , but rebelled against the Britishers.

a proverb captures the history

Patbandha Budaka Kudedhara Tuduka Jhi Dia Sermelka
Similarly Khutkata gond Gond clean the forest Padarbasa Kondh- Kondh settle the village

The Kondhs and the Naga Kings

The majority Kondhs were maintaining self rule and were not paying tax to the kings till 1850. In 1880 the king transferred the land from the Kondh village chief to other castes The king also brought good cultivators from Sambalpur to produce better This led Kondh rebellion ( 1882)

This was suppressed by the British Rule during 1838- 1860 The Kondhs fought against it since this was against their religious belief. This was turned in to Kondh rebellion. Another reason is land transfer and power transfer. Other castes grabed the tribal land and they rebelled. In 1882 there was a Kondh rebellion in Kalahandi for land. It was suppressed with a military force.

Life in Kalahandi
Community belongingness 1. A tribal chief , after hunting the boar shared the meet to all household of the village 2. Collective efforts in dance, music and songs. 3. Festivals are collective determined by the village priest. 4. Collective labour in agriculture.

Social customs
Not dowry , but bride price A meeting is always attended with some contribution not free Village customary law is flexible to excuse the guilty and crime after the community consensus- some punishment is given gender equity is more in tribal society weekly market is dominated by 70 % women

Oral tradition
Collective expression No authorship Every body has some knowledge on songs and tales Senior men are good in proverbs and oral epics and myths women use to sing creative songs and tales young man and woman use to sing love songs

Highly creative Context sensitive Imaginary reality Resolve socio-psychological issues Cultural continuity

Oral songs
Aesthetic beauty in the mental text expressed in verbal texts Energized with local metaphor and symbols Creative and deep meaning
reflection of every day life

Sajani , Dhanare dhania mise, Shangara sangare dhangari mise Suni janapara dise

O Companion
Paddy and coriander mixed
The youngster and the maid coupled up alike They look like full moon.

question answer
Youngster sing
Sajani, sagadara kani khila Toke nebi bali mormana thila Sate muhun tike kala hela.

The pin of the cart wheel I had a desire to take you BUt your face is a bit black

the maid replies

Kali Kukurara kesa.. Kali kali bali bakhunithisa Kali dehe teva rasa
Feathers of black hen You always blame me, black But oh, black body carries the orange juice.

Rasarkeli re Malifhula phutikari mahamaha basu.. Kalabhamarake dekhi taha taha hasu Tara tara hele nani alge jai basu kie toke kainkahela sangata Alge jai basu rasa ja chalija re.

Oh savor of love You bloom and smell like jasmine You smile when you see the black bee When I approach , you keep aloof Who told you what , o mate You sit alone , O maid, tell me

caste as barrier in love

Sajani Aha re Ukiabati Tui nai helu amara jati , Sate kole dhari chuma deti. Oh companion O bright lamp, Were you of my caste Really, I d kiss you holding on my lap O Gua nadia , the young lads moves around you.

young age
Naike Kie bandhichhe Maa buar katha kie manuchhe Bayasa jaha karuchhe.
O Sajani Who can check the flowing river Who cares for parent's advice That is the out burst of age.

Gender disparity
Sajani kansi Baunshara dhuna Munisa khauchhe sikara tuna Maijhi chatuchhe nuna.
A bow of tender bamboo The husband is relishing meat The wife is licking salt.

Sajani Udigala udajhajha Tanga banigala chuchha kagaja Dukane nagala bhanja
O companion Plane flied over the sky Lo, the silver rupees turned in to paper rupees How difficult is it to get change for it.

The younger brother story

A younger brother in a family was very lazy. He was in love with his maternal uncles daughter. His father abused him, You are a donkey. Get out of my home. The younger brother went to his uncles daughter who was coming back from the river after fetching water. The boy put a stick on her way and said, my father abused me and said, You are a donkey Soon after telling that the younger brother turned in t a donkey. The girl taking that donkey left her home.

They reached a country where the women were barren and had no children. The king had also no progeny. The girl with the donkey was given shelter. The girl worshipped a dry sal tree and flower bloomed in that dry tree. the women of the country started getting their procreative power Suddenly the donkey got back his human form. The king gave him some land and he lived there.

A farmers story
A farmer had four sons they were lazy and scared of work. There was a severe drought for 12 years . the rain God was angry upon the people of the earth. Everything , man, animals and birds, tree and creepers , every body were affected. The old man thought , how long this drought continue? How to get rid of it? how the living being will survive?

he called his four sons to plough in the sand of the river. They plaugh the river. Indra- the raingod was astonishied listeing the sound of cultivation. He thought I have not given rain water. Who is cultuvatingon the earth? he came in a form of an old Brahmin and came there. He asked Hey cultivator, Are you mad? How can you cultivate in the sand of the river in this summer days?

the old cultivator replied, I am not cultivating for harvest. I am handing my knowledge to my sons about thew art of cultivation. I am like a dry leaf; dont know when to fall. After me , what my sons will do if they dont know the knowledge that I have ? So I am not mad. Indra- the rain God was shocked. He came back to his heaven. he called in all his sons ( four clouds) to his presence.

he asked, Do you know how to create cloud? Do you know lightening ? Do you know how to down pour rain ? Do you know how to create sound? They all replied. Youhave suspended our work since last 12 years, how can we know this ? We have forgotten it.

Indra taught them the art of rain. They started the practice of the respective occupation and expertise. Suddenly there was a rain in the earth. The living being got sloace, and felt happy. The old farmer looked the sky and smiled. Finally Indra the rain God felt that the old farmer has won the God thorugh his wit.

Thank You