Gondi people

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This article is about people of central India. For other uses, see Gond.
Women in tribal village, Umaria district, India.jpg
Regions with significant populations
India = Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, OdishaKarnatak
Gondi, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi
Gondi ( Koya Punem ), Hinduism[1]
Related ethnic groups
Khonds · Dravidian people

The Gondi (Gōndi) or Gond people are a Dravidian people of central India, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and formerly northern Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) and Western Odisha. With over four million people, they are the largest tribe in Central India.[2] They are a designated Scheduled Tribe in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana,Odisha and West Bengal.[3]

The Gond are also known as the Raj Gond. The term "Raj Gond" was widely used in 1950s, but has now become almost obsolete, probably because of the political eclipse of the Gond Rajas.[4]

The Gondi language is related to Telugu and other Dravidian languages. About half of Gonds speak Gondi languages while the rest speak Indo-Aryan languages including Hindi.


For many years in the British colonial period of India the Gonds were considered[by whom?] to have performed human sacrifices, although this notion was later discredited.[5]

History of Gondwana and Rani Durgawati[edit]

Gondwana was conquered in 1564 by Akbar. This State included the regions of Sagar, Damoh, Mandla, Seoni, Narmada Valley and possibly a portion of Bhopal. The state had 53 forts. Dalpat Shah was its ruler. When he died he left behind his widow Durgawati and their infant son Bir Narayan. Durgawati became the Regent. Abul Fazal says that Durgawati ruled her kingdom with wisdom and ability. She delighted in hunting and bringing down wild animals with her own gun.Asaf Khan,[6] the Governor of Kara or Allahabad, was tempted by the wealth of Gondwana. Occasionally he ravaged the borders of the kingdom. Rani Durgwati started negotiations with Akbar for a peaceful settlement and when those negotiation failed, she retaliated by making forays against Bhilsa. Asaf Khan[6] marched toward Gondwana. Durgawati defended her territory bravely, but she was out numbered and defeated in a battle between garh and Mandal in the modern Jabalpur District.Rani Durgawati was wounded and she plunged a dagger into her chest and ended her life to save herself from disgrace. Her kingdom was devastated and a lot of the wealth fell into the hands of the Mughals. Bir Narayan died fighting in the defence of his country. According to V.A.Smith,"Akbar's attack on a princess of a character so noble was mere aggression, wholly unprovoked and devoid of all justifications other than the lust for conquest and plunder."[7]


According to the 1971 census, their population was 51.54 lakhs (5,154,000). By the 1991 census this had increased to 93.19 lakhs (9,319,000)[8]

Gonds of Uttar Pradesh[edit]

The Gond are also found in major population in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Like in other parts of India, the UP Gond have Scheduled caste as opposed to Scheduled tribe status, in 13 district of U.P. Gonds are Scheduled tribe and remaining district those are treated as Scheduled caste. They no longer speak Gondi, but now speak Hindi. The UP Gond are divided into seven sub-groups, the Dev Gond, Dholi, Kolan, Kailabhut, Mudipal, Padal and Raj Gond. Raj Gond are also called as jesthvans in Bihar state. They are mainly farmer .Some have their own land and they are now part of well established society. Traditionally, the Raj Gond (also found in Maharshtra state[9]) have had a higher status, and were rulers of a number of states in the region. Each of these clans is exogamous. The Gonda of UP are a landowning community, and most of them practise settled cultivation. Historically, the community practiced slash and burn agriculture, these practices have long been discontinued.[10] In U.P. Gond has many sub caste namely Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, Rajgond, Pathar, Kahar, Godia,Dhimar, Sorhia and Raikwar (according to Minutes of 20th Meeting of National commission for SCs and STs dated 19/06/2001) but the population of Dhuria, Gond, Kahar in U.P. is greater than other four sub castes of Gond tribe. Dhuria, Kahar (Sub caste/synonyms or Generic Name of Gond) of Uttar Pradesh,and also known as Dhurwa, Dhurvey, Dhruw in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand etc.


Traditionally the Gondi people had a social institution (school) known as Ghotul, a kind of mixed dormitory system for the unmarried youth which was the main means of education and introduction to adult life.[11]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Beine, David m. 1994. A sociolinguistic survey of the Gondi-speaking communities of central India. M.A. thesis. San Diego State University. 516 p.
  • Banerjee, B. G., and Kiran Bhatia. Tribal Demography of Gonds. Delhi: Gian Pub. House, 1988. ISBN 81-212-0237-X
  • Elwin, Verrier. Phulmat of the Hills; A Tale of the Gonds. London: J. Murray, 1937.
  • Fürer-Haimendorf, Christoph von, and Elizabeth von Fürer-Haimendorf. The Gonds of Andhra Pradesh: Tradition and Change in an Indian Tribe. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1979. ISBN 0-04-301090-3
  • Kaufmann, Walter. Songs and Drummings of the Hill Maria, Jhoria Muria and Bastar Muria Gonds. And, the Musical Instruments of the Marias and Murias. 1950.
  • Mehta, B. H. Gonds of the Central Indian Highlands: A Study of the Dynamics of Gond Society. New Delhi: Concept, 1984.
  • Museum of Mankind, Shelagh Weir, and Hira Lal. The Gonds of Central India; The Material Culture of the Gonds of Chhindwara District, Madhya Pradesh. London: British Museum, 1973. ISBN 0-7141-1537-1
  • Pagdi, Setumadhava Rao. Among the Gonds of Adilabad. Bombay: Popular Book Depot, 1952.
  • Perry, William James, The Children of the Sun: a study in the early history of civilization, London: Methuen, 1927.
  • Pingle, Urmila, and Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Gonds and Their Neighbours: A Study in Genetic Diversity. Lucknow, India: Ethnographic & Folk Culture Society, 1987.
  • Russell, R. V., The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, London, 1916.
  • Sharma, Anima. Tribe in Transition: A Study of Thakur Gonds. India: Mittal Publications, 2005. ISBN 81-7099-989-8
  • Singh, Indrajit. The Gondwana and the Gonds. Lucknow, India: The Universal publishers, 1944.
  • Kangalee,Motiram Chhabiram,Paree Kupar Lingo Gondi Punemi Darshan (In Hindi),Publisher ujjvala society Nagpur,2011
  • Vatti,jalpati,Mava sagaa padeeng, in Gondwana sagaa Patrika published (In Hindi) in October 1986


  1. ^ Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011
  2. ^ "Gondi people". 
  3. ^ "List of notified Scheduled Tribes". Census India. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Indian Tribes -R.C.Verma ISBN 81-230-0328-5
  5. ^ *Bates, Crispin (1995). "Race, Caste and Tribe in Central India: the early origins of Indian anthropometry". In Robb, Peter. The Concept of Race in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-19-563767-0. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  6. ^ a b http://narsinghpur.nic.in/history.htm
  7. ^ History of Medieval India-V.D.Mahajan ISBN 81-219-0364-5
  8. ^ Indian Tribes ISBN 81-230-0328-5
  9. ^ Indian Tribes -R.C.verma
  10. ^ People of India Uttar Pradesh Volume XLII Part Two edited by A Hasan & J C Das page 546 to 551 Manohar Publications
  11. ^ Essay on the characteristics of Dormito­ries in Indian Tribes

External links[edit]

This article includes material from the 1995 public domain Library of Congress Country Study on India.