One of the largest tribal communities in India, probably in the world with more than 12.7 million population, Gond tribe dwell in Deccan Peninsula of India. According to the sources Gonds are currently spread out in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand. The Gond has come from hilly region and they call themselves Koitur or Koi.
History says, Gond was the most significant community of original Indian tribes. Their dynasties were established and they ruled from 15th century to early 17th century, later the Maratha Kingdom won the power. Gonds looked after four kingdoms – Garha-Mandla, Deogarh, Chanda, and Kherla. However like any other tribal group, Gond despite of being the largest of all, faces economic problems and hardship.
Traditionally, Gonds are involved in cultivating lands, raising live stock and growing crops like wheat, various types of lentils, rice, sesame, cotton and millet. Many Gonds still hunt, gather fruits from forest for their livelihood. Gonds in Assam side are involved in tea plantations.
Some well to do Gonds have also nurtured their career as professors, doctors, politicians and businessmen.
Gond houses are quite big than other tribal homes. They have a large courtyard that is surrounded with rooms also called as kurai. They call their kitchen as Mudhat. They also have a room or place for worshipping their god. The house is usually east-facing and the first room after entering the room is for guests, this room is also known as Paitha Bangla. Usually the walls of Gond homes are adorned with colourful paintings. The wall portion called as Dhig is decorated with colours like indigo, black, ochre along the lower part of wall which is called as Dhingana. The paintings are done by woman and this kind of painting has earned great recognition all over the world. In fact, it has widely become part of modern décor.
Language they speak:
The primary language Gonds speak is Gondi. Since Gonds are said to be part of Dravidian family, most of the members of this tribe community speak Tamil and Kannada. Some of the Gond tribes also speak Telugu, Marathi and Hindi.
Gond belief and worship:
Majority of the Gonds are Hindus. Their religion god idols are generally spear shaped, iron-made and coated with vermillion powder. Some of the Gonds are animists which means that the nature elements like sky, trees, mountains have life and soul and their supernatural force alive the universe.
Earlier the Gonds used to sacrifice humans for worshipping Goddesses like Kali, Bara Deo, however the British brought this act to an end in 19th Century. The Gonds for sake of rituals still worship the goddesses by sacrificing lives but now of animals.
Like every other tribal community, even Gonds celebrate their unique festivals in unique way. During most of the festivals sacrifices are made by Village priests as a part of celebration, this act is called as Devari. The events are further celebrated with performance of Danderi dancers of Gond community. Folk songs, dance, cock fights are main attractions of Gond festive celebrations.
With their unique customs and traditions and good number of population, Gond is the most dominant tribe of India. They have now settled in every corner possible.