Art work of the Banjara Tribe

A peek into the Indian Tribes

India is known for its culture and heritage. Which is further enriched by the tribes that thrive in the nooks and corners of the country.

Baiga women
Baiga women

Image Credits: Wikipedia

1) They don’t talk to other tribes or anyone outside their communities; they believe they don’t need access to education; they shift houses whenever there is a death in the family. Peculiar enough, yet? No? This is the Baiga Tribe of Madhya Pradesh, also found in parts of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. They are the most skilled tattooist, and the women sport tattoos on almost every part of their body; the knowledge is passed on from generation to generation; and they practice shifting cultivation. They see themselves as the people of the forest and so don’t work for others and live a secluded life.

Warli Painting
Warli Painting

Image credits: Biodiversityofindia

2) The above art seems familiar? It’s called the Warli Art, originated from the 2000 year old Warli Tribe of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Their language is a mixture of Sanskrit, Marathi and Gujrati. Their art is usually done inside huts with rice paste and water, and a bamboo stick. It consists of three main symbols: the circle, triangle and square. The circle represents the sun, triangle represents the hills and mountains, and square is said to mean human invention.

3) You may have seen the Ghoomar dance of the Rajasthanis, but what is little known is where it originated. It was in the Bhil Tribe, and it gets its name from the fluidic turns and the long flowly long ‘ghaghras’ that they sport. This tribe is also known for the origin of the Pithori paintings. These paintings are more of a ritual than an art; the figures painted are that of minor deities, ghosts and ancestors. They are Adivasi people who live in Central India and originated in the Sindh region of Pakisthan.

Painting of the Ghoomar Dance
Painting of the Ghoomar Dance

Image Credits: PodarHaveliMuseum

4) Known to have descended from the Roma gypsies of Europe, the Banjara Tribe happen to occupy most Indian states but mostly Rajasthan and have sub tribes like the Lambadi, Goola, Khora, etc. They are known for their colourful costumes and the artefacts that have high demand in the markets like ivory, gold, silver and animal bone accessories.

Women of the Banjara Tribe
Women of the Banjara Tribe

Image Credits: Hindu

5) The thing that sets these folks apart from the rest is that their descendants are identified from the mother’s side and not the fathers. The women also own property rights and can refuse marriage as well. This is the Khasi Tribe of Meghalaya who were the earliest immigrants from Burma. They are huge fans of musical instruments and dance, and  are known to sport heavy jewellery.

Women of the Khasi tribe in a festival.
Women of the Khasi tribe in a festival.

Image Credits: NorthEastIndia

Featured Image: ArtFire

I walk, and I discover, myself and places. I draw, and I write. And that's how I travel.

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