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Tribes in Odisha (ଓଡ଼ିଶା)

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The state of Odisha occupies an important place in the country having a high concentration of Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste population. As per the latest 2011 census, it is ranked 3rd (numerically) in terks of SC population in the country. Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Casts together constitute nearly 40% of the state's total population (STs 22.85% and 17.13%). The population of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes is as follows

Total Population 4,19,47,358 Scheduled Castes (SC) population 71,88,463 Scheduled Tribes(STs) population 95,90,756 Percentage of ST population 22.85 percentage of SC population 17.13 ST Communities 62 SC Communities 93


In exercise of powers conferred by sub-paragraph 6 of the 5th Scheduled to the constitution of India, the revised presidential order titled The Scheduled Areas(states of BiharnGujarat,Madhya Pradesh and Odisha), Order 1977 has declared the full districrs viz, Mayurbhanj,Sundargarh,Koraput,Telkoi,Champua,Barbil tehsils of Keonjhar district,Kandhamal,Baliguda and Udayagiri tehsil of Kandhamal district,Udayagiri tehsils,Gumma and Rayagada blocks of Paralakhemundi tehsils in Paralakhemundi sub-division and Suruda tehsil of Ghumsur sub-division in Ganjam district, Thuamul Rampur and Lanjigarh blocks of Kalahandi district and Nilagiri block of Balasore district as Scheduled Areas of the state. After reorganisation of districts in the state, 7 districts fully and 6 districts partly are covered under the Scheduled Areas of the state.


01. Adi,Anjhar 02. Amant,Amat 03. Audhelia 04. Badaik 05. Bagheti,Baghuti 06. Bajikar 07. Bari 08. Bariki 09. Basor,Burud 10. Bauri 11. Baiti 12. Bavuri 13. Bedia,Bejia 14. Beldar 15. Bhata 16. Bhoi 17. Chachati 18. Chakali 19. Chamar,Mochi,Muchi,Satnami 20. Chandala 21. Chandbai Maru 22. Cherua,Chhelia 23. Dandasi 24. Dewar 25. Dhanwar 26. Dhoba,Dhobi 27. Dom Dombo, Duria Dom 28. Dosdha 29. Ganda 30. Ghantarghada, Ghantra 31. Ghasi,Ghasia 32. Ghogia 33. Ghusuria 34. Godagali 35. Godari 36. Godra 37. Gokha 38. Gorait,Korait 39. Haddi,Hadi,Hari 40. Irika 41. Jaggali 42. Kandra,Kandara 43. Karua 44. Katia 45. Kela 46. Khadala 47. Kodalo,Khodalo 48. Kori 49. Kummari 50. Kurunga 51. Laban 52. Laheri 53. Madari 54. Madiga 55. Mahuria 56. Mala,Jhala,Malo,Zala 57. Mang 58. Mangan 59. Mehra,Mahar 60. Mehtar,Bhangi 61. MewR 62. Mundapotta 63. Nagarchi 64. Namasudra 65. Paidi 66. Painda 67. Pamidi 68. Pan,Pano 69. Panchama 70. Panika 71. Panka 72. Pantanti 73. Pap 74. Pasi 75. Patial,Patikar,Payratanti,Potua 76. Rajna 77. Relli 78. Sabakhia 79. Samasi 80. Sanei 81. Sapari 82. Saunotia,Santal 83. Sidhria 84. Sinduria 85. Siyal 86. Tamodia 87. Tamudia 88. Tanal 89. Tiar,Tior 90. Turi 91. Ujia 92. Valamiki


One of the significant tribes of Odisha is Bonda Poraja tribe which has the tradition of following the practice of elopement at times of marriage. Another tribal community, known as Bagata tribe, is considered to be one of the native tribes conversing with each other in Adivasi Oriya language. Chenchu tribe resides in a special village known as Penta, clubbed together on kinship basis. Dal tribe of the Odisha state follows the religion of Hinduism and practice the rituals and rites of the same. Dharua tribe lives specially in the Malkanagiri district. There are various other tribal communities in Odisha who serve a lot to develop the cultural life of the tribes of Odisha. Several districts of Odisha, namely Puri district, Kalahandi district, etc. are hubs of Holva tribe. Some tribal people, namely the jatapu tribe speaks their indigenous language along with Oriya language. Bnadhu and Kotumba are the two distinctive totemic clans of Juang tribe. Odisha also comprises Parenga tribe, Paroja tribe, Saora tribe, Sitha Khanda tribe, Sounti tribe and Tadvi tribe. Among them, Saora tribes amidst their rich heritage ennobles the ethnicity of the state and sadar tribe is one of the primitive tribes of the Indian sub-continent, also known to many as Kariya. Other tribes of Odisha include Bhumia tribe, Koli tribe, Bhunjia tribe and many more


A majority of the Odisha tribes take up occupations to sustain livelihood like gathering hunting and fishing. Tribal communities, residing in the hilly areas of Odisha, are adept in shifting cultivation. They are also engaged in handicraft industries or mills. Gadaba tribe and Bondo tribe posses their own looms ans are engaged in making clothes for regular use. Moreover, tribal people like Lohars and Mohali have mastered the art of tool making and basket weaving. Oran, Munda, Santhals and Ho have switched to the factories, industrial occupations and works in mines.


The tribal communities of Odisha regard marriage as an important institution. Several rites and rituals that are associated with it are feted with lots of joy ans fervency. They are very much religious minded, widely practicing religions like animism, animalism, nature-worship,fetishism,shamanism and anthropomorphism. The tribes of Odisha also wors their ancestors. Their local and tribal deities are worshipped by sacrificing animals. The tribal people are superstitious and they take the Ojha of their community quite seriously to get rid of evil spirits.


The tribal people of Odisha follow a huge number of festivals including the birth ceremony, harvesting, marriage, sowing, etc. accompanied with tribal dance and songs. Mahua liquor is greatly enjoyed during the festivals. Among all, the most significant festivals of the tribes of Odisha are Push Parab and Chaitra Parab.


The tribal men of Odisha usually were loin clothes whereas women use a lengthy cloth material that they wrap around themselves. Women of certain tribes also were a scraf on their head. Almost all women adorn themselves with ornaments, bracelets and necklaces made of aluminium and brass. Girls above the age of 5 are seen with tattoos on their faces.



The Sauras are one of the most ancient tribes in Odisha mentioned in Hindu myths and classics, notably the Purans. Saura men are Marathon walkers. They are also expert climbers and hunters with a habit of carrying an axe on one shoulder. Sauras are mainly concentrated in and around the Paralakhemundi and the Gunupur area of the South Odisha. They are called by various names such as Sabara, Saura, Sora etc. and have their racial feature which are dominant among the aborigines of Central and Southern India. The Saura from their appearance resembles the other predravidian tribes. They have long heads, flat noses with expanded alae. The brow ridges are prominent but not to a great extent like the Kondhs. There is a depression at the root of the nose. The hair are generally waivy and curly and the skin colour is brown to dark brown. The Sauras are not strongly built like the Kondhs, but they are better in body built in comparision to the tribes of North Odisha. There is hardly anything distinctive about the dress of a Saura man which consists of loin cloth about 6feet long and 10 inchs breadth. This may be plain or may be decorated with red tarsels at the ends.


The Kondhs or the Kui as they call themselves, are the largest tribal in Odisha. They have a great cultural heritage and values which respect the nature. Malua Kondha are majority among the Kondh sub-groups. Their Kui language is Dravidian and spoken with only slight regional variations. Their height is about the average standard of the persons of the Peninsula. Dongria Kondhs inhabit the steep slopes of the Niyamgiri Range of the North-West Koraput district and over the border into Kalahandi. They work entirely on tje steep slopes for their livelihood. The Niyamgiri Range provides a wealth of perennial springs and streams which greatly enrich Dongria cultivation. Kuvi speaking people reside in the villages that spread widely over the hills and valleys of North Koraput district. Kuvi is extremely nasal form of the Kindh language and also contains a few Telugu words.n being alongside the state of Andhra Pradesh.


The Bhumias of Mapkanagiri district are also generally found in undivided Koraput, Phulbani, Ganjam and Sundargarh districts of Odisha. After Koyas, this tribe occupies the second position in population. The head of the village is called Mukhia. One Bhattanaik is for 20 numbers of villages. The Bhumias of Nabarangpur districthave an intriguing custom, since they wish to avoid paying the bride price and also arranged marriage are not welcome. Instead, a boy and a girl in love are encouraged to elope and the marriage is solemnised later.


The Gonds, a warrior caste and conquerors of yesteryears, are spreadout all over the hill tracts of central and South India. The name Gond is extracted from the Telugu word Konda which means hill. Agriculture, collecting minor forest produce, forging metal goods in cottage industries, fishing, hunting and the other primary sector activities are the main activities of Gonds. Marriages are preferred within the blood relations mostly according to Hindu rites and customs.


The Koyas are found in Malkanagiri distdict. They are said to belong to the great Gond family. The Koyas have a tradition that about 200 years ago, they were driven from the plateau in the Baster country by famine and disputes. The Koyas are found in Kalimela, Podia, Malkanagiri and Korukonda area of Malkanagiri district. The Koyas are the largest in population. At Mathili and Manyamkonda area, ancient Koyas tribes are generally found. Their village consists of 30 to 40 families. They don't settle at any place permanently because it's a belief that they may be some natural calimaty or the local God will be displeased.


They are also deeply concerned with personal hygiene and cleanliness of their surroundings. A characteristic feature of the Santal village is a sacred grove in the edge of the settlement where many spirits live and where a series of annual festivals take place. Like most other tribal socisties, the Santal did not have a written language for a long time. They were accustomed to use many as 4 scripts for purpose of writing depending on the exigencies of geographical position they were put in. They were on the look out for new script which could be adopted by all the groups of the tribe. After a prolonged effort and experiment, their long felt need was fulfilled by Pandit Raghunat Murmu of Mayuebhanj district who discovered the OL Chiki script, in which books and journals are being published now days. The main festival of Koyas is Bijapandu festival celebrated in the month of Chaitra. They live in low thatched houses. They cultivate tabacco leaf, mandia, maiza and bhatta paddy. Mahua and Salapa are their ideal drinks. The head of the Koya village is called peda and it's heridiatery. Few villages constitues a Mutha or Panchayat and the head of the Mutha was called Muthadar. In 1880, there was revolt against British rule by the great Koya leader Tama Dora, which was famous as Koya Revolution in the Indian history.


The Bondas who lived in near isolation among the higher hills, are fiercely independent, stubborn and aggressive tribe. The Bondas known themselves as Remo(man) are a small tribe of the type, now often called that Austro-Asiatic country is the wild and mountainous region in the North-West of Machhkund river and here they have preserved themselves comparatively unaffected by the march of civilisation. Indeed, by plainsmen and officials, the Bondas are regarded as entirely savage, almost as the classic savage type. Bondas are the oldest tribal people of Malkanagiri district. They live on the mountains at the height of 3,000 feet. These people live in Bonda hill under Khairput block. They are mainly two types like Ontal and Kilo. Bondas are fond of Podu cultivation and Bonda ladies help them in this job. In the month Magha, Patkhanda Yatra at Mudulipada is the main festival of Bondas. They still practice the barter systems exchanging the produce of their fields for articles of daily use.


Including Malkanagiri, Matias live in Dhenkanal, Balangir and Kalahandi districts of Odisha. Matias were cloth and live a simple life. They cultivate maiza, tobaco, leaf and vegetables. In Malkanagiri, Matias are treated as low among the tribes.


Dharuas are found in the block of Korukonda of this district. Also these people are seen in boarding of district of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Dharuas are also called as Dhaurua. This tribe has got their own language, culture and tradition.


The Didayis are the important tribal race. These people have rich heritage. They said to be the progency of Bondas. Thurston holds the view that the Didayis are part of the Paraja tribe. Didayis are settled in Malkanagiri on the both sides of the river Machhkund in the centre of Kandakamberu hills. Didayis live in 5 panchayat of Kudumulugumma panchayat samiti. Didayis have their own language. They live in houses made of wood and bamboo. They colour the walls of the houses. Their houses are very neat and clean. Hunting, Fishing and cultivation are the main occupations of Didayis. They are very religious in faith.



It is an umbrella strategy to ensure flow of targeted financial and physical benefits from all general sectors of development for the benefit of Scheduled Castes. Under the strategy, states/UTs are required to formulate and implement Special Component Plan(SCP) for Scheduled Castes as part of their Annual Plans by earmarking resources. At present, 27 states/UTs having sizeable SC population are implementing Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan.


Another policy, initiative for the development of Scheduled Castes, is Special Central Assistance to Special Component Plan, in which cent percent assistance is given as additive to Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan of the states/UTs on the basis of certain criteria such as SC population of the states/UTs, relative backwardness of the states/UTs, percentage SC families in the state /UTs covered by composite economic development programmes in the State Plan to enable them to cross the poverty line, percentage of SCP to the Annual Plan as compared to SC population percentage of the states/UTs.


The National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation(NSFDC) set-up under the Ministry privides credit facilities to persons belonging to Scheduled Castes living below double the poverty line limits for income generating activities.


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