Mostly scattered in the hills and mountainous areas of the region, these tribals have got the contemplative and enigmatic tales to share in terms of the art, culture , rituals, history, myths and their every day life.
Depicting innocence and clairvoyance concurrently, these Adivasis have made their profound impact throughout the Indian civilization.
Right from Ancient to Medieval India, and even today they follow their widespread and unremitting traditions, attitudes and gospels.
Bhil; the most widely distributed tribal group in India and the prominent scheduled tribe of Gujarat!
The word ‘Bhil’ is derived from ‘billee,’ which means bow. The bow is a weapon of the tribe, and the men usually carry their bows and arrows with them.
Bhils were remained the Great warriors and find mention in the legendary epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Eklavya - one of the immaculate bowmen and an unseen disciple of Guru Drona was also a Bhil.
The other intriguing scheduled tribe of Gujarat is Rathwa, which is no different from the Bhils in language or customs.
This tribe may not have the chronological certainties like the Bhills, but in a way the Rathwas are of the distinct cultural heritage and inimitable historical background. An amalgamation of traditional and non-traditional culture can be seen in their language.
Adivasis speak Indo-Aryan language, due to their primitive origin and prehistoric evolution. They say ‘Ram Ram!’- A delightful greeting gesture amongst the locals .
The dialect consists of Rajsthani, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi words, and also some unique words without any non-Sanskrit elements in it.
In feudal and colonial times, many Adivasis were employed by the ruling Rajputs in various capacities , e.g. as Shikaris because of their knowledge of the terrain. Many had even become combatants in armies.”
Many tribal groups were in the Mewar army of Maharana Pratap Singh; signifying themselves as the daredevils and warriors for their ruler and his scrupulous dynasty.
Tribals are customarily found in District Dang of Gujarat, which is famous for its spectacular forests, bamboo landscapes, torrential rivers and waterfalls.
The Garasia community of Bhils; another major type, is involved in its own genre of nostalgia and delight and they are natural born believers of their orthodox myths.
The Rathwas are mainly dwelling in the region of Chhota Udaipur of Vadodra district of Gujarat. Chhota Udaipur is also known for the Rathwas in and around the city.
The Lifestyle of these Adivasis is largely dependent on the forest and habits and beliefs have an overwhelming charm because they have maintained time honored and fascinating way of life.
Both tribes the Bhils and the Rathwas depend on the forest for agricultural land , wild animals for prey, and wood for fuel and house building.
Adivasis follow arranged marriages and they often believe in clan exogamy too. They sing their local folksongs, having the special feast, and performing the folk dance to celebrate the wedding rite.
Tattooing is common among the villagers. It is due to their superstitious nature and credulous behavior, they believe that this form of body imaging will make them getting rid of all the horrors and troubles.
Festivals are the integral part of the tribals. No matter it’s a religious or a cultural ceremony, these locals indulge their souls and spirits massively to venerate the occasion.
The Dangi tribals, or adivasis, are sprinkled like petals of a flower in the beautiful abode of the mythical Gods, known as the Dangs or Dang Darbar.
The villages around Chotta Udaipur are the site for some really ethnic and splendidly colorful fairs attracting tribals in numbers beyond comprehension. The fairs are a celebration of the harvest with markets selling produce, brilliant tribal dances, haunting music and atheletic feats like the pyramidical formations of tribal men.
A long tradition is here in tribal areas that a cook or chicken is used for ceremonial and sacrificial rites for Tribals Gods and Goddesses and they do so at Holi, Tribal Gatherings, Marriages, and Death as well.
Adivasis are heavily engaged in dance, drama, carnivals, and music.
Ghoomar is performed by Bhils to the songs of valor and victory. The performers carry earthen pots and dance with slick movements of the hands and feet.
Pithora Painting is highly regarded among the Rathwa people. These paintings are much more than colorful images on the walls of the locals .
The painting is about the marriage of Baba Pithoro , a mythological figure, containing his marriage preparation with the images of gods and goddesses, ancestors, diets, ghosts and everyday life.
Terracotta art is commonly used in the Rathwa and Bhil tribes. Each terracotta figurine or object has been offered to a deity or spirit and has a special significance.
The tribals of Bhil & Rathwa are also of important aspect in terms of Woodcarving and utensils making. Locals involved in these craft making are keen to produce the finest objects and gift articles for the households.
Immensely overflowed with beliefs and values – rituals and faiths, the Adivasis symbolize the colors of ethnicity, spirit, and ecstasy . It is indeed, they portray and landscape the tribal roots of Gujarat!
Thank you ! By: Kapil K. Kella Swang Communication Ahmedabad