Gondi women in Umaria district
|Regions with significant populations|
|Andhra Pradesh (old)||304,537|
|Gondi, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu|
The Gondi (Gōndi) or Gond people are Adivasi who speak Dravidian language, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.
The Gond are also known as the Raj Gond. The term was widely used in 1950s, but has now become almost obsolete, probably because of the political eclipse of the Gond Rajas. The Gondi language is closely related to the Telugu, belonging to the Dravidian family of languages. About half of Gonds speak Gondi languages while the rest speak Indo-Aryan languages including Hindi.
According to the 1971 census, their population was 5.01 million. By the 1991 census this had increased to 9.3 million and by 2001 census this was nearly 11 million. For the past few decades they have been witnesses to the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency in the central part of India. Gondi people, at the behest of the Chhattisgarh government, formed the Salwa Judum, an armed militant group to fight the Naxalite insurgency.
Scholars believe that Gonds ruled in Gondwana, now in eastern Madhya Pradesh and western Odisha, between the 13th and 19th centuries AD. Muslim writers described a rise of Gond state after the 14th century.
Gonds ruled in four kingdoms (Garha-Mandla, Deogarh, Chanda, and Kherla) in central India between the 16th and 18th centuries. They built number of forts, palaces, temples, tanks and lakes during the rule of the Gonds dynasty. The Gondwana kingdom survived until the late 16th century. They also gained control over the Malwa after the decline of the Mughals followed by the Marathas in 1690. The Maratha power swept into Gondland in the 1740s. The Marathas overthrew the Gond Rajas (princes) and seized most of their territory, while Some Gond zamindaris (estates) survived until recently.
Science and religion
Many astronomy ideas were known to ancient Gonds. Gonds had their own local terms for the Sun, Moon, constellations and Milky Way. Most of these ideas were basis for their time-keeping and calendrical activities. Other than Gonds, the Banjaras and Kolams are also known to have knowledge of astronomy.
Their typical reaction to death has been described as one of anger because they believe it is caused by magical demons. Their religion was based on worship of clan and village deities, as well as ancestor worship.
They are a designated Scheduled Tribe in Andhra Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh had classified the Gondi people as a Scheduled Caste but by 2007, they were one of several groups that the Uttar Pradesh government had redesignated as Scheduled Tribes. As of 2017, that tribal designation applies only to certain districts, not the entire state. The 2011 Census of India for Uttar Pradesh showed the Scheduled Caste Gond population as 21,992.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gondi people.|
- Gond Tribal Art — Madhya Pradesh, archived from the original on 2015-06-22.
- Gond Tribal Art — Madhya Pradesh.
- Sinlung — Indian tribes.
- Gond - The History.
- « Animating Tribal Art » by Leslie MacKenzie and Tara Douglas with the Pardhan Gond artists, 8:16
- Gond painting 2, 6:54