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Thread: Interior Chhattisgarh/Sourthern Orissa->Tribes-Falls-Forests

  1. #6
    Bonda Tribes - one of the most primitive tribes of India


    The beautiful state of Orissa houses 62 tribal communities with the total tribal population of approximately 7 million. Among these tribal communities, the name of Saora (or Sabar) tribe is mentioned in the Hindu scripture Mahabharata. Few more characteristics of the tribal people of Orissa can be enumerated on the basis of the study and surveys. The tribes of Orissa though belong to 3 linguistic divisions, namely Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Austric and Tibeto-Burmese.

    It was in March 2007, 6 months before the VTT days, we travelled to Daringbadi and Baliguda-Belghar and saw the fascinating tribal markets of Dessia Kondhs and Khutiya Kondhs. One of the highlights of that tour was the tribal market and also this unique photo.



    This is a exact cross-section with half of it being carried off to the in-laws house for marriage and celebration. The other side is a "treat" to watch, it has been cut exact in half.

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    Who are the Bondas : The Bonda or Bondo are an ancient tribe of people numbering approximately 5000 who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwesternmost Orissa, India, near the junction of the three states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh. The Bonda are a scheduled tribe of India and are also known as Remo (meaning "people" in the Bonda language), Bhonda, Bondo, or Bondo Poraja. Their language belongs to the Munda subgroup of the Austro-Asiatic language family.

    The Bonda are generally semi-clothed, with the women characterised by the wearing of thick silver necklace bands. The tribe is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India with their culture little changed in over a thousand years. Their isolation and known aggression continue to preserve their culture despite the pressures of an expanding Indian population. In contrast with many other populations in India, the number of females among the Bondas greatly exceeds the number of males.

    The best way to view members of the tribe is by going to one of the local town markets. It is not considered safe to venture into their tribal areas. Bondas still use 'binnimoy protha', i.e. give-and-take policies. Every Sunday they use to go in a market.

    They like to put castor oil in their head. Women make worli painting in their house.

    Norman Lewis' 1991 book "A Goddess in the Stones" is a must read and the way he describes the places and tribes in Orissa is absolutely enchanting.

    In his own words ""Miniature in stature, they are the only Orissan tribe to show fierce aggression, killing not only animals but humans with their bows and arrows. Perhaps misleadingly, the Bonda girls have a sweet expression, so neat and pretty with their neck rings and shaven heads covered with a cap of beads which hangs down in front of their naked breasts.""

    In the country markets you can see tribal people who live high in the hills where no road or visitors reach. Once a week they come down to sell their produce and buy cheap jewellery and cloth. You see people whose features you would never expect to find in India; some with the characteristics of Australian aborigines, others high cheekboned and definitely Asiatic.

    Norman's words came alive when he talked about the intriguing Bonda people, who live in a dramatic, mountainous terrain and seem more primitive than other tribes.
    As such, we take a same day excursion trip to Ankadeli/Onukudelli, home of the approximately 6000 members of the fierce Bondas (naked people) of Tibetan-Burmese origin. They live in the remote hills & keep themselves isolated. They grow rice by shifting cultivation & keep domesticated cows & goats. They can only be seen when they come to trade at the local weekly market. The Bonda women are noticeable by their bead necklaces, striking brass & silver neck lets & their shaved heads decorated with plaits of Palmyra leaves.


    This market happens only on Thursdays and believe it or not all rooms of Hotel Hello Jeypore is booked, not by Indians but by foreigners. Not a single tourist from our land. Of course, with the knowledge that I gathered from reading and all, we are not going to go there on our own. We gathered at the hotel premises and followed the foreigners [mostly from Switzerland] along with their guide. A big thank you to our guide for allowing us to tag along.


    contd...

  2. #7
    Bonda Tribes - one of the most primitive tribes of India


    The Bondas: The Bondas known themselves as Remo(men) are a small tribe of the type now often called Austro-Asiatic country is the wild and mountainnous region north-west of Machakunda river, and here they have preserved themselves comparatively unaffected by the march of civilisation. Bondas Indeed, by plainsmen and officials, the Bondas are regarded as entirely savage, almost as the classic savage type. The strange dress and appearance of their unfamilier tounge they speak a different Astro-Asiatic language. The inaccessibility of their abode seperate them from other tribes of the district The origin and affiliations of the Bondas are obscure, but one may accept the possiblility that they are members of a group of Austro-Asiatic tribes which at some remote date took shelter in the wild Jeypore hills. There is every reason to suppose that the Bondas have changed very little during their long history and in them one can have a change of studying a type of character and it's material expression that may be millennia old. The bondas have been enlisted as a Scheduled Tribes. Bondas Bondas are the oldest tribal people of Malkangiri District.They live on the mountains at the height of 3000 feet. In 1971 census their number was 5,245 and in 1981 census they were 5,895 in numbers but in 1991 census they were decreased to a number of 5,129 in which male number was 2,414 and female number was 2,715. These people live in Bonda Hill under Khairput Block.They are mainly two types like Ontal and Kilo. Bondas are found of Podu Cultivation and Bonda ladies help them in this job. In Bonda community the bride is older than the groom Ladies of the Bonda community are half nacked. In the month of Magha "Patkhanda Yatra" at Mudulipada is the main festivals of Bondas.

    ================================================== ======

    By nature Bondas are short temper and they get angry at the simplest thing and forget the relationship and commit murder. Murder is a simple thing for Bondas, because of this a lot of person has been life impressioned at the Koraput Jail due to this Bonda population has been reduced a lot during the last decade. Here it is important that this community should be taken care from it's extinct.


    Source: Tribes of M A L K A N G I R I

    For present state and their way of living, this article is also of interest:
    www.outlookindia.com | Being Remo

    ================================================== ===================


    This market happens only on Thursdays and believe it or not all rooms of Hotel Hello Jeypore is booked, not by Indians but by foreigners. Not a single tourist from our land. Of course, with the knowledge that I gathered from reading and all, we are not going to go there on our own. We gathered at the hotel premises and followed the foreigners [mostly from Switzerland] along with their guide. A big thank you to our guide for allowing us to tag along
    This market happens only on Thursdays and believe it or not all rooms of Hotel Hello Jeypore is booked, not by Indians but by foreigners. Not a single tourist from our land. Of course, with the knowledge that I gathered from reading and all, we are not going to go there on our own. We gathered at the hotel premises and followed the foreigners [mostly from Switzerland] along with their guide. A big thank you to our guide for allowing us to tag along.

    Early morning at 630 am we start again for Machkund and Ankadelli, following the Innovas with the guests from Switzerland
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    And pass the blasted police station again, by now it is like normal scenario like
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    As we reached some 1.5 hrs later, the market was just about starting, the local tribals were there but the Bondas havent arrived yet from their remote hills
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    We just followed the guide taking the foreigners around, where they stood we stood and soon enough we stopped a vantage point - a path from where the tribals pass for the market - and slowly they came
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    Son, who was so excited, goes a few steps back!
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    Never photograph the Bonda men, apart from being very aggressive they consider it a bad omen to be photographed - this is only long distance shot that i have of them - that too from the hip level
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    And now more Bonda people were coming through to the market. Notice how the tribal girl is watching whether I am photographing or note. Will elaborate on the next post about photographing Bondas.
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    But soon I find out the most beautiful of them all - truly speaking I was captivated by beauty and I go on clicking her!! isnt she beautiful - absolutely!
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    One elderly couple from Germany gave the soft toy as present, on hindsight we regret not having bought a toy from our house for the child.
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    As I am still engrossed and captivated by her and as wife captivated by her beads and jewelry, other Bondas pass through --- the market is now truly in full form and bustle...


    contd...

  3. #8

    Bonda Tribes, Orissa

    Bonda market at Onkadelli .... contd

    With a last glimpse of the beautiful girl, we move on to other Bondas coming down the hill path
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    A group of 5 Bondas come together and the guide talks to them in a kind of mixed language and they line up for the foreigners and soon we are clicking them too

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    With introduction done between ourselves and the guests from Switzerland, we inquire and exchange notes about our travels till now on this trip and the tribals they visited before coming out here.

    Soon a Bonda lady comes over with some most beautiful beads, with wife just a nano-second late with the most unique bead out among those - the Swiss lady had it bagged soon, with the guide doing the negotiation.
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    Though for these simple tribal folks, Rs 10 or 500 is the same, the guide as he says negotiates like a middle way in between, so that its not cheap as though it seems like exploitation or he allows them to charge exorbitantly to make the tourists feel conned and cheated. Of course he along with the foreigners showed us around and share information - a fantastic guide we had in this gentleman.


    Now we turn to the particular market, its just settling. Another full bus of foreigners come up and the curious mix of local people, some definitely outsiders[?], the Bondas themselves, we and the foreigners make its beautifully lively
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    contd...
    The Wanderers.in

  4. #9

    Re: Interior Chhattisgarh/ Sourthern Orissa- Tribes, Falls & Forests

    Bonda market at Onkadelli ... last batch pictures

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    contd..
    The Wanderers.in

  5. #10

    Re: Interior Chhattisgarh/ Sourthern Orissa- Tribes, Falls & Forests

    Would like to acknowledge the valuable inputs and support I got:

    As I started to make out arough plan for the tour, to Jeypore/Koraput and Chitrakote/Jagdalpur, I came across a ID on the team bhp forum, sam_boy, which showed location as "Koraput".

    Immediately getting my PM regarding my queries regarding that place, and soon I find out that sam_boy [Samarpan Das] is from Jeypore itself and his parents and his residence is out there. Phone calls and mails followed and we cannot stress and thank enough the support that we have got from Samarpan and his parents. The hospitality and the warmth that we got at his residence at Jeypore [remember sam_boy is still at Bangalore] was absolutely overwhelming.


    Also over there on searching about any news of any trouble through my airtel internet connection, came across a journalist's website who was based in Koraput and runs also a website regarding the happening of his district [koraputonline.com] . Mailed him on the hunch if he may get this mail might reply of any trouble on the return journey Chitrakote to Rayagada route as there was some big trouble - naxal backed tribals against non-tribals kind of thing and the road was blocked and was unsafe.

    Mr Santakar [journalist] immediately replied back to me and said that the route is okay now and safe and buses are plying and would get back to me on phone if he comes to know of any untoward last minute trouble. Many a thanks to this gentleman for the promptness and all support.

    And glad we took this route, amazing drive through totally empty roads!


    In front of Samarpan's house, Jeypore
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    Kolab Dam surroundings with just the fully empty IB bungalow around, Koraput
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    From next post onwards, the Chhattisgarh part of the journey starts.

    contd..
    The Wanderers.in

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