Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Gonds, a large division of the Dravidian race, who give their name to the region of Gondiveina, comprising both slopes of the Vindhya Mountains in Central India. As indicated by their name (either from a Sanskrit word meaning "cave-dwellers," or else "highlanders" from the Telugu konda, "mountain"), the Gonds belong to the primitive population of the peninsula, and are the most numerous and widespread of all the uncivilised Indian peoples. They are distinguished by a very dark complexion - some of the tribes being almost black - with straight black hair, somewhat broad flat features, round face, and low stature, averaging little more than five feet three inches. But the type varies considerably amongst the different tribes, of which the chief are: Badiya, Koram, Paoli, Murpasi, Siamb, Markand in the Korea Hills and Sirguja; Raj Raghawal Dadave, Katulya, Padal, Dholi, Ojhyae, Thokyal, Koikopal, Kolam and Madyal in the Central Provinces; Marias, Hulbas, and Badiyas in the southern dependencies. All speak dialects of the rude uncultivated Gondi language, which has lately been reduced to writing by the missionaries. In it have appeared two of the gospels and other parts of Scripture in the Devanagari character. The tribal affairs are regulated by a council of elders under a tliakur or chief usually of Rajput origin. Their religion is of an extremely primitive type, and presents some curious features, such as the worship of small-pox, the cholera, fever, the tiger and other personified malevolent influences represented, not by idols, but by small blocks of stone disposed in a circle round some gigantic forest tree. These monoliths- are still smeared with a red ochre to represent the blood of the animal or human victims formerly sacrificed to avert their wrath. But many "are now Christians or worshippers of Siva, Vishnu, and the Hindu divinities. They cultivate a little land in a nomad sort of way, moving from place to place according as the soil gets exhausted. But their chief dependence is-on wild fruits, roots, the edible flowers of the mhowa tree, and all kinds of game, which still abounds in the forests of Gondivana. (Captain Forsyth, The Highlands of Central India, 1871; Charles Grant, Gazetteer of the Central Provinces; Rev. J. Caine on The Kois or Gonds in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, February, 1881.)