Located 20 km away to the North of Jagdalpur, Bastar is a small village. This tribal land was amongst the largest districts in India. It is a mysterious and attractive land due to its primitive culture. According to some scholars, the name Bastar has been originated from the word "Bansthari" (Land of bamboo) as bamboo can be seen in abundance all over Bastar. The people living in the village employ very primitive methods of agriculture. Therefore, the agricultural produce is very low and people are forced to depend on the forest for earning their livelihood.
Soon after the independence, the kingdom of Bastar in Indian union was decreased to about 13,000 sq kms. The present Bastar region covers an area of about 39,171-sq. km. It was constituted after the independence joining the Kingdom of Kanker. Kanker was a separate kingdom with its own history. Though these boarder cultures make much influence on Bastar, it retains its own uniqueness of culture in many aspects.
Tribes in Bastar
There are seven major tribes in Bastar named as Gonds, Muria, Maria, Dhorla, Bhatra, Halba and Dhurva. In interior villages, these tribal people live a very primitive life style and have the agriculture as the main source of income but others depend on the forests for their livelihood.
Halbas are mainly farmers. This tribe is also found in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. They speak Halbi dialect, which used to be the language spoken by the king of Bastar.
The Murias are neat, laborious and good cultivators. They constitute the major amount of the tribal population in Bastar. The word Mur is originated from Sanskrit language which means mool or route. Thus, it denotes the first inhabitant (Moolnivasi). Again the Murias have three categories -Raj Muria, Ghotul Muria and Jhoria Muria.
The Maria or Madia
The word Madia has been originated from the word Mad of Gondi dialect that means the hill. Hence, Madia means the people who stay in hills. Marias are divided into two categories- Abujj Madias and Dandami Madias.
Bhatras are considered well modern tribe of Bastar. They seem advanced in their thinking style, furnishing the houses and even cultural activities like dance and dramatics.
People belonging to this tribe can be seen in Konta and Bhopalpattanam regions of Bastar. Their dialect is Dorli which is highly influenced by Thelugu language. Dorla people keep much affinity with cows, and they regard the deity Bheema Dev.
People of Dhurva tribe can be found mainly in Darbha and Chintgarh regions of Bastar. Known for their bravery, they are very courageous. These people used to get special appointment to look after the Kings' Palace.
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