The Gond Tribe
First Online: September 20, 2007
Page Last Updated: February 15, 2013
Youth Belonging to Gonda Tribe
Illustration by K.L.Kamat. India ink on paper
The Gonds (a.k.a. Gondas or Gondi) are a people in central India, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa.
The Gonds are traditionally agriculturalists; some practice shifting cultivation, while others raise cereals or herd cattle. Gond society is highly stratified and does not conform to the usual image of egalitarianism among tribals. The Gonds belong to a category of very large tribes (also including Santals and Bhils) that have traditionally dominated the regions in which they have lived. However, like other
Adivasis, the Gonds have suffered from increasing landlessness since the 1960s.
Traditional Gond religion involves a distinct pantheon of gods and spirits, which many Gonds practice along with Hinduism. Gondwana or "land of the Gonds", is a loosely-defined area of southeastern Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra, and parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and northern Andhra Pradesh. The region was home to several Gond kingdoms from the 15th century to the mid-18th century, when the Marathas expanded into the region from the west.
A small community in South India also call themselves Gonds. It is unclear if this tribe is genetically related to the Gonds of central
The Village of Jamunjari, July 1976