Scheduled Tribe Groups in Bundelkhand
Compared to the India average, Bundelkhand has a low percentage of ST
In UP as a whole, ST groups constitute only 0.1% of the population, and the
situation is no different in UP Bundelkhand districts.
District-wise largest ST groups
||ST Pop (% of total)
||Largest ST groups
||Khairwar, Saur, Gond
||Saur, Saonr (Savare), Gond
||Gond, Bharia Bhumia, Khairwar
||Gond, Saur, Bhil
||Gond, Saur, Kol
|UP state average
|MP state average
Source : District-wise Basic Data Sheets of Census 2001. Only
groups with population above 1000 listed. Neg= negligible
*Sahariyas of Lalitpur were designated an ST group in 2003
However, it must be pointed out that the Sahariyas of
Lalitpur district were designated SCs till 2003, when they were granted ST
status, but Kols, who numbered around 40,000 in Chitrakoot district according to
Census 2001, continue to be considered SCs in UP, though they are STs in MP.
This anomalous situation is the result of lacunae in the process of 'scheduling'
In MP Bundelkhand, ST groups formed a significant proportion
of the population in all districts, but even in the hilly and forested Panna
district, their proportion was less than the state average.
According to Census 2001 figures, Gonds constituted the
largest ST group in the region, with a population of over 300,000 across MP
Bundelkhand districts; in MP as a whole they were the second largest ST group,
Other sizable ST groups in MP Bundelkhand were Kols,
Sahariyas, Saurs, Khairwars and Bharia Bhumias. Of these, the last three did not
rank among the major ST groups of MP as a whole.
ST groups have undergone progressive assimilation with
mainstream culture and economy over the centuries.
Ancestors of some Gonds were one of the major ruling clans of
central India for several centuries and even after the kingdoms perished, they
continued to claim Kshatriya status. Consequently, a `caste system’ emerged,
with groups called Raj Gonds and Khatolias claiming aristocratic status, above
other Gond groups.
Census 2001 reported that over 95% of MP’s ST population were
`Hindus’; in Bundelkhand, the proportion would be close to 100%.
However, most ST groups continue to revere their traditional
deities. Deities of the Gonds include Thakur Dev, Dula Dev, Narayan Dev, Ghamsen
Dev, Nageshwar Dev and Khunta Dev.
ST groups also largely follow their own customs with regard
to marriage, child-rearing, death ceremonies, etc.
Among many ST groups like the Kols of Patha, the practice of
demanding dowry from parents of the bride is relatively new and had not become
All ST groups of Bundelkhand have taken to settled
agriculture. However, over the years, they have lost much of their land to
powerful outsiders, due to debt (or related alcoholism), or their land is of
very poor quality, unfit for cultivation.
Without access to good land, suffering low educational
attainment and far from development processes, ST households are generally at
the bottom of the social and economic ladder. Read a related story about
Sahariyas in the ABSSS website.
Courtesy : bundelkhandinfo.org