India

Bhil Tribe

A Prominent Tribal Group



Bhils are considered the third largest and most widely distributed tribal group in India. They are divided into central or ‘pure’ Bhils, and the eastern or part--Rajput Bhils. The eastern Bhils reside in the mountains of central western India particularly in northern Gujarat, southern Rajasthan, and northern Maharashtra. The Bhils were great warriors and find mention in the legends like Mahabharata and Ramayana.

‘Bhil’ is derived from ‘ billee,’ which means bow. The bow is a weapon of the tribe, and the men usually carry their bows and arrows with them. The Bhils believe in a number of superstitions and admit them 'outside the Hindu social system'.

They mainly work as peasant farmers, field labourers, and village watchmen. Their language is Bhili, an Indo-Aryan language. Marriage is done within their own classes.

Each village has a headman and he deals with disputes. The tribes also engage in dance, drama, festivals, and music. The Baneshwar fair is the main festival celebrated by the Bhils. During the festival, Bhils gather in groups for dancing and singing. They also celebrate the Holi Festival.



Updated on 7th June, 2005

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