Bhilala Tribe

Bhilala tribe is a tribal group located in the states of western and central India. They speak the Bhilala language which belongs to the Indo-Aryan linguistic family. The Bhilalas are descendants of the Bhil and Rajput immigrants. The Bhilalas primarily work as farmers, farm servants, field laborers, and village watchmen. They grow crops such as millet, maize, wheat, and barley in the fields. The highlanders live in houses made with walls of sticks intertwined with twigs and small branches. Clay tiles, straw and leaves are used for the roof.

Each village is led by a head man, Mandoi, who takes care of the domestic disputes in his village. Familial ties are very strong, and they believe in the connection between the living and the dead. Male descendants inherit the property.

The Bhilalas marry from their own class. For marrying into a different class, they have to convert to the higher class and leave behind all family ties. The Bhagoria festival of the Bhilala and other tribes in this area is unique in its own way. This annual festival is celebrated with great fun and frolic, where a young man gets a chance to choose his bride from the crowd of women gathered there. The groom has to pay a dowry to the brides parents.

The Bhilalas are experts in handling the bow and arrow. The bow is a characteristic weapon of this tribe and they usually carry their bows and arrows with them.

Bhilalas are known for their colorful, embroidered garments. Tattooing is very common among the villagers. Bhilalas love dance, drama, and music. They practice some type of ethnic religion. Hindu gods are worshipped commonly but catholic Bhilalas are known to exist in some states. Every family has its own guardian deity. Bhilalas are very superstitious and they believe in taboos and curses.

Pithora paintings of the Bhilala tribes of Madhya Pradesh are well known.These paintings are based on myths related to creation.

Updated on 21st January, 2016


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