India | Gujarat

Tadvi Bhil Community




The Tadvi Bhil community inhabit Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan states of West Central India. Their language is Dhanka, which belongs to the Bhil subgroup of the Indo-Aryan linguistic family. The name 'Tadvi' literally means 'one who taps the palm tree,' and is used to refer to all forest tribes. The Tadvi Bhils are believed to be descendants of Bhil women and Muslim men.

Their houses are bamboo made with a hard dirt floor. There are seven people in an average family. Young married couples move out when they can afford to build their own thatch and bamboo house. They follow Bhil customs, but the two groups do not intermarry. Their food comprise rice and homegrown vegetables. The main occupation is agriculture. The families who own small farms work for larger landlords. The main cash crops are cotton, barley, and groundnuts.

People of Tadvi Bhil also engage in cutting wood and gathering and selling forest products such as gum or honey. Their women have more freedom than Hindu women. 98% of the people are Muslims. Their beliefs and customs are similar to most Muslims, but they also have a deep belief in other deities, especially the Hindu goddesses Hinglaj and Maladi. They believe in strong supernatural forces, and are very fearful of death.



Updated on 17th April, 2015

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