Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Gondi people

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India  Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, , Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Karnataka, Bihar Andhra Pradesh

The Gondi (Gōndi) or Gond people are Adivasi people of central India, spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Western Odisha.


The Gond are also known as the Raj Gond. The term was widely used in 1950s, but has now become almost obsolete, probably because of the political eclipse of the Gond Rajas. The Gondi language is closely related to the Telugu, belonging to the Dravidian family of languages. About half of Gonds speak Gondi languages while the rest speak Indo-Aryan languages including Hindi.

According to the 1971 census, their population was 5.1 million. By the 1991 census this had increased to 9.3 million and by 2001 census this was nearly 11 million. For the past few decades they have been at the receiving end of the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency in the central part of India. Gondi people are made to act as a militia against Naxalites by the Government of Chhattisgarh through Salwa Judum.


Scholars believe that Gonds settled in Gondwana, now known as eastern Madhya Pradesh, between the 13th and 19th centuries AD. Muslim writers described a rise of Gond state after the 14th century.

Gondas ruled in four kingdoms (Garha-Mandla, Deogarh, Chanda, and Kherla) in central India between the 16th and 18th centuries. They built number of forts, palaces, temples, tanks and lakes during the rule of the Gonds dynasty. The Gondwana kingdom survived till late 16th century. They also gained control over the Malwa after the decline of the Mughals followed by the Marathas in 1690. The Maratha power swept into Gondland in the 1740s.The Marathas overthrew Gond Rajas (princes) and seized most of their territory. While Some Gond zamindaris (estates) survived until recently.


Many astronomy ideas were known to ancient Gonds. Gond tribals had their own local terms for Sun, Moon, Constellations and Milky way. Most of these ideas were basis for their time keeping and calendrical activities. Other than Gonds the Banjaras and Kolams are also known to have knowledge of astronomy.


They are a designated Scheduled Tribe in Andhra Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal.

The Government of Uttar Pradesh had classified the Gondi people as a Scheduled Caste but by 2007, they were one of several groups that the Uttar Pradesh government had redesignated as Scheduled Tribes. As of 2017, that tribal designation applies only to certain districts, not the entire state. The 2011 Census of India for Uttar Pradesh showed the Scheduled Caste Gond population as 21,992.

Notable people

  • Raja Chakradhar Singh - Ruler of Raigarh Princely State and Famous for Great Contribution to Kathak
  • Raja Naresh Chandra Singh - Ruler of Sarangarh Princely State, INC Politician, and a Chief Minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh
  • Ramji Gond - freedom fighter
  • Rani Durgavati - Gond queen
  • Jangarh Singh Shyam - Artist, founder of Jangarh Kalam
  • Venkat Shyam - Artist
  • Bhajju Shyam - Artist
  • Sangram Shah - King of Garha-Katanga Kingdom
  • Bakht Buland Shah - Gond King
  • Videography

  • « Animating Tribal Art » by Leslie MacKenzie and Tara Douglas with the Pardhan Gond artists, 8:16
  • Gond painting 2, 6:54
  • References

    Gondi people Wikipedia