(Last Updated on : 10/08/2010)
Bharia tribe is a Dravidian tribe. The state of Madhya Pradesh
houses a number of Bharia tribal communities. The main concentration of the Bharia tribal communities is at the Patalkot valley and its adjoining regions of the state. Interestingly, the Bharia tribes have been given the status of being one of the scheduled tribes of the Indian subcontinent. The name Bhumia, meaning Lord of the soil, is another name for this tribal group. Several stories are associated the origin of Bharia tribe. Some records suggest that Bharia tribe is contemptuous form of Bhar
tribe. There are eminent anthropologists who have conducted numerous researches on the lives of this Bharia tribal community. As per their observation, the Bharia tribes are one of the indigenous tribes of the region. Some of the tribal communities of the Indian subcontinent also identify these Bharia tribes as Bharia Bhumia.
Society of Bharia Tribes
Following the tradition of most of the tribal communities of the Indian subcontinent, these Bharia tribes have adapted to the profession of cultivation. Mainly shifting cultivation has been practiced by these Bharia tribes in order to sustain their livelihood. It becomes need less to point that the Bharia tribal community is agrarian. Apart from cultivation, many of these Bharia tribes also used to collect various forest products like tubers, roots, and fruits and thus meet the demands of their day to day living. Nowadays also, these Bharia tribes also work as labourers in the office of the forest department. A recent survey has thrown some light on the variety of the occupation. About 38.7 percent of the people are farmers, agriculture labour comprises of 37 percent. The rest around 24.3 percent work as forest labourers. Since the whole of the region are quite rich in plants of the medicinal values, it is only natural that the Bharia tribes are also going to depend on these plants to meet various purposes. Bharia tribes have set up their own system of treatment for all the heath hazards and illness.
The Bharia tribal community has a number of exogamous groups. The cultural exuberance of the Bharia tribal community has rightly being reflected in all its elements such as festivals, song and dancing. The societal structure too is nuclear. Near about seventy eight percent of the Bharia households follow the structure of a nuclear family. The Bharia tribal community lives in beautiful households built by their own hands. That most of these Bharia tribes pay least attention to education and learning, is quite relevant from certain facts that has been enumerated by all the anthropologists of the Indian subcontinent. Only 11.6 percent passed the primary education and about 66.4 percent of the Bharia tribes were illiterates. The marriage proposal first comes from the boy`s side. Bharia people follow several birth and funeral rites. They are highly religious by nature and worship several Hindu deities.
What is also interesting is that over the years, the Bharia tribes have maintained their originality without adapting to the customs and practices of the modern day world. In other words, the Bharia tribes are one of those tribal communities of the Indian subcontinent who are totally inaccessible and cut out from the civilised world. Like most of the tribal communities of the Indian subcontinent, the Bharia tribes too are widely inclined to religion and spiritualism. More than ninety eight percent of the Bharia tribal community have adapted to the religion of Hinduism