Among the forty-six scheduled tribes of Orissa
, Sounti is the one of the sixteen principal tribes that has attained recognition. These Sounti tribes used to maintain a very good rapport with the rest of the tribes like Bathudi, Bhuyan, Bhumij, Gond, Ho, Juang, Kharwar, Kisan, Kolha etc.
These Sounti tribes mainly are found in the Keonjhar district. Quite a few are also found in the Anandapur subdivision of the state. The census report of India too validates this observation of the anthropologists.
Sounti tribal people are endogamous people and are ramified in exogamous groups called Khilis. Some of the Khilis of Sounti tribes are Baghsingh, Balaria, Naik, Paida, Palia, Das, Sarpuria, Ankulia, Chipindia, Giri, Kusmalia etc.
The people of Sounti tribal groups are basically agricultural people. The women of this tribal group work as daily labourers and household activities. Apart from cultivation, the people of this group are also employed in different services, though the percentage is very low.
The people of the Sounti tribal community converse with each other mostly in Sounti language, which belongs to the famous language family of Indo-Aryans. Festivals, dance, music are integral part of the Sounti tribes. These Sounti tribes are also pious and religious minded and revere a handful of tribal deities. Dharam Devata is the Sun god and Basuki Mata is the goddess Earth.
The stature and characteristics of the Sounti tribal males closely resemble the features of Konda Paroja, Kodaku, Munda, Korwa, Asur, Juang, Saora, Maler etc tribal communities and the female members of this tribal group share similarity with the Kond and Asur tribal communities.
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