Origin of Baiga Tribe
Baiga tribe is one of the most ancient tribal groups of the country. They belong to the Dravidian groups and are one of the ancient tribes of the eastern as well as central India tribes. The Baigas were first discovered in 1867 and described as ‘wild’. In the regions of Mandla and Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh, the Binjhwar sub-caste is considered as the civilised sub-division of Baiga tribe. The Baiga tribe are an offshoot of the Bhuiya tribe of Chhota Nagpur. All these tribal groups speak a corrupted form of Indo-Aryan tribal languages mainly Bangani, Hindi and Marathi.
Society of Baiga Tribe
There are altogether seven sub-divisions or sub-castes of Baiga Tribe namely Binjhwar, Bharotia, Raibhaina, Kathbhaina, Narotia or Nahar, Kondwan or Kundi and Gondwaina. Of these the Binjhwar, Bharotia and Narotia are well known. The name of the Binjhwar tribe is said to have been derived from Vindhya mountain range. In Baiga tribal societies, the rule of exogamy is strictly observed. In Kawardha, it is believed that the three sub-castes intermarry but they do not eat together. In Balaghat, Bharotias and Narotias can intermarry as well as eat together. Each of the sub-tribe has been divided into several exogamous sects. The names of these sub-sects are quite similar with those of the Gond tribe. Polygamy is also allowed in these tribal societies.
Religion of Baiga Tribe
The Binjhwar sub-caste professes Hinduism. Thakur Deo is their local deity. Further, several Hindu deities are also worshipped by the Baiga people.
Tattoo Culture of Baiga Tribe
Tattooing is the salient feature of Baiga Tribes who have settled down in various states of eastern India. Tattooing amongst the Baiga tribes begins with the arrival of winter season and continues till the summer season. The women tattoo experts are known as ‘Godharins’.
Occupation of Baiga Tribe
Many of the people who belong to the tribe make medicines by profession, though their chief occupation has been shifting cultivation. Earlier, the Baigas practiced shifting cultivation. Presently several attempts have been taken by the government to train them about regular cultivation process. In recent times they have discarded shifting cultivation.
Festivals of Baiga Tribe
Karma and Sarhul are the two main festivals celebrated by the Baiga tribe of Jharkhand. Sarhul is celebrated during the spring season when the Shaal trees get new leaves. The Karma festival is a festival of agriculture and is very sacred to the Baiga tribe and also the other tribal people of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.