"Poverty" & "Tribes"
Madia tribes of Kasturpal Bastar
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Nearly 60% of forests lands have been converted to agricultural lands. Tribes were never poor when the forest and its property were intact. Modernization led to shortage of forests natural resources and made them to accept the modern development. Main occupation of Madia tribes in Kasturpal village of Jagdalpur (Bastar) is agriculture. The paddy crop is once a year.

I contacted Mr. Bhose Ram Podiami, secretary panchayat who explained details of status of this village. Kasturpal Panchayat has 3 villages. Here is a figure from one village that I visited.


Population: Total population is 752 in 108 families (male 399 and females 353 including children) and 3-4 children per family. Population control is too weak. Government has not been able to succeed in its control program.


Education level: Among adults is zero but they encourage children go to primary schools which is 2 kms from the village. 2-3 students could reach to higher secondary and 10-12 people completed 8th standard. So these 10-12 people are semi- literate which government may say educated to complete its records but in actual job market hesitate to consume. He also quoted normally teachers do not come for 3 days apart from Sunday, so teaching is 3 days a weak. What teachers teach and what students learn only god knows!!!!


Source of Income and employment: 69 families live in below poverty line out of 108 families. Average income per family is nearly Rs. 3000-5000 (US$ 66- 111) per year. Their main source of income is from agriculture of paddy and corn which is once a year and for rest of the year they go to remaining forest to gather fruits, tamarind and other products. Unemployment level is very serious among young who want jobs.


Mr. Bhose Ram says has problems in the village:

  • He needs schools should have facility of food, clothing, he also says need a residential school in the village.
  • They have to sell their products in local markets specially forest items and do not get right price.
  • Employment opportunity to semi literate and illiterate.

What I feel , solution As:


  • To identify their ability and engage them in their field so they gain more than coming to urban areas for employment.
  • Introduction of Cooperative stores which buys and sells to tribes. They generally do not get sufficient price for their forest products. I was surprised when one of the roots bought from them 20-30 times cheaper and sold at high price in urban shops. If cooperative system is introduced purchase is not direct but through cooperative societies. Many of villagers have to go 10-15 kms to market to sell and buy. Societies in all the villages will help them buy in reasonable prices.
  • Heavy industries are not the solution for generating employment in tribal areas. Many products are sold in raw condition to urban where finished and packed to sell. This system is wrong as helps only urban population and helps increase its population. Only handmade and forest medicinal and cosmetic root extraction, production through semi (non polluting) plant, bottling, finishing and packing will not only generate employment but also will get them right price for their items.
  • Marketing systems to be more systematic and modernized in order to promote demand.
click to view Gondi song and dace
This dance in ceremony of worshiping Udit kani devi
click to view after effect kick of salfi
Each house has a salfi tree. This beer is very important in their life

women selling liquor in the market
Mahuva is common alcohol drink consumed by both men and women. Mahuva tree is multi purpose tree

Each part of mahuva tree is used in the daily life of tribes. With flower when dried is sweet eaten as is and fried in fire. Fruit is sweet and eaten regularly. Flowers main use is making alcoholic drink. Leaves are used as food serving plate. wood for fire, seeds for extracting oil for cooking. Nothing goes waste


Little information about Madia tribes


Mostly all tribes in Bastar and other areas have similar rituals and social structures. Those who are in deep forests more traditional with more social bindings, gatherings, rituals, religions, activities, men women-man relationship, marriages. In plain areas they get mixed up with modern societies difference takes place.  Two types of Madia tribes, one is Abhuj Madia who lives in forest and Dandami Madia mostly settled in Dantevada, Jagdalpur, Kond gaun areas, which are mostly plain suitable for agriculture. Dandami tribes are tall in height but Abhuj are small with tough physic. I found little Tamil and south Indian touch in their language that gave me feeling as they are Dravidians.  In this culture also woman has rights to say yes or no during selection of marriage partner. Also, as other tribes go for love marriage. Choodi pehnana ritual is when widow or divorced gets remarriage. Most tribes gather in one place to worship goddess, during worship songs and dances by both men and women in traditional dress. All tribes drink alcohol whether men or women. Drinks are made of traditional natural ingredient like Mahuva, landa, Salfi etc. Gondi song is famous among this villager sing for worship of Udit Kani Devi. These tribes use horn type decorative as cap on the head for dancing.

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