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Cultural Study of Bhatra Tribe

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Item Code: UAP486
Author: Niranjan Mahawar
Publisher: Aayu Publications, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788193945025
Pages: 155 (Color Illustrations)
Other Details 9.50 X 7.50 inch
Weight 520 gm
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Book Description
About The Book

Bastar is the place of culture mosaic for the presence of various ethnic / tribal groups with their diverse cultural attributes. Each tribal group is territorially demarcated in their habitation over the district and their sustenance patterns are roaming the habitation area. Bhatra or Bhattara-a Scheduled tribe of Chhattisgarh is confined in the north-eastern part, and adjacent to Odisha, of the undivided Bastar district. Bastar has experienced a number of historical waves, which have resulted into diverse cultural mosaic in this area. Under this backdrop Bhatra or Bhattara who also wear sometime a sacred thread since the period of Raja who assigned them a distinct role during jogi bithai ritual of Dusehra festival, which is a symbol of cultural syncretism at Bastar. Now-a-days Dusehra festival of Bastar is included in the ethno-tourism map of Chhattishgarh. The present treatise on Bhatra or Bhattara of Bastar is an account of ethnographic monograph with special emphasis on their oral traditions and performing arts. The administrators, planners at local level and concerned NGO’s will get an insight view of the community under study which in due course enable them in refining their approach of execution of the plan programme for development considering their value and sentiments.

About the Author

The author did his post-graduation in Economics in the year 1960 from Sagar University and went to Bastar in 1962 to look after their family business of rice mill. He was fascinated by the tribals and their way of life and started documenting various aspects of arts and culture of them. Gradually, he developed interest in the tribal.. culture and various art forms of Central India and since last forty five years he has been documenting tribal and folk arts, folk theatre forms, folklores, tribal myths and other aspects of tribal and folk ways.

On the basis of his work which is spread in more than four decades, he has planned five books on tribal and folk arts, eight books on folk theatre, four monographs on tribes and three-four books on folk tales and folk songs and ballads, all these works will be appearing soon gradually.

The author has a very large collection of artifacts of his own which includes, tribal bronzes from Bastar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkahand and West Bengal. He has gifted his collection of terracotta artifacts numbering about six hundred of Central India to the Anthropological Survey of India Museum at Bastar tribes Activities. He was the executive committee member of Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Lok Kala Parishad as an expert on tribes for eight years and on the advisory board of Choumasa for twenty years, a journal of the M.P. Adivasi Lok Kala Parishad. He has been a member of South Central Zone Cultural Centre for eight years in all its committees as an expert on tribal and folk culture. Presently, he is engaged in finalizing his works for publication. He is also working on the encyclopaedia of folklore of North Indian language.


Bhatra tribe is an important progressive and forward tribe of Bastar. The are very close to the palace of the old Bastar State which was ruled about six hundred years by the kaktiya dynasty. "Kaktiyas came to Bastar from Warangal. Kaktiyas who were the feudatories of Chalukya Kings. On the decline of the Chalukya Kings the Kaktiyas became independent." Warangal was attacked. by Ahmed Shah Bahamani in the year 1424 A.D. At that time the King of Warangal was Pratap Rudra Deo. Bastar was nominally under their rule. Its rulers were Nagvansis who were the feudatories of Warangal's kaktiyas. "Pratap Rudra Deo's brother Annam Deo left Warangal and established his Kingdom at Bastar." The Bhatras still tell this story and say that they had come from Orangal with Kaktiya King Annam Deo (some say Pratap Rudra Deo) and this is their twenty eighth generation here. All there facts show their closeness with the palace at Jagdalpur.

The Kaktiya dynasty is a Hindu dynasty and their closeness with the palace has influenced their religion. They are a part of larger Gond tribe or Koitor tribe which was their original name. So their religion is the same as of other Gond tribes of Bastar. Originally their religion is animistic which is gradually turning into idolatory worship - due to Hindu influence. This is interesting combination of a animistic tribal religion and idolatory Hindu religion. The gods and goddess of Bastar tribal pantheon and of Hindu pantheon both exist together and Bhatras worship both. But when the jatras are festival sacrifices are held, the tribal gods and goddesses become primary and the gods of Hindu pantheon becomes secondary.


Bastar of Chhattishgarh may be identified as a place of cultural mosaic for the presence of its various ethnic groups as well as diversified tribal groups. Bhatra tribe is considered as a more Hinduised tribe. This treatise is not only an ethnographic account of Bhatra but it is more focused on their intangible cultural heritage. Their (Bhatra) oral tradition is very rich. The oral tradition or oral lore is a kind of human communication wherein their knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved and transmitted orally from one generation to the next descending generation. The transmission is through speech of songs and may include folktales, ballads, chants, prose or verses. In this way it is possible for a society to transmit oral history, oral literature, epic etc. and other kind of knowledge, i.e. traditional knowledge across generations without a writing system. Oral tradition is information, memories and knowledge held in in common by a group of people, over many generations, and it is not the same as testimony or oral history.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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