CULTURE IS THE ART OF LIVING
The people of Chhattisgarh are supposed to be very friendly and are characterized by a lively energy and are very hard working. They have a very ancient history and culture filled with traditions and customs. The people of Chhattisgarh have the majority of tribals in the country constituting more than 70% and about 27 percent of the total tribal population of the state resides in Bastar district. The district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh is considered to have the largest tribal population. The tribal people of Chhattisgarh mainly speak two languages and they are Hindi and Chhattasgarhi. The people show care and conscientiousness in whatever work or duties they do.
ORIGIN AND ETHNICITYThe culture of Chhattisgarh can be best expressed as comprising the following:
The natives of this state are very hard working, exhibiting their energy in mines and factories. They are also very creative and excel in making traditional handicrafts. Because of the tribal domination in Chhattisgarh they have varying culture, rituals, customs and traditional beliefs. Thus they have a totally different pattern of lifestye.Some of the major tribes of Chhattisgarh are Gond tribe, Korba, Baiga Tribe, Bison Horn Maria tribe, Abhuj Maria, Muria tribe, Halba tribe, Bhatra and Dhurvaa tribes. Of all the earlier mentioned tribal groups the Gond tribe of Bastar region is the most prominent group.
When it comes to ethnicity, Chhattisgarh exhibits a varied origin or ethnic values for it is manifested by numerous tribal groups. A major part of the tribals here are supposed to be indigenous who reside in the dense forest area of the state. With lot of political and economic disruption the tribes living in these areas are leading a much undisturbed life in the forest wooded lands. Nearly 70% of the total population of Chhattisgarh is tribes and of which Bastar district accommodates the maximum number of the tribes. Of all the tribal groups the Gond tribes are the most prominent sector for they are noted for their unique system of marriages and education, which they call Ghotul. Ghotul system of marriage is a very complex system of marriage. Though there are other tribal groups, ultimately all the groups are from the same aboriginal ancestry with difference in their multitude features like food, dress code, tradition, deity, etc.
The culture of Chhattisgarh is a blend of literature, performing arts and crafts which is derived and nourished from daily life and observation of facts of people. Most of their decorative or the design pattern which is used in their art work is from their own religion, mythology, social and political events, nature and folklore. The other traditional crafts of the people include painting, woodcarving, bell metal craft, bamboo ware and tribal jewellery.The people of Chhattisgarh have an in-depth knowledge deeply rooted in areas like sociological and historical movements of the region.
Its literature reflects the regional consciousness and the evolution of an identity distinct from others in Central India. Famous plays like ‘Jarnail Singh’ and ‘Unch Neech’ written by Khub Chand Baghel highlights the social problems and difficulties faced by the lower caste people and the untouchables. When it comes to their art and craft the tribal groups of Bastar are believed to be the earliest who worked with metal where they are specialized in Dhokra casting in bronze and bell metal. These metals are also used to make tribal gods, votive animals, oil lamps, carts and animals. Chhattisgarh having more of forest land, the people are very good in intricate craft work like carved wooden doors, windows, ceilings, lintels, masks and sculptures of tribal cult figures. They use more of teak, shisham, sal and other hardwoods which were abundant in the forests of Chhattisgarh. The tribal people are also noted for their Pithora style of painting which is usually done on occasions like festivals, marriages or other celebrations. In ancient days the paintings were done mainly on the floors and walls of the temples and houses, but now the artists also exhibit their talents on cloth or paper which mainly depicts mythology and religious rituals.
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
Customs and traditions play a major role in the life of Chhattisgarhi people. The religion of the tribal people is more viewed in the anionic forms of folk-mythical gods and goddesses. The temples here do not have any major architecture but instead are very simple and unadorned where the gods and goddesses are represented by terracotta figurines. These shrines are called as gudi which is mostly built near a stream or in a cave. Danteshwari is one of the most revered goddess of this area, worshipped as the bestower of wishes and protector against evil. The Gonds tribal community of Chhattisgarh has a social institution, Ghotul where the boys and girls of the group are taken into this school to instill the spirit of independence and social responsibility in them. The people of the Gond community consider the Ghotul as their shrine and they believe it to be protected by Lingo Pen, a Gond cult hero. The boys and the girls of this community are called as cheliks and motiaries respectively are taken into a dormitory where they learn the tenets of social, religious and artistic life. The custom followed in a ghotul is co-habitation and marriage. According to this custom once the cheliks and motiaries attain puberty, they are initiated to sex by the older members of the ghotul. After living together and if the couple wish to further decide to get married, then they are required to get married according to their tradition and leave the Ghotul.The people of Chhattisgarh have a traditional custom of hanging strings of neem leaves on their doors to ward of various kinds of diseases during the festival of Hareli.The cultural mosaic of Chhattisgarh is also marked by tribal entertainment like cock fights, tribal dances like Salai, Suwa and Karma. Every occasion here is marked by singing of folk songs by elderly women of a particular tribe.
COSTUMES OF PEOPLE OF CHHATTISGARH
The costumes of the tribal class of the people of Chhattisgarh are very unique and attractive. They dress up with bright and colorful attires. They have lot of affinity for jewelry, especially around their neck which is usually made of metal casts, silver ghungroos and chunky wooden bangles. The women are very particular about their sarees which is supposed to be knee length and of bright colours. Men in tribal groups like Halbas, Ghotuls, Abhuj Marias, Murias, etc., wear dhotis and headgears like cotton turbans. The women wear knee-length or full length sarees in bright colours.The most used fabrics are linen, silk and cotton and they are usually painted with molten wax. The tie and dye is a common technique used in Chhattisgarh to make fabrics and these are called as Batik. The men and women living in the urban area dress like any other people in the cities. Gaudy costumes in striking colours too are features of the tribal festivals.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Chhattisgarh is known for “Kosa silk” and “lost wax art”. The tribals of Chhattisgarh do intrinsic work to make toran, place mats and boxes with the help of shells, mirrors and fabric. The fibre which is got from the seeds of the marshes with a beautiful ivory colour is used in making potholders, mats, hammocks, bags and dolls. Since Chhattisgarh in abundant in bamboo the people are involved in building houses, bows and arrows, baskets, fish and bird traps and a lot of agricultural tools. Chhattisgarh is also known for its handloom product, Dhruva patta or the Dhruva Sari.