Gadabas: Primitive People of India

The Gadaba tribe is one of the most primitive tribes of India. They live in the forests of Orissa .  Gadabas are also found in Andra Pradesh.Their population is believed at something like 80.000.


Gadaba Woman in her Traditional Attire

They derive their community name either from Godavari, the river flowing through Andhra Pradesh, or from goda, an Oriya word meaning a brook. The Gadaba are divided into two linguistic group-the Gadaba, who derive their from an Austric language. The Gadaba of Orissa speak in Gutob at home. With others they speak in the Oriya, Telugu and Halbi languages in the respective linguistic zones and the Oriya script is used. The Dravidian family of language as well as the Gutob language belonging to the Austro-Asiatic family of languages. The Gadaba are non-vegetarians who eat beef and pork. Rice and ragi  are their staple food. Both men and women drink alcohol occasionally and they either purchase it from the market or brew it at home. The Gadaba women can be identified by their traditional dress which consists one, covering the left shoulder and back. Gadiali is their mother tongue and various dialects of the Himachali language are used for inter-group communication. Both these languages belong to the Pahari group of the Indo-Aryan of family of languages. The Devanagari script is used. Their costume consists of a waistband (dora) and long coat (chola).


Their main source of livelihood is agriculture. Besides it is supplemented by the collection of forest produces, hunting and fishing. But these activities are seasonal and are practised more as an habit than anything else.


They believe in many gods and goddesses, the main one being the goddess Thakurani. They also believe in ghosts and spirits. Through the year, various festivals are held : they are celebrated with care, sincerity, devotion and fear. All these festivities are not expensive as Gadaba are very poor people, but they are celebrated with great joy, people dancing and drinking for days.

Culture, Kinship and Marriage

Because they are coquette, the Gadaba women are fond of wearing brass or aluminium ornaments to decorate their bodies.According to Merriam-Webster coquette is a woman who likes to win the attention or admiration of men but does not have serious feelings for them. By the way, to decorate herself with jwellery seems to be the innate desire of women transcending boundaries of cultures and time. Generally, the girls marry at the age of 14 or 15 years old and the boys at 19 or 20. Marriages within each Gadaba clan are prohibited.  The Gadaba are divided in five clans.Divorce is permitted if there is the approval of the tribal council.Every village has its own council. In such cases, the husband has to pay some compensation to the divorced wife. In case of being divorced, he gets some money or any other compensation from the new husband of the divorced wife.

Link(s), Source(s) and Inspiration(s):

Tribes India


About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
This entry was posted in culture, India, Tribes and Communites, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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