A legendary history: Hill tribes known from the Mahabharata days – Odisha

The state has the third largest population of Scheduled Tribes in India. […]

Prehistoric Acheulian tools dating to Lower Paleolithic era have been discovered in various places in the region, implying an early settlement by humans. Kalinga has been mentioned in ancient texts like Mahabharata, Vayu Purana and Mahagovinda Suttanta. The Sabar people of Odisha have also been mentioned in the Mahabharata. Baudhayana mentions Kalinga as not yet being influenced by Vedic traditions, implying it followed mostly tribal traditions […]

Source: Source: Orissa – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odisha
Date visited: 2 January 2020

Odisha in pre-historic age

Since prehistoric days the land of Odisha has been inhabited by various people. The earliest settlers of Odisha were primitive hill tribes. Although prehistoric communities cannot be identified, it is well known that Odisha had been inhabited by tribes like Saora or Sabar from the Mahabharata days. Saora in the hills and the Sahara and Sabar of the plains continue to be an important tribe distributed almost all over Odisha. Most of the tribal people have been influenced by Hindus and have adopted Hindu manners, customs and rituals. Bonda Parajas of Koraput district are the best example of these tribes.

Several pre-historic sites have been excavated in Odisha since the arrival of Britishers. Kaliakata of Angul, Kuchai & Kuliana of Mayurbhanj, Vikramkhol near Jharsuguda, Gudahandi and Yogimath of Kalahandi, Ushakothi of Sambalpur, Similikhol near Bargarh etc. […]

The name Odia originated from Odra or Udra tribes that inhabited the central coastal belt (Khordha District and Nayagarh District) of modern Odisha. […]

Unlike some other parts of India, tribal customs and traditions played a significant role in shaping political structures and cultural practices right up to the 15th century,[10] when Brahminical influences triumphed over competing traditions and caste differentiation began to inhibit social mobility and erode what had survived of the ancient republican tradition. […]

Source: Orissa – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Address : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orissa
Date Visited: Thu Sep 01 2011 15:19:45 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Members of the Dongria Kondh community in Odisha >>
Photo © Survival International

“In Rayagada in Odisha, Kondh parents distinguish between dangar patha (mountain learning) and kagaj patha (paper learning). Asked which they prefer, many parents answer ‘both’. This expresses a need deeply felt by Adivasis: literacy, with fluency in the regional language or English, is important; but so is respect for native languages and knowledge systems linked to the land and forest.” – Felix Padel & Malvika Gupta in “Are mega residential schools wiping out India’s Adivasi culture?” | Read the full article in The Hindu (13 February 2021) | Indian tribal cultural heritage >>

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“The forest was never far away from habitation. For instance, excavations of the settlements at Atranjikhera and Hastinapur, which are not too far from Delhi, have yielded evidence of a large variety of forest trees. The Buddhist Canon states that aside from the village and its outskirts, the rest of the land is jungle. Travelling from one town to another meant going through a forest. Therefore, when in exile, the forest was not a physically distant place, although distant in concept. – Romila Thapar (Emeritus Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University) in “Forest dwellers in early India – myths and ecology in historical perspective” | Learn more >>

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