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India’s Tribal Communities- The Halba Tribe of Chhattisgarh

  • The Bastar district is sometimes described as the ‘Kashmir of Chhattisgarh.
  • The area is rich in natural beauty, surrounded by dense forests, mountains, streams,  waterfalls, natural caves, and natural parks.
  • It is also home to some colourful tribes: the Halbas, the Batras and the Gonds.
  • Among these, the Halba occupies a key position.
  • This could be because the friendly Halba is one of the most progressive and affluent landowning tribal communities.
  • Halba people maintain a good rapport with neighbouring tribes and also take pride in their unique cultural elements such as their costumes, language, and lifestyle.
  • Halba is an influential tribe in central India.
  • It is divided into Marathiya Halba, Chhattisgarhi Halba and Bastaria Halba.
  • Halba caste has its origin in tribal roots. Trial’s from the forest adopted land and started farming.  It makes their life stable and also prosperous.
  • Halba in a western region called Marathi Halba are Proto-australoid people.
  • Where some halba adopted the weaving profession and known as koshti means weaver.
  • They have settlements in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Armori, Nagbhid and Umrer towns. ∙

HALBA TRIBE OF CHHATTISGARH 

POPULATION: 7,20,000

MAIN LANGUAGE: Marathi

RELIGION: Hinduism (95.58%) and Christian (0.30%)

LOCATION 

  • Though the Halba is primarily found in Chhattisgarh, they are also scattered through the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Orissa.

LIFESTYLE 

  • Their literacy level is very low owing to the poor infrastructure.
  • Villages have primary schools, but these do not function regularly.
  • Though there are some positive changes taking place in Halba society, poor health,  malnutrition, infant mortality, child marriage, and child labour are still major obstacles to significant progress.
  • Over the past year, more than 350 people have been killed, and 50,000 have been moved into camps in the Dantewada district as a result of a Maoist uprising.
  • The Halba tribe owes its nomenclature to the term ‘Hal’ that locally means ploughing or farming.
  • This clearly implies the Halbas were primarily farmers although nowadays they are involved in a myriad of professions of their choice.
  • Of all the tribes that occupy Chhattisgarh, the Halbas are possibly the most affluent and progressive lot.
  • They also enjoy the privileged status of a high local caste and hence are deeply revered in the tribal society.
  • The unique individuality of the Halbas is evinced by their apparels, dialects and traditional customs.
  • What add to the diversity of their dialect are the pronounced traces of Oriya, Marathi and Chhattisgarhi languages

BELIEFS 

  • The Halba are largely Hindu, with a small percentage of Muslims and Christians.
  • Different mission agencies are involved in evangelism, and churches are being established.
  • God’s Word is the first-ever printed material in Halbi – the language of the Halba.
  • In addition to Scripture portions, a film about Jesus, gospel tracts and audio-cassettes are also available in Halbi.
  • However, people are hesitant to make a decision to follow the Lord, so missionaries are making inroads to the community through child-care programs.
  • Christians being viewed as low caste, illiteracy, and forced re-conversion are the main hindrances to the spread of the Gospel across this region.
  • The patron deity of the Halba tribe is Maa Danteshwari. Danteshwari Temple is a 600-year-old  heritage pilgrim centre built by Chalukya kings in the 14th century.
  • The temple is located at Dantewada, about 80 km from Jagdalpur, near the Gole Bazaar and Bastar Palace, in Bastar District, Chhattisgarh.
  • Two rivers, Shankini and Dhankini, meet here. Danteshwari Got its name from the belief that a tooth of Devi Sati fell here.
  • The temple, with its unique idol made of black stone, is rich in architectural and sculptural wealth.
  • It has four parts -Garbh Griha, Maha Mandap, Mukhya Mandap and Sabha Mandap – with a Garud Pillar at the entrance. The temple is decorated and lit up magnificently during the Dussehra festival.
  • Hindu and tribal pilgrims flock to Danteshwari during this time.

THE HABLA REBELLION  

  • The rebel was a fine example of the bravery and greatness of great Halbatribe. This is one of the most important tribal rebels in the history of India. It is written in the golden letter in the history of the Halba tribe. Let’s pay tribute to those martyrs who fought for the wellbeing of all.
  • The Halba rebellion is considered as an important tribal rebellion in the history of the present-day state of Chhattisgarh in India.
  • The event of Halba rebellion took place in the area of the Bastar District in Chhattisgarh.  It created everlasting alteration in the Bastar District.
  • After the decline of the Chalukyas, the situations were such that both the Marathas and the British came one after the other, to the place in order to rule.
  • The Halba rebellion started against them in the year seventeen hundred and seventy-four. The then governor of Dongar, Ajmer Singh, was the initiator of the revolt of Halba.
  • The revolution of Halba was started with the desire of forming a new and independent state in Dongar.
  • The Halba tribe as well as the soldiers stood beside Ajmer Singh.
  • The main reason behind the revolt was the lack of money and food in the hands of the common people.
  • A long drought had affected the people especially those who had very little cultivable land in their hands.
  • Added to this severe problem, there were the pressure and fear caused by the Maratha and the British on the commoners, which eventually resulted in the uprising. The British armies and the  Marathas suppressed them and in a massacre, many of the Halba tribal people were killed. Subsequently, the army of Halba was also defeated.
  • However, the situation was such after the defeat of the Halba army that the history of the district of Bastar changed forever.

IMPACT OF MODERN WORLD 

  • Now they live in pakka houses
  • Started using modern agricultural tools and technology
  • Use hybrid seeds and Fertilizers in agriculture
  • Nowadays they are involved in a myriad of professions of their choice.
  • Started wearing modern clothes
  • Now they have access to schools and hospitals
  • Now people of this tribe migrate to different states for work

FAMOUS FOR 

  • Musical instruments which are made up of pots, bowls, rice etc.
  • The Halba tribe use many medicinal plant species for the treatment of common skin ailments, wounds, eczema as well as gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea,  dysentery, constipation, jaundice, cardiovascular disease, paralysis, cold and cough,  asthma, tuberculosis, malaria, arthritis and also snake bite, scorpion bite, dog bite,  fracture of the bone, etc. traditional health practices and Indigenous health care practices can provide valuable clues to medical scientists in discovering medicine of modern diseases.