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No aboriginal people of India have attained greater prominence on the political scene of past centuries than the large group of tribes known by the generic name Gond. Geographically also no other tribe is so widely spread out as the Gonds extending from the Godavari in the South to the Vindhyas in the North. As observed by Haimendorf (1979 : p.1) the Gonds are neither racially, nor culturally nor linguistically a homogenous population. It would be more correct, he says, to describe them as various groups of Gonds or ‘Gondi speaking populations’ for, each has acquired its own speech and mode of life. the majority of Gonds are found today in the State of Madhya Pradesh. According to 1971 Census, heir population in that state only is about 3,888,451. their population in other states is as follows: Maharashtra 3,82,751 Andhra Pradesh 4,54,118 Orissa 5,58,435 Bihar 48,869. In ujarat and West Bengal, their population is less than 500. Total population of Gond is 5,285,577 and this constitutes 13.90% of the total tribal population of India.
      What had distinguished the Gonds was not merely their vast numbers, by far the largest tribal group, but also because of the political power they wielded over a kingdom through which they continued to rule before they sccumbed to the Moghal and later Maratha military assaults.
“The Musilm weiters have described the Gond territories as Gondwana with the Maharaja exercising control over a number of petty chiefs and administering areas covering the Satpura plateau to the Narmada valley the South which now comprises the districs of Jabalpur, Mandla, Seoni, Balaghat, Betul, Chindwara, etc. Around 1564 A.D. a Moghal general under Asaf Khan laid it low and Queen-Regent Durgavathi was slain in the battle. As the Moghal region declined in these far-flung regions the defacto political power seems to have reverted to the Gond Rajas with a nominal recognition of the old sovereignty. The real end of the Gondwanas came as late as 1780 A.D. when the Marathas took over. But coming back to the Moghal period, some other states also arose there known as Deogarh, once a tributory of Gondwana and Chanda, which covered the territories in the Southern region comprising part of the present Andhra Pradesh. The first Chanda Raja had his strongfold in Manikgarh Fort. When Moghals got established in the Deccan, they finally brought all these Gond kingdoms under their suba of Berar during Aurangzeb’s time. The Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazal describes the Gond territory. But judging from ballad records, one concludes that the Gonds were perpetually in rebellion against the Moghals. However, controversial the dates or achievements of the Gond rule, the fact is that Gond kings did rule for centuries” (Chattopadhyaya, 1978: 241-242). The history of Gondwana much more elaborately discussed by Haimendorf(1979:5-10).

Trench (1921:1-10) gives the following legend regarding the origin of Gonds.
In the midst of water in the ocean the singamali birds, male and female, lived, and there upon the water they spread their nest and there they laid two eggs. From those eggs a boy and a girl were born. The children with the help of God began to live there upon water. One day they both said to the ocean mother to leave them outside the waters. Ocean mother in a trice sent a wave, and the children, nest and all were borne outside and fell there. Then they wandered in the forest and day-by-day they grew stronger. The brother and sister named Addirawana-pariol and Sukma-devi-velar were living in a house with the cross-bars of “jay’s” feathers and rafters of peacock’s feathers. In meantime both became of marriageable age. In the washing place the green herb called ‘Pokra’ had sprung up. The girl’s soul was yearning to eat the herb. But her brother was prohibiting her from eating it. One day she evaded his notice, picked the salad, boiled it and ate it. From that day she conceived and became pregnant. whereupon a hundred more gods than a hundred, thirtysix threshingfloors or jugat gods, eighteen of Kos gods, fourteen aphang of Gondi gods became incarnate within her womb. Later the population of Gonds spread from the Gondi gods.
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