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The Gonds refer to themselves as ‘koitor’ and not by the term ‘Gond’. About the derivation of the word Gond, Athelstane Baines(1912: 119) says that “title Gond, a title which like that of Kol, has been extended to a number of almost distinct communities. Some authorities trace the name to Kond8a- the Telugu word for hill as in the case of Kond or Kand tribe of Central India”. They trace their origin and ancestry to the Pandava Prince and his famous tribal spouse, Hidamba

The Gonds on the whole may be divided into two major ethnic groups: (1) The Raj Gonds, i.e., the Gonds of the districts Mandla , Chindwara, Seoni, Balaghat, Betul of Madhya Pradesh and Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh and in Chanda and Yeotmal districts of Maharashtra and (2) The Bastar Gonds consisting of Muria, Maria, Dorla and Koya tribes living in and around Bastar district. The Koyas also inhabit the hills in the North of the Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh and also found in the Malkangiri taluk in Koraput district of Orissa.

What is the distinction between the Raj Gonds and the other section of the Gond people ?
Various theories were advanced to explain that distinction. Lucie-Smith (1969 : 46) suggested that “the epithet Raj was originally applied to royal and noble Gond families from which the distinction spread to their followers and the governing class generally; or it may describe the leading Gond tribe which in ancient days conquerred the land from other aboriginal clans”. Captain Forsyth believed that Raj Gonds are in many cases the descendants of alliances, between Rajput adventurers and Gonds (quoted in Haimendorf, 1979:9). Looking from the social angle Grigson(1938: 36) suggested that “names, such as Raj Gond arose from the tendency, familiar throughout in India, of local groups of primitive races which are gradually being Hinduized to regard themselves and to be accepted by their Hindu neighbours as separate Hindu castes under new names”

Bastar Gonds
    Bastar, once a feudatory state in the Central Provinces of India, now forms a district in the State of Madhya Pradesh. In area it is the biggest of all the districs in India. Its ethnic composition is mainly tribal; about 75 per cent of the population is formed by various tribal groups like Bhatras, Parjas, Halbas, Murias, Marias, Dorlas and Koyas.
      Bhatras: In Bastar except for one or two villages at the south-east of the Kondagaon tahsil, the Bhatras are confined to the north-east corner of the district headquaters Jagdalpur, along the Jeypore border, across which they overflow in large numbers into Jeypore and beyond Kalahandi of Orissa. Bhatri, their langusge, seems only halbi influenced by its proximity to the Oriya speaking tracts. But according to Grierson they speak a corrupt Oriya dialect.
      Parjas: In Bastar Parjas refer themselves as Dhurwa and they resent the designation Parja. The majority of them live in the south-east of the Jagdalpur tahsil north and south of the Kanker forest reserve. A group of them are found around Darba in Sukma tahsil. Their language is described by Grierson as a local and very currupt variation of Gondi considerably mixed with Hindi forms. Yet their speech is very unintelligible to Bison-horn Maria and Muria neighbours.
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