Tribal Asia : the bondo
Bondos live in the remote hills and keep themselves isolated. The Bondo homeland (sometimes known as Bara-jangar-des) is a hilly habitat that overlooks the Machkund Valley and the Malkangiri Plain. The average annual rainfall is approximately 150 centimeters. Settlements fall into three geographic groupings: the Bara-jangar group (also known as Mundlipada or Serayen); the Gadaba group (northeast of Mundlipada); and the Plains group. The first of these areas is the most important. It is the Bondo capital and is also believed to have been the ancient Bondo homeland. It has also been suggested that the twelve villages that bring yearly tribute to the ruler of this place are the original Bondo settlements (each having been founded by one of twelve brothers). They are normally seen when they come to trade at the local market, and we must time our visit to coincide with the weekly market day on Thursday. They are a fiercely independent, stubborn and aggressive tribe. Alcoholism is common among men as is the settling of disputes through violence, even murder.The Bonda women are noticeable by their bead necklaces, striking brass and silver necklets and their shaved heads decorated with plaits of Palmyra leaves. The Bondo are only found in Orissa State. They are the speakers of the 'Kemo language which belongs to the Austro-Asiatic language family. There are three sub-groups: the Bondo highlanders, Lower Bondo and the Gadaba-Bondo group. The Bondo villages are found in hilltops and hill slopes, as well, and their economic life centres on cultivation, both shifting and settled. Their social organisation consists of such social institutions as clans, lineage groups, extended families and nuclear families. There are a number of village functionaries, both secular and sacerdotal, namely the priest, medicine man, and shaman, to look after the politico-jural and religious functions in their society. The Patkhanda Maha-pravu is their presiding deity and a number of deities and spirits are also worshipped from time to time. Although liquor is prohibited for use in various religious rituals, animal sacrifice is not tabooed. An interesting feature of the Bondo marriage is that Bondo girls prefer to marry younger boys, so they may have someone to earn for them in their old age.
The Bondo observe a number of rituals and ceremonies throughout the year. They use scanty clothes and especially the womenfolk traditionally use country-made ringa of kerang fibre. They wear a number of coloured bead necklaces hanging from the neck to the navel, and in addition there are bangles, neck and head-bands, anklets, and rings. The Bondo still practise the barter systems, exchanging the produce of their fields for articles of daily use.
Region : Orissa, Malkangiri District, Khoraput Block, Bondo Hills.
Alternate names :
Poraja Katha, Bhonda Bhasha, Bondo-Poraja, Remo, Remosum, Bonda, Nanqa Poroja (source : Ethnologue)
Upper Bondo, Lower Bondo. Closest to Didayi, Gutob Gadaba, Parenga. 88% comprehension of Upper Bondo by Lower Bondo. Lexical similarity 70% to 94% with other Bondo varieties, 45% to 51% with Gadaba Gutob, 22% to 32% with Upper Gata' (Didayi). The Bondo are only found in Orissa State. (source : Ethnologue)
Published on 5/13/07