People, Culture and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh

Lifestyle of people of Madhya Pradesh

The state of Madhya Pradesh located in the central part of the country of India is mostly inhabited by different tribal communities. Apart from them, the state's population mainly comprises of people belonging to the religions of Hindu, Muslims, Jains and Parsis. Among them, Hindus form the majority. However, most of the Madhya Pradesh people lead an easy and slow paced life.

Some of the most popular tribal groups residing in the state are Baigas, Bhilals, Bhils, Gonds, Halba, Kamaras, Kols, Korkens, Murias, Oraons and Sahariya. Among these tribes, Bhils are said to be a group of hunters and warriors. Most of the Oraons have converted to the religion of Christianity. Though they used to be semi-nomads in the earlier ages, but now almost everyone has settled down with their chosen occupation. In order to earn livelihood, they involve themselves in varied activities. Agriculture is the main occupation of the Panikas and the Khaiwas whereas the Mangetri Pradhans earn their livelihood by dancing and singing. Some of these tribes have even moved towards the city to be in a rewarding profession. Many people from the tribal background are, nowadays, found to be working as a worker in factories or as a shopkeeper or street hawker.

Interestingly, modernization could not deviate them from their unique age old traditions and customs. The rituals vary from one tribal community to another. Some of the rituals have even got educational significance since, they teach lessons on moral values to the younger generation. However, in recent times, many tribal groups have started following Hindu customs during ceremonies related to birth, marriage and death. The tribal communities of Bhilalas and Bhils follow an exclusive method of marriage, where life partner is chosen in Bhagoriya Haat, a special festival fair.

In spite of living in a subdued environment, they are quite developed and good by heart. The caring, warm and welcoming nature of these people of Madhya Pradesh makes them stand unique from others.

The dressing patterns of the Madhya Pradesh people vary drastically from one region to another. However, majority of the male community wears dhoti along with Bandi, which is a kind of jacket and a head gear. Most of their clothes are very colorful. Most of the women of the state wear Lehenga and Choli with an Orni or Lugra, which is an additional cloth wrapped around their head and shoulders. Apart from this, the female community of Madhya Pradesh even wears saris. The colors of red and black are two of the most favored color shades used in feminine costumes.

The language of Hindi forms the main language of the state. However, being the residence of a number of tribal communities, the locals of the place even speak some tribal languages like Gondi and Bhili. Apart from the languages of Gujarati, Marathi, Sindhi and Urdu, dialects of Bundelkhandi and Malwi are spoken in the state.

Besides the different tribal communities, the state is home to a number of eminent people of the country like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the earlier Prime Minister of India, Habib Tanvir, the thespian, Amjad Ali Khan, the famous Sarod player, Lata Mangeshkar, India's nightingale, Late Maqbool Fida Hussain, the renowned painter and many more.

Culture of Madhya Pradesh

Dominated by tribal communities, this state of central India is rich in culture. The amalgamation of the varied tradition of the different groups has made the culture of the state vibrant and multi-dimensional. Be it music and dance or art and craft, the state has all.

This state is said to have the highest flavors of culture and tradition. The culture there, mainly, is a harmonious blend of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Muslims and Sikhs along with the varied tribal groups. Influenced by tribal culture, the different socio-cultural activities portray the lifestyle as well as the rich tradition of the place. The varied cultural activities of the state even help in bringing out the actual spirit of the people of Madhya Pradesh.

With a legacy of musicians, Indian classical songs as well as folk songs form a part of the distinctive culture of the state. Relo, a kind of folk song of tribal children of the Sing Maria and Muria tribes is one of the popular music of the state. Dhankul songs and Chait Parah are even popular in the state. The Jagdalpur region of this central Indian state is known for their typical type of songs called Leha. Leha song is a kind of ritual song, which is usually sung while departing from the near and dear people. Madhya Pradesh musicians mainly use musical instruments like flute and harmonium.

The most prominent forms of dance of the state are Lota and Phag. Almost every celebration of the Bastar based tribal group of Maria Gonds is featured with dance. Gaur, a special form of wedding dancing is quite popular among the different tribes of Madhya Pradesh. Besides these, prevalence of varied forms of stilt dances is found there. Dressed in vibrant clothes, the tribes dance on their native melodies to depict the varied cultural as well as socio-political aspects. Bharat Bhavan, located in Bhopal is one of the renowned hubs of culture of Madhya Pradesh.

The varied forms of art and crafts of Madhya Pradesh even contribute to the rich culture of the state. Apart from adding a unique charm, handicrafts of this state of central India reflect the painstaking craftsmanship of the place. Chanderi and Maheshwari silk saris are some of the noteworthy crafts of the state. Bastar, Bilaspur, Bhopal, Bundelkhand, Gondwana, Indore, Khajuraho, Malwa, Mandla, Gwalior, Jhabua, Raigarh, Shahdol and Ujjain are some of the prominent centers of the state's art and crafts. Some of the major forms of Madhya Pradesh handicrafts are as follows:

Famous festivals of Madhya Pradesh

The yearly calendar of the state of Madhya Pradesh is featured with innumerable fairs and festivals. These events portray the vibrant culture and enthusiasm of the people of the state. The state celebrates varied kinds of festivals like religious festivals originating from mythology, festivals to mark a particular season, festivals held in memory of a local God or a native hero. Apart from showcasing the culture and heritage of the state, some of these festivals even take the art and culture of the tribes up to the national market. To know the entire state, one needs to have a glimpse of these festivals. Fairs are a major part of almost each of these festivals. During festive seasons, most of the populations of Madhya Pradesh, dressed in colorful native attire along with paradigmatic ornaments, are found to be moving towards the fair ground. Though each and every festival has its own unique features that are different from one community to another, still some of the common activities include carefree revelry, cock fighting, drinking bouts, singing and uninhibited dancing. The following table provides information about some of the popular Madhya Pradesh festivals: