What do we know about the people of Bastar?
Bastar is a place located in the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh and borders Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra. Various communities such as Maria and Muria Gonds, Dhurwas, Bhatras and Halbas live here. Though they speak different languages, they share common customs and beliefs. The people of Bastar believed that each village had got its land by the Earth, and in return, they had to look after the Earth by making some offerings at each agricultural festival. Because each village knew its boundaries, the local people looked after all the natural resources within that boundary. If any person from a village wanted to take some wood from the forests of another village, they paid a small fee called devsari, dand or man in exchange. Some villages also protected their forests by employing watchmen and each household contributed some grains to pay them. Every year there was one big hunt where the headmen of villages in a pargana (cluster of villages) met and discussed issues of concern, including forests.
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