Bondo - Orientation

Identification. The Bondo are an Austroasiatic people who inhabit the area northwest of the Machkund River in the state of Orissa, India. While the cultural relationship between the Bondo and neighboring peoples (e.g., the Poroja and Gadaba) has been debated, largely because of substantial differences in appearance, personal adornment, social norms, and religious beliefs, Verrier Elwin has concluded that a sufficient degree of cultural commonality exists between the Bondos and Gadabas to warrant the suggestion that both groups are descendants of a common ancient Austroasiatic progenitor. The classic ethnographic account of Bondo Culture is Elwin's 1950 study.

Location. The locus of Bondo culture extends from approximately 18° 20′ to 18° 30′ N and 82°20′ to 82°30′ E. 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).

Demography. In 1971 there were 5,338 Bondos, 75,430 Gadabas, and 227,406 Porojas.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Bondo speak a language of Munda Stock belonging to the Austroasiatic Phylum.

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