Bhuiyas, numbering around two million, are the aboriginal tribes of Central Hill Belt of India. These primitive Pauri or Hill Bhuiyas of Keonjhar, Bonai and Pal Lehera states, and the Hinduized Bhuiyas of Himgir and Nagra of Gangpur State of Orissa in British India are the subject of this study, delineating their various stages of cultural development over a period of time.
These Bhuiyas are comparatively more primitive in their customs and manners than the other sections of the tribe. But their contacts with the Hindu society and its culture have to a minimal extent modified their primitive culture. With the advent of cultural growth, some sections of these Bhuiyas have given up their honorific titles and adopted some Hinduized titles, to elevate themselves in the social hierarchy.
This book, a gold mine of socio-anthropological studies, offers much-needed details about the Pauri Bhuiyas’ affinities and population, habitat, physical and mental characteristics, economic life, social and kinship organizations, and customs of birth, childhood, puberty, marriage, inheritance and death. This volume also delves deep into their folklore, religious faith, superstitions and magic practices. It further discusses certain points of agreement and difference in the customs and beliefs of the Hill Bhuiyas and some other Munda-speaking tribes of the Central Hill Belt.