Bihan Mela

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The members of the Kondh tribe in Odisha’s Nayagarh district have added one more event to their calendar of festivals and celebrations called Bihan Mela.

About Bihan Mela: 

  • It is known as the seed festival and the event is participated by the farmers.
  • Preparations begin as soon as farmers have harvested Kharif crops, which include both hybrid and indigenous varieties of paddy, millets, maize and sorghum.
  • Women are at the helm of this festival and carefully collect seeds of the indigenous varieties and store them in earthen pots.
  • On a designated day in December, they decorate the pots with red and white motifs, place them in a bamboo basket and carry it on their head to the village where the fair is being organised.
  • This was introduced to help farmers return to their traditional ways of farming like mixed cropping.

Key facts about the Kondh tribe

  • They are a tribal group found in the hills and jungles of Orissa in eastern India.
  • They fall into two broad divisions.
    • The Hill or Maliah Konds, who are numerically the dominant group, inhabit the interior uplands and have retained much of their original tribal culture.
    • The Plains Konds have had extended contact with the Oriya-speaking peoples of the lowlands and have adopted many aspects of Hindu religion and culture.
  • They have several sub-tribes, for instance, the Dongria, Kovi, Kuttia, Languli, Penga, and Jharnia. Raj Konds etc.
  • These tribal people speak languages called Kui and Kuvi.
  • These belong to the Dravidian language family and have strong similarities to Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada.
  • The language has no script of its own, with the Oriya script used for writing Kui, and the Telugu script used for Kuvi.


Q1) Who are  Indigenous people?

 Indigenous people are the original inhabitants of a particular geographic region, who have a historical and cultural connection to that land. They are also known as native, aboriginal, or first peoples. 

Source: Bihan Mela: A seed festival aims to help tribal Kondh farmers in Odisha return to their agricultural traditions