Marriage Dance of Maria Gond


Madia Gonds or Madia or Maria are one of the endogamous Gond tribes living in Chandrapur District and Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra State, and Bastar division of Chhattisgad State India.

The Madia Gonds have been granted the status of a Primitive Tribe by the Government of Maharashtra under its affirmative action or reservation programme.
The Madia Gonds are strongly affected by Naxal activities.The Madia Gond use the self designation Madia, and call the area where they live Madia Desh.
The Ethnologue code for classification, classifies the Madia language as :Dravidian/South-Central/Gondi-Kui/Gondi/Maria.

A study mentions living megalithic practices amongst the Madia Gonds.One of the findings of The Bench Mark Survey done in 1997-1998 91.08 percent of Madia Gond families lived Below Poverty Line.

All Gonds and especially Madias, are very fond of dancing. It is the great amusement of the people. Night after night in the eastern tracts in the cool, moon-lit nights of the hot weather ,the rhythmic lilt of a Gondi chorus fills the air, as the villagers dance round a fire in some open space near the hamlet. The favourite dance is a peculiar rippling step forward with the foot dragged, not very graceful when done by a single individual, but looking quite different when done in unison by a great circle of dancers singing a 're-la', 're-la', chorus to which the step keeps time. In some villages, where the headman is an enthusiast for the pastime, a trained band performs weird and wonderful step dances to the sound of the drum.

At a big dance, the trained band occupies the inner ring round the fire, while the common folk, men and maids, in separate rings move round in great circles in opposite ways. All are dressed for the occasion in their best, bearing in their hands weird ornaments of wicker work, with garlands of flowers on their necks and in their hair, feather ornaments humorously or coquettishly placed.

Seen in the glow of a huge log fire, glinting on the shining beads and barbaric ornaments of the dancers, with the throb of the drums and the beat of many feet moving in unison to the wild music of the voices in chorus, a Madia dance is a spectacle not easily forgotten, but lingers as a characteristic scene when other details have faded out of the memory. Men and women ordinarily dance in separate circles but in the dances where the young men choose their brides, they dance in couples.