Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Bhubaneswar, 751003
The Kandha Gauda, also known as TanlaGauda is numerically a small tribe of Odishamostly found in Kandhamal, Nowrangpur, Bolangir and Sundergarh districts. They speak a Dravidian tongue, Kui the mother tongue of the Kandha tribe of Kandhamal and are also conversant in the Odia language. They are believed to be a subset of the Kandha tribe. The name 'Kandha Gauda' is derived from 'Kandha' and 'Gauda' (cowherd) that comes from the tribe's traditional occupation of herding the cattle of the Kandha tribe. In return for their services their Kandha patrons provide them food and food grains daily and annually. Interestingly, unlike the neighbouring tribes the Kandha Gaudas have no clan system. The community is divided into several exogamous lineages the names of which are used as surnames. They strictly follow the rules of community endogamy and lineage exogamy. The tribal institution of bride price is prevalent. They have the cult of ancestor worship. They derive their subsistence from land and forest. Now, the income from their traditional occupation of cow herding does not sustain them for the whole year. Most of them are landless. Hence, they have taken up subsidiary occupation like, wage earning, collection of minor forest produce, fishing, petty trade, industrial labour to supplement the income. Yet, they still remain backward socio-economically. Like the Kandhas, "Dharani Penu" (Earth Goddess) is their Supreme deity. Besides, they worship a number of deities on different occasions to obtain their blessings for their wellbeing. They observe festivals like Dasahara, Nuakhai, Dola-Purnima, Lakhmi puja, Gamha Purnima, Holi etc. In the post-independent times, the welfare government has implemented various development programmes to uplift them. This has brought immense changes in their lifestyle and cultural ethics. Time will show to what extent they will conserve their cultural identity as a distinct community in the process of their integration with the mainstream society.