Ganda Tales of Origin

Dr. Biyotkesh Tripathy

Origins and Emigration (with Muslim subversion)

Teller: Narayana Singh (with Ananta Charan Modi)

[M 55. Tribe: Ganda (Gond). Village: Bhoka, Harichandanpur, Keonjhar. Date: Oct 8, 1998. Interviewer: B. K. Tripathy & ream. Cassette No. 53, Side B. O. Tr. Pp.: 3554-57. F.N.: Knj 1, p. 22. Transcriber: F. B. Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing; editorial explanations & additions in brackets). Type: Legend-Lore.]

Translator: Biyotkesh Tripathy

We belong to the region of Rivers Gandaki and Narmada. The Gandas have come from Ganduki-Narmada. At one time Gandas and Pathans [Muslims] were two brothers. When these two were brothers, god said to the Gandas, ‘I shall give you a boon.’ The Pathans thought how to take the boon. At this time, having crossed River Gandaki, the Gandas were sleeping. What the Pathans did was they went to god and took away whatever boon was there. The Ganda boys reached later [and said to god], ‘Where are you going away without giving us the boon?’ [He said], ‘What will you take? Okay, you take this sword.’ He gave them the sword. Having brought the sword they were sleeping on the bank of the river. The Pathans came looking for them. ‘Where have these Ganda buggers have gone?’ they asked themselves. [Not finding them, they fell asleep.] When the Gandas awoke, they found the bloody Pathans sleeping. What the Ganda boys did was they cut away the “kachha” [rear tuck] of their loincloth. Having cut their kachha they ran away. When the morning came and the Pathans awoke, they saw that their kachha was not there. [Since then they have wearing the “lungi”]. They asked themselves, ‘Now that god has taken away our kachha, what race shall we belong to? From today we shall become a different race.’ So they became Pathans.

Then Gandas left the Gandaki-Narmada region and came away. Because of the trouble with the Pathans they came away. Without leaving any of their people there, they came away. That is why Pathans cannot tuck their kachha. When the Pathans were sleeping after taking away the boon [from god], the Gandas had cut their kachha. The Pathans took away wealth as their boon and the Gandas got the sword.


Identity of the Ganda

Teller: Sibachanran Naika

[M 50. Tribe: Ganda (Gond). Village: Daspada, Via Karanjia, Keonjhar. Date: Jan 13, 2001. Interviewer: F. B. Puthal. Cassette No. 245, Side B. O. Tr. Pp.: 12, 524-526. F.N.: Mbj 4. Transcriber: F. B. Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing & emendation). Type: Lore-Info.]

Translator: Biyotkesh Tripathy

(Q: All of you wear the sacred thread [like the Brahmins]. Are you Brahmins?)

No, but we have this custom. We are not Brahmins but we have the sacred thread. We are Khyatriyas, sir. “Gonds” are Khyatriya Rajput. We are not “Ganda.” We are nasalized “G” followed by flickated “D.” “Gond” Rajput Khyatriya. We are Rajputs. We are of the same clan as of warrior Surendra Sai.

It is story of many days. Because of something happening somehow somewhere we are living like this today. After the battles between Hinds and Muslim, everyone left their country and ran away every which way. Some took to eating wrong kind of food. Some took to evil work.

(Q: Do you know why the Hindus and Muslims fought?)

Why it happened, there must be some reason. Maybe to rule, as is happening nowadays, for power. I don’t know the names of those battles.


Why called Ganda (with Muslim Conspiracy Input)

Teller: Sibachanran Naika

[M 50. Tribe: Ganda (Gond). Village: Daspada, Via Karanjia, Keonjhar. Date: Jan 13, 2001. Interviewer: F. B. Puthal. Cassette No. 245, Side B. O. Tr. Pp.: 12, 480-485. F.N.: Mbj 4, p. . Transcriber: F. B. Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing & emendation). Type: Lore-Info.]

Translator: Biyotkesh Tripathy

(Q: Why are you called Ganda?)

We have it that we are called “Dhorua.” Nowadays, the current word is Ganda. Our original name is Dhorua. They fought and fought, but after losing they ran away this way.

(Q: Which war did they fight?)

They fought in Delhi.

(Q: With whom did they fight in Delhi?)

With the Muslims. Our ancestors inhabited the Delhi area. There was a seat of power [the capital of a kingdom] and the kingdom was of the Gandas. At that time they were known as Dhorua. Then war started with the Muslims. Who knows what are all the things that happened in that war, but everyone left Delhi and ran away here and there.

(Q: Do you have anything about that war in your memory?)

Sir, that is very old happening. We have not seen. Only what we have heard. We had been fighting with the Muslims for a long time. We had a god. That god went and fought with us. At that time, the Muslims and offered them [the Gandas] the bribe of liquor, smoke and pan, filling all of them with poison. They called them to a feast, so that they would eat and die.

When they reached there, the queen could know about this. The queen was Singar Dei. She was the queen and she could know. ‘My people have gone; they would poison them.’ So, she sent Mother, the goddess and told her, ‘Whatever poison is there, please make that vanish.’

So the goddess went. Having gone there, what the goddess did was, she neutralized all the poison they had put in the pan, cigarette, liquor etc. [Then] these people ate of all the things. They drank the liquor [but] nothing. They had pan, cigarette, bidi, but they did not die. [The Muslims] used many tricks like this, but [the Gandas] did not die. At last there was war. During the fight these people left their goddess and ran away.

When they came away, the goddess could not come with them. Then they [the Muslims] saw that there was a goddess. It was dazzling, dazzling bright. They took her away immediately and pouring cow’s blood in her mouth—these Muslims—kept her pacified with them. That goddess is still there. They have not kept her in Delhi, but in another country. If Hindus go there, they would not leave them without feeding them beef.

(Q: Then they have stolen your goddess. Since you lost in the war you left your goddess. Now there was no one to protect you. And the queen?)

When they came back and asked, the queen said she had sent [the goddess]. You might have sent but how would we know that? When they went back later, how could she still be there? By then the Mussalmans had taken her away.

(Q: When were the Gandas created.)

It cannot be said when they were created.

(Q: People say that Bathudi, Ganda, Saunti, Bhuyan, they are supposed to be four brothers. Do you know anything about this?)

No, I don’t know about that.

(Q: Why have you put on the sacred thread?)

The sacred thread we have had from ancient times. From the very beginning we have been wearing this. In olden days we were performing sacred threat ceremony. But those practices have been left now. We have become poor now; we can’t meet our expenses. Now, only a Brahmin comes and put the sacred thread ceremonially.

History and Emigrations

Teller: Guru Charan Nayak

[M 50. Tribe: Ganda (Gond). Village: Pava Sarua, Patana, Keonjhar. Date: Dec 16, 1998. Interviewer: B. K. Triapthy & team. Cassette No. 71, Side A. O. Tr. Pp.: 1605-13. F.N.: Knj 2, Pp. 38-39. Transcriber: F. B. Puthal. Status: As told (minor editing; editorial explanations & additions in square brackets). Type: Legend-Lore.]

Translator: Biyotkesh Tripathy

We Gandas, sir, our real home was in Uttar Pradesh. The real Ganda homeland was there in Uttar Pradesh [and in] Banga kingdom. When they were there they were known as valiant and courageous. When Ratnakar was rising in revolt as an enemy, these people also, fearlessly doing their things as enemies. When the battle for the throne started, immediately they proved themselves worthy of the throne. Their power grew and they ascended the throne. The other kings of Uttar Pradesh, who were secretly biding their time, knew that these people could not be scared away.

‘We should kidnap their wives or daughters,’ they decided.

And soon enough, they kidnapped a girl from our community. And that very moment [the Gandas] started war against them. [This war dragged on for a long time.]

The Gandas debated among themselves, ‘This bloody war has lasted too long. So, let slowly pull away [and leave this place.’]

No sooner decided than they started withdrawing. And using their native political intelligence, they [decided to] cross the Saroj River at Dindhara.

‘The king cannot follow us any more then,’ [they said.]

When they reached the place, Dindhara [Tindhara? which would mean “three streams” or “three strands”], what they did was, with consultation, determination, mantras and medicine made a Rana snake, which is long enough to reach from this side to the other. They wove three strand of it into one and crossed the river with its help.

When the Gandas came to this side, this was Bihar. When they reached Bihar, the people of Bihar asked them, asked these Gandas, ‘Hey you Gandas, where have you come here from?’

‘Sirs, we have come from “dura” [distant] land.’

So, when the Gandas settled in Bihar they became known as “Durua Ganda” [Gandas from far away]. Then slowly, they started coming this way, by ones and twos. When they came this way they reached Keonjhar.

[Here they were asked], ‘Who are you?’

‘We are Khyatriyas from royal families, “Singhs.”’

Our big leaders of the past had a name that included even the Brahmin. His name was Dussasan Singh Brahma. He struggled very hard to have the name of the Gandas registered but could not. It was registered later.

When gradually they marched into Keonjhar, someone wrote his name as Singh, someone else wrote Mahapatra, and still others wrote Naika etc. As time passed this way a very clever person arrived. He was Harekrushna Mahatab. When our Ambedkar wrote that we were not tribal people, the old man was sent to jail 2-3 times.

‘You are pure Adibasis, you are Gandas,’ [they said.]

The people of other districts they declared developed, whereas those who stayed in Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and such other districts, became Adibasis. Those [of us] who remained in Sambalpur became Saha, sir, like Birendra Saha who is our man. They became Sahas and developed. We, those who remained in the forest, became forest people. Who kept us tied here we cannot say. Adibasis are simple people, but even we do not want to stay Adibasi. But what is Adibasi?

[People say], ‘You are common, good-looking and strong. Adibasis look different. Then how can you be Adibasi?’

‘No, sir, we are Adibasi.’

‘No, you cannot be.’

My son, sir, having studied, is now in Meghalaya. And my elder brother, sir, was in Assam. When they said they were Adibasis, the people of Jara Sabara’s race, they were told, ‘Jara Sabara’s people are Adibasi people; they are different. You have come from another state and are holding a job, you are developed.’ Even now they say it.

Like that, sir, Harekrushna Mahatab is of our people. What more can I say? This is the story of our race and society. This is the way our society has come.