Gadaba women wear neck rings which are about 500-700 gms each & can not be removed without the help of the Blacksmith. As a part of their tradition, it is only removed after their death.
The Gabada tribe is reckoned as one of the oldest and jovial tribes in India. These Gabada tribes mostly are located in the southern fringes of the Koraput district. Apart from being singularly attractive tribe Gadabas are also friendly and hospitable. Their villages with square or circular houses and conical roofs and gaily dressed women, present a picturesque sight. It is believed that they have their ancestral home in the north Vindhya mountain ranges. In fact Gabada has got a link with Gada, which is a name of brook or a streamlet found in this portion of the Indian Territory. The houses of these Gabada truly reflect their cultural heritage.
The society of the Gadaba tribe can be best understood in the villages. Each community is headed by a leader. Their main occupation is agriculture but they also give due importance to cattle rearing. The social set up this tribe is also interesting because it has unique rules for marriage and even building houses.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the Gabada tribe, thus making their society an agrarian one. Moreover, some of them involve in other activities like gathering forest products, fishing and hunting. They use animals and its products for various purposes. The cows and buffaloes are utilized mainly for ploughing. They do not milk the cows, as they believe it reduces the strength of the animals.
The Gadabas also regard cattle-raising as the true source of their wealth. They believe in sacrificing pigs, cows and buffaloes at the altar of their Vanadevata (god of the jungle). Almost every family rears pigs irrespective of its status and size and keep dogs to ward off evil spirits.
A Gadaba woman usually wears a two-piece dress which is very colourful, often striped in red, blue and white, which is woven by the women themselves. The textile is made from the bark of the kereng plant. The ornaments they wear are not very different from those of other tribals. They wear beads of various colours in the hair, silver necklaces and very big brass earrings. The kerengis are being slowly replaced by the sari. Men wear only a piece of cloth `Languti` with a flail which hangs in front.
The religion of the Gadaba tribe is basically Hindu. This particular tribe worships several gods and goddesses. Religious festivals form an interesting as well as important part of their lifestyle. They worship an array of gods and goddesses. They celebrate festivals and occasions like Dussehra, andapana parab and chaita parab.
These Gabada tribes have developed their own language, which is popularly known as Gutub.
© Ingetje Tadros