Life of Kharia Tribe (Kharia People)


Introduction: The Kharia tribe (also Kharia people) are found in of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. They form an important portion of the Adivasi group (Tribal people) in India.

The various social sub-divisions of Khari people includes Pahari, Dhelki and Dudh. Pahari Kheria are also known as Hill Kheria.

Family Life: Among the Kharia Tribe, the elementary unit of society is the family, consisting of parents and their children, own or adopted.


The father is the central figure in the family all authority is vested in him and lineage or descents are traced through him. All property belongs to him and his sons. Distant relations are rarely included in the narrow range Kharia family.

In some sections of the tribe, one’s grandparents and uncles, cousins and nephews also live in one’s own family-house. But generally this is not the case as most young men set up their own houses (huts) after marriage.

A wife lives always in her husband’s house, and visits her parental home only occasionally. The Kharia family is based on monogamous marriage. Polygamy is not, however, completely unknown.


Economic Life: The Kharia family is an economic grouping: it provides food, shelter and clothing for its members, irrespective of their contribution towards the economic activity. The function of preserving language, customs, mores and folkways is performed in co-operation with other groups like the clan. The family regulates marital relations between the sexes and the instruction of the young.

Husband and wife both contribute to the maintenance of the family, but there is division of labor based on sex between them. Thus, the husband goes out for hunting game and fishing, whereas the wife collects fruits, tubers and edible herbs.

Domestic and Religious Life: Houses are built, constructed and repaired by men, and women maintain them. The women also draw water and cook food. Domestic animals are looked after men but children are the responsibility of women.

Position of Women: In many regions, Women are prevented from taking part in any agricultural activity. Nonetheless, they are not ill-treated. In spite of the overruling role of the husband, wives play important, responsible and independent roles, particularly in the running of home, which includes child rearing.

Kharia women are subjected to certain taboos and, consequently, prevented from taking part in religious performances. This is not indicative of any inferior status within the family but of the superstitious fear of menstruation widespread among the tribal and folk societies of the world. A Kharia woman is entitled to the ownership of her personal effects like dress and ornaments and articles made or acquired by her personally.

Dress and Ornaments: The traditional dress of Kharia people includes dhoti for men and saree for women. The influence of modern world can also be seen among these people. In place of Traditional dresses, men have started wear modern dresses such as trousers and shirts. Kharia women love to wear ornaments made of gold, brass and silver.

Role of Children: Children in Kharia community are an important part of each family. They are treated with kindness and indulgence, irrespective of their sex. They are given instruction verbally at home by their mothers. When they are grown up enough to do such wholesome and lights jobs as tending cattle and sheep, they pass under the tutelage of their fathers.


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