ENTER THE WORLD OF KORKU
Korku are the lesser known Tribe of Central India found mostly in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Since some years they have been in reckoning for their nutritional vulnerability as many of their children lay victim of severe malnutrition and deaths.
Their origin is shrouded in mystery. Since the time history was penned down they were found wandering in Forests of Satpura mountain ranges. British historians equated them with Munda tribe of Eastern India.
No record is found if they had a king or kingdom but were ruled by different dynasties ranging from Maurya to Mughal to Gonds. This infected original traditions, customs and even language of Korku.
Being ruled they till day have mostly remained agricultural labors and by and large a docile community. Literacy being depressingly low they never could have their own script and till day Korku language is transcribed in Devnagri script.
Very little has been written on Korku and their age old custom and tradition and goodness has been embedded in oral traditions. UNESCO has included Korku in its atlas of 196 "endangered" languages of India.
It was quite late in corridors of history that they started a settled life, that too being preferred by other communities as honest and hardworking farm hands. But they chose picturesque forest locations for their dwelling , the remnants of which are still seen despite so much of forest denudation.
Their oral tradition has many interesting elements that was not documented and handed down to present generation. It remains bereft of its past and colorful culture. This newsletter is a beginning to let the world know and come forward to save Korku...their children and their language….
This newsletter documents the Korku of Khalwa Block in Khandwa District of Madhya Pradesh in India.
Introduction to lesser known world of korku a tribe of central india now in reckoning for acute hunger and malnutrition and their language endangered as being preserved in oral traditions alone.
STORIES OF ORIGIN
Korku in its own language is made up of two words: Koro and Ku . Koro means tribesman a Ku is plural : meaning a group of tribesman.
The oral traditions of Korku has many stories related to their creation. They believe that they were made of soil.
One folktale states that Ravana the demon King of Ceylon requested Mahadev ( Lord Shiva) to populate Hills of Satpura. Mahadev made idols of a man and a woman from red soil but was disrupted twice by Horses of Lord Indra. On third attempt he succeeded in creating first Korku man and woman. They fed on berries and yams and covered themselves with big leaves of Sal tree. After having multiplied and couple of centuries having passed by they invoked Mahadev to revisit them and provide them with their own grains. Mahadev blessed them with six grains namely Kodo, Kutki, Bhadli, Mandgi, Rala and Dhan. They still remains tribal millets but being attracted to newer crops they are bound to be extinct.