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Bhil

Bhil

[beel]
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Bhils are a tribal people of Central India. They speak Bhil languages, a group of Indic languages.

Bhils are a scheduled tribe in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan in western and central India, as well as in Tripura in far-eastern India, on the border with Bangladesh.

Bhils are also settled in Tharparkar district of Sindh in Pakistan.

The Ghoomar dance is one well-known aspect of Bhil culture.

In feudal and colonial times, many Bhils were employed by the ruling Rajputs in various capacities, e.g. as Shikaris because of their knowledge of the terrain. Many had even become warriors in armies. They were in the Mewar army of Maharana Pratap Singh and like Chhatrapati Shivaji, were experts in guerilla warfare which the Mughals had so much trouble handling. Today, there is a Mewar Bhil Corps.'

In Hindu Mythology, popular Bhil figures are Shabari, who offered Rama and Laxmana half-eaten Ber (berries) fruit when they were searching for Sita Devi in the forest. Maharishi Matanga was another Hindu Bhil sage who became a Brahmana.

It is noteworthy that Lord Rama appears in a Bhil myth where there has been a flood that wiped out humanity and Rama suggests how it can be repopulated.

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