Chhattisgarh, state (2001 provisional pop. 20,795,956), 52,200 sq mi (135,194 sq km), central India; created from SE Madhya Pradesh in 2000. Most of Chhattisgarh lies in the valley of the Mahanadi and Sheonath rivers; its eastern section occupies the Deccan plateau, with hills in the west and the Maikal Mts. in the north. The capital is Raipur; other cities include Bastar and Bhilainagar, which houses the state's largest steel plant. The population is more than two thirds rural and consists of various ethnic groups, almost 45% of whom are non-Hindu tribes. Agriculture employs some 80% of the workforce in the relatively undeveloped state, with rice by far the largest crop; others include various cereal grains and legumes. Covering almost a half of Chhattisgarh's area, dense forests yield timber and other wood products, although present development is not substantial. The state is rich in natural resources, with abundant deposits of gold, diamonds, coal, uranium, bauxite, corundum, dolomite, iron, copper, limestone, tin, and other minerals. Long a part of Madhya Pradesh state, but historically (traced back to the 4th cent. A.D.) and culturally distinct from it, the region had been a hotbed of separatist activity since the early 1920s. In recent years, Chhattisgarh has been the site of activity by the Maoist Naxalite movement.

Chhattisgarh (Chhattisgarhi/Hindi: छत्तीसगढ़, tʃʰət̪t̪iːsgəɽʰ) , a state in central India, formed when the sixteen Chhattisgarhi-speaking southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh gained statehood on November 1, 2000. Raipur serves as its capital. It is the 10th largest state of India by area of 52,199 sq mi (135,194 km²). Chhattisgarh takes its name from 36 (Chattis is thirty-six in Hindi and Garh is Fort) princely states in this region from very old times, though the listing of these 36 states has always remaied a point of dispute..controversial, many stories

It borders Madhya Pradesh on the northwest, Maharashtra on the west, Andhra Pradesh on the south, Orissa on the east, Jharkhand on the northeast and Uttar Pradesh on the north.

The Chhattisgarhi language, part of the East-Central group of Indo-Aryan languages, is the predominant language in the region. It is often regarded by linguists to be a dialect of the western Hindi, which is the official language of the state. People in southern Chhattisgarh, Bastar, speak dialects of Dravidian languages. Other languages spoken in Chhattishgarh are Hindi, Oriya, Marathi and tribal languages. The officially recognised and patronised version of the dialect is spoken in the general area in the plains of Raipur and Bilaspur division that was under the direct British administration in the 19th and (the first four decades of)the 20th centuries. The dialect in the earstwhile princely-states-area has carried a flavour distinct from that that was spolken in the "Khalsa Chhattisgarh" as the British area was known as. The language in the northern Sarguja State area has the influence on it of dialects of Vindya Padesh, UP and Bihar. As against Chhattisgarhi, the language over there is proudly called "Sargujia" by the people of that region. Likewise, in areas in the Eastern part that came under Raigarh, Sarangarh and Phuljhar (Saraipali) States, the language has a distinct influence of Oriya on the language.


The north and south parts of the state are hilly, while the central part is a fertile plain. Forests cover roughly forty-four percent of the state.

The northern part of the state lies on the edge of the great Indo-Gangetic plain: The Rihand River, a tributary of the Ganges, drains this area. The eastern end of the Satpura Range and the western edge of the Chota Nagpur Plateau form an east-west belt of hills that divide the Mahanadi River basin from the Indo-Gangetic plain.

The central part of the state lies in the fertile upper basin of the Mahanadi and its tributaries, with extensive rice cultivation. The upper Mahanadi basin is separated from the upper Narmada basin to the west by the Maikal range, part of the Satpuras, and from the plains of Orissa to the east by ranges of hills.

The southern part of the state lies on the Deccan plateau, in the watershed of the Godavari River and its tributary the Indravati River.

The Mahanadi is the chief river of the state. Other main rivers are Hasdo (a tributary of Mahanadi), Rihand, Indravati, Jonk and Arpa.


In Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi, the first Chief Minister of the state, has been the most controversial politician of the State. Prominent leaders, besides him, in the Indian National Congress Party are Vidya Charan Shukla, and Motilal Bohra. Dr.Raman Singh has been the second Chief Minister of the State and first of the Bhartiya Janata Party after the general elections held in November 2003. Besides him, Ramesh Bais, and Dilip Singh Judeo, both former Union Ministers, are other prominent leaders of the party. Dauram Ratnakar is the Chief of the State Unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party for many years. Chhattisgarh has given many prominent leaders in the past which include Pandit ravi Shankar Shukla who was the Prime Minister (as the post was known then) of the state of Central Provinces And Berar before the first general Elections in the country, and later the first Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh; his son Pandit Shyama Charan Shukla was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh thrice. Naresh Chandra Singh, Raja of Sarangarh and a tribal leader of stature, was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh once and Motilal Vora twice. Earlier in 1962, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Pandit Dwarka Prasad Mishra was elected to the state assembly from Kasdol assembly segment in Chhattisgarh. Other prominent leaders of that era include Mahant Lakshmi Narayan Das, Sundar Lal Sharma, Mini Mata and Chandu Lal Chandrakar. There are 4 major political parties and many independents with followers in the state:

There is a heavy presence of armed insurgent communists (known as Naxalites) in southern and northern part of the state almost running parallel Government in the hinterland – Chhattisgarh is as of 2006 the most Naxalite-affected state in the country.


Contrary to the myth, the term Chhattisgarh was never coined by the official rulers in the History. For Marathas, the area was either under Ratanpur (around present Bilaspur) or Raipur states. For the early British administrators, the easters area of the present Chhattisgarh, along with a 12 states falling under the districts of the present western Orissa, formed a group of 18 states, what was then called "Garhjaat States". States of present Chhattisgarh area which were the part of this Garhjaat States were - Jaspur, Udaipur (Dharamjaigarh), Raigarh, Sakti, Sarangarh and Phuljhar. The next administrative change was when the State of Central Province came into being incorporating these six states, the rest going to the state of Orissa and Bengal in 1936. However for political reasons, the area, under the dual administrative control policy, was clubbed under the "Eastern States Agency" in British India. In 1941 they had an area 37,688 square miles and a population of 4,050,000.. ref>Columbia-Lippincott Gazeteer. p. 389


Chhattisgarh is one of the rapidly developing states of India. The per capita income is around 250 USD as of 2001, but that is in part due to the neglect and under investment during it being the part of Madhaya Pradesh. Only 20% of population lives in urban areas.

Chhattisgarh's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at 12 billion USD in current prices. After partition, this mineral-rich state produces 30% of the output of the old Madhya Pradesh state. The state has immense potential to graduate into the league of advanced states provided it gets a far sighted political leadership and adequate planning especially in the area of higher studies as well as technical education.

The state's economy is further fuelled by the presence of the Bhilai Steel Plant, S.E.C.Railway Zone, BALCO Aluminium Plant (Korba), and NTPC Korba (National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd) and S.E.C.L. (South Eastern Coalfields Limited). The city of Korba is a hub for power generation, from where the electricity is supplied to several other Indian states. Chattisgarh's southern area consists of iron ore available where NMDC is excavating to meet the iron demand in India and as well sending to countries like Japan. NMDC is located in Dantewara district. Recently ESSAR has started transporting iron ore through pipe lines to Vizag.

The state is also launching an ambitious plan to become biofuel self-sufficient by 2015 by planting crops of jatropha.


The Rajkumar College Raipur is the oldest educational institution in the area. In 1948 the first Government Science college was established as an intermediate college. In 1956, it was upgraded to the Post-graduate Science Collge status. In the same year (Ref:,_Raipur)The Engineering College was established )later upgraded and renamed as the National Institute ofTechnology).Another college that came up that year was the Sanskrit College. The area used to come under the Saugor University till early sixties when the ravishankar university in raipur was established with Mr Babu Ram Saxena, a linguist as the first vice chancellor. Government High School. St Paul's High School, Madhav rao Sapre High schools were te leading schools till the sixties. Medical College, the 4th in Madhya Pradesh, came into being in 1962-3. Earlier, in 1956, the Ayurvedic School which was till then awarding diploma and licences for Ayurvedic Practive, was upgraded to the status of a full college. Educational institutions set-up by the state government are the prevalent education providers in the state from elementary schools to degree colleges. In these institutions and schools (other than engineering and medical colleges), the dominant medium of education is official hindi.

In Chhattisgarh, there are seven government recognized universities:

Most the colleges in the state are affiliated to one of these universities.

In year 2006 Government Engineering College was declared National institute of technology (also known as NIT). First one of its own kind in State.


The rail network in Chattisgarh is centered on Bilaspur, which is zonal headquarters of South East Central Railway of Indian Railways. Other main railway junctions include Raipur, Durg and Champa. These junctions are well connected to all the major cities of India.

The roadways infrastructure is also slowly picking up in the state. The National Highway 6 (Bombay to Kolkata) passes through the state. The state also hosts National Highway 43 which starts from Raipur and goes up to Vishakhapatnam. National Highway 16 from Hyderabad ends at Bhopalpatnam in Dantewada district. The state has 11 National Highways (2,225 kilometres).

The air infrastructure as of now in the state is minor. Raipur, the capital city, is the sole commercially operating airport of the state. However, of late, Raipur has shown huge upsurge in passenger traffic . Raipur has links to top four cities of the country i.e. Delhi (4 Flights a day), Bombay (3 Flights a day), Kolkata (2 Flights a day), and Chennai (1 Flight a day) .It is also connected to Jaipur , Indore (3 Flights a day), Nagpur (2 Flights a day) , Bhubaneshwar , Ahmedabad (2 Flights a day), Vizag , Pune , Bhopal and Hyderabad (2 Flights a day) . The state, however, has airport in Bilaspur and air strips in Bhilai, Jagdalpur, Sarguja, Korba. Its rural connectivity is also improving.


The state hosts many religious sects like Satnami Panth, Kabirpanth, Ramnami Samaj, and others. Champaran (Chhattisgarh) is a small town that has religious significance as the birth place of the Saint Vallabhacharya. Champaran is coming up as a big holy place for Gujarati community. People from all of Gujarat, Mumbai etc. come to visit this place.

The Oriya culture is prominent in the eastern parts of Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh has a very rich Cultural heritage. Chattisgarh has its unique style of dance, cuisine, and music. This has made Chhattisgarh a favorite of anthropologists and sociologists due to its relevant profile.


One can see here decorative pieces carved on wood, Bamboo furniture, Clay pieces, idols carved on wood etc.


Panthi, Raut Nacha "Karma" and Soowa dance styles are very popular in the region.

Raut Nacha, the folk dance of cowherds, is a traditional folk dance of yadavs/yaduvanshis as symbol of worship to Krishna at the time of 'dev udhni ekadashi' (awakening of Gods after brief rest) according to the Hindu calendar. The dance closely resembles Krishna's dance of lord with his village's girls with gopis.

Panthi, the folk dance of the Satnami community has religious overtones. Performed on Maghi Purnima - the anniversary of the birth of Guru Ghasidas. The dancers dance around a jaitkhamb set up for the occasion, to songs eulogising their spiritual head. The songs also reflect the Nirvana philosophy, conveying the spirit of renunciation of their Guru and the teachings of saint poets like Kabir, Ramdas and Dadu. Dancers with bent torsos and swinging arms continue to dance till carried away by their devotion. As the rhythm quickens, they indulge in acrobatics and form human pyramids.


Pandavani a musical narration of the epic Mahabharata, Teejan Bai, the Pandavani artist was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2003, for her contribution to Pandavani. Ritu Verma is also a well known name .

Chhattisgarh has rich traditional folk songs among which sohar, bihav & Pathoni songs are very famous.

Sohar songs are related to child birth. Bihav songs are related to marriage celebration. The main parts of Bihav songs are Chulmati, Telmati, Maymouri, Nahdouri, Parghani, Bhadoni and other songs related to Bhanver, Vidai songs.

Pathoni songs are related to Gouna that is departure of bride to bridegroom home.

There is a growing presence of Chhattisgarhi music and other cultural material on the web


Several saints have their origin in Chattisgarh, such as Parsurama Ramnami and Vallabha Acharya. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a noted Hindu leader and founder of the Transcendental Meditation was from Raipur.

Status of women

In many ways, the women of Chhattisgarh enjoy a unique position within India. The proportion of women in the population is second highest among states in India. Further, the female-male ratio is in favor of women in rural population. This State is 9th largest state in India, much larger than Tamilnadu; so this feature - though accords well with that of many smaller areas within other States - is unique to Chhattisgarh. The village society is little affected by classical doctrines of Hinduism; probably because more than 95% of residents of Chhattisgarh are either not part of Hindu society or are included as low caste within Hindu caste hierarchy because of their industry related job occupations. Probably, such social composition also results in some customs and cultural practices that seem unique to Chhattisgarh: the regional variants are common in India's diverse cultural pattern. Rural women here are though poor but are more independent, hardy, better organized and socially more vociferous and command more power just like women in North-East India: so much so that they can choose and even terminate a marriage at will. Most of the old temples/shrines here are related to 'women power' (e.g., Shabari, Mahamaya, Danteshwari) and existence of these temples gives insight into historical and current social fabric of this state.

Both women and men here generally marry at a young age; just like marriages that happen or used to happen at young age in most parts of India and world in their not urbanized society. Women aged between 20 to 49 years were found (in one particular study) to have married at median age of 15.4 years; and 34% of girls aged between 15 to 19 years are already married (according to Government).

There is widespread social belief in witchcraft in Chhattisgarh; which is similar to such belief in other parts of the world; see in particular Witch trials in Early Modern Europe . Women are supposed to have access to supernatural forces, and accused of witchcraft and called 'Tonhi' often to settle personal scores. They are barbarically persecuted. The existence of such belief reflects current extent of backwardness of the society in Chhattisgarh.

Today, with increasing contact with mainstream India, many of the cultural concomitants of female subservience common to mainstream India have started creeping in Chhattisgarh. The gender ratio (number females per 1000 males) has been steadily declining over the century in Chhattisgarh: 1046 in year 1901, 1032 in 1941, 996 in 1981 and 990 in 2001; but is better than the ratio for India: 972 in 1901, 945 in 1941, 934 in 1981 and 933 in 2001. Detailed information on various aspects of women status in Chhattisgarh can be found in the linked 103 page report titled 'A situational analysis of women and girls in Chhattisgarh' prepared in year 2004 by 'National Commission of Women', a statutory body belonging to government of India.


Chhattisgarhi is a dialect of Hindi language or a language in its own right and it is spoken and understood by the majority of people in Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarhi was also known as Khaltahi to surrounding Hill-people and as Laria to Oriya speakers. In Koria, Surguja and Jashpur, it appears as Surgujia sub-dialect. Including Chhattisgarhi, a total of 93 dialects or languages are spoken in the state which together represent all three of India's major language families except Tibeto-Burman: Munda (Austro-Asiatic languages), Dravidian and Indo-European. All these dialects use the devanagari script of Hindi irrespective of the language group to which they belong. Chhattisgarhi is mainly an IndoEuropean dialect/language with heavy presence of vocabulary and linguistic features from Munda and Dravidian languages.


Dr. Hira Lal Shukla, an Indologist, has classified the dialects of Chhattisgarh as below within Munda, Dravidian and IndoEuropean language families:


         1)Pre-Munda (Southern)        2)Pre-Munda (Northern)
                 |                           |
      1)Gadba    2)Kharia     1)Korku 2)Mawasi 3)Nihali 4)Pre-Kherwari
                                                   1)Korba         2)Bidaho
                              1)Nagesia 2)Sounta or Toori 3)Majhi 4)Majhwar 5)Kherwari


           1)South-Central                       2)Central                    3)Northern
                |                                    |                              |
1)Dormi  2)Dandami-Maria  3)Bhuria  4)Abujh-Maria   1)Parji or Dhurbi       1)Kurukh or Oraon


               1)Half-Magadhi    2)Magadhi      3)Pijani
                     |                |               |
              1)Eastern Hindi    1)Oriya  1)Halbi  2)Sadri
                     |                 |
             1)Chhattisgarhi     1)Bhatri

Language Extinction Issue

Since Sanskritized Khari Boli or Hindi is the language of India (and Chhattisgarh) for official use like recruitment, education and there is lack of local people (at least from all ethno-language groups) in the state/local administration; there is ongoing change in the linguistic profile of the state accelerated with more interaction with outside world and desire to get developed.

In northern Chhattisgarh, dialects from all these three language groups are in use today; in middle part of Chhattisgarh, only Indo-European dialects have survived; and in southern Chhattisgarh, Dravidian and Indo-European dialects are in use.

According to H.L. Shukla: Munda dialects are progressing to the stage of becoming extinct; among Dravidian dialects, Parji is also facing extinction problem, Kurukh (Oraon) and Gondi are struggling; and IndoEuropean dialects are in the process of losing their features differentiating them from official Hindi, Khari Boli.

Munda Language Family

According to 1971 census of India, Korku was the major Munda dialect spoken by more than 200,000 people (It is not clear whether this count is for whole India or is specific to Chhattisgarh). Korku, Kharia and Korba are major Munda dialects in use in Chhattisgarh.

Other than these three, Muasi, Toori (in Raigarh), Nihali-Mankari, Khaerwari, Birhord, Kodaku (Sarguja), Dhelki, Mahto, Kora-Majhi, Munda, Mundari and Santhali are other Munda dialects spoken in Chhattisgarh which are either sub-dialects of above stated three dialects or are different but in the stage of extinction.

The only known speaker of Gadba, a Munda dialect spoken in Bastar district, died at the age of 80 some years back, as noted by H.L.Shukla.

Dravidian Language Family

According to 1971 census of India, Kurukh or Oraon was mother-tongue of 300,609 people in Chhattisgarh and there were around 30,000 speakers of Parja or Dhurbi.

Gondi is the Dravidian language spoken by Gond tribals who call themselves Koitor or Koitol and therefor H.L. Shukla has called their language Koitor. H. L. Shukla identifies dialects such as Dormi, Dandami-Maria, Bhuria, Abujh-Maria, Koya, Ghotul-muriya and others under this language. According to 1961 census of India, there were 3,900,000 Koitor or Gond tribals in India. Two thirds of these Gond/Koitor tribals were distributed over Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh according to 1971 census. As of now, almost more than half of these tribals use the dialects in use in their respective areas (other than Koitor). (Mr. H.L.Shukla found that Near Bhopal (capital of Madhyapradesh) which was once the stronghold of Koitor people, one cannot hear Koitor dialect in the circumference of 100 km).

Indo-European Languages

Among 93 dialects spoken in Chhattisgarh, 70 are classified as belonging to the Indo-European language family. Under Chhattisgarhi group, the dialects spoken by Agariya, Binjhwari, Baigani, Bhuliya, Lariya, Dhanwar, Panka, Dindwar and many other tribals are included.

Sadri is the dialect understood by many of the different tribal groups. Sadri is the name given to the Indo-European dialect that is used by tribal people, when they do not use their own dialect, to communicate with other people. Sadri is in use from Chhattisgarh and Orissa to West-Bengal. Similarly, Halbi is understood by many of the different tribal groups in southern Chhattisgarh (earlier there were many different opinions about the language family of Halbi, but now it is usually accepted as an Indo-European dialect) - in 1951 census, it was found that more than 99% of Halbi speakers can speak at-least two dialects.Other major languages spoken in Chhattisgarh are Hindi,Oriya and Marathi.



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