Introduction / History
The Sounti are one of the 46 scheduled tribes of Orissa. From the16 main tribes, they are the one that has received recognition. They got on well with the other tribes.
The Sounti live in the region of Keonjhar with some in the Anandapur part of the state. They are endogamous, meaning that they only marry within their social group.
The Sounti work in agriculture. The women do housework and are laborers. The number of people who do not work in cultivation are few. They speak mainly in the Sounti language. They have festivals and like music and dances. They are religious and worship such as Dharam Devata and Basuki Mata.
The word sound comes from the word Sounta and it means gathered. It has been said that many were outcasts from Oriya castes. The number of them got larger very soon and they willingly received other outcasts. Along with the Keonjhar, some live in the Mayurbhanji and Balasore regions of Orissa. In addition to speaking Sounti, they speak Oriya and read and write in Oriya. They are not vegetarians and rice is their main cereal. The Sounti are in lineage groups such as Bardia and Doldasia. They are monogamous. Divorce is allowed. Inheritance is for males and the oldest son becomes the main person of the home.
Though agriculture is the main occupation of the Sounti, some do prepare leaf plates. They have a traditional local council. They follow the Hindu religion and local traditions. They have wells with their neighbors. They have their own healthcare but they use modern medicine a little. They have a low literacy level (so the gospel will need to be given in oral form also).
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