Introduction / History
Bhunjia people are listed as a Scheduled Tribe of India. They have two major groups, namely Chokutia Bhunjia and Chinda Bhunjia in the states of Chhatisgarh and Orissa. Both outsiders and insiders call them Bhunjia. In some villages they live with people of other castes called Magi.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Their livelihood is agriculture plus in Orissa some people are involved in animal husbandry and fishing. A few of them are employed as teachers while others collect and sell firewood.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Almost all Bhunjia (99.87% according to the census) are Hindu though they include elements of the traditional tribal religion.
What Are Their Needs?
Currently, the state government of Orissa is working with about 500 Bhunjia families in community development. The literacy rate among those families is about 35% while people not covered under this project have a lower literacy level about 19%. Presently, Bhunjia is considered to be a dialect of Halbi [hlb].
Language development is ongoing with Halbi and it needs to be determined if Bhunjia people can use Halbi literature or if it will be necessary to produce adaptations into their dialect. There is a definite need for language development in the Bhunjia language. Among themselves Bhunjia people mostly speak their own vernacular rather than the language of wider communication. Speaking a second language is very difficult for women and children.