The Kol people referred to tribals of Chotanagpur in Eastern Parts of India. The Mundas, Oraons, Hos and Bhumijs were called Kols by British.[1]

It also refers to some tribe and caste of south-east Uttar Pradesh.[2][3] They are mostly landless and dependent on forest produce to make a living, they are Hindus and are designated a Scheduled Caste under India's system of positive discrimination. The tribe has several exogamous clans, including the Brahmin‚ Barawire, Bhil, Chero, Monasi, Rautia, Rojaboria‚ Rajput and Thakuria. They speak the Baghelkhandi dialect.[4] Around 1 million live in Madhya Pradesh while another 5 lakh live in Uttar Pradesh.

Once spelled "Cole", the swaths of land they inhabited in the 19th-century were called "Colekan".[3]


Kol was generic term for non-Aryan people in Chotanagpur such as Oraon and Munda. The term Kola mentioned in Rigveda. According to legend, Yayati, the son of Nahus divided his kingdom for his five sons. Then after ten generation, India was divided among four brothers; Pandya, Krala, Kola and Chola. According to Markandeya Purana, the Aryan princess Suratha was defeated by some unclean tribe called Kolabidhansinah means slayer of Pig. According to Herr Jelinghans, Kolarian tribes who eat pig were considered unclean by the hindus.[5] Another meaning of Kol is Pig.[6]


Colonel Edward Tuite Dalton has refferd to non-Aryan Kolarian and Dravidian tribal of Chotanagpur as Kol such as Munda, Oraon, Ho, Santal, Bhumij, Juang etc in his writings in 1867. According to him the word is epithets of abuse applied by the Brahmin races to the aboriginals who opposed their settlements. In Chotanagpur, the term kol generally applied to Munda and Oraon. Although Oraon and Munda celebrate same festivals, but they don't intermarry among themselves.[7] [8]

Later, Colonel Dalton classified Oraon as Dravidian and Munda and other Kol such as Ho, Bhumij as Kolarian after observing their customs and traditions which were distinct.[9]


  1. ^ Shri Jagdish Chandra Jha (1958). "The KOL RISINGS OF CHOTANAGPUR (1831-1833)-ITS CAUSES". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. JSTOR. 21: 440–446. JSTOR 44145239. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Kols in UP: A life without rights". thehindu. 4 December 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b Edward Balfour, ed. (1862). The Second Supplement, with Index, to the Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia. p. 537.
  4. ^ Pullaiah, T.; Krishnamurthy, K. V.; Bahadur, Bir (8 September 2017). Ethnobotany of India, Volume 5: The Indo-Gangetic Region and Central India. ISBN 9781351741316.
  5. ^ Ambrish Gautam (2017). "Chota Nagpur - An Untold History: A Socio-Historical Analysis". p. 6. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  6. ^ Alavi Zunnoorain Haider, Duguma Hailu Waktole, Prasenjit Ghosh, Alexandros Schismenos , Ioannis Rigkos, Richard Fosu (2016). SOCRATES: VOL. 4 NO. 2 (2016) ISSUE-JUNE. Saurabh Chandra, Socrates Scholarly Research Journal. p. 38. Retrieved 8 November 2022.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Sanjay Nath (2015). "Pages from the Old Records: A Note on 'The "Kols" of Chota-Nagpore' by E.T. Dalton". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Edward Balfour (1885). The Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Volume 2. Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstal.
  9. ^ Jagdish Chandra Jha (1933). "Kol Insurrection Of Chota-nagpur". Nagendra Mishra,Thacker, Spink & Co., (1933) Private Ltd. p. 23. Retrieved 8 November 2022.