The Kol people referred to a group of tribal communities of Chotanagpur in eastern parts of India. Historically, the Mundas, Oraons, Hos and Bhumijs were called Kols by the British.[1]

It also refers to some tribes and castes of south-east Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.[2][3] They are mostly Indigenous people and dependent on forest produce to make a living, and they have their own land. The caste has several exogamous clans, including the Bhil, Chero, Monasi, Rautia, Raut, Gauthiya Rojaboria‚ Rautel and Thakuria. They speaks the Baghelkhandi dialect.[4] Around 1 million lives in Madhya Pradesh while another 5 lakh lives in Uttar Pradesh.

Once spelled "Kole", the swaths of land they inhabited in the 19th-century were called "Kolean".[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.


Colonel Edward Tuite Dalton has refferd to non-Aryan Kolarian and Dravidian tribals 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.[5] [6]

Later, Colonel Dalton classified Oraon as Dravidian and Munda, along with other Kols such as Ho, Bhumij as Kolarian after observing their customs and traditions which were distinct.[7]


  1. ^ Shri Jagdish Chandra Jha (1958). "The KOL RISINGS OF CHOTANAGPUR (1831-1833)-ITS CAUSES". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 21. JSTOR: 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. ^ Sanjay Nath (2015). "Pages from the Old Records: A Note on 'The "Kols" of Chota-Nagpore' by E.T. Dalton". Journal of Adivasi and Indigenous Studies.
  6. ^ Edward Balfour (1885). The Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Volume 2. Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstal.
  7. ^ Jagdish Chandra Jha (1933). "Kol Insurrection Of Chota-nagpur". Nagendra Mishra,Thacker, Spink & Co., (1933) Private Ltd. p. 23. Retrieved 8 November 2022.