Kolam people


Kolam are a designated Scheduled Tribe in the Indian states of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.[2] They belong to the sub-category Particularly vulnerable tribal group,[3] one of the three belonging to this sub-category, the others being Katkari and Madia Gond.[4]

Lord Bheemayyak.jpg
Kolams worshipping Lord Bhimayyak, their tribal deity
Total population
239,583 (2011 census)
Regions with significant populations

They are common in the Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Nanded districts of Maharashtra and live in hamlets called pod. They speak the Kolami language, which is a Dravidian language.[5] They are an agricultural community.[6]

They have a high rate of returning positive to the Naked eye single tube red cell osmotic fragility test (NESTROFT) test, making them prone to high incidence of Thalassaemia.[7]


The Kolam are an endogamous group and are divided into twelve exogamous clans, called pedi: Tekam, Watulkar, Nekwaraka, Godhankar, Wathora, Shivle, Parsinekul, Ghotkar, Paraskar, Ravikul, Mautkar, Shootkar. One clan name (Tekam) is shared with the Gonds, while the others come from Marathi.[5]

Kolam society was formerly made up of joint families, collectively responsible for farming. Today, however, most Kolams have nuclear families, called attena bala sula. Do-masnet-mah-up, respect, is to be given to the bhasa (husband's elder brother), mama (husband's father), appa (husband's mother), dhobak (grandfather of husband), and dhoi (grandmother of husband). Similar respect is given to the corresponding relations on the wife's side of the family. Respect is also given from sanjine (son-in-law) and aap (wife's mother). Other types of relations exist between brothers and sisters-in-law and grandchildren and grandparents, each with their own name.[5]


Kolams practice monogamous marriage, penli. Cross-cousin marriage is permitted. Marriageable age is 18-20 years. Marriage of a widow to their brother is forbidden, but marriage of a man to his wife's sister is permitted after the death of his first wife. Married women wear Mangalsutra, mattel (earring), ongarar (finger-ring), besar (nose stud), torde (bichia) and hirwat gajal (bangles). They have no dowry. Most marriages are arranged, but marriage by capture is sometimes allowed. However, most instances of marriage by capture are prearranged by the two parties.[5]


  1. ^ "A-11 Individual Scheduled Tribe Primary Census Abstract Data and its Appendix". www.censusindia.gov.in. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  2. ^ "List of notified Scheduled Tribes" (PDF). Census India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  3. ^ Shashishekhar Gopal Deogaonkar; Leena Deogaonkar Baxi (1 January 2003). The Kolam Tribals. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 9–20. ISBN 978-81-8069-011-2. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  4. ^ Sarit Kumar Chaudhuri; Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri (2005). Primitive Tribes in Contemporary India: Concept, Ethnography and Demography. Mittal Publications. p. 269. ISBN 978-81-8324-026-0. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d K. S. Singh (2004). People of India: Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. pp. 1070–1072. ISBN 978-81-7991-101-3. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  6. ^ Gabriele Dietrich (2004). Waging Peace, Building a World in which Life Matters: Festschrift to Honour Gabriele Dietrich. ISPCK. p. 181. ISBN 978-81-7214-798-3. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  7. ^ Aloke Kumar Kalla; P. C. Joshi (1 January 2004). Tribal Health And Medicines. Concept Publishing Company. p. 158. ISBN 978-81-8069-139-3. Retrieved 7 April 2013.