Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic group in West India
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Bhils or Bheels are an Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic group in West India. They speak the Bhil languages, a subgroup of the Western Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages. As of 2013, Bhils were the largest tribal group in India.


  • The Bhils who mainly reside in the hilly country between Abu and Asirgarh and have also spread into the plains of Gujarat and spilled over into northern Deccan, are Hindus. Some even claim to be reckoned as Rajputs. But many of their sub-tribes or kuls pay no respect to the Brahmanas or Hindu Gods, nor do they build temples. They worship only Devi, but celebrate Holi, Dushera and Diwali like other Hindus.” They have always remained Hindu. It is not only among the Bhils but all over the country that many tribes have as many forms of Hinduism as are permitted by the Hindu spirit of accommodating social and religious diversities.
    • Lal, K. S. (1995). Growth of scheduled tribes and castes in medieval India. 15
  • The Bhils have long ceased to be a homogeneous people. In the course of millennia, various ele- ments have fused to shape the community. During their long and tortuous history, other aboriginal groups which came under their sway have probably merged with them, losing their identity. One can see a wide range of physical types and complexion. The vari- ation in complexion is very striking indeed, ranging between fair to quite dark-skinned... There is no consensus among scholars on the exact ethnic character of the Bhils. They have been alternatively described as proto-Australoid, Dravidian or Veddoid.
    • P.A. Augustine, Bhils of Rajasthan, quoted in Elst K Indigenous Indians: Agastya to Ambedkar (1993) 182
  • The second largest Scheduled Tribe of India is the Bhil community, spread out in southern Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and northern Maharashtra. They speak Bhili which belongs to the family of Sanskrit. They are the largest Vanavasi community in Gujarat. Nearly all the Bhils identify themselves as Hindus and celebrate festivals like Holi, Diwali, Navaratri, Rakhi, etc. Historically, the Bhils played an important role in the coronation ceremony of many Rajput chiefs.
    • Malhotra, R. & Viswanathan V. (2022). Snakes in the Ganga : Breaking India 2.0.
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