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Numerically the most important tribe of Keonjhar is the Kolha. Most of them live in the Bhuyan hills and in the adjoining areas like Nayagarh and Chamakpur. They have a separate language of their own but most of them use Oriya, Hindi and English as a subsidiary language. They appear to have migrated to Keonjhar from the North east during the last century. They eat all kinds of flesh and are fond of Handia (fermented liquor) like the other tribes . The Kolhas take pleasure in shooting animals and birds with the help of bow and arrow, but are generally timid.It is evident that majority of the Kolhas follow Hindu Customs and rites. But they hold the “Sajana” tree, Paddy, mustard oil and the dog in special veneration. The breaking of straw is considered as the final adjustment of a compact. Mostly these people serve the well-to-do agriculturists as mulias or field labourers and are generally paid in advance by their sahas or masters. They are very backward in respect of education and lag behind many other tribes in the district.
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