The tribes living in the
hilly areas of eastern border of Gujarat are spread in
comparatively a larger part of the state. Koli is
among those communities who live a semi-tribal life.
The Kolis living in parts of Gujarat-Saurashtra
are divided into five sub-castes, such as (1) Talpada,
(2) Chumvalia, and (3) Ghedia, (4) Valankia and (5)
khant. The number of other minor sub castes is very
Some of the Kolis from South Gujarat call
themselves ‘Patels’ and others introduce themselves as
‘Thakors’. According to a reference, the mariners
living in the coastal area are basically from the Koli
community. The Bhils of the Aravalli hills live with
the kolis. The people of this community residing in
the ravines of rivers and desert areas have more or
less merged with other local communities.
Agriculture is one of the main occupations of
the Kolis. Some of them work as labourers on daily
wages. Their surnames are similar to those of the
Rajputs. Many kolis are involved in criminal
activities too. Kolis were known for theft, robbery
and stealing of crops. They are idle and extravagant
by nature. They are frequently lured by easy money
instead of hard work or labour.
That is why most kolis resorted to criminal
acts. They created a sense of terror in north Gujarat
once upon a time. The Kolis are robusts built medium
in looks and black in complexion. The kolis of
Saurashtra wear ratched breeches and in Gujarat they
were short dhoti, similar shirt, a coaty and a simple
turban. The buttons are made of silver chain with tiny
bells. They also wear a black thread and an ominous
pandel in neck.
The Koli women wear the petticoat embroidered
with small round mirrors and thick sarees. The Kolis
living in urban areas have shifted to modern attire.
The women love simple silver ornaments. The kolis were
famous for their skills in detecting the footprints of
a thief or an animal at one time. They were expert in
hunting of pigs and rabbits. They were equally
proficient in horse riding and swimming.
Koli women are normally thin in build. They
are charming by face. Colorful dresses, small ring in
the nose and dancing a Tippani are their main hobbies.
They sing with a very sweet and delicate voice.
Tippani dance of koli women is an experience to