Chaitua Palaayan: It’s a common word among the tribals of Tamia and Patalkot valley of Chhindwara District, Madhya Pradesh, India. Chaitua, a word derived from Hindi “Chait” means beginning of summer.

Tamia, a hilly block of Chhindwara is rich in flora and fauna. The Tamia region of Chhindwara district poses the twin challenges of high botanical and high ethnic diversity. Patalkot in Tamia region is a lovely landscape located at a depth of 1200-1500 feet in a valley. It is a treasure of forest and herbal wealth. Because of the inaccessibility of this area, the tribals of this region were totally cut off from the civilized world. Gonds and Bharias are the main tribals community of this pocket.

Why Chaitua Palaayan?: There are lots of employment opportunities in this region but tribals are forced to leave their home for Chaitua Majdoori (Labourism). Villages are silent, no folksongs, no folkdances; locks are there on the doors. Lots of tribals have migrated to cities like Bhopal, Raisen, Hoshangabaad, Pipariya etc. in search of money/ food. Numbers of tribals are leaving their home for the need of their daily requirement i.e. food, finance and future security. No attempt has been taken so far from the government agencies to stop the Palaayan of tribals. Villages in Tamia region viz., Kathotia, Thanakheda, Sidhouli, Satalva, Umarwa, Banki, Beejhadhana, Loutia, Bhainskho, Bamdi, Markadhana, Dhendhu, Bailpathar, Pipariya Rajguru, Gaildubba, Kareyam, Rated, Chimtipur, Chhindi and Jaitpur are among the places from where the tribals are roving away to another nearby cities. Thousands of tribals leave their home in the beginning of summer for harvesting crops in other town. They meet rich farmers there and work in their fields. In return, they get 5% of total harvested crop. This 5% earn is the total gain that they get in Chaitua Majdoori. Chaitua Palaayan is generally observed during Jan/ Feb each year. According to Mr Kuldeep Singh a hotel owner from Bijouri village and Mr Ramu Verma a bus driver from Pipariya Rajguru, more than 30000 tribals have migrated from here to various cities in search of employment this year.

Palaayan is need of the hour, says tribal from Banki, Mr Sukhram Dhurve and Sunder Uikey. They say, “Neither landscape is there to cultivate crops nor Government is paying any attention for our food security, we don’t have money. There is no permanent employment security for us.”

It was really hard to reach inside the villages of Patalkot valley before 1990. That was the time when this region was not accessible by common men. Development moves initiated by the government. Few non-government agencies also started working here. The Government has made roads and other transport facilities but tribals are not satisfied with these attempts. “Roads are there for us but only road can not be a sign of development, we do need jobs, employment security.” Says Sumran Tekam of village Bijhadhana. Muniya Bai from Bailpathar, who just came back from Chaitua Palaayan, said that she needed money to return loan that she took from the village chief. She was helpless earlier. She opted to move away from home because she had no job to do and she was unable to arrange to the money. She used to collect forest produces like Amla (Emblica officinalis), Mahua (Madhuca india) and Harra (Terminalia chebula) before Palaayan. The money she used to get in return was even lesser to have food for a day. She was facing a tough time. Finally she decided to go somewhere out for arrangement of money. When asked to her, “how does she feel to leave her home?” she replies “I had to return the loan otherwise the village-chief would have taken her home away from her. Now, after coming back to home, she has paid the loan. She thinks there should be some financial help or employment facility from the government.

Tribals are angry upon local politicians. According to them, “they (politicians) are opportunistic fellows. They come to us during elections only. They give us money, cloths and woods for voting in favour of them. But, they forget us as soon as the elections are over. Politicians are not serious in our concern. How long we will be dependent upon forest produces? We need certain job opportunities”.

Chaitua Palaayan in the year 2004 in some tribal villages of Tamia region

1. Village: Sidhouli
Total Population: 750
Migrated Tribals: 600

2. Village: Beejadhana
Total Population: 1300
Migrated Tribals: 1000

3. Village: Dhedhu
Total Population: 2000
Migrated Tribals: 1300

4. Village: Loutia
Total Population: 1500
Migrated Tribals: 1200

5. Village: Markadhana
Total Population: 500
Migrated Tribals: 400

6. Village: Bamdi
Total Population: 1400
Migrated Tribals: 850

7. Village: Jaitpur
Total Population: 150
Migrated Tribals: 110

8. Village: Rated
Total Population: 100
Migrated Tribals: 70

Few Facts and problems:

The state government during the last three years took various drought relief actions. Government had sanctioned rupees 40 crores for 1582 rehabilitation work in various drought affected areas of the district. Most of the work was done is tribal pockets of the district. Tribal migration was lesser during last 4 years. Almost 50000 tribals got work during the period. This year no such kind of work was allotted to the tribals therefore the migration rate increased. Tribals are angry because they don’t have any work to do.

No direct fund has been raised to promote the livings of the tribal who survive here.

NGOs those who are working for development of Patalkot and its population, are more interested in their self-development. Lots of money has been granted so far from the Government agencies to these NGOs but results can be seen on the field.

Presently, it is the need of the hour to provide basic facilities to these tribes but in a properly managed way. Palaayan should be stopped completely so that the culture and rituals of tribes of this region remain live. The culture of these people should not be killed; the system of curing disorders should not be exploited. Government should take initiatives for employment for tribals in their home village. Funding facilities should be given to them for cultivation in their field and use of wasteland. Government should establish an agency for collecting forest produces brought by tribals so that they can enjoy the actual rate. Back doors should be shown to the mediators and brokers.

Tribals should be promoted for cultivation of medicinal plants. In this way, they can have their own way to earn the money, so that, next time they wont migrate. Chaitua Palaayan would be stopped in this way.


1) Tamia se Majdooron ka Palaayan, Chhindwara Bhaskar Edition, Dainik Bhaskar Bhopal, Page 5, April 10, 2004.

2)Patalkot: Valley of Miraculous herbs and tribal culture by Dr Deepak Acharya. Published on

Author's Bio: 

Dr Deepak Acharya is Director, Abhumka Herbal Pvt Limited, India. For more information, please visit and