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Kharia are several groups of hill people living in the Chota Nagpur area of Orissa and Bihar states, northeastern India, and numbering more than 280,000 in the late 20th century. Most of the Kharia speak a South Munda language of the Munda family, itself a part of the Austroasiatic stock. They are of uncertain ethnic origin. The Kharia are usually subdivided into three groups: Hill Kharia, Dhelki, and Dudh. All are patrilineal, with the family as the basic unit, and are led by a tribal government consisting of a priest, a headman, and village leaders. The Hill Kharia speak an Indo-Iranian language and seem otherwise to be a totally separate group. The Dhelki and the Dudh, both of whom speak the Kharia language, recognize each other—but not the Hill Kharia—as Kharia.

The Dudh are the most numerous and progressive branch; they live along the Sankh and South Koel rivers. The Dhelki are concentrated near Gangpur. Both live in settled villages, and intervillage federations enforce the feeling of social solidarity. They traditionally build separate large dormitories for unmarried men and women, but this practice has been abandoned by Christian Kharia. The Kharia's traditional religion includes a form of sun worship, in which each family head makes five sacrifices to Bero to protect his generation.

The Hill Kharia live in small groups in remote areas of the Simlipal Range in Orissa state. They depend on shifting agriculture, growing rice and millet, but constantly face the problem of land scarcity. They also collect silk cocoons, honey, and beeswax for trade.

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