Gadaba or Gutub is a Mundari language spoken by the Gadaba, a Scheduled Tribe living in the Agency Area of north coastal Andhra Pradesh. They call themselves 'Mogililu' or 'Modililu' in their own dialect in the Srikakulam District. The Gadaba were formerly employed as palanquin-bearers.

This tribe owes its name to the fact that its ancestors emigrated from the banks of the Gadabari (Godavari) river, and settled at Nandapur, the former capital of the Rajas of Jeypore. Some evidence say that they can be called Kadava, as in Tamil, because of their prominent earrings - Kadu in Tamil meaning ear. It may be more proper to derive their name from the three Sanskrit gatvara, which in Odia means locomotive and palanquin-bearers may deserve the adjective 'gatvara'. Another derivation may be from the Sanskrit kadavada, which means speaking indistinctly. There is no more indistinct speech than that of the Gadaba, for their words are rarely heard. Kadavada also means vile or contemptible.

The Gadaba are distributed in the Agency Area of Visakhapatnam, Vizanagaram and Srikakulam districts and in certain agency tracts of Koraput and Ganjam districts of Orissa. According to the 1971 Census the total population of the Gadaba was 25,108. In the State of Jeypore they are the only representative of the Munda speaking people and they are "now a small occupational group of palanquin-bearers, living east of Jagadalpur."

There is a low level of literacy among the Gadaba, and their language is rarely written.

Gadaba script

This is a script for Gadaba devised by Professor Prasanna Sree.

Gadaba script

Information provided by Professor Prasanna Sree of Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India


Information about the Gadaba people and language

Munda languages

Bhumij, Gadaba, Ho, Juang, Kharia, Korku, Mundari, Santali, Sora

Scripts invented by Professor Prasanna Sree

Bagatha, Dhurwa, Gadaba, Gondi, Goudu, Jatapu, Kammara, Kolam, Konda-Dora, Kotia, Koya, Kupia, Mali, Mukha Dora, Rana, Savara, Sugali, Yerukula

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