The Gondi or Gond or Koitur are an Indian ethnic group. They speak Gondi language which is a Dravidian language. They are one of the largest tribal groups in India. They are spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha. They are listed as a Scheduled Tribe for the purpose of India's system of positive discrimination. They are an Adivasi group (indigenous people) of India.
The Gond are also known as the Raj Gond. The term was widely used in 1950s, but has now become almost obsolete, probably because of the political eclipse of the Gond Rajas. The Gondi language is closely related to the Telugu, belonging to the Dravidian family of languages.
The 2011 Census of India recorded about 2.98 million Gondi speakers.
According to the 1971 census, their population was 5.01 million. By the 1991 census, this had increased to 9.3 million and by the 2001 census the figure was nearly 11 million. For the past few decades they have been witnesses to the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency in the central part of India. Gondi people, at the behest of the Chhattisgarh government, formed the Salwa Judum, an armed militant group to fight the Naxalite insurgency.
Scholars believe that Gonds ruled in Gondwana, now in eastern Madhya Pradesh and western Odisha, between the 13th and 19th centuries AD. Muslim writers described a rise of Gond state after the 14th century.
Gonds ruled in four kingdoms (Garha-Mandla, Deogarh, Chanda, and Kherla) in central India between the 16th and 18th centuries. Rani Durgavati rules the region from 1550 until her death in 1564. They built number of forts, palaces, temples, tanks and lakes during the rule of the Gonds dynasty. The Gondwana kingdom survived until the late 16th century.⇒