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Shahdol District

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Shahdol is a district of Madhya Pradesh located on the southeastern-most portion. The district is tribal in nature, with the living standards of the tribes being relatively simple. The boundaries include both districts and a state, with the north bounded by the district of Satna (on the northwestern side) and Sidhi (on the northeastern side). The east and south parts are bounded by the state of Chhatisgarh. To the west, it is bounded by two districts, with Dindori on the southwest side and Umaria district on the northwest.

Shahdol is a medium-sized district, having a total area of 5,671 square kilometers. The 2001 census states its total population is around 908,148. Of those, 391,027 are scheduled tribes while 67,528 are scheduled castes. Shahdol district is part of the Rewa division of Madhya Pradesh and its administrative headquarters is the town of Shahdol.

As is most often the case with districts, the name of the district was derived from its administrative headquarters town of Shahdol. The name itself is thought to be derived from one Shahdolwa Ahir, who hailed from the village of Sohagpor. This came about because of a declaration by Jamni Bhan, the second son of Maharaja Virbhan Singh of Bagelkhand, who also happens to be the progenitor of the Ex-Illakadar family of Sohagpur. Jamni Bhan decided to settle in Sohagpur and proceeded to maximize facilities in the settlement. He also declared that places settled by clearing the forests will be named after the pioneer settlers, hence the settlement founded by Shahdolwa Ahir.

Later on, the place became the camp site for the Maharaja of Rewa and the British forces while both were on tour. In time, more villages were added on the Shahdol settlement until it eventually became recognized as a town. When the princely states merged in 1948, the district headquarters was shifted from Umaria to Shahdol. Eventually, when Madhya Pradesh was created via the melding of several existing states on November 1, 1956, Shahdol became one of the districts of Madhya Pradesh.

Shahdol district is located on the northeastern part of the Deccan Plateau, at the trijunction of the Maikal Ranges of the Satpura Mountain, Vindhya Mountain’s Kymore Range, and some of the parallel hills that extend over the Chhota Nagbur Plateau over in Bihar. The district may be divided into three physio-graphic divisions. They are the Maikal Range, the Eastern Plateau hills and the Upper Son valley. Geographically, the district is mainly a hilly region. It is also very rich in mineral resources, with the major minerals being coal, clay, ochres and marble. Bauxite is also found in large quantities.

The tribals living in the area still prefer the old and traditional methods of cultivation. The size of the fields are very small, with the tribals mainly marginal farmers. Since the annual yield of the fields are not enough for their home use, for the non-harvesting seasons, they mostly work on daily wages. The chief crops being cultivated are paddy, kutko, maize and kodo.

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