WHAT DOES KOLI MEAN?
The name "Koli" (from which is derived the English word coolie) is explained in a dozen ways, among which the most plausible is that it comes from the Sanskrit word kula, meaning "clan." The Koli numbered only 336,000 persons in 1911, but their numbers were estimated at 1.5 million in Bombay State alone in 1969. The Koli constitute a tribe with many branches and two main subdivisions: the Hill Kolis, Malhar kolis and the Sea Kolis or Son Kolis. The most popular explanation for the origin of the term "Son" is that turmeric, which is very sacred to Dhandoba, the family god, is son—"golden" or "yellow" in color. The Son Kolis represent the highest group of the many subgroups, and the Dhor Koli are generally considered the lowest. The Son Kolis traditionally inhabit the area in and around Bombay on the west coast of India. (son kolis meant the kolis having a relation with sea (in marathi Son).
A famous theory suggests that the Kolis emigrated from 'Sindh' and were parts of the white 'Huns'.
The other theory suggests a different origin. According to it the kolis were a part of the Dreat Kols or the Munda tribe. They often believed that their origin is from Lord Shiva's pocket The 'Son' kolis whose headquarters is Mumbai are believed to have been there from very long time nearly from A.D. 1138.
The principal deity of the Kolis of Nimar is the Goddess 'Bhawani', and nearly every family has a silver image of her. Among the Son Kolis the God 'Khandoba' is considered by some as an incarnation of Shiva. As fisherfolks, the Son Koli consider the sea itself to be a deity. The Koli customarily either bury or burn their dead, although the former is more common.They celebrate a number of festivals some are ancestral (Palkhi,Gamdevi yatra) while some are seasonal (Narali punav,Shimga). The list of their Deities includes Goddess Ekveera,Khandoba, Gamdevi).They also practise witchcraft, black magic and sorcery.
This is a Koli fish market. It has many unique fishes and one important aspect of this market is that, it does not stink.
The Kolis are the protectors of Indian mangrooves.