Bheels (Sanskrit bhil, separate; i. e., outcasts), a native tribe of Hindostan, chiefly inhabiting Candeish in Bombay, and numbering over 100,000. They are believed to be the aborigines of Guzerat and adjacent territories, who have been from remote ages described as a distinct people. The earliest notice of them is in the Mahabharata. According to their own traditions, they sprang from the union of the god Mahadeo with a beautiful woman whom he had met in a forest, and whose descendants on being driven south settled in W. Candeish and Malwah, in the Vindhya and Satpoora mountains, and along the banks of the Taptee, Mahee, and Narmada. Along the Vindhya range, from Jam to W. Mandoo, the country is exclusively inhabited by Bheels. The principal chiefs are called bhomiyahs, of the Bhilalah tribe (descendants of Rajpoots with Bheel women). One of the most notorious of them for his murderous exploits was Nadar Singh. They chiefly worship Mahadeo and his consort Devi, the goddess of smallpox. The Bheels joined in the Indian mutiny of 1857-8. Lieut. Henry, the superintendent of police, was killed in an attempt to dislodge them from a strong position in Candeish, and another engagement, fought Jan. 20, 1858, near the frontier of the nizam's territory, where the Bheels had mustered in great force, resulted in the loss of 50 European troops.
The English authorities have since endeavored to control them by subjection to military discipline.