Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Hattis of Himachal Pradesh


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hatti tribe and its culture

Mains level : Not Much

The Centre is set to consider the Himachal Pradesh government’s request for inclusion of the Hatti community in the list of Scheduled Tribes in the state.

Who are the Hattis?

  • The Hattis are a close-knit community who got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat and wool etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.
  • The Hatti community, whose men generally don a distinctive white headgear during ceremonies, is cut off from Sirmaur by two rivers called Giri and Tons.
  • Tons divides it from the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand.
  • The Hattis who live in the trans-Giri area and Jaunsar Bawar in Uttarakhand were once part of the royal estate of Sirmaur until Jaunsar Bawar’s separation in 1815.
  • Due to topographical disadvantages, the Hattis living in the Kamrau, Sangrah, and Shilliai areas lag behind in education and employment.

Societal norms of Hattis

  • The Hattis are governed by a traditional council called Khumbli, which like the khaps of Haryana, decide community matters.
  • The Khumbli’s power has remained unchallenged despite the establishment of the panchayati raj system.
  • The two clans have similar traditions, and inter-marriages are commonplace.
  • There is a fairly rigid caste system among the Hattis — the Bhat and Khash are the upper castes, while the Badhois are below them.
  • Inter-caste marriages have traditionally remained a strict no-no.

Who are Paharis?

  • The proposal called for the inclusion of the “Paddari tribe”, “Koli” and “Gadda Brahman” communities to be included on the ST list of J&K.
  • The suggestion for the inclusion had come from the commission set up for socially and educationally backward classes in the UT.
  • The J&K delimitation commission has reserved six of the nine Assembly segments in the Pir Panjal Valley for STs.

Back2Basics: Scheduled Tribes

The above Article also provides for listing of scheduled tribes State/Union Territory wise and not on an all India basis.

  • The term ‘Scheduled Tribes’ first appeared in the Constitution of India.
  • Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution”.
  • Article 342 prescribes procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.

How are STs notified?

  • As per the current procedure, each proposal for the scheduling of a new community as ST has to originate from the relevant State Government.
  • It is then sent to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which sends it to the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI).
  • Once approved by the Office of the RGI, it is sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), and only after its approval is it sent to the Cabinet.

Status of STs in India

  • The Census 2011 has revealed that there are said to be 705 ethnic groups notified as Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • Over 10 crore Indians are notified as STs, of which 1.04 crore live in urban areas.
  • The STs constitute 8.6% of the population and 11.3% of the rural population.

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