Tribes in News

Tripura’s Darlong community in included in ST List


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Darlong Tribes

Mains level : Scheduled Tribes and issues

The Lok Sabha recently passed a bill to amend a constitutional order to include Darlong, a tribal clan in Tripura which was among the generic Halam community till now, in the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST).

Who are Darlongs?

  • Darlong is a tribal community of 11,000 people.
  • Despite its small population, the community has a high prevalence of education, cultural activities and members of the community are serving in different high positions in the local administration.
  • Darlongs, despite being Scheduled Tribes, were never given ST certificates.
  • Since they were considered a generic tribe under the Kuki community, they were handed their tribal certificates as members of ‘Kuki’ community.
  • The subsequent identity crisis among them, especially Darlong youths, who were equipped with modern education, culminated in the demand for a separate statutory identity of their own in 1995.
  • The group is a small tribal clan but has produced a high number of educated people proportionate to its population in the state.
  • People from the Darlong community, like many other tribal communities, are now serving in high positions in the state administration, academia, and public services.
  • Tribal musicologist and Rosem (tribal instrument) maestro Thanga Darlong was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award a few years back for his contribution to culture.

Why is tribal identity a big issue in Tripura?

  • Out of 37 lakh people of Tripura, nearly 30 per cent are tribals, who mostly live in areas under jurisdiction of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).
  • They are spread in patches across all eight districts and covering 70 per cent of the state’s geographical area.
  • The state saw tribals become minority in their own state due to arrival of East Pakistani refugees who fled their country.
  • Tribal identity is a major issue in Tripura, which is also one of the major subjects dominating the state politics now.
  • There is rising demand of Greater Tipraland – a proposed separate state for Tiprasa or Tripuris (tribal and non-tribal) living in the state.

Back2Basics: Tribes of Tripura

  • Tripura, the tiny Northeast state of 37 lakh people houses 19 tribal communities.
  • These include Tripuri or Debbarma, Reangs or Brus, Jamatia, Noatia, Uchoi, Chakma, Mog, Lushai, Kuki, Munda, Kour, Oram, Santhal, Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimar or Sermai, Garo, Khasi, Lepcha and Halam.
  • Many of these communities are further divided into sub-tribes.
  • For example, Kukis have nearly 17-18 sub-tribes within the community.
  • It is an umbrella tribal community including many smaller clans like Khasi, Lushai, Hmars and other generic clans.
  • In course of time, Lushai, Hmar, Garo etc. came out of Kuki as separate communities.
  • Halam community also has several sub-tribes such as Rangkhawl, Ranglong, Dab, Chaimar or Sermai, Bong, Korbong, Harbong, Bongcher etc.


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