[Prelims Spotlight] Tribes in news

1. Gonds

Known for their valor, the Gond tribes are mostly found in Central India in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. They are also spotted in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. The Gond tribes have a good command over Telgu, Hindi, Marathi, Parsi and many other Dravadian languages.

2. Bhils

This tribal community in India is mostly spotted in the Aravali Ranges of Sirohi in Udaipur and some places of Dungarpur and Banswara districts of Rajasthan. Further, the settlements of the Bhil tribes are also found in parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tripura.

3. Santhals

The Santhal tribes are the major tribes of West Bengal and are mostly seen in the districts of Bankura and Purulia. They are also widely seen in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam. The Santhals are largely dependent on agriculture and livestock; further, they are well versed in the art of hunting.

4. Great Andamanese Tribe

The Great Andamanese Tribe, which includes the Onge, Jarawa, Jangil and Sentinelese, are said to be the first inhabitants of the islands. But today a significant number is on its way to extinction. Nonetheless, the left over population of the Great Andamanese are largely dependent on the vigorous campaign by Survival and Indian organizations. The Great Andamanese are mostly spotted in Strait Island and parts of Rutland Island.

5. Khasi

The Khasi tribes are mostly spotted in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and are also found in parts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and West Bengal.

6. Garo

One of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world that are mostly spotted in the hills of Meghalaya, the Garo Tribes are ideally known for their vivid lifestyle. They are also spotted in the neighbouring areas of Bangladesh and parts of West Bengal, Assam and Nagaland. It is easy to distinguish the Garo tribes from other tribes of Meghalaya. Women are often found in varieties of traditional ornaments, whereas men are seen wearing turbans with feathers stuck behind them.

7. Angami

The Angami Nagas are one of the major tribes of Nagaland, widely present in the district of Kohima. Apart from the Hornbill Festival, the major attraction remains their intricate and beautiful woodcraft and artwork. The Angami Nagas are known for the producer of bamboo work, cane furniture, beds, shawls and powerful machetes.

8. Munda


Munda tribe settlement is largely based in the Chota Nagpur Plateau region and is mostly spotted in the dense of Jharkhand. Further, parts of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha are also inhabited by the Munda Tribes.Mage, Phagu, Karam and Sarhul are the major festivals of the Munda tribes that attract travellers from different parts of the world.

9. Bhutia

Dominating the landlocked territory of Sikkim that is bordered by the Indian Himalaya, the Bhutias are widely known for their traditional grandeur, art and cuisine.

10. Chenchu

The Chenchu tribes are one of the indigenous people of Andhra Pradesh inhabiting over the years in the midst of the forest of Nallamala Hills. They are mostly seen in the districts of Mahboobnagar, Nalgonda, Prakasam, Guntur and Kurnool. Life is hard for them as they are largely dependent on hunting and trading jungle products like roots, tubers, fruits, beedi leaves, mahua flower, honey, gum, tamarind and green leaves.

11. Kodava

The Kodava tribes, known for their bravery since ages have Coorg  flourishing as one of the eco – tourist destinations in India.

12. Toto

One of the isolated tribal groups inhabiting the village of Totopara in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal is the Toto tribes. They have a simple lifestyle and are largely dependent on trading vegetables and fruits. In spite of the fact that they define themselves as Hindus, the Totos are believers of god Ishpa and goddess Cheima.

13. Irulas

Expert snake and rat catchers… that’s what make the Irula tribes of South India special. With a population of approximately 3,00,000 the Irulas inhabits parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Moreover, the Irulas are the second largest tribe in Kerala and is mostly seen in the district of Pallakad.

14. Nyishi

The Nyishi tribes are the largest inhabitants of the mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh and are mostly spotted in the districts of Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, Kurung Kumey, East Kameng, parts of Upper Subansiri.

15. Bodo

Believed to be the early settlers of Assam, the Bodo tribes today are found in Udalguri and Kokrajhar of Assam and parts of West Bengal and Nagaland.

16. Warli

The Warli or Varli tribes of Maharashtra and Gujarat display a unique form of art and painting that reflects the mural paintings of 500 – 10,000 BC carved in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, in Madhya Pradesh. Their form of art follows the rudimentary technique with mixture of earth and cow dung, branches, red ochre, rice paste, bamboo stick and more.

17. Toda

Dominating parts of the Nilgiri Mountains, the Toda tribes are largely dependent on cattle-herding and dairy-work. They are also skilled in art and architectural works like embroidery products and dogles, type of oval and pent – shaped huts made of bamboo canes and thatched roof.

18. Kurumban

Another major tribe dominating parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Kurumban tribe exhibits a simple lifestyle, depending largely on agricultural products. Moreover, they are widely known for witch-craft and magical performances as well as traditional herbal medicines.

19. Soliga

Inhabiting the dense forest of BR Hills of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Soliga tribes are yet another indigenous group of people, further divided to five sub groups – Male Soliga, Urali Soliga, Pujari, Kadu and Burude.

20. Siddis

The Siddi tribes of Karnataka are believed to have descended from the Bantu people of Southeast Africa who were treated as slaves by Portuguese merchants. Today, the Siddi people are predominantly found around Yellapur, Haliyal, Ankola, Joida, Mundgod, Sirsi, Belgaum and Dharwad in Karnataka apart from some pockets of Pakistan. The Siddi people are mostly Roman Catholic but some follow Hinduism and Islam.

21.Sentinelese Tribals

The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders.The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities.Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago.Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.

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Aryan Sharma

A major tribe is missing from the list: Dongria Khonds from Niyamgiri hills.