Tribes in News

Tribes in News

PVTGS in Andaman

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Mains level : Not Much

Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTGs) have tested positive for COVID-19.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?(CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

PVTGs in Andaman

  • Great Andamanese is one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago.
  • The Great Andamanese speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at 51 as per the last study carried out by Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti in 2012.
  • The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarwas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.

What are PVTGs?

  • There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
  • 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Bondas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs

Mains level : Not Much

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached the Bondas, a PVTGs community residing in the hill ranges of Malkangiri district in Odisha.

Try this PYQ:

Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?(CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Who are the Bondas?

  • The Bondas are Munda ethnic group who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwestern Odisha near the junction of the three states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • They are a scheduled tribe of India and are also known as the Remo (meaning “people” in the Bonda language).
  • The tribe is one of the oldest and most primitive in mainland India; their culture has changed little for more than a thousand years.
  • Their isolation and known aggressiveness continue to preserve their culture despite the pressures of an expanding Indian population.

Back2Basics: Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
  • 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Tribes in News

Who are the Bru Tribals?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bru Tribals

Mains level : Bru-Reang Repatriation Agreement

Non-Brus of Tripura has proposed six places for settling the displaced Brus from Mizoram and set a limit for the number of families to be accommodated in two subdivisions that have borne the brunt of the 23-year-old refugee crisis.

Try this PYQ:

Q. With reference to ‘Changpa’ community of India, consider the following statement:

  1. They live mainly in the State of Uttarakhand.
  2. They rear the Pashmina goats that yield fine wool.
  3. They are kept in the category of Scheduled Tribes.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (CSP 2014)

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Who are the Brus?

  • Reangs or Brus are the second largest ethnic group in Mizoram.
  • Their exodus in 1997 was spurred by violent clashes in Mamith subdivision, a Reang-dominated area when they demanded the creation of an autonomous council that was vehemently opposed by Mizo groups.
  • Around 34,000 people were forced to live in sub-human conditions in tents in Tripura. No solution could be reached all these years.
  • These people were housed in temporary camps at Kanchanpur, in North Tripura.

Read the complete thread here:

[Burning Issue] Bru– Reang Repatriation Agreement

Tribes in News

Tribe in news: Siddi Community

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Siddi Tribals

Mains level : NA

The Siddi community gets its first lawmaker in Karnataka. They are included as the Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Siddi Tribe

  • The Siddi also known as Sidi, Siddhi, Sheedi or Habshi, are an ethnic group inhabiting India and Pakistan.
  • They are sometimes referred to as Afro-Indians. They are descended from the Bantu peoples of the East African region.
  • Similarly, another term for Siddis, habshi, is held to be derived from the common name for the captains of the Abyssinian ships that also first delivered Siddi slaves to the subcontinent.
  • They are primarily Muslims, although some are Hindus and others belong to the Catholic Church.

How they came to India?

  • The first Siddis are thought to have arrived in India in 628 AD at the Bharuch port. Several others followed with the first Arab conquest of the subcontinent in 712 AD.
  • The latter groups are believed to have been soldiers with Muhammad bin Qasim’s Arab army and were called Zanjis.
  • In the Delhi Sultanate period prior to the rise of the Mughals in India, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut was a prominent Siddi slave-turned-nobleman who was a close confidant of Razia Sultana.
  • Siddis were also brought as slaves by the Deccan Sultanates. They also served in the Navy of Shivaji Maharaj.
  • Several former slaves rose to high ranks in the military and administration, the most prominent of which was Malik Ambar.
  • Later the Siddi population was added to via Bantu peoples from Southeast Africa that had been brought to the Indian subcontinent as slaves by the Portuguese.

Tribes in News

Who are the Tangams?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tangam tribe

Mains level : Tribal issues in the NE

Last week Arunachal CM released a book titled “Tangams: An Ethnolinguistic Study Of The Critically Endangered Group of Arunachal Pradesh”.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

  1. PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.
  2. A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.
  3. There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.
  4. Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Who are the Tangams?

  • The Tangams is a little-known community within the larger Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh and resides in the hamlet of Kugging in Upper Siang district’s Paindem circle.
  • In 1975, the community’s population was pegged at 2,000 spread across 25 villages.
  • From 2016 to 2020, a team from the Centre for Endangered Languages (CFEL) of Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), carried out extensive field research and documented the community.
  • Their survey revealed that Tangams were now concentrated in only one village (Kugging), with only 253 reported speakers.
  • As per the UNESCO World Atlas of Endangered Languages (2009), Tangam — an oral language that belongs to the Tani group, under the greater Tibeto-Burman language family — is marked ‘critically endangered’.

Why are there only a few speakers?

  • Kugging is surrounded by a number of villages inhabited by Adi subgroups such as Shimong, Minyongs, as well as the Buddhist tribal community of Khambas, among others.
  • To communicate with their neighbours over the years, the Tangams have become multilingual, speaking not just Tangam, but other tongues such as Shimong, Khamba and Hindi.
  • They rarely speak their own language now since their population is restricted to a single village. Moreover, the Tangams are relatively unknown — even within their state.
  • The village lacks proper infrastructure in all basic sectors of education, health, drinking water facilities, road and electricity. Roads have reached Kugging only in 2018.
  • Not a single person from the community has gone to university.

Why are the languages at risk?

  • The diversity of languages has led various communities to depend on English, Assamese and colloquial variety of Hindi called Arunachalee Hindi as the link languages.
  • Many believe this shift has led to the loss of native languages of the tribal communities.
  • Even the numerically larger tribes like Nyishi, Galo, Mishmi, Tangsa etc. whose population exceed the ten thousand mark are also not safe from endangerment, hence marked unsafe.
  • The younger generation of these tribes especially in the urban areas has mostly discarded the use of their mother tongue.

Tribes in News

Rabari, Bharvad and Charan Tribes of Gujarat

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tribes mentioned in the newscard

Mains level : NA

The Gujarat government will constitute a commission to identify the members of Rabari, Bharvad and Charan communities who are eligible to get the benefits of Schedule Tribe (ST) status.

Try this question from CSP 2017:

Q.Every year, a monthlong ecologically important campaign/festival is held during which certain communities/ tribes plant saplings of fruit-bearing trees. Which of the following are such communities/ tribes?

(a) Bhutia and Lepcha

(b) Gond and Korku

(c) lrula and Toda

(d) Sahariya and Agariya

About the Tribes

(1) Rabari

  • The Rabari, also called the Rewari are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders and shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.
  • The word “Rabari” translates as “outsiders”, a fair description of their primary occupation and status within Indian society.
  • They speak ‘Bhopa’ which is a mixture of Gujarati, Kachchi, Marwari words and Pharasi (Persian) and use Gujarati script.
  • The Rabari are known for their distinctive art, particularly the mirrored and whitewashed mud sculpture-work that adorns their homes and villages.
  • Rabari women are responsible for this artwork and also traditionally spin the wool from their sheep and goats, and give it to local weavers to make their woollen skirts, veils, blankets and turbans.

(2) Bharvad

  • The Bharwad are tribals primarily engaged in herding livestock.
  • The Bharwad name may derive from the Gujarati word badawad, constructed from bada (sheep) and wada (a compound or enclosure).
  • The Bharwads have numerous subgroups known as ataks or guls (clans) whose main purpose is to determine eligibility for marriage.
  • Constrained exogamy is practised between clans.

(3) Charan

  • The Charan, also called Gadhvi, is a small tribe in Gujarat and the name Charan is derived from the word ‘Char’ which means grazing.
  • Members of the caste are considered to be divine by a large section of society.
  • Women of the caste are adored as mother goddesses by other major communities of this region.

Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Changpa Tribe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pashmina Goats

Mains level : NA

The Chinese Army’s intrusion in Chumur and Demchok has left Ladakh’s nomadic herding Changpa community cut off from large parts of summer pastures.

Pashmina shawl is a landmark product of the Kashmir Valley. But make a note here. It carries only a BIS certification and not a Geographical Indicator.

Also try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

Q. With reference to ‘Changpa’ community of India, consider the following statement:

1. They live mainly in the State of Uttarakhand.
2. They rear the Pashmina goats that yield fine wool.
3. They are kept in the category of Scheduled Tribes.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3

Changpa Tribes

  • The Changpa of Ladakh is high altitude pastoralists, raising mainly yaks and goats.
  • Among the Ladakh Changpa, those who are still nomadic are known as Phalpa, and they take their herds from in the Hanley Valley to the village of Lato.
  • Hanley is home to six isolated settlements, where the sedentary Changpa, the Fangpa reside.
  • Despite their different lifestyles, both these groups intermarry.
  • The Changpa speak Changskhat, a dialect of Tibetan, and practice Tibetan Buddhism.

What is the issue?

  • The Chinese Army has taken over 16 kanals (two acres) of cultivable land in Chumur and advanced around 15 km inside Demchok, taking over traditional grazing pastures and cultivable lowlands.
  • In a cascading effect, this has resulted in a sharp rise in deaths of young Pashmina goats this year in the Korzok-Chumur belt of Changthang plateau in Ladakh.
  • This incursion has destabilized the annual seasonal migration of livestocks, including yaks and Pashmina goats.

Back2Basics: Pashmina

  • The Changthangi or Ladakh Pashmina is a breed of Cashmere goat native to the high plateau of Ladakh.
  • The much-valued wool from the Ladakh herds is essential for the prized Pashmina shawls woven in Kashmir and famous for their intricate handwork.
  • They survive on the grass in Ladakh, where temperatures plunge to as low as −20 °C.
  • These goats provide the wool for Kashmir’s famous pashmina shawls. Shawls made from Pashmina wool are considered very fine and are exported worldwide.
  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has recently published an Indian Standard for identification, marking and labelling of Pashmina products to certify its purity.

Tribes in News

[pib] Shahapur’s Katkari Tribe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Katkari Tribe, Van Dhan Yojana

Mains level : Various initiaitves for Tribal uplift

The newscard is based on the PIB news which discusses the success story of Katkari Tribe, a PVTG in Maharashtra regarding the implementation of Van Dhan Yojana.

Try this:

Consider the following statements about Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India:

1) PVTGs reside in 18 States and one Union Territory.

2) A stagnant or declining population is one of the criteria for determining PVTG status.

3) There are 95 PVTGs officially notified in the country so far.

4) Irular and Konda Reddi tribes are included in the list of PVTGs.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (CSP 2019)

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Katkari Tribe

  • The Katkari is an Scheduled Tribe mostly belonging to the state of Maharashtra.
  • They are bilingual, speaking the Katkari language, a dialect of the Marathi-Konkani languages, with each other; they speak Marathi with the Marathi speakers, who are a majority in the populace where they live.
  • In Maharashtra, the Katkari has been designated a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), along with two other groups included in this sub-category: the Madia Gond and the Kolam.
  • In the case of the Katkari this vulnerability derives from their history as a nomadic, forest-dwelling people listed by the British Raj under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, a stigma that continues to this day.

What are PVTGs?

  • There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward.
  • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
  • 75 such groups have been identified and categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Back2Basics: Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY)

  • It is a retail marketing-led value addition plan for Minor Forest Produce (MFP), meant for forest-based tribes to optimize the tribal income, locally.
  • Under the program, MFP-based tribal groups/enterprises of around 300 members are formed for collection, value addition, packaging & marketing of Minor Forest Produces (MFPs).
  • These tribal enterprises will be in the form of Van Dhan SHGs which will be a group of 15-20 members and such 15 SHG groups will further be federated into a larger group of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKS) of around 300 members.
  • TRIFED will support the VDVKs through providing them with model business plans, processing plans & tentative list of equipment for carrying out the value-added work of MFPs.

Also read:

[pib] “Development of PVTGs” Scheme

Tribes in News

Agreement to end the Bru-Reang Refugee Crisis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bru/Reangs

Mains level : Tribal issues in the NE

The Ministry of Home Affairs has presided over the signing of an agreement between Union Government, Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives to end the 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis.

Who are the Brus?

  • Reangs or Brus are the second largest ethnic group in Mizoram.
  • Their exodus in 1997 was spurred by violent clashes in Mamith subdivision, a Reang-dominated area, when they demanded creation of an autonomous council that was vehemently opposed by Mizo groups.
  • Around 34,000 people were forced to live in sub-human conditions in tents in Tripura. No solution could be reached all these years.
  • These people were housed in temporary camps at Kanchanpur, in North Tripura.

Highlights of the Quadripartite Agreement

  • Under the new agreement around 34,000 Bru refugees will be settled in Tripura and would be given aid from the Centre to help with their rehabilitation and all round development.
  • These people would get all the rights that normal residents of the States get and they would now be able to enjoy the benefits of social welfare schemes of Centre and State governments.
  • Under the new arrangement, each of the displaced families would be given 40×30 sq.ft. residential plots.
  • This would be in addition to the aid under earlier agreement of a fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakhs, Rs. 5,000 cash aid per month for 2 years, free ration for 2 years and Rs. 1.5 lakhs aid to build their house.

Tribes in News

Mizoram revokes Forest Rights Act

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FRA, Art. 371

Mains level : Special status to various states

The Mizoram government passed a resolution revoking the implementation of the ST and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA).

How did it revoke?

  • Under Article 371 (G) of the Constitution, Mizoram has a special provision.
  • It makes mandatory for all legislations of Parliament pertaining to land ownership and transfer to be first passed by the state’s assembly through a resolution before it can be implemented in the state.
  • The revoking of FRA using the special status provision of the Constitution by the Mizoram government is very similar to how the enactment of FRA was prevented in Jammu and Kashmir using Article 370.

Why such move?

  • A big chunk of forests in the state is owned by the Lai, Mara and Chakma Autonomous District Councils.
  • According to the 2017 State of Forest Report by the Forest Survey of India, around 20 per cent of the total 5,641 square kilometres of the forest land in Mizoram is “Unclassed Forest” which is under Autonomous District Councils.
  • The area of unclassed forest is lowest in Mizoram, among all North Eastern states.
  • This also means that the potential for FRA implementation is also the highest in the state.

Back2Basics

Explained: Forest Rights Act

Tribes in News

Jing kieng jri (Living root bridges)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jing kieng jri (Living root bridges)

Mains level : Future botanical architecture projects in urban areas


  • A new research investigates the living root bridges structures and proposes to integrate them in modern architecture around the world, and potentially help make cities more environment-friendly.

Living root bridges

  • The jing kieng jri or living root bridges — aerial bridges built by weaving and manipulating the roots of the Indian rubber tree — have been serving as connectors for generations in Meghalaya.
  • Spanning between 15 and 250 feet and built over centuries, the living roots bridges, primarily a means to cross streams and rivers.

Making of a root bridge

  • A root bridge uses traditional tribal knowledge to train roots of the Indian rubber tree, found in abundance in the area, to grow laterally across a stream bed, resulting in a living bridge of roots.
  • These bridges can be redefined as ecosystems as the process begins with placing of young pliable aerial roots growing from Ficus elastica (India rubber) trees in hollowed out Areca catechu or native bamboo trunks.
  • These provide essential nutrition and protection from the weather, and also perform as aerial root guidance systems.
  • Over time, as the aerial roots increase in strength and thickness, the Areca catechu or native bamboo trunks are no longer required.

Why Ficus elastica ?

  • Ficus elastica is conducive to the growth of bridges because of its very nature.
  • There are three main properties: they are elastic, the roots easily combine and the plants grow in rough, rocky soils.

Architectural scope

  • Researchers from Germany investigated 77 bridges over three expeditions in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya during 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  • The study suggests that the bridges can be considered a reference point for future botanical architecture projects in urban contexts.
  • The traditional techniques of the Khasi people can promote the further development of modern architecture.

Tribes in News

[pib] Chavang Kut Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chavang Kut

Mains level : Various tribes in India


Chavang Kut

  • Chavang Kut the post-harvest festival of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities is being celebrated across North-Eastern states with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.
  • The festival marks the Anglo-Kuki war centenary year.
  • In Manipur, Mizoram and Assam and other parts of the country, the festival is organized every year as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.
  • It is one of the most important festivals of Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities. It is a state holiday in Manipur.

Note: Not to be confused with Chapchar Kut

Chapchar Kut

  • The Chapchar Kut is a festival of Mizoram, India. It is a spring festival celebrated with great favour and gaiety.
  • It is celebrated during March after completion of their most arduous task of jhum operation i.e., jungle-clearing.

Tribes in News

Explained: Naga Peace Talks

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nagalim

Mains level : Naga peace process


  • The deadline set by the Centre for wrapping up the Naga peace talks, October 31, arrives this week.
  • While the Centre’s interlocutor and now Nagaland’s Governor, R N Ravi, has stressed that some key issues remain unresolved with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN(I-M).

What are the Naga peace talks?

  • The talks seek to settle disputes that date back to colonial rule.
  • The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood
  • One key demand of Naga groups has been a Greater Nagalim that would cover not only the state of Nagaland but parts of neighbouring states, and even of Myanmar.

Rise of Naga nationalism

  • The British had annexed Assam in 1826, in which they subsequently created the Naga Hills district and went on to extend its boundaries.
  • The assertion of Naga nationalism, which began during British rule, has continued after Independence, and even after Nagaland became a state.
  • Along the way, the unresolved issues gave rise to decades of insurgency that claimed thousands of lives, including of civilians.

How has the Naga assertion played out historically?

  • The earliest sign of Naga resistance dates back to 1918, with the formation of the Naga Club.
  • In 1929, the Club famously told the Simon Commission “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
  • In 1946, A Z Phizo formed the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Naga independence on August 14, 1947, and then, in 1951, claimed to have conducted a referendum.
  • The referendum got overwhelming majority in support of an independent Naga state.
  • By the early 1950s, the NNC had taken up arms and gone underground.
  • The NNC split in 1975, the breakaway group being the NSCN, which split further in later years, most prominently into the NSCN(I-M) and NSCN (Khaplang) in 1988.

And how have the peace talks played out in recent years?

Before the ongoing talks, which followed a framework agreement in 2015, there were two other agreements between Naga groups and the Centre.

1975:

  • A peace accord was signed in Shillong in which the NNC leadership agreed to give up arms.
  • Several NNC leaders, including Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S S Khaplang refused to accept the agreement and broke away to form the NSCN.
  • In 1988 came another split, with Khaplang breaking away to form the NSCN(K) while Isak and Muivah headed the NSCN(I-M).

1997:

  • The NSCN(I-M ) signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997, preceded by rounds of talks since 1995.
  • The key agreement was that there would be no counter-insurgency offensive against the NSCN(I-M), who in turn would not attack Indian forces.
  • The NSCN(I-M) had then announced to “every citizen of Nagalim wherever they may be”, that a ceasefire agreement was entered into between India and the outfit to bring about a lasting political solution.

2015:

  • In August that year, the Centre signed a framework agreement with the NSCN(I-M).
  • PM Modi described it as a “historic agreement” towards settling the “oldest insurgency” in India. This set the stage for the ongoing peace talks.
  • In 2017, six other Naga armed outfits under the banned of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) joined the talks.
  • Today, Muivah remains the senior-most Naga rebel leader. Isak died in 2016. In the NSCN(-K), its leader Khaplang died in 2018.

What was in the framework agreement?

  • The government has not yet spelt out the details in public.
  • Following the agreement, the government had said in a press statement: “The Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.
  • The NSCN understood and appreciated the Indian political system and governance.
  • On the other hand, the NSCN(I-M) issued a statement earlier this year which said that Nagaland State does and will not represent the national decision of the Naga people.
  • The statement was in opposition the proposal for a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) in the state of Nagaland.

Where does the territorial demand currently stand?

  • The accord being finalised “does not change the boundary of states; provides autonomous Naga territorial councils for Arunachal and Manipur; a common cultural body for Nagas across states.
  • It provides for specific institutions for state’s development, integration and rehabilitation of non-state Naga militia and the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
  • The map of Greater Nagalim in the NSCN(IM) vision, on the other hand, covers a 1,20,000 sq km sprawl across the Northeast and Myanmar — the area of Nagaland state itself is only 16,527 sq km, a fraction of this vision.
  • Amid the anxiety this has caused among citizens in neighbouring states, state governments have assured them that their respective states’ territorial integrity would not be compromised.

What are the other issues?

  • The government and the NSCN(I-M) have failed to agree on issues relating to a separate Naga flag and a constitution.
  • In its latest statement, the NSCN(I-M) has said it will not budge from the demand for the flag and the constitution — and that it is looking for a lasting solution.
  • However the NSCN(I-M) has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution.

Where could the disagreement lead to?

  • The statement from the Governor’s office has given rise to speculation that the government is ready to sign a final peace agreement with other groups without the NSCN(I-M), the largest group.
  • Civil society groups in Nagaland are divided in their opinion.
  • Some have said the talks should be wrapped up with whatever is offered now and keep other issues open for later negotiations.
  • Others believe all issues should be settled and the NSCN(I-M) should be on board, even if it takes longer than the deadline.

Tribes in News

Explained: Rising tensions between Nagas and Kukis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kuki Tribals

Mains level : Anglo-Kuki War

  • Few groups of the Kuki militants have sought the intervention of PM Modi to subdue the rising tension between the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur.

What is the cause of recent tensions?

  • Tensions between the Kukis and Nagas are not new, and in light of them building up again, the Manipur government ordered that the stone memorials be taken down.
  • The centenary the Anglo-Kuki War was celebrated by a Committee under the aegis of Kuki Inpi Churachandpur (KIC).
  • The KIC which is the apex body of Kuki people in various northeastern states, asked all Kuki villages to install memorial stones with the inscription,
  • But Naga bodies objected to the Kukis installing these stone memorials on the Naga’s ancestral land.

The Anglo-Kuki War

  • Before the British came in, the Kukis had been one of the dominant tribes of hill areas surrounding Imphal during the rule of the Maharajas of Manipur.
  • The Kukis exercised full control over their territory until then.
  • Therefore, the Anglo-Kuki War was essentially a war for the independence and liberation of the Kukis from the imperialists.
  • The war had unified the efforts of Kukis living in northeast India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • Even so, the state of Manipur had already lost its independence to the Britishers in 1891 and became free only after India became independent in 1947.
  • The Anglo-Kuki War began when the Britishers asked the Kukis to get enrolled in their labour corps in France and the latter resisted.

Naga claims it as rebellion

  • The Nagas claimed that the Kukis have been trying to distort history as there has been no “Anglo-Kuki War” but a “Kuki Rebellion” in 1917.
  • The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of the Nagas of Manipur, asserted that the Kuki rebellion against the British was for labour recruitment drive under the Labour Corps Plan.
  • Following this, the Nagas conveyed to the state government to take appropriate steps such that the history of Manipur is not distorted.

What has been the reason for Kuki-Naga clashes in the past?

I. Reorganization of Manipur

  • After the conclusion of the Anglo-Kuki War in 1919, for administrative and logistical ease, the state of Manipur was divided into four areas.
  • It included Imphal, Churachandpur, Tamenglong (that was inhabited by the Kukis, Kabui Nagas and Katcha Nagas) and Ukhrul (that was inhabited by Kukis and the Tangkhul Nagas).
  • The reorganization of Manipur is cited to be the most central result of the war.
  • The Kuki chiefs who were not used to any bureaucratic control in the earlier now had to function bureaucratically.

II. Identity

  • Furthermore, it is believed that Kukis came to Manipur in the late 18th/early 19th century from neighbouring Myanmar.
  • While some of the Kukis settled next to the Myanmar border, others settled in Naga villages, which ultimately became a contentious issue between the two tribes.
  • The relationship between the two worsened during the colonial period and reached a low point during the Anglo-Kuki war, referred to as a “dark period” in the oral history of the Tangkhul Nagas.
  • Essentially, identity and land govern their ethnic conflict.

Tribes in News

Galo community in Arunachal Pradesh

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the tribe

Mains level : Various tribes in India


  • Members of the Galo community in Arunachal Pradesh can recall the name of their ancestor from 20 generations, and this is made possible by their system of naming.

Galo community

  • At about 1.5 lakh people, the Galos are one of the 26 major communities of Arunachal Pradesh, and dominate West Siang, Lepa Rada and Lower Siang districts.
  • They have a big population in East Siang, Upper Subansiri and Namsai districts too.
  • The Galos belong to the Tani group inhabiting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, besides Tibet.
  • They trace their common origin to a primeval ancestor, Abotani.

Uniqueness

  • But unlike the Mising (Assam), Adi, Apatani, Nyishi and Tagin, the other communities, only the Galos maintain genealogy through given names.
  • They have a system of prefixing the second syllable of a father’s name to that of a son, who passes on the suffix in his name to his son.
  • Hence they can trace the names of ancestors from the first syllable or prefix of our names,.
  • They have nine sub-clans: Angu, Bagra, Doji, Kamnyi, Karso, Naho, Ngomdir, Rasa or Rame, and Yorsi or Kamsi. The numbers of sub-clans of the other clans vary.

Tribes in News

[pib] Museums for Tribal Freedom Fighters

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various tribal uprisings

Mains level : Not Much

  • The Govt. has decided to up six museums dedicated to tribal freedom fighters in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
  • The particulars of museums sanctioned, location of museum and tribal freedom fighters / heroes associated with the museum are as under:
Sl. No. Name of State Location of Museum Tribal Freedom Fighters / Heroes  
 
1 Gujarat Garudeshwar, Rajpipla Prominent freedom fighters from across the country
2 Chhattisgarh Raipur Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh
3 Jharkhand Ranchi Birsa Munda
4 Andhra Pradesh Lammasingi Shri Alluri Seetha Ram Raju
5 Madhya Pradesh Chhindwara TantyaBheel, Bheema Nayak, KhajayaNayak,etc.
6 Kerala Kozhikode Thalakkal Chandu
7 Manipur Makhal Village, Senapati Rani Gaidinliu
8 Telangana Hyderabad Ramji Gond

 

Tribes in News

New plants species with healing properties found in Manipur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZeliangrongTribes

Mains level : Utility of traditional knowledge of tribals

  • Scientists have identified new plants species in Manipur, whose medicinal or pharmacology properties were not known yet.

Traditional medicines of Zeliangrong Tribals

  • Scientists identified plants like Gynuracusimbua, Hedyotisscandens, Mussaendaglabra and Schimawallichii whose medicinal usage are reported for the first time and its pharmacological properties are not explored so far.
  • The researchers documented 145 medicinal plants that the healers use for treating 59 ailments.
  • They also found that the ethnic group used more than 40 species for treating more than one ailment.
  • In most cases, native healers were found using leaves as a primary ingredient in their formulation, owing to the year-round availability.
  • Additionally, they practice some uncommon methods such as using of guava leaves along with other medicinal plants for treating cold and fever.
  • Healers of this tribal group were also found using some rare and vulnerable species like Piperarunachalensis without being aware of the status of these plants.

About Zeliangrong ethnic group

  • Zeliangrong people are one of the major indigenous Naga communities living in the tri-junction of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in India.
  • The term “Zeliangrong” refers to the Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei Naga tribes combined together.
  • Earlier, the term also covered the Inpui tribe.
  • The proper noun Zeliangrong does not denote a tribe but, rather, a union of tribes or, rather, the apex tribe of three aforementioned tribes (Zeme Naga, Liangmai Naga, Rongmei Naga).

Tribes in News

Wild Food Plants

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : WFP and their nutrients content mentioned, Soliga Tribals

Mains level : Utility of traditional knowledge of tribals

Wild food plants (WFPs)

  • WFPs which are neither cultivated nor domesticated constitute a special category.
  • They grow wild in forests as well as in farmlands and are harvested by local people as sources of food.
  • The tradition of eating WFPs, to augment staple food crops, continues in the present day.
  • For forest- dwelling communities, forests remain the main source of food, nutrition, and livelihoods even today.
  • The Soliga tribe is one such community in the Western Ghats who use their indigenous tradition of eating WFPs, to augment staple food crops

Soligas and their traditional knowledge

  • The Soligas are one of few remaining forest-dwelling tribes in and around the forests of Biligiri Ranganath (BR) Hills, MM Hills, and Bandipur in Karnataka and the Sathyamangalam forests in Tamil Nadu.
  • The study revealed that the diversity of WFPs consumed by the Soligas evolved over generations as a survival strategy.
  • They relate the usage of WFPs to seasonal plant availability and the status of resources.
  • These tribals can even predict the availability of WFPs with respect to micro-climatic changes, indicating a long-term intimate knowledge of their surroundings.
  • In addition to their role in balancing food baskets of the poor, WFPs play an important role in maintaining the nutritional and livelihood security for forest communities during periods of drought or scarcity.

Examples of WFPs

  • According to Soligas, they get a variety of mushrooms, tender bamboo shoots, and fruits like Jamune, Karanada, wood apple, custard apple and several varieties of leaves during the rainy season.
  • Honey and tubers like Dioscorea, makal and many ceropegia are harvested throughout the year.
  • In the hot dry summers, the Soligas use leaves and fruits like mango, jackfruit, amla, bel and tamarind.
  • Except rice, another staple food of Soligas which they grow, the forests give them everything else.

Why WFPs?

  • For example, edible leaves such as Kaddisoppu and Javanesoppu available in the forest have a very high content of pro-vitamin A (Beta Carotene), anti-oxidants and soluble protein.
  • It is found that the leaves are rich in digestible iron, zinc, and manganese as well.
  • Tubers and fruits from the forest that are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidant, are in high demand in local markets.
  • Some of the tubers and mushrooms also have high iron, zinc, vitamins and anti-oxidant content that is vital for nutritional security.

Threats to WFPs

  • Despite their role in food security, forests are mostly left out of policy decisions related to food security and nutrition.
  • Forest foods are in high demand, both in tribal community markets and nearby rural markets.
  • Though this may appear an opportunity for economic empowerment of tribal communities, if not managed, over-harvesting could lead to degradation of the forests and ultimately, disappearance of these very species.
  • Activities such as stone quarrying, mining and development pose grave threats to WFPs.
  • The other threat is from commercial monoculture plantations on forestland under afforestation and social forestry programmes, which are crowding out these wild species.

Way forward

  • For WFPs to be preserved for posterity, the forests must be co-managed by tribal communities.
  • For the tribal communities, the forest is not just a source of food, but is also a part of their identity.
  • Their way of life is respectful of nature and recognizes diversity in its different manifestations.
  • The tribal community’s relationship with the forest is one of belonging rather than ownership.
  • Community forest management is good for the health of the forests.
  • Implementation of India’s landmark 2006 Forest Rights Act that offers provisions to involve communities in safeguarding forest resources and developing co-management plans is needed.

Tribes in News

[op-ed snap] Leave them alone: on the Sentinelese

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Sentinelese and other tribes of Andaman

Mains level: Need of special safeguards for isolated tribes


Context

Killing of a US citizen by Sentinelese tribe

  1. The death of a young American man at the hands of the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has led to dangerous lines of debate
  2. Some have called for the Sentinelese to be convicted and punished and others have urged that they be integrated into modern society
  3. Both these demands are misguided, and can only result in the extinction of a people
  4. The Sentinelese are perhaps the most reclusive community in the world today
  5. Their language is so far understood by no other group and they have traditionally guarded their island fiercely, attacking most intruders with spears and arrows

Special safeguards for the Sentinelese

  1. There is a reason why no one — whether missionary, scholar, adventurer, U.S. citizen or Indian — is allowed to venture near North Sentinel Island without permission, which is given only in the rarest of circumstances and with meticulous precautions in place to ensure that the Sentinelese are not disturbed
  2. Having lived in isolation in an island in the Bay of Bengal for thousands of years, the Sentinelese have no immunity or resistance to even the commonest of infections
  3. Various degrees of protection are in place for the indigenous people of A&N Islands, but it is complete in the case of the Sentinelese
  4. The administration enforces “an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ policy to ensure that no poachers enter the island”
  5. A protocol of circumnavigation of the island is in place, and the buffer maintained around the island is enforced under various laws

Need of restraint

  1. At the heart of the issue is the survival of the Sentinelese
  2. According to the 2011 Census, their population was just 15 — though anthropologists like T.N. Pandit, who made contact with them in the 1960s, put the figure at 80-90
  3. This degree of ignorance about the Sentinelese often sparks an Orientalist public discourse, instead of understanding the dangers of trying to physically overpower them
  4. A foreigner’s death is a cautionary incident — for the danger of adventurism, and for the administration to step up oversight
  5. But it is also an occasion for the country to embrace its human heritage in all its diversity and to empathetically try to see the world from the eyes of it’s most vulnerable inhabitants

Tribes in News

Nuakhai celebrated across western Odisha

  1. Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha in India.
  2. The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice.
  3. It is observed to welcome the new rice of the season.

 


 

  1. Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha in India.
  2. The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice.
  3. It is observed to welcome the new rice of the season.
  4. During the festival, the head of the family worships the household deity, offering rice and other food items. He then distributes the prashad among the family members.
  5. Apart from the rituals of offering the new crop to the deity, the ‘Nuakhai Juhar’ is a major ritual of the festival, which is an exchange of greetings with friends, relatives and well-wishers.

Tribes in News

The Apatani tribe from Arunachal Pradesh

  1. A small tribe in Arunachal Pradesh has been able to defeat modern technological advancements in terms of environment conservation.
  2. The Apatanis from Ziro have a unique lifestyle that focuses on living in harmony with nature.
  3. Ziro is home to the tribal group called the Apatanis which is one amongst the very few tribes in the world that worship nature (Sun & Moon).
  4. In April 2014, Apatani Cultural Landscape has also been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for “extremely high productivity” and “unique” ways of preserving ecology.

 

  1. A small tribe in Arunachal Pradesh has been able to defeat modern technological advancements in terms of environment conservation.
  2. The Apatanis from Ziro have a unique lifestyle that focuses on living in harmony with nature.
  3. Ziro is home to the tribal group called the Apatanis which is one amongst the very few tribes in the world that worship nature (Sun & Moon).
  4. In April 2014, Apatani Cultural Landscape has also been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for “extremely high productivity” and “unique” ways of preserving ecology.

Why do you think women have those nose plugs?

Tribes in News

How to Manage the Food-Forest Nexus: Lessons from Dongria Kondh

Scattered across 240 sq km on the remote Niyamgiri hill range in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, an ancient tribal group known as the Dongria Kondh have earned themselves a reputation as trailblazers. Why?



 

The Dongria Kondh set an example in 2013 to millions of tribal people around the world when they fought and won a case with a British mining giant that invested close to a billion dollars in a bauxite extraction operation in this mineral-rich area.


 

What next? The twin issues of hunger and deforestation

  • Their varied and nutritious diet, which includes over 25 species of plants, comes directly from the forests.
  • But rampant deforestation for large-scale infrastructure projects, coupled with monoculture plantations of fast-growing trees to supply timber and paper industries with raw materials, have reduced food availability.
  • But fikr not! Look up to Niyamgiri hills for a lesson on an alternative economic model, one based on community management and control of land and resources.

 

 

Tribes in News

Traditional fervour marks Nongkrem Dance

  1. Nongkrem Dance Festival is performed to appease the all- powerful Goddess, ‘Ka Blei Synshar’ for a rich bumper harvest & general prosperity.
  2. The festival is celebrated during autumn at Smit, the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills.
  3. The Khasis are a tribe of Meghalaya, who also celebrate the ripening of paddy for threshing, by dances and songs.
  4. The folk dances capture the movements of everyday life as well as animals and birds.

 

  1. Nongkrem Dance Festival is performed to appease the all- powerful Goddess, ‘Ka Blei Synshar’ for a rich bumper harvest & general prosperity.
  2. The festival is celebrated during autumn at Smit, the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills.
  3. The Khasis are a tribe of Meghalaya, who also celebrate the ripening of paddy for threshing, by dances and songs.
  4. The folk dances capture the movements of everyday life as well as animals and birds.

Tribes in News

The first National Tribal Festival – Vanaj

  1. Organised by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram.
  2. The aim was to bridge the gaps of social divide and promote tribal culture in India.
  3. More than 900 folk and tribal artists participated.

 

  1. Organised by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram.
  2. The aim was to bridge the gaps of social divide and promote tribal culture in India.
  3. More than 900 folk and tribal artists participated.

  4. Tip: In 2014, India held the biodiversity express and some questions in the Prelims were sitters from the brochure itself. 

Subscribe
Notify of
8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments