Tribes in News

Tribes in News

Last survivors of Piripkura tribe found

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Piripkura Tribe

Mains level : Not Much

piripkura

Central Idea

  • Deep within the Amazon rainforest, the story of Tamandua Piripkura unfolds, embodying the struggle of Indigenous people.
  • This man is one of the last three survivors of the Piripkura people.

Who are the Piripkura?

  • The Piripkura tribe is a small and isolated indigenous group in Brazil.
  • They are known for their extreme isolation and limited contact with the outside world.
  • They have intentionally avoided contact with mainstream society and have maintained their traditional way of life for generations.
  • The Piripkura territory is located in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
  • Their land lies within the Amazon rainforest, an area that is rich in biodiversity and crucial for the ecological balance of the region.

Their dwindling population

  • The Piripkura tribe is estimated to consist of only 3 individuals.
  • Exact population figures are difficult to determine due to their isolation and the challenges associated with conducting a comprehensive census.
  • They face numerous challenges to their survival, including threats from illegal logging, mining, and land encroachment.

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Tribes in News

Evolution of the Malaiyali Tribe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Malaiyali Tribe

Mains level : Not Much

malaiyali

Central Idea

  • The Malaiyali tribe, scattered across Tamil Nadu’s hilly regions, has undergone a remarkable transformation over two centuries.
  • From their initial foraging lifestyle to settling atop the Yelagiri hill and constructing traditional clay huts, the tribe has transitioned into a more modern way of life.
  • Amidst the evolving landscape, one old-fashioned hut remains as a testament to their history.

Malaiyali Tribe

  • Historical Settlement: Over 200 Malaiyali tribespeople established a comprehensive system on Yelagiri hill with clay huts for shelter, storage, farming, and cattle.
  • Modern Evolution: Today, only one antiquated hut endures, belonging to tribesman Govinthasamy, while the rest have given way to brick-and-mortar homes.
  • Malaiyali Tribe: “Malai” means hill and “yali” means people, depicting the tribespeople who settled across Tamil Nadu’s hilly regions.

Significance of Red Clay

  • Integral Material: Red clay played a pivotal role in building huts, burying the dead, and sustaining the tribe’s lifecycle from birth to death.
  • Unique Construction: Huts were constructed with red clay on teak wood frames, embodying the tribe’s connection to nature.
  • Practicality and Value: Despite its worn appearance, the hut holds immense value due to the scarcity and high cost of materials like teak wood.

Distinctive Hut Features

  • Roofing: A 12-foot thatched roof made of dry bamboo leaves, waxed with cow dung to prevent leaks during monsoons.
  • Interior Space: Deceptively small from outside, the hut accommodates eight people and an attic for storing household items.
  • Functional Evolution: Originally meant for living, the hut transformed into a storage space for seeds during sowing and grains post-harvest.
  • Elevated Structure: The hut stands on a teak wood stilt to prevent flooding during heavy rains and deter rodents.
  • Storage Space: Stilts create additional storage beneath the house for grains or poultry.
  • Traditional Living: The one-room structure housed various activities, highlighting the tribe’s reliance on agriculture.

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Tribes in News

Ethnic Tensions in Manipur: Restoring Peace and Rebuilding Trust

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tribes in news, related provisions and Demand for a separate administration in Manipur

Mains level : Ethnic tensions, causes , historical background, government effrots and way ahead

Manipur

Central Idea

  • The simmering conflict between the Meiteis and the Kukis has escalated due to mutual suspicion and recent events, such as the Manipur High Court’s order to recommend Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Meiteis and the eviction drive of tribal villages from reserved forests. The failure to address these issues has resulted in the resurgence of ethnic violence, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region

Community Dynamics in Manipur and Tensions

  • Ethnic Clashes: Manipur has a history of ethnic clashes between communities, particularly between the Meiteis and the Kukis. These clashes often arise due to competition for resources, land disputes, and historical grievances. Mutual suspicion and territorial claims have fueled tensions between various ethnic groups.
  • Land Ownership: Land is a significant source of contention among communities in Manipur. The Meiteis, who primarily inhabit the Imphal valley, face challenges in relocating to the hill areas due to their non-inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. This has led to a sense of deprivation and competition for land ownership between the Meiteis and the hill communities, especially the Nagas and Kukis.
  • Political Representation: The issue of political representation has also contributed to tensions among communities. Different ethnic groups in Manipur strive for adequate representation in governance and decision-making processes. Disparities in political clout and access to resources have fueled grievances and conflicts.
  • Cultural Differences: Manipur is home to diverse communities with distinct cultural practices, traditions, and languages. While this cultural diversity can be a source of richness, it can also lead to misunderstandings and tensions. Differences in religious beliefs, customs, and language can sometimes create divisions and conflicts among communities.
  • Historical Grievances: Historical grievances and conflicts have left lasting scars on community dynamics in Manipur. Past struggles, violence, and insurgent movements have deepened mistrust and created fragmented social landscapes. Lingering resentments from these historical events continue to impact relationships between communities.
  • Socio-economic Disparities: Socio-economic disparities exist among different communities in Manipur. Disparities in access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities can contribute to tensions and grievances. Economic imbalances and perceived inequalities can strain community relationships.

Historical Background 

  • Pre-Integration Period: The Meiteis, the majority community in Manipur, had their own distinct socio-political system and cultural practices. They sought to project a pan-Mongoloid identity and had a chequered history of violence and struggles before integration with India.
  • Insurgent Movements: Before integration, Manipur witnessed the emergence of various insurgent groups, such as the People’s Liberation Army, which operated from bases in Bangladesh and Myanmar. These groups sought to address the political aspirations and grievances of certain communities in Manipur, leading to tensions and conflicts with the government and agencies representing the government.
  • Religious and Identity Issues: The Meiteis, who primarily follow Vaishnav Hinduism, had also expressed dissatisfaction with their Hindu identity, as they believed it brought them no political and economic benefits. They had previously attempted to revive an old Meitei religion called Sanamahism and had protested against the presence of Mayangs, or outsiders, including Manipur Muslims called Pangals.
  • Integration with India: Manipur became a part of India in 1949, and efforts were made to integrate the state with the mainstream Indian governance system. Over the years, steps such as protracted military operations, peace talks, political negotiations, improved means of communication, and development were undertaken to facilitate integration and stability in the region.

Facts for prelims

Merger of Manipur with the Union of India:

  • Pre-1947: Manipur was a princely state under British colonial rule. The Maharaja of Manipur, Bodhachandra Singh, was the ruler of the state.
  • August 1947: The Maharaja of Manipur signed the Instrument of Accession, agreeing to accede to the Indian Union.
  • 1972: Manipur, along with Meghalaya and Tripura, became a full-fledged state under the North Eastern Region (Reorganisation) Act, 1971

Who are the Meiteis?

  • Largest community: The Meiteis are the largest community in Manipur.
  • Community’s Language: They speak the Meitei language (officially called Manipuri), one of the 22 official languages of India and the sole official language of Manipur State.
  • Geographical Distribution: Manipur is geographically divided into the Imphal Valley and the surrounding hills. The Imphal Valley is dominated by the Meitei community, which accounts for more than 64% of the population. The hills, which comprise 90% of Manipur’s geographical area, are inhabited by more than 35% recognized tribes, which are largely Christians.
  • Major Festivals: festivals of meiteis are Lai Haraoba, Cheiraoba, Yaosang among others. Also, The Manipuri martial art Thang-ta had its origin in the Meitei knights during the king’s rule.

Government’s efforts to restore peace in Manipur

  • Deployment of Security Forces: The Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), and Indian Air Force have been deployed to address the ongoing violence and maintain law and order in the region.
  • High-Level Government Involvement: The union Home minister has personally visited Manipur and presided over the peace process. The government has appointed a former Director-General of the CRPF as a security adviser and may appoint an officer from the Tripura cadre as the Director-General of Manipur.
  • Military Operations and Combing Operations: The government has initiated military and combing operations to control the intensity and spread of violence. These operations aim to apprehend perpetrators and restore peace.
  • Relief and Rehabilitation: Relief camps have been set up to provide shelter, food, and support to those affected by the violence. Efforts are being made to rehabilitate displaced individuals and help them return to their homes.
  • Strict Action Against Perpetrators: The government has emphasized taking strict action against those involved in violence. Perpetrators are facing consequences for their actions.
  • Confidence-Building Measures: The presence of security forces and high-level government officials aims to restore confidence among affected communities. The government’s commitment to maintaining law and order and addressing the security situation is intended to instill a sense of security.

Way ahead: Restoring Peace and Rebuilding Trust

  • Dialogue and Reconciliation: Facilitate open and inclusive dialogue among different communities, encouraging representatives from various ethnic groups to come together and discuss their concerns, grievances, and aspirations. This dialogue should aim to foster understanding, empathy, and reconciliation, creating a platform for finding common ground and building trust.
  • Addressing Land Issues: Develop a fair and transparent mechanism to address land disputes and ensure equitable land ownership rights for all communities. This can involve comprehensive land reforms, effective implementation of land laws, and creating avenues for resolving land-related conflicts through legal means or mediation.
  • Inclusive Governance and Representation: Ensure equitable political representation and participation of all communities in decision-making processes. This can be achieved by promoting inclusive policies, ensuring diverse community representation in legislative bodies, and providing opportunities for marginalized communities to have a voice in governance.
  • Economic Development and Employment Opportunities: Focus on promoting inclusive economic development in Manipur, with a particular emphasis on marginalized communities. Encourage investments in sectors that can generate employment and economic opportunities, ensuring that benefits reach all sections of society. This can help address socio-economic disparities and reduce tensions arising from perceived inequalities.
  • Promoting Cultural Understanding and Diversity: Foster an environment of cultural understanding, respect, and appreciation among different communities. Promote cultural exchanges, festivals, and events that showcase the richness and diversity of Manipuri cultures. Educational initiatives can also play a vital role in promoting intercultural understanding and tolerance.
  • Strengthening Law and Order: Enhance security measures and maintain the rule of law to curb violence and maintain peace. Ensure swift and fair justice for those involved in communal clashes, while also promoting community policing initiatives that foster trust and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and local communities.
  • Rehabilitation and Reconciliation Efforts: Provide rehabilitation and support to those affected by violence and displacement, irrespective of their community background. Implement initiatives that promote reconciliation and healing among affected communities, such as community dialogues, peace-building workshops, and counseling services.
  • Media and Communication: Encourage responsible and unbiased reporting by the media, which can play a crucial role in bridging communities and fostering understanding. Promote media initiatives that highlight stories of cooperation, cultural exchange, and positive community engagements

Conclusion

  • Manipur’s ethnic tensions require urgent attention to prevent further escalation of violence and to foster lasting peace. By addressing the underlying causes of conflict, implementing effective governance, and ensuring equitable representation and resource distribution, the state can work towards restoring trust and unity among its diverse communities. Only through comprehensive and inclusive approaches can Manipur integrate fully with mainstream India and realize its potential contributions to the nation’s development.

Must read:

Manipur: The Demand for Separate Administration and the Challenges Ahead

 

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Tribes in News

Manipur: The Demand for Separate Administration and the Challenges Ahead

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Provisions related to territorial alteration of the states and tribes in news

Mains level : Increasing demand for a separate administration in Manipur causes, advantages and challenges

Manipur

Central Idea

  • The recent demand for a separate administration in Manipur has sparked widespread discussions on the sanctity of borders and the territorial integrity of the state. The demand, supported by various Kuki-Zo legislators highlights the alleged tacit support of the Manipur government towards violence against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi hill tribals. The counter-response from Meitei groups advocating for the protection of the state’s territorial integrity further complicates the situation.

Causes of the riots in Manipur

  • The principal cause of the riots in Manipur is the failure of the state government to recognize and accommodate the territorial rights and identities of the different communities in the state.
  • The state’s aggressive integrationist project, which seeks to dissolve tribal land rights in the valley areas, has been a major source of tension between the Meitei and tribal communities.
  • Additionally, in April 2023, The Manipur High Court’s order to expedite the recommendation for granting ST status to the Meiteis further inflamed the tribal sentiments and led to the massive protest on May 3.

Factors contributing to the increasing demand for a separate administration in Manipur

  • Ethnic Tensions and Divisions: Manipur is home to diverse ethnic communities, including the Kuki-Zo and Meitei groups. Ethnic tensions and historical divisions have persisted for years, leading to a sense of marginalization and a desire for separate administrative arrangements.
  • Failure of Previous Arrangements: Previous attempts to address the concerns of tribal communities, such as the proposal for a Union Territory or inclusion in the Sixth Schedule, have been perceived as inadequate or non-serious. The lack of tangible progress has intensified the demand for a more comprehensive and separate administrative setup.
  • Demographic Changes and Displacement: The extensive violence, displacement of populations, destruction of property, and loss of lives in recent times have significantly altered the demographic landscape of Manipur. These changes have deepened the divide between different communities and created a sense of irreparable separation.
  • Economic Considerations: The Kuki-Zo-dominated districts of Manipur, such as Pherzawl and Churachandpur, possess valuable natural resources and strategic gateways to Southeast Asia. Proponents of a separate administration argue that harnessing these resources and leveraging the region’s economic potential would be better served under a distinct administrative framework.
  • Lack of Trust in the Current System: The demand for a separate administration reflects a deep-seated mistrust in the existing political and administrative structures. Some communities believe that their interests and concerns are not adequately represented or addressed within the current system, leading to a call for a separate administrative entity.
  • Popular Support and Mobilization: The current demand for a separate administration enjoys unprecedented popular support among the Kuki-Zo groups. This widespread backing has galvanized community members and fueled a sustained mobilization effort, making the demand a significant force in Manipur’s political landscape.
  • Alleged Government Support for Violence: The demand stems from allegations that the Manipur government has tacitly supported violence against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi hill tribals. The perception of government inaction or indifference has fuelled discontent among the affected communities.

Constitutional Challenges for the implementation of a separate administration in Manipur

  • Article 3 of the Constitution: The power to effect changes in a state’s border lies with the central government, as outlined in Article 3 of the Constitution. This provision grants unilateral power to the center to alter state boundaries.
  • Opposition from Naga Groups: Granting a separate administration for Kuki-Zo in Manipur’s hill areas could face opposition from certain Naga groups. These groups may be reluctant to compromise on their territorial aspirations, particularly concerning the Naga’s demand for a sovereign ‘Nagalim.’ Finding a resolution that satisfies the demands of both communities is a significant challenge.
  • Resistance from the State Government and Meitei Groups: The Manipur state government and Meitei groups may staunchly oppose the demand for a separate administration. They might advocate for maintaining the territorial integrity of Manipur and resist any attempts to alter the administrative setup.
  • Revisiting Constitutional Arrangements: Establishing a separate administration in Manipur would necessitate revisiting and potentially amending the existing constitutional arrangements. This could involve dissolving sub-state constitutional asymmetrical arrangements, such as Article 371C, district councils, and tribal land rights.
  • Overlapping Ethnic Boundaries: Manipur’s ethnic dynamics present a challenge when determining the territorial boundaries of a separate administration. Some districts, such as Chandel, Kamjong, and Tengnoupal, have mixed populations and historical territorial disputes between the Kukis and Nagas. Resolving these territorial complexities and addressing the concerns of all communities is a delicate task.
  • Economic Viability: Critics may raise concerns about the financial sustainability and resource allocation for the proposed administrative entity. Demonstrating the economic potential and strategic advantages of a separate administration is crucial to counter these arguments.

Facts for prelims: Major tribes of Manipur

  • Naga Tribes: The Nagas are one of the largest and most prominent tribes in Manipur. They are primarily concentrated in the hill areas of the state, and are known for their distinct culture and traditions.
  • Kuki Tribes: The Kukis are another major tribe in Manipur, and are also primarily concentrated in the hill areas. They are known for their love of music and dance, and have a rich cultural heritage.
  • Meitei Tribe: The Meitei are the dominant community in the valley areas of Manipur, and have their own distinct language and culture. They are known for their love of traditional sports such as Thang Ta (a form of martial arts) and Sagol Kangjei (a game similar to polo).
  • Hmar Tribe: The Hmars are a smaller tribe in Manipur, but are still an important part of the state’s cultural fabric. They are known for their traditional dance forms, such as the Cheraw and Chheihlam
  • Zomi Tribe: The Zomis are another smaller tribe in Manipur, but are spread across several states in Northeast India. They are known for their love of music and dance, and have a rich cultural heritage.
  • Pangal Tribe: The Pangal tribe, also known as the Manipuri Muslims, is a minority community in Manipur. They have a distinct culture and language and are primarily concentrated in the valley region.
  • Anal Tribe: The Anal tribe is a smaller ethnic group in Manipur and is primarily concentrated in the hill areas. They have a unique culture and are known for their traditional dress, dance, and music.

Way ahead

  • Dialogue and Negotiation: Facilitating a dialogue between the various stakeholders, including the Kuki-Zo groups, Meitei communities, Nagas, and the state government, is essential. Open and constructive discussions can help identify common ground and potential areas of compromise.
  • Constitutional Reforms: Given the constitutional complexities involved, exploring options for constitutional reforms may be necessary. This could involve amending Article 3 to ensure greater involvement of the affected states in decisions regarding border changes, thereby addressing concerns about the exercise of unilateral power by the Centre.
  • Devolution of Power: Considering the overlapping ethnic boundaries in Manipur’s districts, there could be a focus on devolving power and granting autonomy to local communities within a framework of non-territorial and territorial autonomy.
  • Resource Management and Economic Development: Strategically leveraging the rich natural resources and strategic gateways in the Kuki-Zo-dominated districts, such as the natural gas belt and access to Southeast Asia, can contribute to the economic development of the region and provide incentives for a separate administration.
    Inclusive Governance: Any solution should prioritize inclusive governance that recognizes and respects the rights and aspirations of all communities in Manipur. Ensuring equitable representation, protection of minority rights, and mechanisms for peaceful coexistence are essential components of a sustainable way forward.
  • Learning from International Examples: Drawing lessons from federal polities like Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, where territorial divisions have been managed successfully, can provide valuable insights. Understanding their experiences and practices in accommodating territorially mobilized groups can inform the way forward in Manipur.
  • Building Trust and Reconciliation: Addressing historical grievances, fostering social harmony, and promoting reconciliation among communities are crucial for long-term stability. Efforts should be made to build trust, bridge divides, and promote understanding among different ethnic groups in Manipur.

Conclusion

  • With unprecedented popular support and the Rubicon of division already crossed, Manipur faces constitutional challenges in effecting this demand. The unresolved debate surrounding Manipur’s administrative future hinges on aligning agendas, ideas, and interests across India’s multi-level federal polity and processes.

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[Burning Issue] Manipur Ethnic Violence

 

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Tribes in News

Rebuilding the Idea and Reality of Manipur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Major Tribes and features

Mains level : Inter-community struggles and reconciliation ans state governence

Manipur

Central Idea

  • The recent communal riots in Manipur have led to unprecedented human displacement, loss of lives and property, and destruction of the geopolitical foundations of Manipur beyond any immediate repair. To secure future stability and peace, there is a need to confront the truth about the nature of these riots and their principal cause and take adequate measures to ensure institutional accountability, recognition, and accommodation of distinctive rights and identities.

What is the principal cause?

  • The principal cause of the riots in Manipur is the failure of the state government to recognize and accommodate the territorial rights and identities of the different communities in the state.
  • The state’s aggressive integrationist project, which seeks to dissolve tribal land rights in the valley areas, has been a major source of tension between the Meitei and tribal communities.
  • Additionally, the lack of functional sub-state asymmetrical institutions and the weakness of the state-society model have contributed to the instability and ethnic security dilemma in the state.

Who are the Meiteis?

  • Largest community: The Meiteis are the largest community in Manipur.
  • Community’s Language: They speak the Meitei language (officially called Manipuri), one of the 22 official languages of India and the sole official language of Manipur State.
  • Geographical Distribution: Manipur is geographically divided into the Imphal Valley and the surrounding hills. The Imphal Valley is dominated by the Meitei community, which accounts for more than 64% of the population. The hills, which comprise 90% of Manipur’s geographical area, are inhabited by more than 35% recognized tribes, which are largely Christians.
  • Major Festivals: festivals of meiteis are Lai Haraoba, Cheiraoba, Yaosang among others. Also, The Manipuri martial art Thang-ta had its origin in the Meitei knights during the king’s rule.

Need for recognition and accommodation: Illustration

  • Recognition of territorial rights: The stability and integrity of a pillarized society like Manipur can only be secured through recognition of territorial rights and identities of all communities. This means recognizing the land rights and heritage of the Meiteis and the tribals in the hills.
  • Substantive accommodation: In addition to recognition, it is necessary to provide substantive accommodation to different communities. This can involve granting tribal communities more autonomy in decision-making and representation in government.
  • Genuine dialogue: Accommodation requires genuine dialogue between communities that is based on mutual respect and a willingness to compromise. This is crucial for building trust and reducing tensions.
  • End of aggressive integrationist projects: The idea that one community should dominate others must be replaced with a more inclusive approach that values diversity and recognizes the rights of all communities.
  • Working institutions: Accommodation requires that institutions function effectively and equitably. The weak state-society model in Manipur needs to be strengthened and institutional trust and legitimacy must be restored.
  • Respect for differences: Recognition and accommodation require a respect for differences and a commitment to finding common ground. This can be facilitated by an appreciation of the historical pedigree of extant sub-State constitutional asymmetry and a willingness to address the concerns of all communities.

Way ahead: Steps to promote State-building

  • Strengthening state institutions: The state government should focus on building strong and effective institutions that can deliver basic services to citizens, maintain law and order, and protect the rights of all communities. This could involve reforming the police force, improving the efficiency of the bureaucracy, and strengthening the judiciary.
  • Promoting inclusivity: The state government should ensure that all communities, including tribal and non-tribal groups, have equal access to government services and are included in the political process. This could involve implementing affirmative action policies and promoting dialogue between different communities.
  • Improving infrastructure: The state government should invest in improving infrastructure, including roads, water supply, and electricity, to promote economic growth and development. This could help reduce poverty and inequality and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
  • Addressing grievances: The state government should address the grievances of different communities, including land rights issues, to build trust and promote peace. This could involve setting up a judicial commission to investigate past violence and ensure accountability for those responsible.
  • Building regional partnerships: The state government should work with other states in the region and the central government to promote regional cooperation and address common challenges. This could involve promoting trade and investment, sharing resources, and collaborating on regional security issues.

Facts for prelims: Major tribes of Manipur

  • Naga Tribes: The Nagas are one of the largest and most prominent tribes in Manipur. They are primarily concentrated in the hill areas of the state, and are known for their distinct culture and traditions.
  • Kuki Tribes: The Kukis are another major tribe in Manipur, and are also primarily concentrated in the hill areas. They are known for their love of music and dance, and have a rich cultural heritage.
  • Meitei Tribe: The Meitei are the dominant community in the valley areas of Manipur, and have their own distinct language and culture. They are known for their love of traditional sports such as Thang Ta (a form of martial arts) and Sagol Kangjei (a game similar to polo).
  • Hmar Tribe: The Hmars are a smaller tribe in Manipur, but are still an important part of the state’s cultural fabric. They are known for their traditional dance forms, such as the Cheraw and Chheihlam
  • Zomi Tribe: The Zomis are another smaller tribe in Manipur, but are spread across several states in Northeast India. They are known for their love of music and dance, and have a rich cultural heritage.
  • Pangal Tribe: The Pangal tribe, also known as the Manipuri Muslims, is a minority community in Manipur. They have a distinct culture and language and are primarily concentrated in the valley region.
  • Anal Tribe: The Anal tribe is a smaller ethnic group in Manipur and is primarily concentrated in the hill areas. They have a unique culture and are known for their traditional dress, dance, and music.

Conclusion

  • Serious and concerted inter-community reconciliation efforts must be initiated immediately if Manipur as an inclusive idea and a geopolitical space of accommodation were to be revived. Any prolonged conflagrations will be mutually destructive and self-defeating. The government must adopt even-handedness in its dealing with diverse communities and must not cave into the pressure of the majority in the future.

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Tribes in News

Manipur Riots: CJI questions HC’s power over ST List

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Scheduled Tribes

Mains level : Manipur Riots

Central Idea

  • The Chief Justice of India has questioned why a 23-year-old Constitution Bench judgment was not shown to the Manipur High Court, which directed the state government to consider the inclusion of Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list.
  • The Chief Justice observed that a High Court does not have the power to direct changes in the Scheduled Tribes List, as it is a Presidential power to designate a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

What is the Scheduled Tribes List?

  • Article 342(1) of the Constitution states that it is entirely the President’s power to designate a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
  • It is not open to State governments, courts, tribunals, or any other authority to modify, amend or alter the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in the notification issued under clause (1) of Article 342.
  • A notification issued under clause (1) of Article 342 can be amended only by law to be made by Parliament.

Notable Judgements:

(1) The State of Maharashtra vs. Milind verdict

  • The five-judge Constitution Bench in State of Maharashtra versus Milind, in November 2000, held that a notification issued under clause (1) of Article 342, specifying Scheduled Tribes, can be amended only by law to be made by Parliament.
  • Any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe can be included or excluded from the list of Scheduled Tribes only by Parliament by law and by no other authority.

(2) FCI vs. Jagdish Balaram Bahira

  • The settled law in the Milind verdict was referred to by a July 2017 judgment authored by Justice Chandrachud for a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in CMD, FCI versus Jagdish Balaram Bahira to note that the Presidential Order under Article 342 regarding Scheduled Tribes was always “final”.

Back2Basics: Scheduled Tribes

  • 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 procedures to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.
  • Among the tribal groups, several have adapted to modern life but there are tribal groups who are more vulnerable.
  • The Dhebar Commission (1973) created a separate category “Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs)” which was renamed in 2006 as “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)”.

How are STs notified?

  • The first specification of Scheduled Tribes in relation to a particular State/ Union Territory is by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the State governments concerned.
  • These orders can be modified subsequently only through an Act of Parliament.

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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Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Hakki- Pikki

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hakki- Pikki Tribe

Mains level : NA

hikki

Central idea: Thirty-one tribals belonging to the ‘Hakki-Pikki’ community from Karnataka are stranded in Sudan due to violent clashes between a paramilitary force and the country’s armed forces.

Who are the Hakki-Pikkis?

Description
Origin Migrated from northern India to Karnataka.
Traditional Occupation Traditionally known for bird hunting, which was later outlawed.
Language Indo-Aryan language called ‘Vaagri’ and use Kannada for daily business.
Location Predominantly found in Shivamogga, Davanagere, and Mysuru districts of Karnataka
Lineage A matriarchal community, where women have an important role in decision-making.
Traditional  Knowledge Known for selling indigenous medicines developed based on their knowledge of plants and herbs.

 

Language and UNESCO Listing

  • ‘Vaagri’ has been listed as one of the endangered languages by UNESCO.
  • This indicates that the language is at risk of becoming extinct in the future, highlighting the importance of preserving and promoting it.

 

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Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Idu Mishmis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dibang WLS, Idu Mishmi

Mains level : Not Much

mishmi

Central idea

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority has proposed to notify Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh as a tiger reserve, causing concerns among the Idu Mishmi community.
  • The Idu Mishmi community has a unique cultural relationship with the forest, particularly with tigers.
  • This article explains who the Idu Mishmis are, their relationship with the forest, the move to propose a tiger reserve, and the community’s resistance.

Who are the Idu Mishmis?

  • The Idu Mishmi community is a sub-tribe of the larger Mishmi group, primarily living in the Mishmi Hills bordering Tibet in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The tribe has strong ties with the flora and fauna of the region, particularly tigers, which are considered their “elder brothers” in their mythology.
  • Despite traditional hunting practices, the tribe follows a belief system of myths and taboos that restrict them from hunting many animals, including a complete prohibition on killing tigers.
  • This belief system has led to a unique model of wildlife conservation, according to anthropologists and researchers.

Overturning Dibang WLS into Tiger Reserve

  • Plans to declare Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve have been ongoing for a while now.
  • The sanctuary, home to rare Mishmi takin, musk deer, goral, clouded leopards, snow leopards, and tigers, was notified in 1998.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India carried out a survey in 2014 to determine the presence of tigers in the area based on photographic evidence via camera trapping.
  • The study recorded the presence of tigers in the highest reaches of the Mishmi Hills, forming the basis of the proposal to declare the sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

Why are the Idu Mishmis resisting the move?

  • The community’s access to the Dibang forests has not been impacted as a wildlife sanctuary, but many believe a tiger reserve would increasingly restrict access.
  • The upgrade to a tiger reserve would feature stricter security measures, such as a ‘Special Tiger Protection Force,’ which would hinder the community’s access to their forest lands.
  • The community has declared part of its forest land as a ‘Community Conserved Area,’ governed entirely by local populations, where they ban hunting, felling trees, and implement other conservation measures.
  • The community alleges that the Dibang WLS was created without their consent or knowledge.

Back2Basics: Mishmi Tribe

Information
Name and Location Mishmi people, an indigenous group living in the northeastern Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, as well as parts of Tibet and Myanmar
Subgroups Idu Mishmi, Digaru Mishmi, and Miju Mishmi
Migration and Language Believed to have migrated from the Mongoloid race, their languages belong to the Tibeto-Burman family
History Rich and complex history dating back several centuries, involved in conflicts with neighboring tribes and states, affected by British colonialism and creation of McMahon Line, played important role in Sino-Indian War
Culture Rich cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, unique customs and practices related to birth, marriage, and death, known for craftsmanship skills in weaving, woodcarving, and metalwork, rich mythology
Religion Primarily animists, believe in spirits in nature, worship ancestors and spirits of forests and mountains, rich tradition of shamanism
Livelihoods Primarily agriculturists, with rice as staple crop, engage in animal husbandry, fishing, beekeeping is an important source of income, hunting restricted
Challenges Struggling to protect ancestral lands from outsiders, culture and way of life threatened by modernization and globalization, vulnerable to effects of climate change

 


 

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Tribes in News

Sarna Religion of the Tribals

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sarna Religion

Mains level : Tribal assertiveness

sarna

West Bengal Assembly has tabled a motion to recognize Sarna Religion of the tribals and have a Sarna Code.

Sarna Religion

  • The followers of Sarna faith believe pray to nature.
  • The holy grail of the faith is “Jal (water), Jungle (forest), Zameen (land)” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
  • Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups of which eight are from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • While many follow Hindu religion, some have converted to Christianity — this has become one of the planks of demanding a separate code “to save religious identity”— as various tribal organisations put it.

Demand for Sarna Code

  • Tribal groups in the region have long demanded the Sarna code, a separate religious classification in the census, recognising their status as independent religious communities.
  • It is believed that 50 lakhs tribal in the entire country put their religion as ‘Sarna’ in the 2011 census, although it was not a code.
  • The resolution will seek a special column for followers of the Sarna religion in the Census, 2021.
  • At present, they are not classified as a separate entity.

Politics around the tribe

  • Many of the tribals who follow this faith have later converted to Christianity—the state has more than 4% Christians most of whom are tribals.
  • Some who still follow the Sarna faith believe the converted tribals are taking the benefits of reservation as a minority, as well as the benefits, are given to Schedule Tribes.
  • They also believe that benefits should be given specifically to them and not to those who have converted.

What sense does a separate code make?

  • The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals.
  • Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
  • Experts argue that when today the entire world is focusing on reducing pollution and protecting the environment, it is prudent that Sarna becomes a religious code as the soul of this religion is to protect nature and the environment.

 

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Tribes in News

Who are the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs

Mains level : Tribal upliftment

The Union Budget 2023-24 has provided to launch the Pradhan Mantri PVTG (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group) Development Mission in order to saturate the PVTG families and habitations with basic facilities.

What is the budgetary announcement about?

  • The Pradhan Mantri PVTG Mission will be launched as part of ‘Reaching The Last Mile’, one of the seven Saptarishi priorities enlisted in this year’s Budget.
  • More details are awaited for this new.

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).

Origin of the concept

  • The Dhebar Commission (1960-1961) stated that within Scheduled Tribes there existed an inequality in the rate of development.
  • During the fourth Five Year Plan a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify groups that considered to be at a lower level of development.
  • This was created based on the Dhebar Commission report and other studies.
  • This sub-category was named “Primitive tribal group”.

Features of PVTGs

  • The features of such a group include a:
  1. Pre-agricultural system of existence
  2. Practice of hunting and gathering
  3. Zero or negative population growth
  4. Extremely low level of literacy in comparison with other tribal groups
  • Groups that satisfied any one of the criterion were considered as PTG.
  • In 2006 the government of India proposed to rename “Primitive tribal group” as Particularly vulnerable tribal group”.

 

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

 

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Tribes in News

What are Hakku Patras or Title Deeds?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hakku Patra

Mains level : Land rights to tribals

hakku patra

PM has distributed Hakku Patra (land title deeds) to five Lambani (Banjara) tribes, a nomadic Scheduled Caste group, during a launch programme in Karnataka.

What are Hakku Patras?

  • A title deed is a property ownership document, and the bearer of the document owns the land.
  • The title deeds enable owners to avail of bank loans with the said document.
  • They will also be eligible to buy or sell land to which the title deed is granted by the government.
  • This Hakku Patra will secure the future of thousands of people living in the “Tandas” (Lambani habitats) in Kalaburagi, Bidar, Yadgiri, Raichur and Vijayapura districts.

Benefits of Hakku Patra 

Hakku Patra, like every legal property document, offers a great set of benefits.

  • It makes one the legitimate owner of your land or property by giving an up-to-date and official record of who owns the land.
  • The individual does not have to research as the government issues the document.
  • It is a state-guaranteed document.
  • Hakku Patra registration resolves all types of disputes regarding the ownership or rights over the land.
  • The document helps in preventing any encroachment via trespassing on the boundaries.

Who are the Banjaras?

  • The Banjara, also known as Lambadi, Gour Rajput, Labana, are a historically nomadic trading caste who may have origins in the Mewar region of what is now Rajasthan.
  • According to the National Informatics Centre, the name Banjara /Banjari probably had come from two different sources: ‘Banijya’ – trade or ‘Banachara’, the forest dwellers.
  • Their principal group’s name Laban/Labana is derived from the Sanskrit word lavanah, meaning salt as they were salt traders.
  • Although considered a tribal group given the life they lead, the Banjaras are a key scheduled caste sub-group in Karnataka.
  • Despite the community adopting a multitude of languages, Banjara is used throughout India, although in Karnataka the name is altered to Banijagaru.

Questions of a political move 

  • The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes together make up nearly 24 per cent of the state population, becoming an important group for political parties.
  • The expenses incurred for the programme were funded by the state exchequer.

 

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Tribes in News

Move to change procedure for inclusion on ST list is put on hold

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Scheduled Tribes

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Union Government has put on hold a proposal to change the procedure for scheduling new communities as Scheduled Tribes, which has been in the pipeline for more than eight years.

Why in news?

  • The proposal to change the procedure was based on the recommendations of a government task force constituted in February 2014, headed by then-Tribal Affairs Secretary Hrusikesh Panda.
  • It called the existing procedure:
  1. Cumbersome and time-consuming
  2. Defeats the Constitutional agenda for affirmative action and inclusion

Who are the Scheduled Tribes?

  • 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.
  • Among the tribal groups, several have adapted to modern life but there are tribal groups who are more vulnerable.
  • The Dhebar Commission (1973) created a separate category “Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs)” which was renamed in 2006 as “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)”.

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.

Issues with the procedure of ST notification

The Panda committee had explained that there were multiple obstacles unnecessarily preventing at least 40 communities from being listed as ST.

  1. Exclusion over name: Several tribes pronounced or spelt their community’s name in different ways; some communities were split when new States were created, leaving them as ST in one State and not in the other;
  2. Migration led exclusion: Some tribespeople were forcefully taken as indentured labour to other States where they were left out of the ST list.
  3. No ethnographic study: The modalities not only lacked sufficient anthropologists and sociologists to comment on proposals for exclusion or inclusion.

Recommendations to change the procedure

The Panda committee recommends-

  • Once a proposal is received from a State Government, it should be circulated simultaneously to the NCST.
  • The Office of the RGI and the Anthropological Survey of India, each of which would have six months to give their opinions.
  • A special Committee on scheduling would then consider the proposal and the opinions of the above-mentioned authorities and make a final recommendation within one month.
  • The Committee would consist of the Tribal Affairs Secretary, and representatives of the NCST, Office of the RGI, Anthropological Survey of India, State Government and the concerned State tribal research institute.

 

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Tribes in News

Pahari Ethnic Community added to STs List of J&K

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Paharai tribes

Mains level : Not Much

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has now cleared the way for the inclusion of the ‘Pahari ethnic group’ on the Scheduled Tribes list of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Who are the Scheduled Tribes?

  • 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.
  • Among the tribal groups, several have adapted to modern life but there are tribal groups who are more vulnerable.
  • The Dhebar Commission (1973) created a separate category “Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs)” which was renamed in 2006 as “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)”.

How are STs notified?

  • The first specification of Scheduled Tribes in relation to a particular State/ Union Territory is by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the State governments concerned.
  • These orders can be modified subsequently only through an Act of Parliament.

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.

Who are the Paharis referred to in this article?

  • 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.

 

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Tribes in News

Mangarh Massacre of 1913

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mangarh Massacre of 1913

Mains level : Tribal revolts in India

mangarh

Ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Mangarh Dham in Banswara district, Rajasthan CM has sought the declaration of the memorial for tribals as a monument of national importance.

About Mangarh Massacre

  • Mangarh Dham is known for the massacre of tribals by the British Indian Army in 1913.
  • This place is widely referred to as Adivasi Jallianwala.
  • About 1,500 Bhil tribals and forest dwellers were killed at Mangarh on November 17, 1913, when the British Indian Army opened fire on the protesters.
  • The people were gathered to demand abolition of bonded labour system and relaxation in heavy agricultural taxes imposed by the rulers of princely states.
  • The tribals in the southern Rajasthan region were led by social reformer Govind Guru.

Course of events

  • Govind Guru started his movement among Bhils in the early 1890s.
  • The movement had, as its religious centrepiece, the concept of a fire god, which required his followers to raise sacred hearths in front of which Bhils pray while performing the purifying havan called dhuni.
  • In 1903, the guru set up his main dhuni on Mangadh Hill.
  • Mobilised by him, the Bhils placed a charter of 33 demands before the British by 1910 primarily relating to forced labour, high tax imposed on Bhils and harassment of the guru’s followers by the princely states.
  • The Bhil struggle for justice under Govind Guru took a serious turn after the British and local rulers refused to accept the demands and tried to break the Bhagat movement in 1913.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Which amongst the following provided a common factor for tribal insurrection in India in the 19th century?

(a) Introduction of a new system of land revenue and taxation of tribal products.

(b) Influence of foreign religious missionaries in tribal areas.

(c) Rise of a large number of money lenders, traders and revenue farmers as middlemen in tribal areas.

(d) The complete disruption of the old agrarian order of the tribal communities.

 

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Tribes in News

Odisha offering cash incentive for PVTGs Marriages

Keeping the rampant child marriages among the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of Odisha in mind, the State government is providing an incentive of ₹20,000 to the couples marrying after the age of 18 years.

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).

Origin of the concept

  • The Dhebar Commission (1960-1961) stated that within Scheduled Tribes there existed an inequality in the rate of development.
  • During the fourth Five Year Plan a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify groups that considered to be at a lower level of development.
  • This was created based on the Dhebar Commission report and other studies.
  • This sub-category was named “Primitive tribal group”.

Features of PVTGs

  • The features of such a group include a:
  1. Pre-agricultural system of existence
  2. Practice of hunting and gathering
  3. Zero or negative population growth
  4. Extremely low level of literacy in comparison with other tribal groups
  • Groups that satisfied any one of the criterion were considered as PTG.
  • In 2006 the government of India proposed to rename “Primitive tribal group” as a Particularly vulnerable tribal group”.

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

 

Post your answers here.
0
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

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Tribes in News

Odisha offering cash incentive for PVTGs Marriages

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGS

Mains level : Not Much

Keeping the rampant child marriages among the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of Odisha in mind, the State government is providing an incentive of ₹20,000 to the couples marrying after the age of 18 years.

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).

Origin of the concept

  • The Dhebar Commission (1960-1961) stated that within Scheduled Tribes there existed an inequality in the rate of development.
  • During the fourth Five Year Plan a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify groups that considered to be at a lower level of development.
  • This was created based on the Dhebar Commission report and other studies.
  • This sub-category was named “Primitive tribal group”.

Features of PVTGs

  • The features of such a group include a:
  1. Pre-agricultural system of existence
  2. Practice of hunting and gathering
  3. Zero or negative population growth
  4. Extremely low level of literacy in comparison with other tribal groups
  • Groups that satisfied any one of the criterion were considered as PTG.
  • In 2006 the government of India proposed to rename “Primitive tribal group” as Particularly vulnerable tribal group”.

 

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

 

Post your answers here.
1
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

 

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Tribes in News

Centre adds 4 new tribes to Scheduled Tribes (ST) List

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tribes in news

Mains level : Not Much

The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of PM has approved the addition of four tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST), including those from Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.

Which tribes are we talking about?

  1. Hatti tribe in the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh
  2. Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran hill tribes of Tamil Nadu and
  3. Binjhia tribe in Chhattisgarh, which was listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh

Other tribes in news

  • The Cabinet also approved ‘Betta-Kuruba’ as a synonym for the Kadu Kuruba tribe In Karnataka.

Who are the Scheduled Tribes?

  • 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.
  • Among the tribal groups, several have adapted to modern life but there are tribal groups who are more vulnerable.
  • The Dhebar Commission (1973) created a separate category “Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs)” which was renamed in 2006 as “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)”.

How are STs notified?

  • The first specification of Scheduled Tribes in relation to a particular State/ Union Territory is by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the State governments concerned.
  • These orders can be modified subsequently only through an Act of Parliament.

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.

What is the reason for special provisions for the Scheduled Tribes in the constitution of India? Are these provisions successful in ameliorating their conditions? (250 Words)

 

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Tribes in News

Tribal Revolts President Murmu invoked in her inaugural speech

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tribal revolts in news

Mains level : Tribals uprising and thier contribution to the freedom struggle

Addressing the nation after being sworn in, President Murmu invoked four tribal revolutions that she said had strengthened tribal contribution to the freedom struggle.

[1] Santhal revolution

  • On June 30, 1855, over 10,000 Santhals were mobilised by their leaders — Kanho Murmu, Chand Murmu, Bhairab Murmu and Sidho Murmu – to revolt against the East India Company over oppression by revenue officials, zamindars, and corrupt moneylenders.
  • The landmark event in tribal history, referred to as Santhal Hul, took place in Bhognadih village in present-day Jharkhand.
  • Soon after their open rebellion, Santhals took to arms to resist imposition of East India Company laws.
  • The seeds of the protracted rebellion, however, were sown in 1832 where the East India Company created Damin-i-koh region in the forested belt of Rajmahal hills, and invited the Santhals to settle there.
  • Over the years, Santhals found themselves at the receiving end of exploitative practices aided by the British.
  • After the rebellion broke out in 1855, both sides continued clashing till the uprising was crushed in 1856.
  • The British defeated the Santhals using modern firearms and war elephants in decisive action in which both Sidho and Kanho died.

[2] Paika rebellion

  • In several recent descriptions, the 1817 Paika Rebellion in Odisha’s Khurda is referred to as the “original” first war of Indian Independence.
  • That year, the Paikas – a class of military retainers traditionally recruited by the kings of Odisha – revolted against the British colonial rulers mainly over being dispossessed of their land holdings.
  • In the run-up to the revolt, the British had dethroned and exiled the Khurda king in 1803, and then started introducing new revenue settlements.
  • For Paikas, who were into rendering martial services in return for hereditary rent-free land (nish-kar jagirs) and titles, this disruption meant losing both their estates and social standing.
  • The trigger for the revolt came as some 400 Kondhs descended from the Ghumusar area to rise against the British.
  • Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mohapatra Bharamarbar Rai, the highest-ranking military general of the banished Khurda king, led an army of Paikas to join the uprising of the Kondhs.
  • The Paikas set fire to government buildings in Banapur, killed policemen and looted the treasury and the British salt agent’s ship docked on the Chilika.
  • They then proceeded to Khurda and killed several British officials.
  • Over the next few months, the Paikas fought bloody battles at several places, but the colonial army gradually crushed the revolt.
  • Bakshi Jagabandhu escaped to the jungles, and stayed out of reach of the British until 1825, when he finally surrendered under negotiated terms.

[3] Kol revolt

  • The Kols, tribal people from the Chhota Nagpur area, rose in revolt against the British in 1831.
  • The trigger here too was the gradual takeover of tribal land and property by non-tribal settlers who were aided by new land laws.
  • The simmering discontent over the economic exploitation of the original inhabitants led to an uprising led by Buddhu Bhagat, Joa Bhagat and Madara Mahato among others.
  • The Kols were joined by other tribes like the Hos, Mundas and Oraons.
  • The tribals fought with traditional weapons taking the battle to colonial forces who finally overpowered them with modern weaponry.
  • The uprising, which spread to areas like Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamau, and Manbhum and continued for almost two years before being snuffed out, mainly targeted colonial officials and private money-lenders.

[4] Bhil uprising

  • After the British intruded into the Bhil territory in Maharashtra’s Khandesh region, the tribals pushed back fearing exploitation under the new regime in 1818.
  • The revolt was led by their leader, Sewaram and was brutally crushed using the British military might.
  • This uprising again erupted in 1825 as the Bhils sought to take advantage of reverses being suffered by the British in the first Anglo-Burmese war.

Also read:

Important Rebellions and Peasant Movements

 

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Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Santhal Tribe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Santhal Tribe, Rebellion

Mains level : Tribal progress and successfull upliftement

The Santhal community is in the spotlight after a political alliance nominated one of its leaders for the Presidential election, Droupadi Murmu, for the election to the highest Constitutional post of India.

Santhal Tribe

  • Santhal, also spelt as Santal, literally means a calm, peaceful man. Santha means calm, and ala means man in the Santhali (also spelt as Santali) language.
  • Santhals are the third largest Scheduled Tribe community in India after Gonds and Bhils.
  • The Santhali population is mostly distributed in Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

Historical background

  • The Santhals were a nomadic stock before they chose to settle in the Chotanagpur plateau.
  • By the end of the 18th century, they had concentrated in the Santhal Parganas of Jharkhand (earlier Bihar).
  • From there, they migrated to Odisha and West Bengal.

Demographic details

  • Tribal communities, outside the Northeast, generally have lower levels of literacy.
  • But the Santhals have higher – a result of a pro-school education awareness since at least the 1960s – literacy rate compared to other tribes in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • Many of the community have entered the creamy layer of Indian society.
  • For example, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren is a Santhal.
  • The incumbent Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAGI) Girsh Chandra Murmu, who was the first Lt Governor of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, is also a Santhal.

Cultural features of Santhals

(1) Religion

  • Despite their social upliftment, the Santhals are usually connected to their roots.
  • They are nature worshippers and could be seen paying obeisance at Jaher (sacred groves) in their villages.
  • River Damodar holds a special place in the religious life cycle of a Santhal.
  • When a Santhal dies, his or her ashes and bones are immersed in the Damodar for a peaceful afterlife.
  • Their traditional dress includes dhoti and gamuchha for men and a short-check saree, usually blue and green, for women, who generally put on tattoos.

 (2) Society

  • Various forms of marriage are accepted in the Santhal society – including elopement, widow remarriage, levirate, forced (rare) and the one in which a man is made to marry the woman he has impregnated.
  • Divorce is not a taboo in the Santhal society. Either of the couple could divorce the other.

(3) Artforms

  • Santhals are fond of their folk song and dance that they perform at all community events and celebrations.
  • They play musical instruments like kamak, dhol, sarangi and flutes.
  • Most Santhals are agriculturists, depending on their farmlands or forests.
  • Their homes, called Olah, have a particular three-colour pattern on the outer walls.
  • The bottom portion is painted with black soil, the middle with white and the upper with red.

(4) Language

  • Their tribal language is called Santhali, which is written in a script called Ol chiki, developed by Santhal scholar Pandit Raghunath Murmu.
  • Santhali language belongs to the Munda group.
  • Santhali written in OI-Chiki script is recognised as one of the scheduled languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

Back2Basics: Santhal Rebellion

  • The Santhal rebellion also known as Santhal Hool was a revolt by the Santhal in present-day Jharkhand, India, against the British East India Company and the Zamindari System.
  • It began on June 30, 1855, and the East India Company declared martial law on November 10, 1855, which lasted until January 3, 1856, when martial law was lifted.
  • The insurrection was put down by the Presidency soldiers.
  • The four Murmu Brothers – Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand, and Bhairav – spearheaded the revolt.

 

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Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Hattis of Himachal Pradesh

Note4Students

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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Tribes in News

Who are Denotified Tribes (DNTs)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Renke Commission, Idate Commission

Mains level : Undoing the historic injustice to DNTs

A standing committee of Parliament, tabled last week, has criticised the functioning of the development programme for de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?

  • These are communities who are the most vulnerable and deprived.
  • Denotified tribes (DNTs) are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminal’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
  • They mostly belong to the medieval period Banjaras.
  • Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities are defined as those who move from one place to another rather than living at one place all the time.

What is the history of deprivation faced by these communities?

  • This has a long history, first during colonial rule, and then in independent India.
  • These communities are largely politically ‘quiet’ — they do not place their demands concretely before the government for they lack vocal leadership and also lack the patronage of a national leader.
  • Many commissions and committees constituted since Independence have referred to the problems of these communities. These include the:
  1. Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh)
  2. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee in 1949 (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed)
  3. Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953
  4. In 1965, an Advisory Committee constituted for revision of the SC and ST list under the chairmanship of B N Lokur referred to denotified tribes
  5. The B P Mandal Commission constituted in 1980 also made some recommendations on the issue

Policy measures for DNTs

  • A National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) was constituted in 2006 by the then government.
  • It was headed by Balkrishna Sidram Renke and submitted its report in June 2008.
  • It said that it is an irony that these tribes somehow escaped the attention of our Constitution makers and thus got deprived of the Constitutional support unlike SCs and STs.
  • The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
  • A new Commission constituted in February 2014 to prepare a state-wise list, which submitted its report on January 8, 2018, identified 1,262 communities as de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic.
  • Much recently, the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment launched the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of De-notified, Nomadic, and Semi Nomadic Communities (SEED).

Why in news now?

  • While a number of these tribes are categorised under SC, ST and OBC, many are not.
  • The standing committee report in Parliament has cited a statement by the Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, that 269 DNT communities are not covered under any reserved categories.
  • These communities are frequently left out because they are less visible and difficult to reach.

What is DWBDNC, and what is its role?

  • The DWBDNC stands for the Scheme for welfare of Denotified, Nomadic and Semi Nomadic communities (DWBDNC).
  • The commission report submitted in 2018 had recommended the setting of up a permanent commission for these communities.
  • But since most DNTs are covered under SC, ST or OBC, the government felt setting up a permanent commission, which would deal with redress of grievances.
  • The government therefore set up the DWBDNCs under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

The Idate Commission

  • The DWBDNC was constituted on February 21, 2019 under the chairmanship of Bhiku Ramji Idate.
  • Also, a committee has been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification of the de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic communities (DNCs).
  • Ethnographic studies of DNCs are being conducted by the Anthropological Survey of India, with a budget of Rs 2.26 crore sanctioned.
  • On March 30, 2022 the DoPT issued an advertisement for the recruitment of consultants in the DWBDNC.

 

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Tribes in News

Tripura’s Darlong community in included in ST List

Note4Students

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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Tribes in News

[pib] Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SEED Scheme, DNTs, Criminal Tribes Act

Mains level : Welfare of the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of De-notified, Nomadic, and Semi Nomadic Communities (SEED).

Who are the DNTs?

  • The term ‘De-notified Tribes’ stands for all those communities which were once notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts, enforced by the British Raj between l87l and I947.
  • These Acts were repealed after Independence in l952, and these communities were “De-Notified”.
  • The DNTs (of whom most are the medieval period Banjaras) are the most neglected, marginalized, and economically and socially deprived communities.
  • Most of them have been living a life of destitution for generations and still continue to do so with an uncertain and gloomy future.

SEED Scheme

  • Under the scheme, the government seeks to provide free coaching to students for civil services examinations, competitive exams for admission to professional courses; health insurance; livelihood support and housing.
  • It has been formulated for families having income from all sources of Rs.2.50 lakh or less per annum and not availing any such benefits from similar Scheme of Centre Government or the State Government.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through a portal, developed by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • Post verification, the funds will be transferred directly to the beneficiaries in their account.
  • The other implementing agencies are Ministry of Rural Development, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Health Authority (NHA).

Components of the scheme

The Scheme will have the following four components:

[I] Free Coaching

  • A component of free Coaching for DNT Students has been envisioned for the educational empowerment of these communities.
  • The objective of this component is to enable them to appear in competitive examinations/ admission to professional courses like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc for obtaining an appropriate job in the Public/Private Sector.
  • The selection of the candidates for each course will be based on system generated merit list through the portal.
  • Approximately, 6250 students will be provided free coaching under this component in five years. The total funds spent in the five years will be Rs.50 crore.

[II] Health Insurance

  • Members of these communities are likely to have little or no access to medical facilities and other benefits available under the mainstream health policies.
  • The primary objective of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to National Health Authority (NHA) in association with State Health Agencies (SHAs).
  • These agencies will provide a health insurance cover of Rs.5 lakhs per family per year for families as per norms of “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

 [III] Livelihood Initiatives

  • The decline of traditional occupations of DNT/NT/SNT communities has exacerbated their poverty.
  • A focus to support livelihood generation for these communities is required.
  • The primary objective of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
  • It would enhance productivity growth in key livelihood sectors for employment generation through investments in institutional support, technical assistance.

[IV] Financial support for Housing

  • Considering the shortage of houses for DNTs, it has been proposed to earmark a separate outlay for PMAY to support specific importance in providing houses only for DNTs living in rural areas.
  • It is for those who have not taken benefit of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana as SC, ST, OBC and are living below the poverty line.
  • The admissible support is Rs 1.20 lakhs in plains and 1.30 lakhs in hilly areas (per unit assistance).

Why need such a scheme?

  • DNTs escaped the attention of our developmental framework and thus are deprived of the support unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Historically, these communities never had access to private land or homeownership.
  • These tribes used forests and grazing lands for their livelihood and residential use and had “strong ecological connections.
  • Many of them are dependent upon various types of natural resources and carve out intricate ecological niches for their survival.
  • The changes in ecology and environment seriously affect their livelihood options.

 

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Tribes in News

Who are the Chakmas and Hajongs?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chakmas and Hajongs

Mains level : Not Much

In Arunachal Pradesh, the Chakma and Hajong people are feeling heat since the State government decided to conduct a special census in December 2021.

What is the news?

  • The North-Eastern States have had a history of being paranoid about outsiders outnumbering the indigenous communities and taking their land, resources and jobs.
  • The threat from “non-locals” in a specific area has also been perceived to be from communities indigenous elsewhere in the region.
  • This has often led to conflicts such as the recent attacks on non-tribal people in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong or an Assam-based group’s warning to a fuel station owner in Guwahati against employing Bihari workers.

Who are the Chakmas and Hajongs?

  • The Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh are migrants from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
  • Displaced by the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli River in the 1960s, they sought asylum in India.
  • They settled in relief camps in the southern and south-eastern parts of Arunachal Pradesh from 1964 to 1969.
  • A majority of them live in the Changlang district of the State today.
  • Mizoram and Tripura have a sizeable population of the Buddhist Chakmas while the Hindu Hajongs mostly inhabit the Garo Hills of Meghalaya and adjoining areas of Assam.

Why was a special census of the two communities planned?

  • The Arunachal Government has cited to resolve the protracted issue of racial antagonism.
  • It seeks to rehabilitate the Chakma-Hajongs in other States.
  • The census plan was however dropped after the Chakma Development Foundation of India petitioned the PMO.

Issues with the census

  • Chakma organizations said the census was nothing but racial profiling of the two communities because of their ethnic origin and violated Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
  • It is against Article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by India.

What is their citizenship status?

  • Members of the two communities had been settled in Arunachal Pradesh six decades ago with a rehabilitation plan, allotted land and provided with financial aid depending on the size of their families.
  • Although local tribes claim the population of the migrants has increased alarmingly, the 2011 census says there are 47,471 Chakmas and Hajongs in the State.
  • They are granted citizenship by birth under Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, after having been born before July 1, 1987, or as descendants of those who were born before this date.

 

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Tribes in News

In news: Tai Khamti Rebellion

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tai Khamti Rebellion

Mains level : Various tribal uprisings in India

The Arunachal Pradesh Deputy CM urged the Centre to recognize the Tai Khamti-British war as India’s first for independence.

Tai Khamti Rebellion

  • The Tai Khamti Rebellion is the first such war took place in 1839 between the Tai Khamti people and the British.
  • The theatre of this war was some 2,400 km east of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where the mutiny began.
  • Tai Khamtis resisted colonization by the British. Some 80 British soldiers, including Col. Adam White, were killed in the resultant conflict.

Who are the Tai Khamti people?

  • The Tai Khamti people, who follow Theravada Buddhism, number a little more than 1,00,000 today and live in areas straddling Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Other revolts in Arunachal

  • Arunachal Deputy CM also batted for recognition of battles between other communities of Arunachal Pradesh and the British.
  • They include a series of Anglo-Abor wars from 1858 to 1911 and the Wancho-British war in Tirap district’s Ninu in 1875.
  • The Abors, now called Adis, inhabit central Arunachal Pradesh, while the Wanchos live in the southern part of the State.

 

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Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Konyak

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Konyak Tribe

Mains level : Not Much

An angry mob allegedly vandalized an Assam Rifles camp and the office of the Konyak Union in Nagaland’s Mon district.

Konyak Tribe

  • With a population of roughly 3 lakh, the area inhabited by the Konyaks extends into Arunachal Pradesh, with a sizeable population in Myanmar as well.
  • They are known to be one of the fiercest warrior tribes in Nagaland.
  • The Konyaks were the last to give up the practice of head-hunting – severing heads of enemies after attacking rival tribes – as late as the 1980s.

Significance in Naga Peace Process

  • Mon is the only district in Nagaland where the separatist group has not been able to set up base camps, largely due to resistance from the Konyaks.
  • The Konyaks therefore, are imperative for a smooth resolution of the peace talks, as well as the post-talk peace process in the state.

Also read:

Naga Peace Accord

 

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Tribes in News

Birsa Munda Jayanti to be celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Birsa Munda

Mains level : Tribal movement in Colonial India

The Union Cabinet has decided to declare November 15 as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ to mark the birth anniversary of revered tribal leader and freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Who was Birsa Munda (1875-1900)?

  • Birsa Munda was an Indian tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe.
  • He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj.

His legacy

(A) Birth and early childhood

  • Born on November 15, 1875, Birsa spent much of his childhood moving from one village to another with his parents.
  • He belonged to the Munda tribe in the Chhotanagpur Plateau area.
  • He received his early education at Salga under the guidance of his teacher Jaipal Nag.
  • On the recommendation of Jaipal Nag, Birsa converted to Christianity in order to join the German Mission school.
  • He, however, opted out of the school after a few years.

(B) New faith ‘Birsait’ against religious conversion

  • The impact of Christianity was felt in the way he came to relate to religion later.
  • Having gained awareness of the British colonial ruler and the efforts of the missionaries to convert tribals to Christianity, Birsa started the faith of ‘Birsait’.
  • Soon members of the Munda and Oraon community started joining the Birsait sect and it turned into a challenge to British conversion activities.
  • The Mundas called him Dharati Aaba, the father of earth.

(C) The Ulgulan

  • The Great Tumult or Ulgulan was a movement started by Birsa Munda against the exploitation and discrimination against tribals by the local authorities.
  • Although the movement failed, it did result in the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act which forbade tribal lands passing to non-tribals, protecting their land rights for the foreseeable future.

(D) Death

  • On March 3, 1900, Birsa Munda was arrested by the British police while he was sleeping with his tribal guerilla army at Jamkopai forest in Chakradharpur.
  • He died in Ranchi jail on June 9, 1900, at the young age of 25.

(E) Creation of Jharkhand

  • Birsa Munda’s achievements are known to be even more remarkable by virtue of the fact that he came to acquire them before he was 25.
  • In recognition of his impact on the national movement, the state of Jharkhand was created on his birth anniversary in 2000.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2020

Q. With reference to the history of India, “Ulgulan” or the Great Tumult is the description of which of the following event?

 

(a) The Revolt of 1857

(b) The Mappila Rebellion of 1921

(c) The Indigo Revolt of 1859-60

(d) Birsa Munda’s Revolt of 1899-1900

 

Post your answers here.
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Tribes in News

Meghalaya to give land rights to men

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Khasi Tribe, khatduh

Mains level : Matrilineal society in NE

Matrilineal Meghalaya is set to break the tradition of share of parental property to the khatduh, which means the youngest daughter in the Khasi language.

Matrilineal Society of Meghalaya

  • The matrilineal tradition which the Khasi and other subgroups practice in Meghalaya is unique within India.
  • Khasi are an ancient tribe said to be the largest surviving matrilineal culture in the world.
  • Matrilineal principles among the Khasi are emphasised in myths, legends, and origin narratives.

Their evolution

  • Khasi kings embarking on wars left the responsibility of running the family to women and thus their role in society became very deep rooted and respected.
  • Reference to Nari Rajya (female kingdom; or land of matriarchy) in the epic Mahabharata likely correlates with the Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Meghalaya’s present-day matrilineal culture.

Property rights

  • The youngest daughter of the family, the Ka Khadduh, inherits all ancestral property.
  • After marriage, husbands live in the mother-in-law’s home.
  • The mother’s surname is taken by children.
  • When no daughters are born to a couple, they adopt a daughter and pass their rights to property to her.
  • The birth of a girl is celebrated while the birth of a son is simply accepted.
  • There is no social stigma attributed to a woman remarrying or giving birth out of wedlock as the “Khasi Social Custom Lineage Act” gives security to them.
  • Care of children is the responsibility of mothers or mothers-in-law.

Matrilineal, not matriarchal

  • While society is matrilineal, it is not matriarchal. In past monarchies of the state, the son of the youngest sister of the king inherited the throne.
  • Even now in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly or village councils or panchayats the representation of women in politics is minimal.

Issues with the system

  • Some Khasi men perceive themselves to be accorded a secondary status.
  • They have established societies to protect equal rights for men.
  • They express that Khasi men don’t have any security, they don’t own land, they don’t run the family business and, at the same time, they are almost good for nothing.

 

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Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Mundapota Kela

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mundapota Kela, Denotified Tribes

Mains level : Tribal development

Members of the Mundapota Kela community in Odisha perform an unthinkable act of their head buried in soil, which requires exceptional breath control, for a living.

Mundapota Kela

  • The community — Mundapota Kela (a denotified tribe) — is left with few members who earn a livelihood with this bizarre act.
  • It is believed to have migrated to Odisha from Rayalaseema area of Andhra Pradesh decades ago.
  • Being street performers, they travel from one village to another and bury their heads in soil for several minutes.
  • They collect rice, vegetables and money from villagers for putting up the show.

Try answering 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?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

 

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Back2Basics: De-Notified Tribes

  • Denotified Tribes (DNTs), also known as Vimukta Jati are the tribes that were listed originally under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 as Criminal Tribes.
  • Once a tribe became “notified” as criminal, all its members were required to register with the local magistrate, failing which they would be charged with a “crime” under the Indian Penal Code.
  • The Criminal Tribes Act was repealed in 1949 and thus ‘de-notified’ the tribal communities.
  • The denotified tribes were reclassified as “habitual offenders” in 1959.
  • The UN’s anti-discrimination body Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) asked India to repeal the Habitual Offenders Act (1952) and effectively rehabilitate the denotified and nomadic tribes on 9 March 2007.
  • A National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT) was setup in 2003 to study various developmental aspects under the chairmanship of Shri. Balkrishna Renke.

 

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Tribes in News

Arunachal Pradesh ST List

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various Naga tribes

Mains level : Tribal assertiveness in NE region

The Parliament has passed a bill that seeks to amend the nomenclature of certain tribes from Arunachal Pradesh mentioned in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.

What does the Bill amend?

  • The Bill seeks to modify Part-XVIII of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950.
  • Part-XVIII lists 16 tribes of Arunachal, in order: Abor, Aka, Apatani, Nyishi, Galong, Khampti, Khowa, Mishmi [Idu, Taroon], Momba, Any Naga tribes, Sherdukpen, Singpho, Hrusso, Tagin, Khamba, and Adi.
  • The Bill corrects the names of tribes spelled incorrectly and adds names of a few tribes that were either named ambiguously or had their parent group named only.

Why is it significant?

  • Self-identification: It is an essence for much-needed respect for small indigenous communities in the Northeast.
  • Indigenous nomenclature of tribes: This has been a long-standing demand in Arunachal Pradesh for two reasons: for the recognition of individual identity and to do away with the ambiguity as a result of errors in their names.
  • Identity assertion: For long, communities — whether civil society members or student leaders — have demanded that they must be known by their respective names.

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Tribes in News

Who are the Tharu Tribals?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tharu tribals

Mains level : Tourism development in tribal circuits

The Uttar Pradesh government has recently embarked upon a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe across the world.

The Terai or Tarai is a lowland region in northern India and southern Nepal that lies south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas, the Sivalik Hills, and north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. This lowland belt is characterized by tall grasslands, scrub savannah, sal forests and clay rich swamps.

Tharu Tribals

  • The community belongs to the Terai lowlands, amid the Shivaliks of lower Himalayas. Most of them are forest dwellers and some practised agriculture.
  • The word Tharu is believed to be derived from their, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism.
  • The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. In the Indian Terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
  • According to the 2011 census, the Scheduled Tribe population in Uttar Pradesh was more than 11 lakh; this number is estimated to have crossed 20 lakh now.
  • The biggest chunk of this tribal population is made up of Tharus.
  • Members of the tribe survive on wheat, corn and vegetables are grown close to their homes. A majority still lives off the forest.

Tharu language, food, and culture

  • They speak various dialects of Tharu, a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi.
  • In central Nepal, they speak a variant of Bhojpuri, while in eastern Nepal, they speak a variant of Maithili.
  • Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
  • Tharu women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.
  • Standard items on the Tharu plate are bagiya or dhikri – which is a steamed dish of rice flour that is eaten with chutney or curry – and ghonghi, an edible snail that is cooked in a curry made of coriander, chili, garlic, and onion.

What is this scheme about?

  • The UP government is working to connect Tharu villages in the districts of Balrampur, Bahraich, Lakhimpur and Pilibhit bordering Nepal, with the homestay scheme of the UP Forest Department.
  • The idea is to offer tourists an experience of living in the natural Tharu habitat, in traditional huts made of grass collected mainly from the forests.
  • Tharu homeowners will be able to charge tourists directly for the accommodation and home-cooked meals.
  • The government expects both domestic and international tourists to avail of the opportunity to obtain a taste of the special Tharu culture by staying with them, observing their lifestyle, food habits, and attire.

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Tribes in News

Religious Code for Sarna Tribals

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sarna Religion

Mains level : Tribal culture and its conservation

The Jharkhand government convened a special Assembly session to pass a resolution to recognise Sarna religion and include it as a separate code in the Census of 2021.

The Sarna Religion

  • The followers of Sarna faith believe pray to nature.
  • The holy grail of the faith is “Jal (water), Jungle (forest), Zameen (land)” and its followers pray to the trees and hills while believing in protecting the forest areas.
  • Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups of which eight are from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
  • While many follow Hindu religion, some have converted to Christianity — this has become one of the planks of demanding a separate code “to save religious identity”— as various tribal organisations put it.

A sacred grove is any grove of trees that are of special religious importance to a particular culture. Can you link this concept with the traditional practice of Sarna Tribals?

Why need Sarna Code?

  • It is believed that 50 lakhs tribal in the entire country put their religion as ‘Sarna’ in the 2011 census, although it was not a code.
  • The resolution will seek a special column for followers of the Sarna religion in the Census, 2021. At present, they are not classified as a separate entity.

Politics around the code

  • Many of the tribals who follow this faith have later converted to Christianity—the state has more than 4% Christians most of whom are tribals.
  • Some who still follow the Sarna faith believe the converted tribals are taking the benefits of reservation as a minority as well as the benefits are given to Schedule Tribes.
  • They also believe that benefits should be given specifically to them and not those who have converted.

What sense does a separate code make?

  • The protection of their language and history is an important aspect of tribals.
  • Between 1871 and 1951, the tribals had a different code. However, it was changed around 1961-62.
  • Experts argue that when today the entire world is focusing on reducing pollution and protecting the environment, it is prudent that Sarna becomes a religious code as the soul of this religion is to protect nature and the environment.

Back2Basics: Census of India

  • The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times, as of 2011.
  • While it has been undertaken every 10 years, beginning in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo, the first complete census was taken in 1881.
  • Post-1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • All the censuses since 1951 were conducted under the 1948 Census of India Act.
  • The last census was held in 2011, whilst the next will be held in 2021.

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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).

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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