Tribes in News

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.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

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, which is reproduced below, prescribes the procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.
  • 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.
  • The above Article also provides for listing of scheduled tribes State/Union Territory wise and not on an all India basis.

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.
10
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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

 

Post your answers here:
5
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 


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.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

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.

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.

Tribes in News

PVTGS in Andaman

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Mains level : Not Much

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

Try this PYQ:

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

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

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

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

PVTGs in Andaman

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

What are PVTGs?

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

Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Bondas

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PVTGs

Mains level : Not Much

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

Try this PYQ:

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

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

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

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Who are the Bondas?

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

Back2Basics: Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

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

Tribes in News

Who are the Bru Tribals?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bru Tribals

Mains level : Bru-Reang Repatriation Agreement

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

Try this PYQ:

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

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

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

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Who are the Brus?

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

Read the complete thread here:

[Burning Issue] Bru– Reang Repatriation Agreement

Tribes in News

Tribe in news: Siddi Community

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Siddi Tribals

Mains level : NA

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

Try this question from CSP 2019:

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

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

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Siddi Tribe

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

How they came to India?

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

Tribes in News

Who are the Tangams?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tangam tribe

Mains level : Tribal issues in the NE

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

Try this question from CSP 2019:

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

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

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Who are the Tangams?

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

Why are there only a few speakers?

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

Why are the languages at risk?

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

Tribes in News

Rabari, Bharvad and Charan Tribes of Gujarat

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tribes mentioned in the newscard

Mains level : NA

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

Try this question from CSP 2017:

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

(a) Bhutia and Lepcha

(b) Gond and Korku

(c) lrula and Toda

(d) Sahariya and Agariya

About the Tribes

(1) Rabari

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

(2) Bharvad

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

(3) Charan

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

Tribes in News

Tribes in news: Changpa Tribe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pashmina Goats

Mains level : NA

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

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

Also try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

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

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

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

Changpa Tribes

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

What is the issue?

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

Back2Basics: Pashmina

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

Tribes in News

[pib] Shahapur’s Katkari Tribe

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Katkari Tribe, Van Dhan Yojana

Mains level : Various initiaitves for Tribal uplift

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

Try this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 2 and 4

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Katkari Tribe

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

What are PVTGs?

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

Back2Basics: Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY)

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

Also read:

[pib] “Development of PVTGs” Scheme

Tribes in News

Agreement to end the Bru-Reang Refugee Crisis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bru/Reangs

Mains level : Tribal issues in the NE

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

Who are the Brus?

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

Highlights of the Quadripartite Agreement

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

Tribes in News

Mizoram revokes Forest Rights Act

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FRA, Art. 371

Mains level : Special status to various states

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

How did it revoke?

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

Why such move?

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

Back2Basics

Explained: Forest Rights Act

Tribes in News

Jing kieng jri (Living root bridges)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jing kieng jri (Living root bridges)

Mains level : Future botanical architecture projects in urban areas


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

Living root bridges

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

Making of a root bridge

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

Why Ficus elastica ?

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

Architectural scope

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

Tribes in News

[pib] Chavang Kut Festival

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chavang Kut

Mains level : Various tribes in India


Chavang Kut

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

Note: Not to be confused with Chapchar Kut

Chapchar Kut

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

Tribes in News

Explained: Naga Peace Talks

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nagalim

Mains level : Naga peace process


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

What are the Naga peace talks?

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

Rise of Naga nationalism

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

How has the Naga assertion played out historically?

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

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

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

1975:

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

1997:

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

2015:

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

What was in the framework agreement?

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

Where does the territorial demand currently stand?

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

What are the other issues?

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

Where could the disagreement lead to?

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

Tribes in News

Explained: Rising tensions between Nagas and Kukis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kuki Tribals

Mains level : Anglo-Kuki War

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

What is the cause of recent tensions?

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

The Anglo-Kuki War

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

Naga claims it as rebellion

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

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

I. Reorganization of Manipur

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

II. Identity

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

Tribes in News

Galo community in Arunachal Pradesh

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the tribe

Mains level : Various tribes in India


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

Galo community

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

Uniqueness

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

Tribes in News

[pib] Museums for Tribal Freedom Fighters

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various tribal uprisings

Mains level : Not Much

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

 

Tribes in News

New plants species with healing properties found in Manipur

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZeliangrongTribes

Mains level : Utility of traditional knowledge of tribals

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

Traditional medicines of Zeliangrong Tribals

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

About Zeliangrong ethnic group

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

Tribes in News

Wild Food Plants

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

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

Mains level : Utility of traditional knowledge of tribals

Wild food plants (WFPs)

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

Soligas and their traditional knowledge

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

Examples of WFPs

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

Why WFPs?

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

Threats to WFPs

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

Way forward

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