Social Institutions: Continuity And Change

Social Institutions: Continuity And Change

Question

How have tribes been classified in India?

Answer

These have been classified according to their permanent acquired traits.

As per permanent traits, about 85% tribal population lives in parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. 11% lives in the North Eastern states and 4% in the rest of India.

Share of tribals in state population is the highest in the North-Eastern States. It is 30% in Assam, over 60% combinedly in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. In other words, their concentration is upto 95% of total tribal population in these North Eastern states.

In terms of language, these are castegrised into—Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austric and Tibeto-Burman. 1% tribes speak Indo-Aryan while 3% Dravidian language, Austric language is almost known to tribals and 80% speak Tibeto-Burman.

In physical-racial terms, tribals are classified in Negrito, Australoid, Mongoloid, Dravidian and Aryan categories. In terms of size, tribals range between seven million to less than hundred person (i.e. in Andaman Nicobar Islands). Biggest tribes are the Gonds, Bhils, Santhals, Oraons, Minas, Bodos and Mundas each at least a million people. As per census of 2001, their share in total population of India is 85 million person million person or about 8.2%.

As per Acquired traits : Classification is based on : (i) Mode of livelihood and (ii) Extent of absorption into Hindu society through Sanskritisation. They are fishermen, food gatherers, hunters, shifting cultivators, peasants and plantation and industrial workers on the basis of livelihood. On the basis of assimilation into Hindu Society, tribals are incorporated in Hindu society according to their attitudes and status mainly financial. It rests on the desire of tribal people.

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