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BANE-146: Anthropology of Indigenous People

BANE-146: Anthropology of Indigenous People

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022

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Assignment Code: BANE-146/ASST/TMA/2022

Course Code: BANE-146

Assignment Name: Anthropology of Indigenous People

Year: 2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Total Marks: 100

There are three Assignments. All questions are compulsory.


Assignment – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1. Discuss the meaning and define who are Indigenous People 20

Ans) After the rise of indigenous rights movements around the world in the 1970s, aboriginal leaders adopted the term "indigenous" as a method to identify and unite their communities and represent them in political venues such as the United Nations. Indigenous was chosen over terminology that leaders believed reflected specific histories and power relations or had been imposed by colonisers. The term "peoples" is used instead of "population" because it recognises the presence of organised societies with their own identity rather than just groups of people who share some ethnic or cultural characteristics.


Since the 1980s, the terms "indigenous" and "indigenous people" have expanded beyond their empirical definitions. It has come to imply a social science perspective as well as a philosophical and ideological attitude, which is based on the awareness of the importance of knowledge in the power relations that have arisen as a result of Europe's growth. Indigenous peoples are peoples, groups, and nations that claim a historical continuity and cultural affinity with societies that arose prior to exposure to the broader connected civilisation associated with Western culture.


After being politicised, the term "indigenous" has become a divisive term with no clear definition. The term "indigenous people" became a legal category in the late twentieth century, referring to culturally distinct communities that had been impacted by colonial activities. The meaning of the term "indigenous" appears to have evolved through several discrete eras to achieve its current sense in international law.


For a long time, the word indigenous or its equivalent has been used in anthropology to characterise groups known as tribes. However, no broad consensus exists on what constitutes "original peoples." Many eminent scholars have created definitions for indigenous peoples that include a variety of features. In international law, however, there is no unanimity on what constitutes "indigenous people." This is due to the fact that it is nearly impossible to come up with a single basic term to define a huge number of very varied communities, each of which exists within its own set of social, political, and geographic circumstances.


Ranke Wilmer studied the global historical process of moral exclusion perpetrated by Western powers against indigenous peoples in her popular book The Indigenous Voice in World Politics.

She defines indigenous as people with tradition-based cultures; who were politically autonomous prior to colonisation; who, in the aftermath of colonisation and/or decolonisation, continue to fight for cultural integrity, economic self-reliance, and political independence by resisting nation-state assimilation initiatives.


Anthropologist John Bodley came up with a broader definition of indigenous peoples by simply identifying them as a group of people who identify with a small-scale cultural heritage. The United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations approved a formulation proposed by Mr. José Martinez Cobo, Special Rapporteur on Discrimination Against Indigenous Peoples, as a preliminary definition in 1972.


Q2. Define somatometry and somatoscopy Discuss with few examples. 20

Ans) The systematic visual examination of physical aspects of various regions of the human body for precise description is referred to as somatoscopy. These are qualitative in nature; hence the method is descriptive. Many charts have been produced by various scholars to determine the colour of hair, skin, eye, and other body parts in order to standardise the method.

  1. Skin colour: The exposed and unexposed parts of our bodies have different skin colours. The skin has two forms of pigmentation: one that is inherited and the other that is caused by the environment. As a result, skin colour is assessed at two locations: the forehead or cheek, and the inner side of the upper arm.

  2. Somatoscopy's colour, amount, form, and texture are all formed by the colour, quantity, form, and texture of the hair. Hair is primarily researched for its colour and shape. The hair colour should be evaluated under natural light. Age, oil, and perfume all have an impact on hair colour. Light brown, medium brown, dark brown, and black are the most common hair colours among Indians.

  3. The nose has a variety of morphological characteristics. Nose parts such as the root, bridge, septum, tip, and wings are described using simple descriptive terminology. The nose tip can point upwards or downwards, and the profile can be rounded at the point, totally rounded, or flat.

  4. Lips: The thickness of the membranous lip is examined in profile view for the best results. It might be thin, medium, thick, puffy, or everted in appearance. What is an everted lip, exactly? The upper membranous lip has a puffy, convex contour, while the integument lips are deeply concave above it.

  5. Face: Size is determined by the height and circumference of the face, as well as shape, malar prominence, and prognathism. It might be oval, elliptical, round, square, quadrangular, or flat in shape.

Somatometry is made up of two words: "somato" means "alive" and "metric" means "measuring," so it simply means "measurement of living beings." As a result, somatometry is described as a systematic approach for measuring the living body, including the head and face.

  1. Anthropologists have devised a number of methods for describing human morphology. These measures are not random; they are based on anatomical landmarks and have been used for centuries. They're valuable for comparing different types of guys from different geographical places, such as for racial comparisons or studying differences in body types.

  2. The body measurements of youngsters are used to study their physical growth. These metrics are also used to examine the nutritional status of children and adults. It also makes determining physiological functions like vital capacity, basal metabolic rate, and so on easier.

  3. Data derived from population anthropometry surveys has shown to be useful in the development of appropriate equipment for use in industry and defence, such as spaceships and clothes. Anthropometric studies also give norms for a population's physique as well as trends in morphological features.



Assignment – II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q3. Describe the biological and cultural diversity of Indigenous People. 10

Ans) Land and environment in general have a holy character for indigenous peoples that is almost non-existent in Western thinking. The soil is adored and venerated, and the inalienability of the land is expressed in almost every indigenous cosmo worldview. Indigenous people do not regard the land as solely a source of income. Nature is thus not merely a source of production, but also the centre of the cosmos, the wellspring of culture, and the basis of ethnic identity. The belief that all living and non-living objects, as well as the natural and social worlds, are inextricably linked is at the heart of this deep tie.


Spirituality and cultural identity for indigenous peoples are inextricably linked to the natural environment. Their rituals govern and confirm not just the relationships between individuals, clans, societies, and nations, but also between all living things on the planet. They're also used to pass on norms and values, as well as to educate the youth. Cultural objects might be tangible objects, but they can also be a part of the landscape, such as a mountain or a waterfall, which play a significant role in these events. That is why the appropriation of many of these artefacts by private collectors or museums, or the loss of land, has had a tremendous impact on indigenous cultures.


There is a strong link between biological diversity and cultural diversity in locations with high biological diversity. The sustainability of their specific way of life is dependent on access to and rights to their traditional lands and the natural resources on which they rely. They face discrimination because they are seen as less developed and evolved than society's more dominating sectors. Discrimination, dominance, and marginalisation violate their human rights as individuals and groups, endangering their cultures and ways of life, and preventing them from truly participating in decisions about their future and progress.


Q4. Explain the Concept of Sanskritisation. 10

Ans) Sanskritisation, according to Srinivas, is "the process through which a low caste/tribe acquires the habits, rituals, beliefs, ideology, and way of life of a high caste/tribe, particularly a twice born (dwija) caste." For example, a low caste/tribe or any other group may give up eating non-vegetarian cuisine, drinking alcohol, and performing animal sacrifices in order to resemble the Brahmins or any other dwija caste's food, clothes, and customs. Lower caste/tribes claim a greater social standing by using this strategy. Sanskritisation is a phenomenon that may be seen in many sections of India's villages.


Rajwars, a scheduled caste in Bihar, identify as Rajvansi Kshatriya; Koyeris, a backward caste, identify as Kushwaha Kshatriya; and Dusadh, another scheduled caste, identify as Gahlout Kshatriya. They have borrowed the names, rituals, holidays, and festivities of upper castes while sanskritizing. Today, the Tiya, a non-dwija caste from West Bengal, refers to them as Rajbansi or Suryabansi and claims a place in Kshatrya verna. Such processes have also been observed among the Mahar caste of Maharashtra, the Pasi of Uttar Pradesh, the Baira and Balai of Rajasthan, who have abandoned polluting (menial/cleaning) activities in favour of clean occupations in order to improve their social status. Sanskritisation is also evident among Central Indian tribal peoples such as the Gonds, Cheros, Sudha Saoras, and Paudi Bhuiyans.


Q5. What is Dermatoglyphics? Discuss various types of Finger dermatoglyphics. 10

Ans) Dermatoglyphics is the study of the epidermal ridge patterns of the skin of the fingers, palms, toes and soles.


Different types of Finger Dermatoglyphics are:

  1. Arches (A): In this form of construction, there are no triradii. Plain Arch and Tented Arch are the two forms of arch.

  2. Plain Arch: It is made up of ridges that run from one side of the fingertip to the other without returning.

  3. Tented Arch: The arrangement resembles that of a tent. The ridges form a tent when they meet at a point.

  4. Loops (L) are formed when one or more ridges enter from one side, recurve, and terminate (or likely to terminate) on the same side as they entered. In loops, there is just one triradius. There are two sorts of loops. The Ulnar Loop (UL) and the Radial Loop (RL) are two types of loops (RL).

  5. Ulnar Loop: The triradius on the radial side of the loop opens to the ulnar side (side of the little finger).

  6. The triradius of a radial loop is on the ulnar side, and the loop opens to the radial side (side of the thumb).

  7. True Whorls (W): Two triradii are present in this motif. On the radial side, one triradius, and on the ulnar side, the other. There is a single core and, on occasion, a double core in this design. The ridges go around in a 180-degree round.


Composites: Composites can be divided into the following categories:

  1. The Central Pocket Loop (CPL) is a design with a loop in the middle and a little whorl (or pocket) in the middle.

  2. Double Loop (DL): This is made up of two loops that interlock. Twin Loop (TL) and Lateral Pocket Loop (LPL) are two types of double loop (LPL). Two loops open in opposite directions in a twin loop. The lateral pocket loop, on the other hand, has two interlocking loops that open on the same boundary.

  3. Accidentals: There are more than two triradii in this pattern. Accidentals are made up of two or more basic configurations, such as the loop and whorl.



Assignment – III


Answer the following questions in about 125 words each.


Q6. Write short note on Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVGTs). 5

Ans) During the Fourth Five Year Plan,  a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify the most vulnerable groups which were considered to be at the lowest levels of development. Consequently, on the basis of the Dhebar Commission report, a criterion for identifying Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups was established as:

  1. Pre-agricultural level of technology,

  2. Low level of literacy,

  3. Economic backwardness,

  4. A declining or stagnant population.


PVTGs were formerly known as primitive tribal groups. The principles of Tribal Panchsheel must be followed while working for the welfare of PVTGs and they must be allowed to catch up with the mainstream at their own pace. An enabling environment must be created in which communities are empowered to make their own life and livelihood choices and choose their path of development.


Q7. What is tribe-caste continuum? 5

Ans) The change of a tribal group into a caste group is referred to as the tribe-caste continuum. Caste was established in ancient society as a result of the division of labour. The tribe arose from the sense of belonging that communities in a certain geographic area shared. There are several distinctions between tribe and caste, however there is a trend toward a progressive transition from tribe to caste. A tribe can join Hindu society by adopting a caste's clan and name.


There is some specialisation of functions in the Toda tribe in the Nilgiri Hills, similar to the caste system. Some tribes manage to live on the outskirts of villages, accepting lowly occupations from Hindu castes and finally becoming Hindus. Members of tribal communities might adopt a caste's surname or gotra and marry into that caste. With the help of caste priests, some wealthy tribal people are able to enrol in high caste. When tribes join the caste system, they lose their identity.


Q8. Indigenous knowledge. 5

Ans) According to the UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems initiative, indigenous knowledge refers to understandings, skills, and philosophies established by local groups with extensive histories and experiences of interaction with their natural surroundings. Indigenous knowledge plays an essential role in catastrophe risk clarification, disaster preparedness, disaster mitigation, and disaster-related policies and plans execution in many parts of the world.


On the other hand, because indigenous knowledge is based on natural wisdom, it has the potential to give more environmentally friendly solutions than modern science and technology. As a result, it is critical to elucidate the rationales and underlying processes behind indigenous knowledge, as well as to comprehend its implications, potentials, and limitations, and to integrate it into current science and technology.


Q9. Upward social mobility. 5

Ans) Social mobility is the term used in sociology to describe the transition from one social position to another, such as from ordinary citizen to Prime Minister. A phenomenon in which a person goes up, down, or across the social hierarchy is referred to as this word. For example, we all begin our lives as children (in a very low social position) and go on to get an education, start a career, engage in our communities, and achieve varied levels of success, all of which determine our social standing.


Upward social mobility is the process of moving from a poor social status as a youngster to a higher social position as we grow older. Theoretically, each social position will become more important and recognised than the previous one during this process, but it isn't as natural or seamless as you might assume. In actuality, a person's social standing and mobility are influenced by a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control.


Q10. Functions of Caste system. 5

Ans) The functions of Caste system are:

  1. In India, the caste system ensures a person's social stability.

  2. A person's social rank was determined by his caste.

  3. Caste plays a significant role in the socialisation process by teaching individuals about their society's culture, traditions, values, and conventions.

  4. Members of each caste actively guard their caste's standing, not just through caste regulations but also through conventions.

  5. The Jajmani link, established by the caste system, binds families of diverse castes in a hereditary and permanent bond.

  6. Individuals are protected against exploitation by their caste.

  7. Political power is given to Kshatriyas in the caste system, and no other caste is allowed to compete with Kshatriyas for political power.

  8. The caste system directs and guides an individual's daily activities. In all vital aspects like as attire, diet, speech, ceremonial observances, and rites at birth, marriage, and death, each caste has its own behaviour patterns that must be observed by all of its members.

  9. Caste has effectively organised Hindu society, preventing class frictions and factions from arising.

  10. The caste system is the one that appropriately defines the religious status of its members.


Q11. ABO blood group system 5

Ans) ABO classification is based on the antigens Antigen A and Antigen B. Based on the presence or lack of antigens on the surface of red blood cells and plasma antibodies, the ABO grouping system is divided into four categories.

  1. Group A – contains antigen A and antibody B.

  2. Group B –contains antigen B and antibody A.

  3. Group AB –contains both A and B antigen and no antibodies (neither A nor B).

  4. Group O – contains neither A nor B antigen and both antibodies A and B.


Mismatching of blood groups can cause clumping of red blood cells, which can lead to different illnesses. The ABO group system is vital when blood donation or blood transfusion. While transfusing, it is critical that the blood cells match, i.e. donor-recipient compatibility. Because there are no antibodies for A and O in blood group A, a person of blood group A can receive blood from either group A or O. Universal donors are people with blood group O, while universal recipients are those with blood group AB.

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