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MANE-007: Tribes in India

MANE-007: Tribes in India

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MANE 007/AST/TMA/2022-2023

Course Code: MANE-007

Assignment Name: Tribes in India

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status; Verified by Professor


There are two sections ‘A’ and ‘B.’ Attempt five questions and at least two questions from each section. 20x5



Q1) Discuss the debate of Tribe and indigenous populations in the Indian context.

Ans) It is important to note that there is no indigenous term in Indian culture that corresponds to the word "tribe," which is derived from the Latin word tribus. Since the beginning of time, the inhabitants of India's forests, hills, and isolated plains have gone by names like vanavasi, adivasis, anusuchit janjati, and so on. According to certain sources, the Sanskrit term atavikajana was used to refer to a group of people who shared particular family, territorial, and cultural characteristics.


Tribe-Caste Debate In Indian Context

The term "Sanskritization" was created by M.N. Srinivas to describe the process by which a tribe accepts the social and cultural norms of a caste group in order to advance socially and identify as a Hindu. It suggests that tribes are not always secluded communities in the Indian context. The Munda and the Oraon tribes were not the only inhabitants of the village Kamre where research was being done in 1971, according to Srivastava, who commented on the experience. Non-tribal groups also resided in the settlement and its surrounding areas. Sanskritic values were rapidly gaining ground among the tribal residents of this village thanks to the construction of a shrine by a Hindu renouncer, where both tribal and non-tribal residents sang devotional songs.


Similarly, if we look at the tribes in North-East India today, such as the Naga tribes of Nagaland, the majority of them have renounced animism, and Christianity is quickly gaining ground among them. In essence, a tribal community absorbs the customs and mannerisms of a caste population through the process of acculturation assimilation. This process, also known as de-tribalization, occurs when tribal populations abandon their traditional lifestyles, including their customs, occupations, and homes in favour of relocating to metropolitan regions.


Indigenous Populations Debate In Indian Context

When referring to the tribes, the phrase "Indigenous" needs to be looked at more closely. Indigenous is a term that refers to the "original people" and is more inclusive than the derogatory term "native," which was once used to describe the inhabitants of the colonies before the Europeans conquered them. The term "indigenous" was a self-designation that aimed to give these native peoples the status of original inhabitants in order to empower them. It is linked to the idea of ownership and the right to hold resources and territory.


Roy Burman also draws attention to the vast differences in the definition of "indigenous" given by UN sources, who for the most part avoid referring to the indigenous themselves and instead depend on the populace to do so. However, as Europe was never colonised, it is depicted as lacking any indigenous populations, but China and Thailand, which were also never colonised, are depicted as having indigenous populations by the same sources, highlighting once more a Eurocentric bias.


Indian tribes have suffered as a result of the Indian government's failure to properly recognise them as indigenous. The Indian tribes' loss of legal rights under this heading is a direct result of the denial of indigenous status to them. Because peoples are recognised as having some sort of organisation and a distinct identity as a group, the word "peoples" is used to grant significant rights to indigenous people. The right to self-determination may be one of a person's most fundamental liberties. A group may assert its right to self-determination once it has been recognised as indigenous and a people.


Q2) Critically examine of Indian tribes were isolated with suitable examples.

Ans) A covert endeavour by an American Christian missionary to convert the last known pre-Neolithic tribal group living on the remote, coral-fringed North Sentinel Island ended in tragedy last year. The show brought attention to the dangers that remote indigenous tribes around the world confront. Understanding their struggle for survival depends on recognising their rights to forest regions and forest management techniques.


The food security of these people who rely on forested resources and wild food remains directly threatened by the loss of forest cover, mining, and the expansion of hybrid crops. The effects of climate change on species that grow in the wild and are used by indigenous people who live adjacent to woods require scholarly discussion. As legal loopholes, lax enforcement of current safeguards, bureaucratic indifference, and corporate disregard for human rights attempt to further marginalise and silence these indigenous people, it is time we took a closer look at both encouraging and unsettling developments that occurred over the past few years. In India, there aren't many isolated tribes.


According to Padel's ethnography on the Konds, the local Hindu rulers, who also equated Tari Penu with the Hindu goddess Durga, accepted, and contributed to the Kond deity and their ritual of sacrifice to the Earth Mother. The local Hindus also readily identified Tari Penu with the goddess Durga when speaking to British officials. Similar to how the numerous communities grouped under the general term "Bhotiya," involved in cross-border trade across the Himalayan borders, had high social status in their own region and were economically better off than their farming neighbours thanks to their involvement in lucrative trade relations and large herds of animals that are a source of wealth.

The majority of tribes were proud and independent people who did not accept the idea of deferring to outside authority since they were economically independent and lacked the hierarchical norms seen in caste societies. Every tribe views itself as significant, the centre of the cosmos, and occupying a key spot in the overall scheme of things. Being characterised as unimportant, underdeveloped, and backward is solely an opinion held by others that none of the so-called "primitive" tribes possessed of themselves.


Tribe is not a term that is used by the natives. The native term jati, which did not refer to any particular characteristic that distinguished a tribe from a caste, covered both caste and tribe. For jatis that live in forests, the word "janjati" is used. Sanskritization is a phrase used to describe aspirations by a tribe to advance since there are numerous tribes in India that assert caste position. According to some academics, some true upper castes may have been demoted to so-called marginal status as a result of losing their political influence and being labelled as tribalized.


Many people also believe that the term "tribe" was coined by a British colonial official as part of an administrative scheme to distinguish between people living inside and outside of the hierarchical feudal system. The tribes were seen by the British as being racially separate, characterised by animism, and distinct from Hindu civilization.


Popularized by the British and other race theorists, the Aryan myth served as a foundation for an ideological division between the indigenous inhabitants of this continent and the subsequent invaders of the subcontinent, who were romantically referred to as the Aryans. Both the upper castes in India and the British were drawn to this tale, which depicted a continent of short, dark-skinned people being invaded by tall, fair-skinned people who may have been of European descent.


Q3) Write a note on the economic profile of the Bhotia’s and the Rebari’s.

Ans) People in India come from many different cultures. They are nomads who live in rural, urban, and a variety of physical settings and are made up of tribes, castes, foragers, pastoral and non-pastoral nomads. Up to the Neolithic revolution, which marks the birth of agriculture, human history has been one of migration, foraging, and hunting in quest of sustenance.


Rebari or Rahbari or Raika Pastoral Nomads

The Raika people go by the names Rabari, Rahbari, and Rebari as well as the term Devasi, which means "one in whom the god lives" in Rajasthan. Raika is preferred over Devasi by those who are caste conscious. They moved to Madhya Pradesh and Haryana from Rajasthan and Gujarat. The pastoralists, known as Rabari in Gujarat, are classified as Scheduled Tribes in the districts of Jamnagar and Junagadh. They are migratory agro-pastoralists, camel and sheep breeders, and cow herders in Rajasthan. They view themselves as the Rajput caste's younger brothers in various regions.


Healthy men and women who take care of cooking and processing milk make form a moving population. A quarter to half a million Raika people live in Rajasthan alone. As they reside in ecologically hostile areas, they possess native livestock breeds that are adapted to drought-prone conditions. This aids in easing the strain on Rajasthan's limited water supplies. Breeds of these animals include Sirohi goats, Boti or Marwari sheep, and Nari cattle. Raikas originally raised camels, but they have now started raising sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo, and donkeys as well.


The pastoral economy greatly benefits from the contribution of Raika women. They contribute significantly by working on tasks connected to herding, preparing food for the home, and preserving agricultural biodiversity. While the males are away grazing animal herds during the day, Raika women manage money. When traders and agents arrive to buy animals, women engage in negotiations. Women traditionally had the responsibility of selling manure to farmers.


The Itinerant Bhotia

In the states of Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Tripura, Bhotia or Bhutia are categorised as a Scheduled Tribe. In Himachal Pradesh, they are known by the names Bhot or Bhod. The word bhot, sometimes known as ‘bod,’ which signifies Tibet and is used to refer to a number of ethnic groups living in the Himalayan foothills, is connected to the name Bhotia. They reside in the Kumaon and Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand. Eight subgroups of the Bhotia exist: the Jad, Tolcha or Telchha, Marchha or Malchha, Johari, Jethora, Darmi, Chaudausi, and Byansi. Cross-cousin marriage is practised by the Jad, Darmi, Byansi, and Chaudansi, and all of these communities also engage in sororate and junior levirate.


The Bhotia were a trading group in the past, but they now own land. They continue to conduct business with Nepal. They also work in agriculture, goat herding, and weaving. The Jad claim to be Buddhists. The Bhotia community marries members of the Nepali, Garhwali, and Kumaoni ethnic groups. The names of the Bhotia people in Sikkim include Drukpa, Chumbipa, Dhopthapa, Trompa or Do-mu-pa, Lachengpa or Lachungpa. They are also known as Bhutia, Butia, or Bodh, all of which indicate Buddhist.


The Bhutia are shepherds of sheep who, in the summer, go to higher elevations to graze their flocks and, in the winter, return to lower altitudes to engage in agricultural work. They also own enterprises and provide services. The Sikkimese, Sherpa, and Dukpa Bhutia are the three subgroups of the Bhutia in West Bengal. The Amdo, Denjongpa, Khampa, and Yolmo or Kagatay Bhutia groups are found in Darjeeling, West Bengal. They use the surnames Bhotia and Lama, as well as Lama as a title.



Q1) Reflect on the notion of health and illness among the Tribes of India with suitable examples.

Ans) Health is viewed by the tribal people more functionally than clinically. Tribals classify health and illness as emic categories. What is considered healthy in one culture could not be in another. Cultural conditioning may lead to classifications of behavioural and phenomenological signs as "health," "sickness," or "not-disease," which may be at odds with what Western biomedical research holds to be true. In all communities, being healthy is viewed as a virtue and a desirable state. Every society has a "culture of health giving."


The term "community health culture" refers to the various cultural factors that influence a community's health, as well as the cultural understanding and interpretation of health issues, the adoption of health practises from other societies, cultural innovation by current generations to address health-related issues more successfully, and the community's overall health behaviour. A state of dynamic balance between an organism and its environment is thought to characterise health. Dynamic stability, normal function, and homeostatic regulation would all be indicative of good health. The interplay and intricate interaction of social, cultural, economic, and political issues are generally acknowledged to be key components of tribal health.


Health Status Among The Tribals

In India, tribe is not a singular grouping. Each tribal tribe in India differs from the others in a number of ways, including the habitat they occupy, the language they use, their socioeconomic customs, and the traditions they profess and uphold. Few traits, meanwhile, are shared by all tribal groupings. All of them share issues including poverty, illiteracy, a lack of access to clean water, unsanitary living conditions, and inadequate maternity and child health services. Numerous communicable and non-communicable diseases afflict tribal people, endangering their ability to survive.


Skin issues like scabies affect tribal populations due to a lack of personal hygiene and health awareness. Tribal people are observed to have a very high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. In these communities, mother and child health issues are also of major concern. Various indigenous communities have significant maternal mortality rates. The primary causes include parturition methods that are unsanitary and traditional. Because of a lack of a balanced diet, maternal illness and mortality are extremely common. The tribes also have significant infant mortality and morbidity rates. The health of the mother directly affects the health of the developing child.

Causes of Illness and Tribal Beliefs

Indian tribes live in a variety of biological and climatic environments. The fact that they have such a strong bond with the habitat they live in is intriguing. They have a solid awareness of their surroundings and how everything works. They are quite knowledgeable about the local flora and animals. The community's health needs were met through the accumulation, testing, and application of knowledge and experience over the years.


The concepts of contemporary medicine are not clearly referenced in the beliefs and practises that make up ethnomedicine, which are those that are the byproducts of indigenous cultural development and relate to sickness. According to Horace Fabrega, the term "ethnomedicine" is used to describe studies of illness that are focused on a particular culture. The goal of the ethnomedical perspective is to interpret a disease's genesis, cause, defining characteristics, therapy, and resolution as a culturally significant occurrence. In his article, Fabrega described ethnomedicine as the study of how people from other cultures view illnesses, organise themselves for medical care, and organise the actual course of treatment.


Q2) Examine the special provisions for administration of scheduled and tribal areas as per the fifth and sixth schedule.


Fifth Schedule

Due to the unique rules it contains to manage Scheduled Areas separately, the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution is known as the "Constitution within the Constitution." According to the Fifth Schedule, the state's governor has the following unique roles and duties in overseeing the Scheduled Areas:

  1. Sending an annual report with information on the management of Scheduled Areas to the President or as requested by him.

  2. Establishing a twenty-member Tribes Advisory Council, of whom at least fifteen should be MLAs from Scheduled Tribes and consulting it for advice on issues pertaining to the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes.

  3. The Governor also has legislative authority. The Governor has the authority to limit the applicability of any law passed by the State Legislature or Parliament to Scheduled Areas. In order to safeguard the interests of tribal people in Scheduled Areas in matters relating to land and financial lending, he may also introduce new regulations after consulting with the Tribes Advisory Council and receiving the President's approval. All States possessing Fifth Scheduled Areas have passed regulations to protect them by using these authorities to restrict land transfer, limit lending in Scheduled Areas, control the trade of Minor Forest Produce obtained by Tribes, etc.

  4. According to the Fifth Schedule, the President may, on the recommendation of the States, add or remove certain regions from the list of Scheduled Areas.


Sixth Schedule

The Constitution's Sixth Schedule contains provisions for the management of tribal areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. The tribal regions listed under Paragraph 20 of Part I of the Sixth Schedule include:

  1. the region of the North Cachar Hills.

  2. the Assam State's Karbi Anglong District.


Part II

  1. Khasi Hills District

  2. Jaintia Hills District,

  3. The Garo Hills District in the State of Meghalaya.


Part II A

  1. Tripura Tribal Areas District in the State of Tripura and


Part III

  1. The Chakma District,

  2. The Mara District and

  3. The Lai District in the State of Mizoram.


These districts are all independent districts. The Governor may, by public notice, split the area or areas inhabited by various Scheduled Tribes in an autonomous district into autonomous regions. The relevant autonomous district and regional councils are given administrative authority. In collaboration with presently existing tribal councils or other representatives of tribal organisations in the districts or regions in question, the Governor shall first create guidelines for the establishment of autonomous district councils and regional councils.


Because they have the authority to enact laws with the Governor's approval regarding the construction and upkeep of schools, markets, roads, etc., the allocation of land, the management of forests, the use of waterways, the regulation of Jhum cultivation, the appointment of Headman or Chief, the inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, and social customs, they can be compared to States within States.


In addition, these autonomous districts and regional councils have the authority to establish village councils or courts to hear disputes between Scheduled Tribes-affiliated parties, with the exception of offences that carry the death penalty, a life sentence in prison, or a minimum 5-year sentence of imprisonment. They also have the authority to act as an appeals court for village court rulings.

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