top of page
MFC-004: Tribes of India: Identity, Culture and Folklore

MFC-004: Tribes of India: Identity, Culture and Folklore

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MFC-004 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Tribes of India: Identity, Culture and Folklore, you have come to the right place. MFC-004 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in PGDFCS, MAFCS courses of IGNOU.

Looking to download all solved assignment PDFs for your course together?

MFC-004 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity

Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: MFC-004 / TMA-01 / 2022-23

Course Code: MFC-004

Assignment Name: Tribes of India: Identity, Culture and Lore

Year: 2022 - 2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer any 5 questions. All questions carry equal marks. (20 X 5 = 100)


Q 1. What are the political and social debates on the definition of the nomenclature ‘tribe’?

Ans) The term "tribe" has a long history of use in anthropology, archaeology, and other social sciences to describe groups of people with common ancestry, culture, and social organization. However, the definition of "tribe" has become a subject of political and social debates, particularly in the context of indigenous peoples and their rights.


On one hand, the term "tribe" is criticized for its association with a pre-modern, primitive, and exotic image of indigenous peoples. This image reinforces stereotypes that native communities are static, isolated, and inferior to Western societies. The use of "tribe" implies that these communities are uncivilized and lack the complexity of modern society. This view ignores the historical and political context in which these communities exist, their agency, and their contributions to society.


Moreover, the use of the term "tribe" in official documents and policies has negative implications for indigenous peoples' rights. For example, in the United States, the Bureau of Indian Affairs defines tribes as "semi-sovereign political entities." This definition assumes that the U.S. government has the ultimate authority over tribal lands and resources, and it restricts tribes' ability to exercise their sovereignty and self-determination. In other cases, the use of "tribe" implies that these communities are homogenous and lack internal diversity, which ignores the social, cultural, and linguistic diversity within and among native communities.


On the other hand, some argue that "tribe" is a useful term to describe indigenous peoples' social organization, cultural practices, and political structures. For example, "tribe" can refer to a group of people who share a common language, history, and way of life. In this sense, "tribe" can be a way to recognize the unique identity and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples, and to distinguish them from other groups.


Moreover, the use of "tribe" can have positive implications for indigenous peoples' rights. For example, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, including the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive political, legal, economic, social, and cultural institutions. The use of "tribe" can help to affirm indigenous peoples' rights to govern themselves and to maintain their traditional practices and values.

However, even within indigenous communities, there is debate over the use of the term "tribe." Some argue that "tribe" is a colonial construct that does not reflect their traditional ways of organizing themselves. For example, the concept of "tribe" is based on Western notions of political organization, which assume a centralized authority and hierarchy. In contrast, many indigenous peoples have historically organized themselves in more decentralized and egalitarian ways, such as through clan systems or extended kinship networks.


In conclusion, the definition of "tribe" is a complex and contested issue that reflects broader debates about indigenous peoples' rights, identity, and representation. While "tribe" can be a useful term to describe indigenous peoples' cultural practices and political structures, it also carries negative associations with stereotypes and historical injustices. Therefore, it is important to recognize the diversity and agency of indigenous peoples and to use language that affirms their rights and cultural heritage.


Q 2. Discuss the linguistic and racial distribution of Indian tribes.

b) The indigenous peoples of India, often known as Indian tribes, are diverse and complex, displaying a wide range of linguistic and racial features. They are known for their rich cultural traditions. Over 700 distinct people groups call the Indian subcontinent their home, contributing to the region's overall population of approximately 104 million people. These tribes can be divided into a number of distinct linguistic and racial groups, as they are found in various parts of India and speak a variety of languages. Various classifications of tribes have been developed on the basis of geography or territory, language, physical or racial characteristics, size, economy or subsistence patterns, and the degree to which members of the tribe have integrated themselves into the culture of the larger community. The following is a discussion of these:


Linguistic Distribution

By following the linguistic map of India, we can see that different tribes in different parts of the country speak different languages. Some of the language groups that can be found in India's tribal communities are:


Dravidian: Tribes like the Kota’s, Irulas, and Kurumbas, who speak languages in the Dravidian language family, live mostly in the southern parts of India. The Dravidian languages are not related to the Indo-Aryan languages, and their grammar, words, and sounds are all different.

The Dravidian language family is used by the Gonads, Oraons, Kandh, Todas, Pallia’s, Irulas, Chenchus, Kadars, and other tribes in southern India and some parts of central India.


Austro-Asiatic: The Ho, the Orion, and the Mundas are all part of the Austro-Asiatic language family. They live in the central and eastern parts of India. The Austro-Asian language family is known for having difficult grammar and a large number of words. The Austro-Asiatic language is spoken by the Khasis, Jauntiest, Mundas, Santhals, Hos, Soares, Bondos, Korkus, and many other tribes in the north-eastern Himalayan region of Meghalaya, the Nicobar Islands, and most of central India.


Tibet-Chinese: All over the Himalayas, people speak different languages. This family of languages is spoken by the Khamis and Phakials, Bhotia, Khampa, Mamba, Akas, Miri, Lepchas, Toots, Mishmis, Nocte, Sulung, Tagin, Kacheri, Dimasa, Garo, Lotha, Konyak, Hmar, Kiren, Paite, and Vaiphei.


Indo-Aryan: This is the biggest group of languages in India. Most of the tribes that speak these languages live in the north and east of the country. The Gonads, Bhils, and Santhals are three of the most important Indo-Aryan tribes. The Indo-Aryan language family is also the most common and widely spoken language family in India. Tribes from Gujarat, Rajasthan, and the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which are part of the Indo-Aryan group, speak languages from this family. Chhattisgarhi, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese, Oriya, and many other languages belong to this group.


Andamanese: Tribes on the Andaman Islands, such as the Great Andamanese, Ones, Jarawas, and Sentinelese, also speak another language family. They speak a language that is sometimes called an Andamanese language.


Tibeto-Burman: The Tibeto-Burman language family is spoken by the Naga, Lepcha, and Sherpa tribes, which live in the north-east of India. People know that the Tibeto-Burman languages have complex tones and ways of saying sounds.


Racial Distribution

The ethnic variety of Indian tribes is equally complicated, with distinct tribes having varied physical traits, such as the colour of their skin, the features of their faces, and the types of bodies they have. There are six primary racial groupings that can be used to categorise the Indian peoples: Australoid, Mongoloid, Dravidian, Negrito, and Indo-Aryan. The Mediterranean peoples are the seventh major category. The following are some categories that can be used to classify the racial make-up of India's various tribes:


Proto-Australoid: The Proto-Australoids had curly hair, dark skin, short to medium height, a low forehead, a sunken nose, and dark skin. This group includes the Munda’s, Oraons, Hos, Gonds, Khonds, and other tribes from central India. The Andamanese, Onge, and Jarawa are all part of the Australoid race, which is mostly found in the southern parts of India. People who live in Australoid have dark skin, curly hair, and facial features that stand out.


Mongoloid: The Nagas, Khasis, and Mezzos are all part of the Mongoloid race, which is found in the north-eastern parts of India. People from the Mongoloid group have a unique look, with high cheekbones, narrow eyes, and straight hair. The Mongoloids had straight hair, a flat nose, prominent cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes with an epicanthic fold, a medium height, a high head, and a medium nose. This group is made up of the tribes of north-eastern India and the Himalayas.


Dravidian: The Kota’s, Irulas, and Kurumbas are all part of the Dravidian race, which is mostly found in the southern parts of India. The people of Dravidian are easily recognisable because they have darker skin, curly hair, and wide faces. The Kadars, Rules, and Paniyans are all South Indian tribes that belong to the Dravidians.


Another group of people is made up of the Great Andamanese, the Longest, the Sentinelese, and the Siddhis.


The distribution of Indian tribes by language and race is complicated and varied, which shows how different India's native people are. The tribes have their own languages, customs, and traditions, and over thousands of years they have developed their own ways of living. But the Indian tribes have also had to deal with big problems over the years, such as being moved, exploited, and treated badly. In modern India, many Indian tribes still fight for their rights and recognition, and their different languages and races show the country's rich cultural history.


Q 3. How do the tribes represent the ‘other’? Discuss your views from the perspectives of Essentialism.

Ans) People or groups who are perceived as different, separate, or distinct from the mainstream cultural or social standards are referred to as the "other" in the context of the concept of "the other." In the context of Indian tribes, "otherness" is frequently attributed to the linguistic and racial traits of the members of the tribe, in addition to their one-of-a-kind rituals and practises. When viewed through the lens of essentialism, the tribes depict "the other" as a static and unchanging category, with members being defined by the intrinsic qualities and attributes they possess.


The philosophical position known as essentialism holds that all things, including individuals, have a core set of characteristics that do not alter over time and serve to define them. Essentialism, as applied to the topic of Indian tribes, places an emphasis on the one-of-a-kind qualities that each tribe possesses, including their ethnic and linguistic makeup, as well as their cultural practises and customs. This viewpoint implies that the tribes are substantially distinct from the more prevalent form of Indian culture, and that the distinction between the two is based on the core characteristics of the tribes.


One of the most significant ways in which the tribes express "the other" is through the variety of languages that they speak. There are over a hundred different languages spoken by the various Indian tribes, the majority of which are unconnected to the Indo-Aryan family of languages. When seen from an essentialist point of view, these languages are regarded as defining qualities of the tribes, which differentiates them from the culture that is prevalent in mainstream Indian society. For instance, the Gond tribe, which is native to India and speaks the Gondi language, is frequently regarded as being distinct from the Hindi-speaking culture that predominates in the country. This perspective places an emphasis on the distinctive cultural identity of the Gond people, which is founded on their language lineage.


Another way in which the tribes symbolise "the other" is through the racial diversity that exists within their membership. There are six primary racial groups that make up the Indian tribes, and each of these groups is distinguished by a unique set of physical traits. These racial features, when viewed from an essentialist point of view, characterise the tribes as a separate and unique group that is distinct from the more prevalent culture of the Indian subcontinent. For example, the Mongoloid tribes of the northeast, such as the Nagas and the Mizos, are frequently regarded as being distinct from the mainstream Indian culture due to their distinctive physical appearance, which is characterised by narrow eyes and high cheekbones. This distinction is often attributed to the fact that these peoples speak a dialect of Mongoloid. This perspective emphasises the fundamental aspects of the Mongoloid identities of the tribes, which differentiates them from the culture that is predominant in Indian society.


Perspective of Essentialism

Essentialism places a strong emphasis, in addition to on the significance of the cultural traditions of the tribes, which serve to define the identity of the tribes as the 'other.' The indigenous peoples of India have a long history of preserving their cultural traditions, each of which includes peculiar rituals and observances that set them apart from the larger Indian culture. For example, the Santhal tribe, which is primarily found in the eastern areas of India, possesses a unique cultural identity that is primarily centred on the music and dance traditions that they practise. From an essentialist point of view, these cultural practises establish the Santhals as a separate and unique people group, one that is distinct from the culture that is prevalent in the rest of India.


The essentialist perspective of the tribes as the "other" has, on the other hand, been challenged for its oversimplification of the tribes' identities and the variety of their cultural traditions. Critics contend that the essentialist view places an excessive amount of emphasis on the features of the tribes that are unchangeable and unchanging, while disregarding the multifaceted and fluid aspects of their cultural identities. For example, the linguistic and racial traits of the tribes are not set in stone; rather, they are continuously evolving as a result of interaction and intermarriage with members of other communities. The cultural traditions of the tribes are also influenced by external causes such as colonisation and globalisation, which have resulted in the fusion of different cultural aspects. This has led to the development of new cultural hybrids.


In conclusion, the tribes are the "other" in Indian civilization because of the linguistic and racial diversity that exists among them, in addition to the distinctive cultural traditions that they uphold. From an essentialist point of view, the tribes are considered to be a static and unchanging category, which is characterised by the intrinsic qualities and features that they possess. Nevertheless, this perspective grossly reduces the multifaceted and fluid character of the cultural identities of the tribes, which are in a state of perpetual flux due to the passage of time. Beyond the confines of the essentialist framework, the Indian tribes are a significant part of the country's long and illustrious cultural history, which ought to be acknowledged and valued for what it is.

Q 4. What are the main reasons for culture clash? What role do the privileged play in any kind of culture clash?

Ans) The word "culture clash" refers to the friction or argument that can occur when individuals who originate from diverse cultural backgrounds interact with one another. Differences in values, attitudes, and behaviours are the primary causes of culture clashes. These differences can lead to misunderstandings, which can then escalate into conflict. Many times, those who are privileged play a key role in the clash of cultures. This is because privileged people frequently hold positions of power and influence in society, which can intensify tensions between various cultural groups.


Differences in the kinds of values and ideas people hold are one of the primary factors that can lead to conflicts between cultures. Many diverse cultures each have their own sets of values and beliefs, which are frequently deeply rooted and notoriously difficult to alter. When people of various cultures interact with one another, they could discover that their respective values and beliefs are incompatible, which can result in misunderstandings and strife. Individualism and personal independence, for instance, are strongly prized in many Western cultures, but collectivism and communal harmony are stressed in some Eastern cultures. This contrast can be seen across the world. When people from these cultures interact with one another, the disparities that exist between them might lead to misunderstandings and stress.


Differences in behaviours and customs are another contributor to the phenomenon of culture clash. People from different cultures may find individuals from their own culture's practises to be strange or even offensive due to the fact that every culture has its own distinct methods of doing things. For instance, taking off one's shoes before entering a person's home is considered polite in some societies, but in others it is considered impolite to do so. This differs depending on the culture. When people from these cultures meet with one another, they may discover that the customs of their respective cultures are incompatible, which can result in misunderstandings and friction.


Role of Privileged in Culture Clash

Because those who are affluent typically hold positions of power and influence in society, they play a crucial part in the phenomenon of cultural clash. Those who are members of the dominant culture and those who have positions of social, economic, or political power are considered to be privileged. When people of many cultures interact with one another, those who are socially privileged may grow to believe that the norms and values of their own culture are superior to those of other cultures, which can result in a sense of cultural superiority. Because those who are privileged may use their authority to impose their cultural norms and values on others, this can make existing tensions between different cultural groups even worse.


The cultural practises of other groups may, in some instances, be seen by those who are privileged as posing a threat to their own cultural identity. Because of this, people who are privileged may develop a sense of cultural defensiveness, in which they want to shield their cultural norms and values from the impact of outsiders. People who are of different cultures may feel as though they are being marginalised or excluded as a result of this. This can lead to tension and conflict.

It is essential for individuals and groups to engage in activities that cultivate cultural competency and awareness in order to solve the issue of cultural clashes. This requires having an awareness of diverse cultural values, beliefs, and practises and learning how to interact with people from different cultures in a way that is courteous and inclusive. In addition, this requires learning how to communicate with individuals from diverse cultures. Cultural competency can be helpful in reducing misunderstandings and tensions between different cultural groups, as well as in promoting greater understanding and empathy among those groups.


It is essential for those who enjoy privilege to acknowledge the part they play in the clash of cultures and to take action to remedy any power imbalances that may exist. This may involve making room in the conversation for the voices and viewpoints of underrepresented groups, as well as trying to increase diversity and inclusion in the larger society. Persons who are privileged have the ability to work to examine their own cultural biases and assumptions and to participate in polite discussion with people whose cultural backgrounds are different from their own.


In the end, a culture clash happens when people from different cultures meet each other. It can be caused by different values, beliefs, and behaviours. People with power and influence in society often play a big role in culture clashes, because they may think that the norms and values of their own culture are better than those of other cultures. To deal with a culture clash, you need cultural knowledge and awareness, as well as an understanding of how power and privilege shape how cultures work. We can work toward a more fair and inclusive society by helping people from different cultures understand and care about each other more.


Q 7. Define ‘autonomy and agency’ vis-à-vis the tribes of India.

Ans) To understand how cultures preserve identities, we must examine two key terms. Freedom first. Autonomy implies "one who regulates themselves" in Greek (rule). Autonomy, like identity, is multifaceted. A state's "independent region" has some autonomy. Province or state. This means that smaller groupings inside bigger political units have different political influence. Autonomy also means morality, self-control, and choice. Self-awareness, self-reflection, and independent decision-making are necessary for autonomy. Cultural autonomy is when a culture can maintain its traditions despite social, economic, or political issues.


Agency and autonomy go hand in hand. It means that a person has the power to act in the world. Agency means that a certain actor (person) has the power to change the outside world through the things they do. This can be compared to determinism, which is the idea that outside forces force people to act or react in certain ways. There are many ways to see that people don't have control. A prisoner is someone who doesn't have much choice because they have to follow rules, can't go where they want to go, etc. Another example is a natural disaster, which can be passively accepted as "fate" to show that the person has no control over the situation.


It is very important to realise that these ideas depend on culture. In different situations, being able to do things on your own means different things. Most of the time, the boundaries of free action in a culture are set by the beliefs of that culture. These boundaries can be mental, social, or even physical. In the same way, agency is often tied to ideas about the self or the individual. So, it makes sense that these ideas look very different in the more communal social structures of tribes than they do in a business setting. For example, when we look at cultural strategies for asserting identity, they often involve keeping cultural traditions alive and keeping a sense of collective autonomy and collective agency, not necessarily the individualistic behaviour paradigms found in industrialised systems.


Vis – a Vis Tribes of India

There have been two ways of looking at why they are called "tribal" people. First, colonial anthropology called them "tribal" because they were "primitive" and their social and economic structure was based on their family relationships. In the post-colonial era, "tribal" has been defined more by the second criterion than by the first.


Even so, their social structure was different, and it wasn't until the 1990s that the political changes that had been predicted started to happen. Most people say that the change happened because (a) plantation workers have a unique way of forming communities and (b) since the 1990s, ethnic politics have become more important in the Brahmaputra valley than other types of politics, such as class or nationalism politics. So, even though the content of "Adivasi" politics was still protesting the exploitative social and economic order of the plantation system, its political expression and political mobilisation started to show signs of ethnicity instead of class. The case of the "tea tribes" of Assam and their politics of identity can be seen as another example of how the politics of "tribe," "tribalism," or "tribal identity" can be different depending on where they are and what has happened in their history.


If we look at Migrant Tribes/Nomads in Assam, notably the Brahmaputra valley, we can see that there were two sorts of identity politics in regard to "tribe" in the 20th century: (a) within the larger framework of Assamese identity, and (b) as a critique of it. In the earliest identity politics, "tribe" was a political identity inside Assamese identity. Deuri, Chutiya, Moran, and other "tribes" demonstrate this. People believed the Assamese identity was composed of several lesser identities. In the second example, a "tribe political "'s identity is distinct from Assamese. Example: Bodo identity politics. The area and historical background are crucial to the two sorts of identity politics.


Naga nationalism is not merely middle-class identity politics, according to several South Asian academics. In modern times, labelling the Naga a "tribe" may be inaccurate. Naga "tribes" outperform many other Indian "tribes" and non-tribes in health, education, and poverty (i.e., excluding Northeast India). The three variables of middle-class growth, the politics of "tribe" inside the larger politics of "country," and better metrics of development show that Naga nationalism is more complex than just a collection of "tribes" under the word "nation." Despite the several "tribes" with their own administrations, Naga nationalism was only conceivable when Christianity and national identification were both essential. Nagas live on the country's edge, making secession from India easy.


In conclusion, autonomy and agency are two critical concepts for understanding the experience of tribal communities in India. Autonomy is important for enabling tribal communities to govern themselves and make decisions about their own affairs, while agency is important for enabling individuals and groups to take action and exert influence over their own lives and the world around them. Achieving meaningful autonomy and agency for tribal communities is a complex and ongoing process, but it is critical for ensuring that tribal communities are able to exercise their rights and participate fully in the life of the wider society.

100% Verified solved assignments from ₹ 40  written in our own words so that you get the best marks!
Learn More

Don't have time to write your assignment neatly? Get it written by experts and get free home delivery

Learn More

Get Guidebooks and Help books to pass your exams easily. Get home delivery or download instantly!

Learn More

Download IGNOU's official study material combined into a single PDF file absolutely free!

Learn More

Download latest Assignment Question Papers for free in PDF format at the click of a button!

Learn More

Download Previous year Question Papers for reference and Exam Preparation for free!

Learn More

Download Premium PDF

Assignment Question Papers

Which Year / Session to Write?

Get Handwritten Assignments

bottom of page