SPR 2021: Tribes in News

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In this article we will read about:

  1. Scheduled tribes and constitutional and legal provisions for them.
  2. Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  3. Tribes that have been in news in 2019 and 2020. 

Important facts about tribes in India

  • The Constitution of India does not give any definition for Scheduled Tribes.
  • According to Article 366(25) of the Constitution, Scheduled Tribes are those communities that are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution.
  • Article 342: “The Scheduled Tribes are the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within these tribes and tribal communities which have been declared as such by the President through a public notification”.
  • As per Article 338-A of the Constitution of India, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been set up.
  • 5th and 6th Schedule: Administration and control of Scheduled and Tribal Areas.
  • 5th Schedule: deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas as well as of Scheduled Tribes residing in any State other than the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. 
  • 6th Schedule: consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.

Scheduled Tribes in India

  • According to the 2011 Census, the Scheduled Tribes account for 104 million representing 8.6% of the country’s population.
  • It is important to note that there are many tribes that have not yet been identified as scheduled tribes. 
  • These Scheduled Tribes are spread throughout the country largely in forest and hilly regions.
  • The essential characteristics of these communities are:-
    1. Primitive Traits
    2. Geographical isolation
    3. Distinct culture
    4. Shy of contact with the community at large
    5. Economically backwards
  • There are over 700 scheduled tribes in India, out of which around 75 are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • Bhil is the largest tribal group while Gond comprises the second largest tribal group of India.
  • The largest number of tribal communities (62) are found in Odisha.
  • The largest population of STs is in Madhya Pradesh- 21.1% of the total state population.
  • Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, are predominantly tribal States /Union territories where Scheduled Tribes population constitutes more than 60% of their total population
  • No tribe was identified in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Puducherry.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • In 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups.
  • Later 23 groups were added to the category making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 18 states and one Union Territory (A&N Islands) in the country (2011 census).
  • Characteristics of PVGT’s:
    1. Declining or stagnant population,
    2. Low level of literacy,
    3. Pre-agricultural level of technology,
    4. Economically backwards,
    5. Generally, inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • The highest number is found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
  • These hunting, food-gathering, and some agricultural communities have been identified as less acculturated tribes among the tribal population groups and in need of special programmes for their sustainable development.
  • The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.
    • Under the scheme, Conservation-cum-Development (CCD)/Annual Plans are to be prepared by each State/UT for their PVTGs based on their need assessment.
    • Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme (TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organizations working for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.


Legal Provisions

  • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955: against untouchability.
  • Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989: to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996: to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006:  to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest-dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.

Committees Related to Tribal Communities

  1. Xaxa Committee (2013)
  2. Bhuria Commission (2002-2004)
  3. Lokur Committee (1965)

 Read more about Tribal Rights- Click here 

Main Problems Faced by the Indian Tribes
  1. Loss of control over natural resources: 
    • Loss of ownership rights over land, owing to chronic indebtedness, unscrupulous landlords, money­lenders, contractors and officials.
    • Land alienation due to changes in demography and socio-cultural spheres resulted from large scale immigration to some states like Assam.
  2. Lack of education:
    • The literacy rate as per Census 2011 is 73% but for STs is 59% only.
    • It leads to tribal superstitions and prejudices, extreme poverty, nomadic lifestyle of certain tribes, lack of interest in alien subjects taught through an alien language and a lack of suitable teachers and other facilities in the tribal areas.
  3. Displacement and rehabilitation: 
    • Acquisition of tribal land by the government for developmental projects led to large scale displacement of the tribal population.
    • Tribals are forced to live in peripheries in slums or to migrate to adjoining states to work as unskilled workers in conditions of poverty. 
  4. Problems of health and nutrition: 
    • Due to economic backwardness and insecure livelihood, the tribals face health problems, diseases like malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and jaundice,
    • problems associated with malnutrition like iron deficiency and anaemia, high infant mortality rates, low levels of life expectancy, etc.
  5. Gender issues: 
    • Degradation of the natural environment, through the destruction of forests and a rapidly shrinking resource base, has had an impact on the status of women.
  6. Erosion of identity:
    • Traditional institutions and laws are coming into conflict with modern institutions which create apprehensions among the tribals about preserving their identity.
    • The extinction of tribal dialects and languages is a major concern as it indicates an erosion of tribal identity in certain areas.
  7. Exclusion and isolation: Tribals face untouchability, including physical exclusion, the assumption of criminality.
  8. Climate change: Changing agricultural and hunting practices, rising temperature and water scarcity across the world puts them at most risk. 


Tribes in News

Muria Tribe

  • Context:
    • The tribe was in the news for almost no sex crimes, thanks to their progressive sexual practices. 
  • About:
    • They are part of the Gondi people.
    • Traditionally they are economically homogenous and strive to work as a collective.
  • Location:
    • The Muria live in the north-central part of Bastar district, north of the Indravati River, located in Chhattisgarh.
    • The highlands of the Bastar region in southern Chhattisgarh are the home of three important Gond tribes: the Muria, the Bisonhorn Maria, and the Hill Maria.
  • Society: 
    • They are divided into five phratries:
      1. the Kacchimvans (Tortoise Race),
      2. the Nagvans (Snake Race),
      3. the Bakravans (Goat Race),
      4. the Baghvans (Tiger Race) and
      5. the Bodminkvans (Fish Race).
    • The Muria generally marry late and do not pay dowries.
  • Dance:
    • The bison-horn dance of the Muria tribe is performed by both men and women, who traditionally have lived on equal terms.
    • The men wear a horned headdress with a tall tuft of feathers and a fringe of cowry shells dangling over their faces.
  • Religion:
    • The Muria traditionally worship their folk religion worshipping village and clan deities, similar to Sarnaism*.
  • Occupation: 
    • Compared to other Adivasi, the Muria are relatively prosperous.
    • Their economic stratification has traditionally been homogeneous, with exceptional consumption outside of designated periods, such as feasts, viewed as “socially threatening, hubristic, and disruptive”; conspicuous wealth has been considered to cause more problems than it solves.
    • They practice agriculture and produce enough food to sustain themselves which includes vegetables, rice, dal etc.
  • Unique Feature
    • The Muria are known for their youth dormitories, or ghotul, in the framework of which the unmarried teens of both sexes lead a highly organized social life; they receive training in civic duties and in sexual practices while living together.
    • Raila dance is performed before the young couples start going to ghotuls.
  • *Sarna are sacred groves in the religious traditions of the Chota Nagpur Plateau region in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam and Chhattisgarh.
  • Adherents of Sarnaism believe in, worship, and revere a village deity as protector of village, who is called as Gaon khunt, Gram deoti, Dharmes, Marang Buru, Singbonga, or by other names by different tribes.
  • Followers of these rituals primarily belong to the Kharia, Baiga, Ho, Kudmi, Kurukh, Munda and Santal. According to local belief, a Gram deoti or village deity resides in the sarna, where sacrifice is offered twice a year.
  • The motto of the faith is “Jal, Jungle, Zameen”. 


Mankidia Tribe

  • Context: 
    • The Similipal Tiger Reserve was on fire in February 2021. 
    • Among the communities affected are two of the 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG) in Odisha-  Mankidias and Khadias- that have lost their livelihoods to the inferno.   
  • About:
    • Mankidia is one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha.
    • They are classified as a Scheduled Tribe by the Indian government.
    • The Mankidia are an ethnic offshoot of the Birhor tribe. The term ‘Mankidia’ is derived from the Odia word ‘Mankada’ meaning monkey. This is in reference to their ability in catching monkeys.
  • Popuation: 2,222.
  • Location: Found mainly in Simlipal Tiger Reserve consisting of many districts of Odisha – particularly Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Sundergarh. 
  • Society: 
    • They move around forests in small bands and stay at different temporary makeshift settlements called tanda/tandia. The tandia comprises a temporary dome-shaped leaf hut known as Kumbhas.
  • Language: They speak a form of the Mundari language. 
  • Religious Beliefs: Polytheistic- they believe in many malevolent and benevolent spirits and gods. Their supreme deities are Logobir and Budhimai. They also worship their ancestors.
  • Economy: 
    • The Mankidia are a semi-nomadic hunter/gatherer community. Traditionally skilled in rope making, catching, and hunting monkeys, they are often employed by local people to drive away invasive monkeys in rural areas. 
    • They critically depend on making rope with siali fibre that’s richly available in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR).
    • Besides hunting, they also engage in making baskets and ropes out of Siali fibre, Sabai grass and Jute, as well as making disposable plates made out of leaves called Khali.
    • However, they were denied habitat rights inside the STR under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
    • Hence they are now deprived of the non-timber forest produce.
    • This is because the State Forest Department has objected on grounds that tribals could be attacked by wild animals. Had it been approved, the Mankidia would have been the first PVTG to have habitat rights.
    • In Odisha, processes have been initiated for according habitat rights to PVTGs such as Bondas, Didai, Hill Khadia and Paudi Bhuyan.

Dongria Kondh Tribe

  • Context: 
    • After much reluctance, members of Dongria Kondh of Rayagada district finally agreed to undergo the Covid-19 test.
  • About: 
    • They are members of the Kondhs, of the Munda ethnic group. 
    • Their name is derived from dongar, meaning ‘hill’ and they have named themselves as ‘Jharnia’ which means the protector of streams.
    • They are at the centre of a dispute over mining rights in their habitat area. 
  • Location: Located in the Niyamgiri Hills in the Rayagada and Kalahandi District in Odisha. 
  • Population: 8,000.
  • Nomenclature: 
    • Derive their name from dongar, meaning agricultural land on hill slopes.
    • Their name for themselves is Jharnia– “protector of streams“.
  • Society:
    • Inclusion of youth in religious and political matters.
    • Equal rights to women- widow remarriage, property inheritance. 
    • The Dongria Kondh family structure depends on which clan the person belongs to as clan exogamy is practised in this community which according to some people is a process of incest taboo prevalent among these communities in its customs.
  • Religion: 
    • They worship Niyam Raja, the supreme god of the Niyamgiri jungle and show respect to the hills and streams and every aspect of their lives revolve around the mountain so much that even their art style is influenced by the mountains, i.e., the triangular designs found on village shrines. 
  • Festivals: Bijun Parab or seed festival, Niyamraja festival.
  • Language: Kui 
  • Occupation: 
    • Sustain themselves from the resources of the Niyamgiri forests, practising horticulture and shifting cultivation. They indulge in cooperative labour.
    • The concept of labour cooperatives is popular in almost all tribal communities in Odisha including the Dongria Kondh, Juanga, Lanjia Saura, Saura, Didayi, Paudi Bhuyan and Kandh.
    • Types of Cooperatives in Dongria Kondh Tribe:
      1. Daasibati: Cooperative of younger, unmarried girls from the village for less strenuous but tedious work such as weeding, fencing of fields, cleaning or harvesting of crops.
      2. Sahabati: All Dongria households of the village work in turns for a day on the land of one villager.
      3. Dhangdabati: Young bachelors are required to take up work such as felling trees, hoeing, carrying logs and digging pits.

Kharia Tribe

  • Context:  
    • Archana Soreng, youth advisor to the UN Secretary-General spoke about nature-based solutions to climate change at Leaders’ Summit on Climate April 22-23, 2021.
    • She is a member of the Kharia tribe from the remote village of Bihabandhin Odisha.
  • About:
    • The Kharia are an Austroasiatic tribal ethnic group from east-central India.
  • Location: 
    • They mainly inhabit Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, Maharashtra. In Tripura.
    • Few families can be found in Assam and Andaman islands.
  • Population: 482,754
  • Language:
    • They originally spoke the Kharia language, a part of the Munda Languages, which belongs to Austroasiatic languages.
    • They are subdivided into three groups known as the Hill Kharia, Delki Kharia and the Dudh Kharia. Amongst them, the Dudh Kharia is the most educated community.
  • Religion:
    • According to the 2011 Census on Kharias of Odisha, the majority, 60.4% follows Hinduism, followed by 39.1% Christians.
    • Minor populations follow Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other religions.
  • Dances:
    • Kharias are said to be great dancers. Youth of both sexes dance together. sometimes they form two groups each of males and females and sing one after the other. It is like a conversation is going on between boys and girls in the form of the song.
    • The following dance patterns are prevalent among Kharias- Hario, Kinbhar, Halka, Kudhing and Jadhura.
  • Occupation:
    • The Kharia who were under zamindars during British rule is now land-owning farmers in independent India.
    • Different levels of economic developments on a sectional basis exist among Kharia-
      1. The Hill Kharia is a food gathering, hunting and labourer community,
      2. The Dhelkis are agricultural labourers and agriculturalists, 
      3. Dudh Kharia are exclusively agriculturists in their primary economy.
    • Kharia people are skilled in cottage industries.

Bonda Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Odisha’s Bonda tribe sees a rise in distress migration. 
    • While the youth have abandoned villages for work in distant towns, children have dropped out of schools after the pandemic.
  • About
    • Members of a group of Austroasiatic tribes.
    • Believed to be part of the first wave of migration out of Africa about 60,000 years ago.
    • First forest settlers in India.
  • Location:
    • 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.
    • Divided into two groups based on their settlement:
      1. The Upper Bondas living in inaccessible forests.
      2. The Lower Bondas in the plains.
  • Population: 12,231.
  • Society: 
    • Matriarchal society.
    • Females outnumber males.
    • Women are primary workers and providers of food for the community.
    • Women prefer to marry men who are younger by at least 5-10 years so that the men can earn for them when they grow old.
  • Festivals: 
    • Bondas celebrate many feasts and festivals which are associated with the agricultural cycle or socio-cultural life of the people.
    • Patakhanda Puja, Jatimara festival, also called Pus Parba (festival of brotherhood), Chait Parab, Bihan Puja are some festivals.
  • Dance: Bonda dance.
  • Language: 
    • Remo, which comes under the Austroasiatic language belonging to the Mundari group (spoken by Munda people).
    • Remo is now an endangered tongue as more Bondas have taken to Odia as their primary language of communication.
  • Occupation:
    • Primarily, forest dwellers, the Bondas used to hunt and forage for food in the wild.
    • Salap and Mahua trees have importance as traditional wine is made from the flowers of these trees

Toda Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Toda women recently started to embroider for Linen Trail (a slow fashion label) and earn a steady livelihood.
  • About:
    • Toda people are a Dravidian ethnic group who live in the Nilgiri Mountains of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. 
    • Before the 18th century and British colonisation, the Toda coexisted locally with other ethnic communities, including the Kota, Badaga and Kurumba, in a loose caste-like society, in which the Toda were the top ranking. 
    • Although an insignificant fraction of the large population of India, since the early 19th century the Toda have attracted “a most disproportionate amount of attention because of their “ethnological aberrancy” and “their unlikeness to their neighbours in appearance, manners, and customs”.
    • The study of their culture by anthropologists and linguists proved significant in developing the fields of social anthropology and ethnomusicology.
    • They claim they are the descendants of the Pandavas. Some claims say that they are the direct descendants of the remnants, of Alexander the Great's Macedonian army, which invaded India in about 327 B.C.
  • Location: 
    • It is the only pastoral group inhabiting Nilgiri Hills.
    • The Toda lands are now a part of The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO-designated International Biosphere Reserve; their territory is declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Population: 2002
  • Society: 
    • Fraternal polyandry in traditional Toda society was fairly common; however, this practice has now been totally abandoned, as has female infanticide
    • In the Toda tribe, families arrange contracted child marriage for couples.
  • Language: Toda language is Dravidian but is the most aberrant of that linguistic stock.
  • Religion:
    • Toda religion centres on the all-important buffalo. The ritual must be performed for almost every dairy activity, from milking and giving the herds salt to churning butter and shifting pastures seasonally. 
  • Festival: Modhweth– celebrated at Moonpo temple which is one of the last of the Toda temples with a similar design left in the Nilgiris.
  • Occupation: 
    • Their sole occupation is cattle-herding and dairy work. Holy dairies are built to store buffalo milk.
    • The forced interaction with other peoples with technology has caused a lot of changes in the lifestyle of the Todas.
    • Primarily pastoral people, they are increasingly venturing into agriculture and other occupations.
    • Their famous traditional embroidery has been awarded the GI Tag-  called Pohor in Toda language. The most well-known product of the Todas is the Pukhoor: the red, white and black striped shawl. 
  • Unique Feature:
    • Polyandry is fairly common; several men, usually brothers, may share one wife. When a Toda woman becomes pregnant one of her husbands ceremonially presents her with a toy bow and arrow, thus proclaiming himself the social father of her children.
    • The Toda Embroidery, also locally known as “pukhoor”, is an artwork that received GI Tag. 

Tharu Tribe

  • Context: 
    • The Uttar Pradesh government has recently embarked upon a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe across the world.
    • The aim is to put Tharu villages on the tourism map and to create jobs and bring economic independence to the tribal population.
  • About:
    • Tharu is a scheduled tribe in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
    • The word tharu is believed to be derived from sthavir, meaning followers of Theravada Buddhism.
    • The Tharu people in the central Nepali Terai see themselves as the original people of the Terai and descendants of Gautama Buddha.
    • Rana Tharu people in western Nepal connect the name to the Thar Desert and understand themselves as descendants of Rajput Indians, who migrated to the forests in the 16th century.
  • Population: Above 15 lakh (including Nepal)
  • Location: 
    • The Tharu community belongs to the Terai lowlands, amid the Shivaliks or lower Himalayas.
    • Terai is a region of northern India and southern Nepal running parallel to the lower ranges of the Himalayas.
    • The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. In the Indian Terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
    • They are recognized as an official nationality by the Government of Nepal.
  • Society:
    • Tharu women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.
  • Language: 
    • Tharu communities in different parts of Nepal and India do not share the same language. 
    • 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.
  • Religion: 
    • Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
  • Dance: Laathi nach or stick dance.
  • Festival: Barna, Maghi festival.
  • Occupation: 
    • They consider themselves as a people of the forest.
    • In Chitwan, they have lived in the forests for hundreds of years practising short fallow shifting cultivation.
    • They plant rice, wheat, mustard, maize and lentils, but also collect forest products such as wild fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and materials to build their houses; hunt deer, rabbit and wild boar, and go fishing in the rivers and oxbow lakes.
  • Unique Feature:
    • Resistance to malaria- the Tharu are famous for their ability to survive in the malarial parts of the Terai that were deadly to outsiders.
    • Contemporary medical research comparing Tharu with other ethnic groups living nearby found an incidence of malaria nearly seven times lower among Tharu.
    • The researchers believed such a large difference pointed to genetic factors rather than behavioural or dietary differences, which was confirmed later.

Hakki-Pikki Tribe

  • Context:  
    • The Karnataka state tribal welfare department has decided to help the community get their products certified and brand them to expand their market.  
  • About:
    • Hakki Pikki are a semi-nomadic tribe who have travelled and lived in various parts of the country. HakkiPikki means “bird catchers” in Kannada.
    • Alternate names of the Hakkipikki are Haranashikari, Pashi pardhi, Adavichencher and Shikari in Karnataka.
    • The HakkiPikki tribes have four clans namely the Gujrathioa, Kaliwala, Mewara and Panwara.
    • The origin of HakkiPikki tribal communities has a rich history and is said to be an ancestral relation with the legendary Ranapratap Singh.
    • The HakkiPikki tribal community are a Kshatriya or warrior tribal community that had to migrate to southern India after their defeat with Mughal kings.
  • Location: The tribe is based largely in Karnataka and sparsely spread in other districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Population: 8414. 
  • Language:
    • Though the community lives in the Southern part of India surrounded by Dravidian languages, they speak Indo Aryan language called ‘Vaagri’ or Vagribooli which is similar to Gujarati. This is because they migrated from Northern India.
    • They also speak many south Indian languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam along with 
    • UNESCO has listed Hakkipikki as one of the endangered languages.
  • Occupation:
    • They mostly depend on the forest for their livelihoods. Many are earning livelihoods by selling household items.  
    • They are known for herbal products. Every year, tens of community members travel across the globe to sell their products especially herbal oils. 
  • Unique Feature:
    • The tribe follows a curious naming practice (or used to at least), where the parents named their newborn child after the first word that came to their mind. Eg: Doctor, English, British, Gun, etc.

Meena Tribe

  • Context:
    • A historical fort in Jaipur has been embroiled in a row after members of the Meena tribal community claimed that few Hindu groups were trying to appropriate the tribal culture.
  • About:
    • The Meenas, also known as the Meos, or Mewati, are a tribe and caste inhabiting parts of western and northern India.
    • The Meenas claim a connection to the Matsya avatar of Vishnu and the ancient Matsya Kingdom.
  • Location: The community has substantial clout in Rajasthan and some also reside in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Population: 4 million. 
  • Society: 
    • The Meena tribe is divided into several clans and sub-clans (adakhs), which are named after their ancestors.
    • Bhil Meena is one such sub-division among the Meenas. As part of a Sanskritisation process, some Bhils present themselves as Meenas, who hold a higher socioeconomic status compared to the Bhil tribal people.
    • Of the 25 Assembly seats (out of 200) reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), most are represented by Meena MLAs.
    • According to Census 2011, STs constitute 13.48% of the state’s population.
    • Due to a scattered population across the state, the community can influence election outcomes in unreserved seats, too.
  • Languages: Hindi, Mewari, Marwari, Dhundari, Harauti, Mewati, Wagdi, Malvi, Garhwali, Bhili etc.
  • Dance: Bhavai.
  • Occupation: 
    • Originally a nomadic, warlike people practising animal breeding and known for lawlessness, today most Mina and Meo are farmers with respected social positions.
    • The community is also well represented in the bureaucracy.

Koya Tribe

  • Context: 
    • The ordeal of the Gothi Koya tribe continues as they live like refugees in Telangana.
    • The tribe faced exodus from Chattisgarh to Telangana between 2005 and 2011 due to counter-insurgency measures involving Salwa Judum, a civilian militia that was used to target the Maoist population. 
  • About:
    • Koyas are commonly referred to as Koi, Koyalu, Koyollu, KoyaDoralu, Dorala Sattam, etc.
    • Koyas call themselves Koitur in their dialect. 
  • Location: 
    • The Koya live in the forests, plains, and valleys on both sides of the Godavari River, which lies in the central Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Many also live in the states of Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
    • The Koya are said to have migrated to central India from their original home in Bastar, northern India.
  • Language:
    • The Koya language, also called Koyi, is closely related to Gondi and has been strongly influenced by Telugu, the tongue of the neighbouring Hindu population.
    • The Koya are one of the few multi-racial and multi-lingual tribal communities in India. Most Koya speaks either Gondi or Telugu, in addition to Koyi.
  • Religion:
    • The Koya practice their own ethnic religion but also worship a number of Hindu gods and goddesses.
    • They believe their main deity still resides in a cave in the Bastar region. According to Koya mythology, life originated from water.
    • Many Koya deities are female, the most important being the “mother earth.” Sacrifices are carried out by the village priests.
    • The Koya do not believe in heaven, hell, or reincarnation. When a person dies, his body is carried on a cot which is covered with grain, liquor, new clothes, money, and a cow's tail.
  • Festival: Bija Pandu- a sacred seed from which the festival takes its name. 
  • Dance: Kommu Koya- bovine horns are decorated skillfully on the head by men, while women fix hen feathers alongside a fabric on their head.
  • Occupation: 
    • Today the Koya are mainly settled cultivators and artisans, expertise in making bamboo furniture including mats for fencing, dustpans, and baskets.
    • They grow Jowar, Ragi, Bajra and other millets.

Soliga Tribe

  • Context: 
    • The Soligas created history by becoming the first tribal community living in the core area of a tiger reserve in India to get their forest rights recognised.
  • About:
    • Soliga, also spelt Solega, Sholaga and Shōlaga, is an ethnic group of India.
    • They trace their origin to Karayya, son of Lord Maleya Mahadeshwara, Swamy of Maleya Mahadeshwara Hills, Karnataka.
  • Location:
    • The Biligiriranga Hills and associated ranges in southern Karnataka, mostly in the Chamarajanagar and Erode districts of Tamil Nadu.
    • Many are also concentrated in and around the BR Hills in Yelandur and Kollegal Taluks of Chamarajanagar District, Karnataka.
  • Population: 40,000.
  • Society: There are five subgroups of Soligas:
    1. Male Soliga: Kannada speakers residing in Karnataka
    2. Urali Soliga: Kannada and Tamil speakers, residing in border areas of Tamil Nadu
    3. Pujari group: reside in Maleya Mahadeshwara Hills
    4. Kadu Soliga: reside near Bandipur Forest
    5. Burude Soliga: reside in Heggadadevanakote Taluk and Kodagu
  • Language: The Soliga speak Sholaga, which belongs to the Dravidian family. 
  • Religion:
    • Soliga people follow naturism and animism along with following Hindu practices and their main deities are Madeshwara, Rangaswamy of Biligirirangana Hills (who is considered the brother-in-law of the clan), Karayya, Kyate Devaru and Jadeswamy.
  • Dance: Goru Goruka Gorukana.
  • Occupation:
    • The Soliga used to practice shifting cultivation, but have more or less given up this practice now. They grow Ragi for subsistence.
    • Their main source of income is harvesting and sale of Non-timber Forest Produce (NTFP) like honey, nellikai, bamboo, Paasi (Lichen), algae, wild turmeric, Indian blackberry, soapnut and nennari (wild root). They also make baskets using bamboo.
    • Many have been given lands closer to 'civilised areas' and most of the forest-dwelling population have been brought together into clusters called Podus.
    • Most of the forest areas they stay in come under wildlife protection areas.
    • The Biligiriranga Hills is a Wildlife Sanctuary under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Male Mahadeswara Hills is a Reserve Forest, and Bandipur is a National Park.
    • Their rights on harvesting NTFP is being sought to be withdrawn citing conservation concerns, sparking a debate about the rights of indigenous people. The Soligas later won a court case to stay on their land.

Korwa/Korba Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd edition of Mann Ki Baat on December 27 2020, hailed Hiraman from Jharkhand who prepared a dictionary of the Korwa language which is nearing extinction.
  • About:
    • The Korwa people are a Munda ethnic group of India.
    • The tribe is divided into several subdivisions: the Agaria, Dandh, Dil and Pahadi Korwas.
  • Location:
    • They live mainly on the border between Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. A small number of Korwa are also found in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. 
    • In the city of Korba (Chattisgarh)-  their homeland is located on the banks of the rivers Ahiran and Hasdo.
  • Population: 2 lakh. 
  • Language:
    • The mother tongue of the Korwa people is the Korwa language. Alternative names for this language include Ernga and Singli.
    • However, the Korwa people call their language their Bhashi, which means local language which belongs to the Munda branch of the Austroasiatic language family.
    • Korwa people also speak Sadri and Chhattisgarhi as their second language.
  • Religion: 
    • They are being assimilated into Hindu society. However, they have their own deity known as Dih.
    • Each of their settlement contains a shrine to the goddess called a Diwar. The Korwa tribe also worships Satbahini Devi.
    • Festivals:  Hareli, Navakhani, Ganga Sarhul Chherka, Dushhara, Dipawali, Kartika, Karma
  • Occupation: 
    • The Korwa are primarily farmers and gatherers. 
    • They practiced a form of subsistence agriculture called jhoonga kheti. This method of farming involves trimming the forest to support a lentil crop.
    • Rice, millet, and vegetables were the principal crops. Their income was supplemented by selling forest products, particularly firewood.
    • In recent years, many have become settled farmers. 

Kolam Tribe 

  • Context: 
    • The people of the Kolam tribe have requested authorities to help them sell their bamboo products on World Bamboo Day. 
  • About:
    • The Kolam tribe is categorised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
    • They have a high rate of turning out positive to the Naked eye single tube red cell osmotic fragility test (NESTROFT) test, making them prone to the high incidences of Thalassaemia.
  • Location:
    • They live in the states of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
    • They are common in the Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Nanded districts of Maharashtra and live in hamlets called pod.
  • Population: 239,583.
  • Society: 
    • Kolam society was formerly made up of joint families, collectively responsible for farming. Today most Kolams have nuclear families, called attena bala sula.
    • They don't indulge in dowry. Most marriages are arranged, but marriage by capture is sometimes allowed.
    • However, most instances of marriage by capture are prearranged by the two parties.
  • Language: They speak the Kolami language, which is a Dravidian language.
  • Festivals: They celebrate two types of festivals during Dasara (Dussehra)– Ayyaak Dasara (celebrated at the place of their clan deities) and Oora Dasara (celebrated at the place of their village deity
  • Occupation: They are an agricultural community. They are basket makers and they work with bamboo to make a variety of bamboo products.

NESTROFT is a suitable test for screening for beta-thalassaemia and the common haemoglobinopathies seen in India.

–Thalassemia (thal-uh-SEE-me-uh) is an inherited blood disorder that causes the human body to have less haemoglobin than normal.


Paraja Tribe

  • Context:
    • The Paraja of Odisha recently celebrated their harvest festival Pausa Purnima. 
  • About:
    • Parajas are one of the well known major tribes of Odisha.
    • Paraja is a conglomeration of various endogamous sections and is not a compact community. 
    • The Paraja have many socio-cultural features in common with the neighbouring major tribes namely the Gond, the Kondh and the Gadaba. 
  • Location: The majority of the Parajas are concentrated in the district of Koraput.
  • Population: 3 lakh. 
  • Language: Their mother tongue Porji is a form of Gondi belonging to the Dravidian family of languages that varies according to local tongues like Odia or Telugu.
  • Religion: They worship Dangar Devi, the local goddess said to be an incarnation of Maa Durga, and have a temple dedicated to the deity in the Koraput district. 
  • Festivals: Paraja observe many seasonal festivals with pomp and ceremony around the year. Among these, the important ones are Asadha Parab, Pausa Purnima, Nuakhia, Diali Parab, Push Parab, Chaita Parab etc.
  • Dance: Dhemsa dance, Khadumara dance, Dungdunga dance are some of the popular dances of the tribe.
  • Occupation:
    • The economy of the Paraja tribe is primarily agro and forest-based.
    • Parajas are generally hill cultivators. They are fond of cattle wealth.

Koch Rajbongshi Tribe

  • Context:
    • Six communities- Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Matak, Moran and Tea Tribes have been asking the Assam government for ST Status. 
  • About: 
    • The Rajbongshi or Koch-Rajbongshi is an ethnic group of the ancient Koch Kingdom. 
    • The community is variously designated as OBC (Assam), SC (Bengal) and ST (Meghalaya).
  • Location: 
    • They inhabit parts of Lower Assam, Meghalaya, northern West Bengal, Bihar and on the eastern parts of Nepal, Bhutan and northern Bangladesh.
    • The Koch and Rajbanshi communities are distinguished from each other in West Bengal.
  • Population: 3,386,617.
  • Religion:
    • The Rajbongshi were primarily animists, but later on, they followed Hinduism/Sanatana (both Shaiva and Vaishnabhite).
    • A few sections of Rajbongshi people were also found to be followers of Christianity, both Roman Catholic and protestant.
  • Language: Rajbongshi/Rajbanshi language
  • Folk music:
    • Music forms are an integral part of Koch-Rajbongshi culture.
    • The main musical forms of Koch-Rajbongshi culture are Bhawaiyya, Chatka, Chorchunni, Palatia, Lahankari, Tukkhya, Bishohora Pala among many others.
  • Occupation:
    • The Koch Rajbongshi community had traditionally been a largely agricultural community, cultivating mainly rice, pulses, and maize.
    • Rice is the staple food for the majority of the population. 

Galo Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Under the Twenty-eight series of its online exhibition by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), the traditional Galo house type was displayed in the Tribal habitats Open-air Exhibition of IGRMS. 
  • About:
    • The Galos belong to the Tani group inhabiting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, besides Tibet.
    • Communities like the Mising (Assam), Adi, Apatani, Nyishi, Tagin, and Galos trace their common origin to a primaeval ancestor, Abotani. But unlike others, only the Galos maintain genealogy through given names.
    • They have been listed as a scheduled tribe under the name Gallong since 1950.
  • Location: They primarily inhabit Siang, Lepa Rada, Upper Subansiri and Namsai districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Population: 1.5 lakh.
  • Religion:  Donyi-Poloism.
  • Language: Tani Galo language.
  • Festival:
    • Mopin is the main festival in Galos which is celebrated for the prosperity of the villages.
    • The main focal point of the Mopin celebration is the sacrifice of the Mithun (also known as Gayal), a bovine creature that is only found in North East India and Burma.
  • Dance: The Galos perform Popir dance.
  • Occupation: 
    • The main source of livelihood of the Galo community is agriculture and women form the backbone of the tribal agricultural economy.
    • The farmers of West Siang district with their years of wisdom have been using an indigenous method of rat-proof granary called Nasu in the Galo language. 
    • The use of a stone pad at the bottom, a wooden plate at the middle and an airtight compartment at the top makes it a unique and innovative storage structure.

Resource use and management by Galo tribe: 

  • According to Galo wisdom, Tani (the first human being and the ancestor of human-beings), Taki (the ancestor of spirits) and Tanyo (the ancestor of cat families which include various species of wild cats) signifies the harmonious relationship that the Galo society shares with other living and non-living forms. 
  • Instead of assuming themselves as the ‘possessor’ of nature, their core world view of ‘community of beings’ places resource use and its management, apart from providing material sustenance, as a binding agent between human-nature relationship, human-human relationship and human-nature-supernatural relationship.
  • The resources also act as a metaphysical medium to appease supernatural beings/spirits. according to Galos, nature has also unknown and destructive dimensions.
  • Thus, periodic rituals with respect to land, water and forests become mandatory to pacify the anger of this incomprehensible element of nature, which manifests in the form of spirits.


Dimasa Tribe

  • Context:
    • Five truckers transporting coal were killed and their vehicles set ablaze by suspected militants of Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA) in Assam's Dima Hasao district.
  • About:
    • It is an indigenous ethnolinguistic community inhabiting Assam and Nagaland states in Northeastern India.
    • Dimasa kingdom, one of many early states in Assam following the downfall of the Kamarupa kingdom, was established by these people.
  • Location: 
    • The Dimasa peoples are the inhabitants of North Cachar Hills Autonomous District Council (now Dima Hasao), Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council, Cachar District, Nagaon District of Assam and the Dhansiri region of Nagaland State.  
    • They call themselves Bodo or Bodo-fisa in the Brahmaputra valley and Dimasa or Dimafisa or ‘sons of the great river’ in the Dima Hasao & Karbi-Anglong district.
  • Population: 1,15,997 
  • Society: 
    • This community is fairly homogeneous and exclusive, with members required to draw from both parents' separate clans.
    • As Dimasa Kachari have both male clan and female clans their law inheritance is somewhat peculiar in nature.
    • The Dimasa have a patriarchal society. But they have three types of property namely paternal property, maternal property and common property.
    • While the paternal property is inherited by the sons, the maternal property is inherited by the daughters and common property is shared by the sons and daughters equally.
  • Language: They speak Dimasa, a Tibeto-Burman language.
  • Religion:
    • More than 98% of all Dimasa living in Assam are Hindu. Some also practice Buddhism.
    • Dimasa believe that they are the children of Bangla Raja and the great divine bird Aarikhidima. 
  • Festivals: 
    • Busu is an important festival celebrated by the Dimasa with the celebration of great pomp and splendour. It is celebrated after the completion of harvest.
    • The word Busu gives the meaning such as Brai-Sibrai is a supreme God in Dimasa society.
    • The Busu festival can be divided into the following categories:
      1. Bushu Jidap
      2. Surem Baino
      3. Hangseu Manaoba
  • Dances: 
    • The dance forms of the Dimasa Kachari are complex in character. They are strictly dependent on instrumental music. No songs are used. 
    • Any Dimasa dance is called Baidima.
    • Different kinds of Dimasa dances are- Baidima (Hasao), Baidijuwa, Baidembra, Baimaijai, Baijabah (war dance), Hadaobani, Jaubani, Jauphinbani, Ren-gnibani, Baichergi among others. 
  • Occupation: Agricultural is the principal occupation and main source of livelihood of the Dimasa. Many practice jhum cultivation. 

Rongmei Naga Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Rongmei Naga Council, Manipur (RNCM), Inpui Naga Union, Manipur (INUM) and Zeme Naga Council, Manipur (ZNCM) have appealed to the Kuki civil society organisations to give up the claim on the Koubru range and all the lands belonging to the indigenous communities as their ancestral land.
  • About: 
    • The Rongmei (also known as Kabui) are one of the major indigenous communities a part of the Naga tribes of North-East India.
    • They are a scheduled tribe under the Constitution of India.
    • The Rongmei have a rich culture, customs and traditions.
    • They share similarities with their kindred tribes of Zeme, Liangmai and Inpui which together are known as Zeliangrong.
  • Location: 
    • The Rongmeis are mostly concentrated in the three states of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in Northeast India.
    • They make up the majority in Tamenglong district and Noney district of Manipur.
  • Population: 170,800
  • Language: Rongmei language, also called Songbu. 
  • Religion: 
    • Christianity (majority), Poupei Chapriak, Tingkao Ragwang Chapriak.
    • In many villages it can be seen that after the freedom movement from the British government they adopted the “Babuan” religion started by freedom fighters Rani Gaidinliu and Heipou Jadonang.
  • Festival:
    • The Gaan-Ngai festival (post-harvest festival) is celebrated annually between December and January to worship the Supreme God Haipou Tingkao Ragwang and other sylvan Gods.
    • Other festivals are Sangai and Chapchar Kut.
  • Occupation: 
    • The Rongmei are agriculturists. Jhum cultivation is especially common.
    • Artisans are skilled in bamboo, wood, blacksmith, and pottery works. Bamboo baskets, mats, shields, etc., are manufactured in abundance.

Under the leadership of Haipou Jadonang and his successor Rani Gaidinliu, the Rongmei rebelled against British rule in the 1930s. This rebellion gave momentum to and garnered support for the vision of Naga Raj. The government recognized Rani Gaidinliu as the most prominent freedom fighter from the Northeast India region.


Halam Tribe

  • Context: 
    • At least 700 people of Halam sub-tribes were displaced after rioters torched several houses in the Damcherra area of North Tripura district.
  • About:
    • The Halam Tribes origin shows that basically ‘Halam’ means “killer of human beings”.
    • The neighbouring people were involved in naming them ‘Halam’ as they were ferocious and used to kill strangers in the olden days.
    • The term ‘Halam’ is expected to be coined by the Tipra Maharaja.
    • As per their oral tradition, they called themselves “Riam”, which literally means “Human being”.
    • The Halam are further divided into 12 sub-tribes.
  • Location: The Halam Tribe is native to the state of Tripura and Assam Mizoram in India. They could be found in Bangladesh as well.
  • Population: 58,000.
  • Language: The language spoken by all the families of the Halam community is known as Riam Chong.
  • Religion: 
    • The majority of Halam people follow Hinduism as their main religion and celebrate the festivals in traditional Hindu ways.
    • A number of animistic traits are also found in their religious activities.
  • Occupation:
    • The Halam eat through a combination of foraging and farming.
    • They collect edible leaves, roots, stems and tubers from the rain forest and catch fish from the nearby rivers. In recent times, they have become familiar with horticulture.
    • Apart from land cultivation, they are involved in also practicing Jhum cultivation and depend on both activities.

Limbu Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Recently there was a plea in SC demanding reservation for 'Limboo' and 'Tamang' tribes in Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
  • About:
    • The Limbu or Yakthung are Kiranti people indigenous and native to the Himalayan Limbuwan region of Eastern Nepal, North East India and Western Bhutan.
    • Divided into patrilineal clans, the families are led by a headman, or Subba, who is often a returned Gurkha soldier.
  • Location:
    • They are currently living in Nepal, on the easternmost section of the Himalayas east of the Arun River, and in northern India, mostly in the states of Sikkim, West Bengal, and Assam. 
  • Population: 1,00,550 (in India).
  • Language: Limbu is one of the few Sino-Tibetan languages of the Central Himalayas that possesses its own pre-20th century scripts.
  • Religion:
    • Although influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism and as well as by rituals from nearby lamaseries, the Limbu observe a traditional religion, worshipping a chief god, Niwa Buma, and mountain and river deities.
    • Each Limbu household additionally honours an ancestor god and has a religious leader (a shamba, or a fedangba) to conduct family rituals.
    • Some limbu were converted to Christianity. 
    • Limbus practice many of their own life cycle rituals. They believe that lineage is not transmitted patrilineally.
    • Rather, a woman inherits her mother's gods, and when she marries and lives with her husband she brings with her the deities that will then be recognized as the household deities.
  • Dance: Dhan Naach, Chyabrung dance.
  • Festival: Chasok Tangnam.
  • Occupation: 
    • Maintaining a self-sufficient economy, the Limbu grow rice, wheat, and corn (maize) on terraced and irrigated fields; the land is planted once a year.
    • In addition, water buffalo are kept, and goats, chickens, and sheep are raised for meat.

Hmar Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Hmar tribe of Assam teaches lessons on traditional, climate-friendly pineapple cultivation to scientists of the department of ecology and environmental sciences, Assam University. 
  • About:
    • Hmar is an ethnic group in northeast India, western Myanmar and eastern Bangladesh. 
    • They are generally considered to be part of the larger Mizo ethnic group.
    • They are known for their bravery.
    • The word “Hmar” actually means “north”. 
  • Location: In India, they live in the northeastern states of Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura.
  • Population: 200,000-300,000.
  • Language: The Hmar people have their own language known as “Hmar” and speak Hindi, English in their day to life and in educational institutions.
  • Religion: Most of the Hmar tribe was converted to Christianity by the British. 
  • Dance: 
    • Chawn Lam is the main dance performed during the harvest festival.  
    • Other dances are Thangkawngvailak and hunting dance called Salu Lam.
    • A type of drum, khuong, is used to complement the dance beats.
    • Other musical instruments that are used include perkhuong (guitar made of bamboo, hna mut (leaf instrument), darmang (flat brass gong) and theilia (bamboo flute)
  • Occupation:
    • The Hmar tribe are the cultivators who depend upon Farming for their Livelihood.
    • Women of this tribe are great weavers who make simple and unsophisticated yarn which is dyed in different colours and woven into beautiful clothes that are generally made for the family members.
    • Slavery was very common among the Hmar people in the traditional society. There were several ways of becoming a slave or obtaining a slave.

Nyishi Tribe

  • Context:
    • The textbooks in Nyishi, Wancho, Galo, Tagin, Kaman, Tawra, Idu and Tangsa, which were prepared by civil society organisations belonging to the communities and verified by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) were released recently.
  • About:
    • The Nyishi are the largest ethnic group in Arunachal Pradesh in north-eastern India.
    • Also known as  Dafla or Bangni Tribe.
    • In the local language, Nyi refers to “a man” and the word shi denotes “a being”, which combined together refers to a civilized human being.
    • They are the most populous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh, closely followed by the tribes of the Adi.
    • Polygyny is prevalent among the Nyishi. It signifies one's social status and economical stability and also proves handy during hard times. 
  • Location: 
    • They are spread across eight districts of Arunachal Pradesh: Kra Daadi, Kurung Kumey, East Kameng, West Kameng, Papum Pare, parts of Lower Subansiri, Kamle and Pakke Kessang district.
    • They also live in the Sonitpur and North Lakhimpur districts of Assam. 
  • Population: 249,824
  • Language: Nyishi language.
  • Religion:
    • Donyi-Polo (sun and moon), Christianity, Animism. 
    • Their religion believes in spirits associated with nature. 
    • According to them, nature includes humans as well as spirits and plays a vital role in maintaining a balance in nature.
  • Festivals: Their major festivals are Nyokum Yullo, BooriBoot Yullo, and Longte Yullo.
  • Dance: Rikham Pada.
  • Occupation: The Nyishi support themselves with slash-and-burn agriculture and with hunting and fishing.

–The Nyishis, who traditionally wear cane helmets surmounted by the crest of a hornbill beak, have considerably affected the population of this bird.

–Several organizations, such as the Arunachal Wildlife and Nature Foundation and the Wildlife Trust of India, have been trying to stop the Nyishi from hunting these birds in order to protect them from extinction. Nature reserves, such as the Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary, have been set up to protect the birds.


Juanga Tribe

  • Context: 
    • In order to bring about a sea change in the living conditions of Keonjhar district’s primitive tribe ‘Juanga’, Juanga Development Agency (JDA) was formed in 1978 and has since been working in this area.
    • So far, crores of money have been spent, but development has still been a mirage for them. 
  • About: 
    • The Juang is one of the primitive tribal groups (particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG)) of Odisha. The word 'Juang' means “Sons of Man”.
    • Formerly the Juang used to be also known as Patuas, literally “leaf-wearers”. 
    • Their tradition claims that the place where the tribe originated from the earth are the Gonasika Hills, near the Keonjhar district, at the source of the Baitarani River.
  • Location: They are found only in the Gonsaika hills. Some Juangs migrated to neighbouring plains of the Dhenkanal district during the Bhuiyan revolt in the late 19th century.
  • Population: 47,095.
  • Language: They speak Juanga, a dialect of the Munda language.
  • Religion:
    • Hinduism, Sarnaism- which includes a belief in forest spirits.
    • They offer sacrifices of fowls to the sun when in trouble and to the earth for a bountiful harvest.
  • Dances: They usually observe their festivals and marriage ceremony with Changu dance.
  • Occupation: They are traditional shifting cultivators.

Rabha Tribe

  • Context: 
    • Various organisations from the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya have expressed their resentment over the proposed amendment Bill to the 6th Schedule. 
    • They spoke about the inclusion of tribes of Garo Hills like the Koch, Boro, Hajong and Rabha tribes through the amendment of the 6th Schedule.
  • About:
    • Rabha is one of the most popular and indigenous tribes of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
    • Most of the Rabhas of Dooars refer to themselves as Rabha, but some of them often declare themselves as Kocha.
  • Location: Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal. They primarily inhabit the plains of Lower Assam and the Dooars, while some are found in the Garo Hills. 
  • Population: 3,57,000
  • Language: Rabha language- closely related to neighbouring Boro and Garo.
  • Religion: Rabha people traditionally practice animistic rituals, however, there has been an influence of Hinduism. 
  • Festival: The Baikho is the principal deity of the Rabhas which is associated with the crops dedicated to whom the Rabhas celebrate the Baikho festival. 
  • Occupation:
    • The village economy is based on agriculture, forest-based activities and weaving.
    • Both men and women work in the fields.

Chakhesang Tribe

  • Context:
    • Chakhesang tribe celebrated their 75th anniversary of the community’s rechristening at Phek town.
  • About:
    • The Chakhesangs are a major indigenous group found in the state of Nagaland.
    • Chakhesangs were the previous Eastern Angamis- now recognized as a separate tribe.
    • The tribe is mostly divided into two groups known as Chokri and Khezha.
    • The name “Chakhesang” was derived from the names of three tribes: the Chokri, Khezha and Sangtam.
  • Location: 
    • Most of the villages of this tribe fall within the Phek district of Nagaland, there are Two Chakhesang villages, Jessami and Soraphung/Krowemi which are located in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. 
  • Population: 154,874 
  • Religion: The Chakhesang Tribe follows Christianity as their main religion and adhere Abrahamic teachings and also follows Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Festival:
    • Suhkuruhnye is the most important festival of Chakhesang Naga and is celebrated on the 15th of January.
    • During this festival, the boys and girls are purified through religious ceremonies and rituals. 
  • Occupation: 
    • Hunting plays a vital role in the traditional and cultural importance of Chakhesang. Now hunting of animals is prohibited in the state but during the olden days, hunters had a very high social status.
    • Chakhesang and Angamies are famous for terrace cultivation and are considered to be the best terrace makers.
    • They are also artisans, experts in pottery, handicrafts and weaving which is done by women only. 

Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar

  • The Andaman and Nicobar islands accommodate main five vulnerable tribes: 
    • Great Andamanese,
    • Onges,
    • Jarwa, 
    • Sentinelese,
    • Shompen.
  • Excluding the Nicobarese, the rest fall under the PVTG category.
  • According to the 2011 census, there are only 44 Great Andamanese, 380 Jarawa, 105 Onges, 229 Shompen, and 15-150 Sentinelese (roughly estimated as they don't interact) remaining.

Great Andamanese

  • Based in ‘Strait Island’ of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The Administration has provided houses and raised Coconut plantations for the upliftment of Andamanese.
  • Further free ration including clothes is also being provided to them.
  • Andamanese are no longer a nomadic tribe. 
  • However, they do sometimes go hunting and fishing.
  • Andamani Hindi increasingly serves as their primary language.


  • Currently inhabiting the Western coast of Middle Andaman and South Andaman Islands.
  • Continue to be hunting and gathering nomadic tribes. 
  • Collect fruits and roots including honey from the forest.
  • They build temporary huts in their camps.
  • Speak Järawa language. 



  • One of the most primitive tribes in India inhabiting the Little Andaman Island.
  • This Hunting and Gathering tribe has also been settled by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration at Dugong Creek and South Bay on Little Andaman Island.
  • Coconut plantation has been raised for the benefit of Onges Medical care, free ration etc. are being provided by the Administration.
  • Onges go hunting and fishing occasionally.
  • Speak the Önge language.


  • Negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andaman (50 km west of Port Blair).
  • Assumed to be direct descendants of the earliest humans who emerged from Africa.
  • Consistently refused any interaction with the outside world.
  • Hostile to outsiders and have killed people who approached or landed on the island.
  • Nearly nothing is known about the Sentinelese culture due to isolation.
  • Are hunter-gatherers.
  • Not known to engage in agriculture.
  • Protected under the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956.


  • Located in Great Nicobar.
  • Practice a hunter-gatherer subsistence economy and keep a limited contact with the outside world.
  • Also, practice a little bit of horticulture and pig rearing.
  • Share a symbiotic relationship or barter system with the Great Nicobarese.
  • Marriage by capturing women from different groups and subgroups is one of the customs of the Shompen society- one reason for mutual hostility among groups.
  • Speak Shompen language with different dialects like Kalay and Keyet.



Tribes from Other Countries

Klamath Tribe

  • The Klamath Tribes, formerly the Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon, are a federally recognized Native American Nation consisting of three Native American tribes who traditionally inhabited Southern Oregon and Northern California in the United States: the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin.
  • The tribal government is based in Chiloquin, Oregon.

Herero Tribe

  • The Herero are a Bantu ethnic group inhabiting parts of Southern Africa. There were an estimated 250,000 Herero people in Namibia in 2013.
  • They speak Otjiherero, a Bantu language.

Nama tribe

  • Nama also called Naman, Namakwa, or Namaqua, is any member of a people of southern Namibia who constitute by far the largest Khoekhoe ethnic group, perhaps larger than all the others combined.
  • They represent about one-eighth of the population of Namibia, and there are smaller groups in South Africa and Botswana.
  • Their total population is about 230,000.
  • Language:
    • They speak a Khoisan language notable for its great number of click sounds.
  • Occupation:
    • The Nama were formerly reasonably prosperous sheep or cattle pastoralists, but intertribal warfare and nearly continuous fighting with the Herero and the Germans from the 19th to the early 20th century decimated their numbers.
    • Some Nama still grazes sheep, cattle, or goats where the groundwater of their arid countryside is not too highly mineralized for their stock to drink; many more are migrant labourers on nearby farms herding sheep, tending gardens, or working in homes.

Yanomami Tribe

  • The Yanomami are the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America.
  • They live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela (Alto Orinoco– Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve). Together, these areas form the largest forested indigenous territory in the world.
  • The Yanomami are known as hunters, fishers, and horticulturists. The women cultivate cooking plantains and cassava in gardens as their main crops. 
  • In early anthropological studies, the Yanomami culture was described as being permeated with violence. The Yanomami people have a history of acting violently not only towards other tribes but towards one another.

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