BA LLB sociology first semester question answer characteristics of a tribe : In this post you will read about Tribe, characteristics of tribe, tribe society, tribe of India
Q 1. Describe the nature and characteristics of a Tribe Distinguish between tribe and horde. Ans.
Nature of Tribe The following are the main views regarding the nature of tribe :
1. Opinion of Rivers. According to Dr. Rivers the tribe is a simple caste group the members of which use a common dialect and work together in war and in carrying out other common projects. In the definition of tribe, Rivers has not held common residence at one location to be an essential characteristics since most tribes are of the nature of wanderers.
Criticism of River’s View. Scholars indicate the following defects in this description of the tribe :
(i) According to Dr. D.N. Majumdar it is incorrect to exclude the characteristics of a definite residential district from the definition of tribe. In Spite of possessing the habits of wandering, tribes do possess a definite habitation.
(ii) In this definition Rivers has stressed the unity of trïbes in time of war. According to Prof. Brown there are many tribes within which one faction dashes with another. In the same way many tribes have neither any leader nor any central or any other kind of rule or administration.
2. Gillia’s opinion. According to Lewis. Gillin and Philip Gillin the tribe is one such group of local communities which lives in common arca, speaks a common dialect and follows a common culture. Two facts have been particularly emphasized in Gillin’s view :
(i) Common habitation. In its absence, the consequent disappearance of mutual contact will also shatter the unity of language and culture, (ii) Sense of Unity. Due to this the members of one tribe consider themselves distinct from members of a different tribe. It is not enough for some people to stay at one place in order to form a tribe, there must be engendered in them a sense of unity. This view is shared by most people.
3. View of the Imperial Gazetteer. According to Imperial Gazetteer, “A tribe is collection of families bearing a common name, speaking a common dialect, occupying or professing to occupy a common territory
and is not usually endogamous though originally it might have been so.”
4. D.N. Majumdar’s views. In defining the tribe Dr. D.N. Majumdar has only clarified this description. According to him, “A tribe isą collection of families, bearing a common name, members of which occupy the same territory, speak the same language and observe certain taboos regarding a marriage, profession or occupation and have developed a well assessed system of reciprocity and mutuality of obligation.”
Dr. Majumdar’s opinion does not hold true for all the tribes. In beginning the members of the tribe did necessarily marry within their tribe but now the practice to marry outside the tribe is more prevalent among them. From this view point, the definition by Imperial Gazetteer is appropriate.
Defining the tribe in ‘Dictionary of Sociology’, George Peter Murdock has stated that it is a social group in which there are many clans, nomadic bands, villages or other sub groups which usually have desinite geographical area, a separate language, a singular and distinct culture and either a common political organisation or at least a feeling of common determination against strangers. According to Bogardus, “The tribal group was based on the need for protection, on tics of blood relationship and on the strength of a common religion.” According to Perry, two essential elements of the tribe are a common dialect and common topography. Characteristics of the Tribe
The following characteristics of the tribe are evident from its various delinitions :
1. Definite common topography. The tribe inhabits and remains within a desinite and common topography. In the absence of a common Topography the tribe would also lose its other characteristics features as community sentiments, common language, ctc. For this reason a Common habitat is essential for a tribe.
12,8ense of Unity. But any group of people living in a particular geographical area cannot be called a tribe as long as its members do
posses a mutual sense of unity. This mental element is an invariable and essential characteristics of the tribe.
Common language. The members of a tribo speak a common nage. This also helps to generate and evolve a sense of communal unity among them.
4. Endogamous group. The members of a tribe generally marry into their own tribe but now due to increased contact with other tribes, The consequence of an increase in the means of transportation, the system of marrying in the tribe is also changing. son 5, Ties of blood relationship. A major cause of the sense of communal unity in the tribe is the lies of blood relationship between its members. the members of the tribe believe in their having descended from a common, real or mythical, ancestor and hence believe in blood relationships with the other members.
6. Experience of the need of protection. The members of a tribe always experience the need for protection. Keeping this need in view, the political organisation of the tribe is established and all authority for administration is vested in some person. This leader employs his mental power and skill in protecting the entire tribe. A tribal committee is formed to render assistance in the form of advice to the tribal chief. As a general rulc the tribal chics accedes to the wishes of the committee. The tribe is divided into numerous small groups each of which has its own chiel. These chess solved the problems of their own groups and acl according to the directives of the tribe.
7 Political Organisation. In this way each tribe has its own political organisation which maintains harmony and avoids notes of discord among il members and protects them.
8. Importance of religion. Religion is of great importance in the Iribe. The tribal political and social organisation is based on this religion because social and political laws become inviolable once they are granted religious sanctity and recognition. According to Bogardus, “Religion, specially in the form of ancestor worship, also rendered important service in developing the habits of obedience.” The authority of a common religion is an important characteristics of tribe.
9. Common name. The tribe has a common name.
10. Common culture. A common culture, resulting from a sense of unity, common language, common religion, common political organisation, etc., is found to exist in a tribe.
11. Organisation of Clans. A tribe is constituted of many clans. There exist laws of reciprocity among its members. Distinction between Tribe and Horde
a nomadic horde is a group of small number of people. When the m ubers of the nomadic horde increase to a very sizable figure it is Christened a tribe. A very strong community feeling exists in both
Horde and tribe which differ from each other mainly in respect of size. in both, such economic activities as collection of fruits, animal hunting, animal husbandry, fishing etc. are carried on. In both a similarity of blood relations is to be found. In both there is a conglomeration of Families. The chies is well respected and obeyed in both. In Spite of such a great extent of similarity, the horde and the tribe differ from each other in the following respects :
1. According to Bogardus, “In the tribal group which was an advance over the horde, the need of production stands out prominently.”
2. The tribe is bigger in size than the nomadic horde.
3. In the tribe, religion is more developed and evolved thạn in the horde because in the latter a greater solidarity and strength of political and social laws is to be expected.
4. Being of a larger and more cumbersome size the tribc possesses a weaker sense of unity than does the horde.
5. The tribe is divided into many smaller groups but the horde has no such sub-divisions.
6. Agricultural occupation is an accepted mode of life in the tribe whereas in the horde agriculture is not indulged into any large extent.
7. The tribe inhabits a definite place. Instead of staying at a desinile place the horde wanders over a desinite geographical area. I
AQ.2,What is tribe? What are its chief characteristics? Distinguish it from horde and caste. .
Tribe What is Tribe?
Delining the tribe in Dictionary of Sociology. George Peter Murdock has stated that it is social group in which there are many clans, nomadic bands, villages or other subgroups which usually have a definite geographical area, a separate language, a singular and distinct culture and either a common political organization or at least a sceling of common determination against strangers. According to Bogardus, “The tribal group was based on the need for protection, of common determination and on the strength of a common religion.” According to another view, two cssential elements of the tribe are a common dialect and common topography, Characteristics of the Tribe
The following characteristics of the tribc are evident from its various definitions :
Definite common topography. The tribe inhabits and remains
within a definite and common topography. In the absence of a common topography the tribe would also lose its other characteristics features as community sentiments, common language, etc. For this reason a common habit al essential for a tribe.
2. Sense of Unity. But any group of people living in a particular geographical area cannot be called a tribe as long as its members do not possess a mutual sense of unity. This mental element is an invariable and essential characteristics of the tribe.
3. Common language. The members of a tribe speak a common language. This also helps to generate and evolve a sense of communal unity among them..
4. Endogamous group. The members of a tribe generally marry into their own group but now due to increased contact with other tribes the consequence of an increase in the means of transportation, the system of marrying in the tribe is also changing.
5 Ties of blood relationships. A major cause of the sense of communal unity in the tribe is the tie of blood relationships between its members. The members of the tribe believe in their having descended from a common, real or mythical ancestor and hence believe in blood relationship with the other members.
6. Experience of the need of protection. The members of a tribe always experience the need for protection. Keeping this need in view the political organisation of the tribe is established and all authority for’ administration is vested in one person. This leader employs his mental power and his skill in protecting the entire tribe. A tribal committee is formed to render assistance in the form of advice to the tribal chics. As a general rule the tribal chief accedcs to the wishes of the committee. The tribe is divided, into numerous small groups each of which has its own chief. These chiefs solve the problems of their own groups and act according to the directives of the tribe.
17. Polítical organisation. In this way each tribe has its own political organisation which maintains harmony and avoids notes of discord among its members and protects them.
8 Importance of religion. Religion is of great importance in the tribe. The tribal political and social organisation is based on this religion because social and political laws become inviolable once they are granted religious sanctity and recognition. According to Bogardus, “Religion, specially in the form of ancestor worship, also rendered important service in developing the habits of obedience.” The authority of a common religion is an important trait of tribe.
9. Common name. The tribe has a common name.
10. Common culture. A common culture resulting from a sense of unity, common language, common religion, common political organisation, etc., is found to exist in a tribe.
11. Organisation of clans. Tribe is constituted of many clans. There exist laws of mutual reciprocity among its members. Distinction between tribe and horde
A nomadic horde is a group of small number of people. When the members of the nomadic horde increase to a very sizable figure it is christened a tribe. A very strong community feeling exists in both horde and tribe, which differ from each other mainly in respect of size. In both, such economic activities as collection of fruits, animal hunting, animal husbandry, fishing, etc., are carried on. In both a similarity of blood relations is to be found. In both, there is a conglomeration of families. The chief is well respected and obeyed in both. In spite of such a great similarity, the horde and the tribe differ from each other in the following respects; …
1. According to Bogardus, “In the tribal group which was an advance over the horde, the need of protection stands out prominently.”
2. The tribe is bigger in size than the nomadic horde.
3. In the tribe, religion is more developed and evolved than in the horde because in the latter a greater solidarity and strength of political and social laws is to be expected. .
4. Being of a larger and more cumbersome size the tribe possesses a weaker sense of unity than does not horde.
5. The tribe is divided into many smaller groups but the horde has no such divisions.
6. Agricultural occupation is an accepted mode of life in the tribe whereas in the horde agriculture is not included into any large extent
7. The tribe inhabits à definite place. Instead of staying at a definite place the horde wanders over a definite geographical area. Distinction between tribe and caste:
Marriage within the clan is forbidden both in tribe as well as in the caste. Both generally condemn marriage outside the group. The modern development in the means of transport and communication has Induced increased contact between members of various tribes and castes
and has weakened the laws of endogamy in both. The two do exhibit considerable similarity, yet they also differ in the following respects:
According to Risley, the convention of
endogamy is not rigidly enforced in tribe whereas such is the case in a caste.
But this view of Risley does not appear to be universally true since the law of endogamy is enforced with extreme rigidity in some
2. Max Weber writes in Social Structures that when an Indian tribe losses in territorial significance it assumes the form of an Indian caste. In this way, the tribe is a local group whereas the caste is a social group.
3. The caste was originated, in ancient Hindu society, with a view to division of labour on the basis of professions and occupations. The tribe came about because of the evolution of community feeling in a group inhabiting a definite geographical area.
4. According to Dr. D.N. Majumdar the tribe looks upon Hindu ritualism as foreign and extra-religious even though indulging in it and in the worship of Gods and Goddesses whereas in the caste there are necessary parts of religion. The tribes of Madhya Bharat which are called Hindu and Kshatriya tribes are better acquainted with their own
than with the Hindu
the status of all people can in the
5. According to Max Weber the status of all people is similar in the caste, whereas there is much difference of status and rank in the tribe. The view of Max Weber does not apply to all castes. Difference of rank and status can be found in many castes also…
6. There is greater consciousness of differences in status and rank in the caste than in the tribe.
7. The caste is never a political association whereas the tribe is a political association.
8. The names of clans in castes are adopted from some saint or mythical savant such as Vashishth, Vishvamitra, Bharadwaj, Kashyap etc. In the tribe clans are based on totem, for example the clans in the Komti tribe of Mysore are named after all kinds of fruits, vegetables, spices, foodgrains, etc. The list presented by Thurston in Castes and Tribes of Southern India seems to indicate that hardly any name in the animal and vegetable world has not been used as the basis for a totem name.
9. In the caste, individuals generally pursue their own definite occupations because functions are divided under the caste system. In the tribe, individuals can indulge their fancies in whatever profession they please because there is no fixed relation between them and the occupations. Actually, now the tribes are gradually being converted into castes.
Risley has mentioned four processes in this transformation : 1. By changing one’s lineage, 2. By accepting the principles of any school of Hindu religion, 3. By joining Hindu religion, 4. By entering into relations with Hindus without changing name.
According to D.N. Majumdar a tribe can enter Hindu society by adopting name of a caste.
As a result of these changes, the differences between tribe and caste are being continually reduced.
Q. 3. What are scheduled tribes? What is the official policy towards them? Discuss their difficulties.
Ans. What are Scheduled Tribes
Scheduled tribes groups are presumed to form the oldest ethnological sector of the national population. In the national language, such groups are rcfcrred to as adivasis (adi-original, van-inhabitant). However, a scientific and standard definition for the identification of tribal groups has not so far been evolved. This is because different and sometimes contradictory criteria, such as the colour of the skin, social organisation, religion, customs language and habitat, tend to be adopted by administrators, lawyers arid social scientists as the basis for their definitions.
Article 342 of the Constitution of India desines Scheduled Tribes as those tribes or tribal communities or parts or groups within tribes or tribal communities which the President of India may, by notification, specify for the purposes of the Constitution. Thus legally recognised Scheduled Tribes are listed in –
(i) The Constitution (Scheduled tribes). Order 1950;
Gi) The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes), (Union Territories) Order 1951;
7) The Constitution (Dadra and Nagar Haveli), Scheduled Tribes. Order 1962; and
(iv) The Constitution (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Scheduled Tribes, Order 1959.
As indicate earlier, there is no generally accepted definition for the identification of tribal communities. The Constitution does not also indicate any criterion for distinguishing a tribe or a tribal community from other communities .the solution does not also indicate any criterion for distinguishing a tribe or a communities. In view of the reservation of seats in parliament and legislatures, inclusion or exclusion of numerically large tribal communities has political implications. The state-wise lists of Scheduled Tribes prescribed under the Constitution have been evolved from the
list of “primitive tribes” prepared at the 1931 Census, the list of “Backward Tribes” adopted under the Government of India Act, 1935 and the views expressed by State Government. The list of Scheduled Tribes notified in 1950 were revised in 1956 by acts of parliament, to accommodate recommendations made by the Backward Classes Commission and the territorial changes following the reorganisation of States. Thus even though the list may strictly not be based on scientific and uniform criteria, they have been evolved over a period of time and may be said to be adequately representative of the tribes of India, for administrative purposes.
The Backward Classes Commission referred to the matter in its questionnaire on criteria, in thc following terms –
“The Scheduled Tribes can be generally ascertained by the fact that they live apart in the hills, and even where they live on the plains, they lead a separate excluded existence, and are not fully assimilated in the main body of the people. Scheduled Tribes may belong to any religion. They are listed as Scheduled Tribes because of the kind of life
led by them”.
Recent official thought is included to express the main criterion as “a distinctive social organisation and mode of life”.
The Scheduled Tribes are recognised by the Government of India as the weakest section of the “Backward Classes”.
As compared to the national figure of 18 percent only an insignificant proportion (2.6 percent) of the Scheduled Tribes lives in urban areas. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of the Scheduled Tribes population lives in isolated groups, scattered over hilly, forested and relatively inaccessible parts of the country. The major part of the Scheduled Tribes population (approximately 70 percent). is to be found in dispersed pockets of varying sizes in the plateaus and plains. Constitutional Provisions
Early in the year 1947, prior to the attainment of independence, one of the advisory committees of the Constituent Assembly appointed two sub-committees, one to report on the “tribal” and “excluded” areas, of the north-east frontier (Assam), and the other to report on the excluded” and “partially excluded” areas other than Assam. The reports of these sub-committees from the basis for the special provision incorporated in the Constitution of India for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes. The Constitution had adopted as one of the Directive Principles
of State Policy, a twin formula-development with “special area” of the educational and economic interests of the Scheduled Tribes on the one hand, and protection from all forms of exploitation on the other, Article 244 of the Constitution places on Governors of States a special responsibility for improving the level of administration in the “Scheduled Areas” – isolated and under developed pockets with a concentration of tribal population. Financial assistance to the States for attaining these objectives is assured under Article 275.
To afford protection against exploitation, the Constitution arms Governors of States with powers to make special laws for controlling, inter alia, transfers of land and money lending in the Scheduled Areas. Under Article 338, a special officer the commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is required to investigate and report periodically to the President on the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution for the Scheduled Tribes, such as reservation of seats in Parliament and State Legislatures, and reservation of posts in public services.
The Constitution accords to Nagaland, the North-East Frontier Agency urea and the hill districts of Assam a special measure of autonomy; this is because of the special socio-economic features of the Assam Hills and Frontier Tracts, as pointed out by the sub-committee referred to earlier. Official Policy
There has so far been no official declaration or resolution by the Government of India expressing comprehensively its policy towards the
Scheduled Tribes. During the first decade after independence, the · approach of the Government of India and the State Government to tribal problems tended to be understandably ad hoc.Since 1958, however, policies towards the tribes and the approach to tribal welfare have been reviewed by a number of statutory and official groups. There is a broad consensus of opinion that while the rest of the population of the country marches forward, the tribes and tribal areas cannot remain in isolation. The living standards of the tribes have to be raised to the level of the rest of the Indian community, in this process, the tribes should be enabled to develop along the lines of their own genius, and their traditional arts and culture should not be disturbed. Administration and development of tribal areas should as lar as possible, be made over to trained teams of their own people. A reference to these facts of policy was made by the first Prime Minister
of India; Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru, in his foreword to the book “A. Philosophy for NEFA” by the late Dr. Verrier Elwin. THese ideas were incorporated in the Third Five Year Plan.
During the past decade, several fact-finding and cvaluative bodies were constituted by the Government by the Government of India, some of them were
(i) Study Term on Social Welfare and Welfare of Backward Classes appointed, by the Committee on Plan Projects (Planning Commission, 1958-59);
(ü) Committee on Special Multipurpose Tribal Blocks appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (1959-60);
(iii) Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission appointed under Article 3439 of the Constitution (1960-61); and
(iv) Special Working Group on Co-operation for Backward Classes
The Estimáles Committee of Parliament (forty-eighth report, 1958-59) has also made observations on the welfare schemes for Scheduled Tribes. Results of these studies revealed limitations in the existing programmes indicated. All these were of policy significance.
Some of the important recommendations of these bodies are related to
(i) the need for a properly oriented approach to the tribes;
(ii) extension of tribal development blocks in all areas where the concentration of tribal population exceeds 50 percent by the end of the Fourth Plan;
(iii) early adoption of protective legislation; (iv) reinforcement and unification of the administrative set-up; (v) encouragement to voluntary agencies; and
(vi) creation of a new type of multi-purpose co-operative institution in tribal areas, with emphasis on marketing of forest produce.
The main cause for the relative backwardness of the Scheduled Tribes is their environment. Prior to independence, no, positive steps has been taken for promoting their social and economic welfare and the administrative system failed to take into account the special needs of tribal communities. Their main sources of livelihood are agriculture und forest produce. Poor and eroded soil, primitive methods ol cultivation and vagarics of the weather, result in low agricultural returns. Forests have been gradually denuded; in the extraction and marketing of forest produce, tribals are often exploited by contractors and traders. – The system of distribution of liquor through contractors had bred
Malpractices and vices, and impoverished tribal diet, physique and moral Hues. Educational and communication facilities have been slow in aching tribal areas. Their contacts with petty officials at the village vel have not been happy, and this has sometimes led to the distrust T even welfare measures. 1. The disinclination of officials to face isolation and lack of modern amenities in tribal areas has for long been a major administrative problem. Not many voluntary organisations have come forward to take up work in tribal areas, even sew that exist have been finding it difficult to secure willing and capable workers. The attitude of the more advanced communities towards these tribes is often one of superiority and it shows lack of appreciation of tribal values and organisation. These problems and handicaps have tended to retard the pace of development in the schedule and tribal areas; the effect is still more noticeable in the inaccessible hilly and forested region.
Dr. P. S. Lokanathan has observed that basically the problems of economic development of the tribal areas are in no way different from those of the other economically backward areas. In both types of areas, income, consumption and saving levels of the people are very low, indebtedness is high and health standards are poor. In both areas, this is the result of ill-developed agriculture and improper or under-utilisation of natural resources-land, water for irrigation and power, forests, minerals and human resources. In both the areas, again, the process of rapid economic growth that is so necessary for reducing the wide disparities between the standard of living of the people of economically backward and the relatively more advanced areas, is being hampered not only by the utter inadequacy of the infra-structure, irrigation, power, transport, education, technical training etc., but also by the traditional resistance of a poverty-ridden people to any social change resulting from rapid economic development.
Q. 4. Differentiate between Caste and Tribe. Is it possible for a tribe to caste?
Tribe and Caste
Marriage within the clan is forbidden both in the tribe as well in the castc. Both generally condemn marriage outside the group. The modern development in the means of transport and communication has induced increased contact between members of various tribes and be weakened the laws of endogamy in both. The two do exhibit considerable similarity, yet they also differ in the following respects :
1. According to Risley, the convention of endogamy is not rigid
enforced in tribe whereas such as the case in a caste. But this view of Risley does not appear to be universally true since the law of endogamy is enforced with extreme rigidity in some tribes.
2. Max Weber writes in “Social Structures” that when an Indian tribe loses its territorial significance it assumes the form of an Indian caste. In this way, the tribe is local group whereas the caste is a social group.
3. The caste was originated in ancient Hindu society, with a view to division of labour on the basis of professions and occupations. The tribe came about because of the evolution of community feeling in a group inhabiting a definite geographical area.
4. According to Dr. D. N. Majumdar the tribe looks upon Hindu ritualism as foreign and extra-religious even though indulging in it and in the worship of gods and goddesses, whereas in the caste these are necessary, parts of religion. The tribes of Madhya Bharat which are called Hindu and Kshatriya tribes are better acquainted which their own “Bonga” than with the Hindu gods.
5. According to Max Weber the status of all people is similar in the caste, whereas there is much difference of status and rank in the tribe. The view of Max Weber does not apply to all castes. Difference in rank and status can be found in many castes also.
6. There is greater consciousness of differences in status and rank in the.caste than in the tribe.
7. The caste is never a political association whereas the tribe is a political association.
8. The names of clans in castes are adopted from some saint or mystical savant such as Vashistha, Vishvamitra, Bharadwaj, Kashyap, etc.
In the tribe the clans are based on totem, for example the clans in the Komti tribe of Mysore are named after all kinds of fruits, vegetables, species, food grains, etc. The list presented by Thurston in “Castes and Tribes of Southern India,” seems to indicate that hardly any name in the animal and vegetable world remains to be used as the basis for a totem name.
9. In the caste, individuals generally pursue their definite occupations because functions are divided under the caste system. In the tribe, individuals can indulge their sancies in whatever profession they please because there is no fixed relation between them and the occupations.
Actually, now the tribes are gradually being converted into caste. Risley has mentioned four processes in this transformation. (1) By changing one’s lineage (2) By accepting the principles of any school of Hindu religion (3) By joining Hindu religion (4) By entering into relations with Hindus without changing the name.
According to D. N. Majumdar a tribe can enter Hindu society by adopting the clan and name of a caste.
As a result of these changes-the difference between tribe and caste is being continually reduced.
Q. 5. What are the main problems of tribes in India? Suggest measures of welfare.
Ans. Tribal Problems
The Indian tribes at present suffer from mainly two types of problems. Firstly, those which are also found in other people of the country and secondly those which are peculiar to tribal people. In this latter type tribal problems the following are the most important
( Cultural Problems. Due to contact with other cultures, the tribal culture is undergoing a revolutionary change. Due to the influence of Christian missionaries, the problem of bilingualism has developed which has led to indifference towards tribal language. The tribal people are imitating Western culture in different aspects of their social life and leaving their own culture. An important influence of cultural contact is seen in the form of disappearance of youth dormitories, imitation of the western dress and modes of living has led to the degeneration of tribal life and tribal arts, such as dance, music and different types of crafts.
(2) Religious Problems. Due to the conversion of many tribal people to hindu and christian religion , the tribal groups have been divided into several sects on the basis of religion . this has shattered their collective life and
conflicts and dissensions are increasing. The tribal people are generally forgetting their tribal religion. This has led to social disorganization.
(3) Social Problems. Due to the the tribals are facing the problem of increasing bride price.This has encouraged development of girls and their forcible lifting by males.Another special problem created by the tribal the evil custom of child marriage.The contact with the civilized society
with the number of premarital and extramarital sexual
relationship in tribal society and the number of dissolution of marriages. This has also increased the incidence of prostitution and venereal
(4) Economic Problems. The contact with the civilized world has disintegrated the entire economic system of the tribal people. They have forgotten their ancient crafts. Most of their are working on jobs. The employers everywhere misuse the ignorance of the tribal people, take maximum work from them and give them minimum money in return. Tribal Welfare
The Indian Constitution has made important provisions for the • welfare of tribal people. Posts have been reserved for them in public services, in States and Centre. Seats have been reserved for their representatives in the Legislatures of different States and in the Indian Parliament. Special provisions have been made regarding their administration. District and regional councils have been established to carry out their welfare. The government has given special attention to their educational and economic development. This has not appreciably improved the condition of tribal people, the following suggestions can be made in connection with tribal welfare
Economic Reforms. Efforts should be made to encourage tribal people to permanently establish for cultivation, because the shifting cultivation practised by them results in much wastage. The co-operative forests utilization societies can help the tribal people in utilizing the forests in which they live. The Government should arrange for technical help and education to improve the condition of tribal crafts and provision
should be made for the marketing of the goods produced by them. Laws should be strictly imposed in tribal areas to solve the problem of indebtedness and to restrict exploitation. Cooperative credit societies can be organised to provide money for small scale industries. Labour laws should be strictly enforced in tribal areas.
(2) Education Reforms. At the base of the fallen state of tribal societies their widespread illiteracy. Educational expansion, therefore, should be given primary consideration. The tribal education should be given through their own language and in their own cultural background. Colleges should be established to safeguard the tribal fine arts. Provision should be made for technical and commercial education in the tribes. Along with education the tribal music, dance, plays and recreation should be encouraged. Religious dogmatism and superstitions should be removed through scientific education.
(3) Reform in the level of health. Efforts should be made to improve the level of health of the tribal people. This will require provision of medicines, pure water, nutritious food, clean and properly ventilated houses and general healthy atmosphere.
(4) Social Reforms. Whatever may be the opposition from certain vested interests, efforts to carry out social reforms in tribals must be realized. The evil customs of bride price, magic and ritualism, child marriage, prostitution etc., should be removed. These social reforms can be carried out only after economic reforms.
(5) Political Reforms. It is a pity that the Govt. officials posted in tribal areas misuse the ignorance of tribal people and exploit them for different purposes. They scorn the tribal culture and are completely indifferent to their welfare. The Government should appoint such officials as are conversant with the tribal culture and intend to improve the condition of tribal people. Efforts for Tribal Welfare
In free India the State and Central Government have made incessant efforts in the direction of tribal welfare. At the central levels a commissioner attached with Home Ministry takes care of tribal welfare. Under him there are several Regional Assistant Commissioners whose number has now increased to 16. In the States, there are special Directorates of Tribal Welfare, In Assam five District and Regional Councils have been established for tribal welfare. Tribal Research Institutes for the study of tribal culture and language are working in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and other states.
(1) Educational. Efforts are being made to expand educational facilities in tribal areas. Thousands of scholarships have been orang by Central and State Government. Provisions have been made for seats for tribal people in medical, engineering and technical colleges.
Post have been reserved for them in public services.primary and secondary school
have been established in tribal areas where there is
provision for free education.
(2) Political. In the political field the tribes send their representatives to State and central legislatures,some of whom have risen to the rank of Deputy ministers and ministers,Many tribal youth qualify in All India Service and their number is gradually
(3) Economic. For
the economic regeneration of the tribes,the government
has enforced rules regarding land ownership and utilization.
of land. Crores of rupees have been spent for the development of collage industrics. The community projects have been established everywhere. Grain shops have been opened which provide for improved type of seeds. Laws in connection with debt have been enforced. Special multi-purpose tribal blocks have been cracked. Shifting cultivation is restricted and tribal families have been permanently established on suitable land. Efforts have been made to provide housing facilities in some tribal areas. Hospitals have been opened which provide free medicines, check epidemics and curb all types of diseases. Research institutes have been opened for the study of tribal culture and language. Now roads have been made and old roads improved in tribal arcas. Persons working for tribal welfare are given special training for this purpose. Instilules for their training have been established in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan, Bombay and other states..
The above bries outline of the State and Central Government cssorts in the direction of tribal welfare show the extent of work that has been done in different Five Years Plans. This has definitely led to some improvement in some directions. The solution of tribal problems, however, requires a multi-sided planning. To quote D. N. Majumdar, an authority on Indian tribal problems, “There is no one solution to tribal problems, there is no common platform to demand it. There are levels of cultural development and there are different patterns of life that the tribes own. In any scheme of -rehabilitation of tribal life, the attitudes and configurations of culture must be known to work out plans”, and what is true of one culture arca may not be so far a second.
Q. 6. Describe briefly the methods of acquiring mates in Indian Tribes.
What are the ways of selecting mate in tribal India?
A The institution of marriage among the tribals is different from that in the Hindu society. Marriage among the tribals in not a religious Sacrament but a social contract with the purpose of enjoyment of sex; procreation and companionship. The forms of the marriage ceremonies the taboos and the laws of dissolution of marriage are different in the tribal worId from civilized society. Ways of Selecting Mates
Normally the tribal male marries only one woman, because he is not rich enough to maintain more than one wife and secondly the number of males and females in a tribe is usually equal. The following
are the important forms of getting a male in tribal society:
1. Marriage by purchase – The most prevalent m bride in primitive societies in marriage by purchase. This is
The most prevalent method of securing to Asur marriage described in Hindu scriptures. According to Lowie, however, the bride price is not paid as the girl but symbol here utility for the male and the compensation to the parents for B away their daughter in marriage. Again, among some Indian tribes there is a custom of dowry, which finishes the value of bride price. This is particularly true about Santhal, ho, Oraon, Kharia, Gond, Naga, Kuki and Bhils. Among Indian tribes, like Hindus the problem of bride price is becoming complex in tribal society. In the Singh bhumi district the amount of bride price in the Ho tribe is so much that very few persons can pay it, with the result that other forms of marriage are preferred.
2. Service Marriage – This is a special type of marriage by purchase. While in marriage by purchase the bride-groom gives some money of gift to his father-in-law, in service marriage he pays off for the marriage in terms of service rendered to his father-in-law. This custom is particularly found among those persons who are too poor to pay any money as bride price. In the Gond tribe the bridegroom, desirous of marrying through service, is known as Kamaoos. In service marriage the youth has to serve his future father-in-law for three to five years. During this period if the father of the girl in satisfied with the youth, he gives his daughter in marriage to him. If however, the father is dissatisfied, he dismisses the youth and gives this chance to another person. During the course of service, they young man can meet the girl but cannot enter into sex relationship with her.
3. Marriage by capture – An important methods of securing a bride in Indian tribes is marriage by capture. In the Ho tribe its cause is the excessive bride price. Another cause is the misbehaviour of the woman with her sister-in-law so that the sister-in-law is always waiting for some one to carry her by force. Though the relatives apparently try regularised by means of marriage in which the young man has only to capture is found among the Santhal, Munda, Bhumij, Gond, Bhil and Naga tribes. Among the Bhumij tribe, it is considered to be the best form of marriage, so much so that even after the settlement of marriage the parents of the girl request the bride groom to run away with the onde. In the Kharia and Birhor tribes of Bihar if a young man forcibly
applies vermillion and oil on the forehead of a girl, she declared his wife. Among the Nagas of Assam, a cause of marriage by capture is the death of women in their own tribe due to the evil customs of killing
just born daughter. With the application of Indian Penal code in tribal circles, the customs of marriage by capture is gradually disappearing.
4. Marriage by mutual consent and elopement-An interesting form of securing a bride prevalent in Indian tribes is marriage by mutual consent and elopement. This was known as Gandharva marriage in the ancient. Hindu scriptures. Among the Ho tribe of Bihar it is known as ‘Raji Khushi’ marriage. In this form of marriage the girl elopes with a young man by her own consent and does not return to parents till they consent for marriage. Naturally, no bride price is demanded in this type
5. Marriage by exchange – In this type of marriage when a man’s son is prepared to marry another’s daughter, the latter’s son accepts the former’s daughter in marriage, thus as exchange of boys and girls is made between the two families.
6. Probationary marriage – This system of marriage is found in the Kuki tribe of Assam. In this system the bride-groom stays in the house of the girl for a certain period. If during this probation period they decide to marry, the marriage ceremony is solemnized; otherwise the young man leaves after paying some compensation to the parents of the girl.
7. Anader or intrusion marriage – This method of marriage is followed is all other valid sources of marriage have been closed so much so that even the parent of the girl fail to marry her with the desired boy. In this type of marriage the girl forcible enters the house of her lover and does not leave it in spite of bearing all types of insults and cruelties. If she does not leave the house for a sufficient period, she is married with the young in an. This custom of marriage is found among the Oraon. Ho and Birhor tribes. .
8. Marriages be test – In this type of marriage the young man is allowed to marry the girl of his choice after he successfully passes the test for his bravery. A strange custom of this type of marriage is found among Bhil tribe which is known as gol Gadhedo. In its social function is celebrated around a tree or a high pole at the top of which a coconut and some sweets are put. The boys and girls dance around this pole or tree, the girls remaining nearer the tree and the boys forming tries circle outside the circle of the girls. Now a young man suddenly their lo break the circle of the girls and reaches the pole or tree, eats the sweets and breaks inc coconut. The girls beat him and try to restrain him. If he comes out successful in his aim he is given a right to select any girl from the gathering as his wife.
.Q. 7. Discuss status of women in Indian tribal society.
Ans. Status of Woman in Tribal Society
In every society the status of woman is in accordance to her function in social organisation, As social functions change so do social status. If the socio-economic functions of woman are higher and more valuable in a tribe her status is naturally higher. On the other hand, her economic functions are not very important she does not enjoy a high social status. For example, among Todas, the functions connected with dairy farming are the most important but women are not allowed to do important jobs in dairy farming, with the result that their status is considerably lower. But on the other hand, women get a lot of love and affection which compensates in their social status and raises it.
Social function, however, is not the sole factor determining social status. For example, in Andaman Island women work side by side with men in social and religious functions. Hence they have to work with men also along with their own functions. This makes their social status even worse than that of Toda women. Among Kadar people, the division of labour among women is more scientific and exclusive. Thus the status of both men and women is equally satisfactory and comfortable.
The above examples are from patriarchal societies. The status of women in patriarchal societies is determined by the restrictions attached to their functions. The restrictions may be preventive or productive. For example, the women in Toda tribe are prevented from working in dairies as they are considered impure. This lessens their social status. But in all the patriarchal tribes the status of women is not lower to that of men. Among Gond people the women enjoy equal freedom with men. For example, they are free in choice of mate, pre-marital relationship and divorce. But in other fields they work like labourers employed by men and most of the men evaluate their importance as labourers. Therefore, there are few bachelors among Gonds. Tharu tribe again, is patriarchal but their women dominate their men. Tharu women are beautiful and unrestrained in sex relationships. She is known to possess magical powers. In Khasi tribe there is the custom of fraternal polyandry. This naturally leads to much physical and psychological pressure upon women, but this is relieved through a strange custom. According to it though the woman has no freedom in the houses of the husband, she enjoys all freedom in paternal home and since she often visits her parents, she gets simple opportunities to relieve her tensions.
Generally, it is believed that the status of women in matriarchal tribes is higher than that of patriarchal tribes, but a survey of Indian matriarchal tribes shows that it is not so. In India among Khasi one finds matriarchal residence and matrilineal traditions. They trace their lineage from some princess. In their mythology the creator is female, The lineage is traced through the mother. The daughter inherits the property of the mother. Man’s earning belongs to the mother’s family before marriage and to her wise’s family after marriage. Most of the religious ceremonies are performed by women. Diseases, death and security are mostly connected with goddesses. Women work as priests on religious occasions. They are leaders in social and religious fields. In Khirim kingdom a woman is the highest priest and administrator. In spite of so much power of women one sinds few causes of misbehaviour to men. On the other hand, they are highly respected and exercise wide powers after marriages. Khasi woman considers her husband as her master. Divorce is possible only by mutual consent and the non-consenting partner gets compensation. Just as the wives are free, the husbands are also free in so many matters. Thus it is clear that the matriarchal social organisation itself is not the sufficient cause to the lower status of men, It may be definitely higher in patriarchal societies and patrilineal residence.
Another example of matriarchal society is found among Garo people. In it children are members of mother’s family. Garo people consider themselves as descendants of some woman. Lineage is carried on from the mother. The daughter inherits the property of the mother. No one can transfer his property to his son though he may use the property of his wife. The proposal of marriage is made from the bride’s side but the male may marry several women. However, more than three wives are exceptional. No party has to pay the price of the bride or the groom. Widows are not allowed to remarry for a sufficiently long period. This is in order that the minor may get time to become major and the property of the family may remain in the family. Thus the women have to pay the price of their higher status through mental strain. The widow has to marry the nephew of her. dead husband. If she fails to do this she has to pay compensation to him. In Garo tribe there is no prostitution though instances of adultery are not common. Adulterous males are given death sentence though adulterous females are given minor punishment. But if she is guilty to adultery again and again she is also given capital punishment. Divorce is possible on the basis of adultery, Divorce is also possible if the woman refuses to work.
The above discussion about the status of woman in patriarchal and matriarchal societies shows that nowhere the status of woman is compulsorily low or high. However, as a general rule, in comparison to patriarchal societies, there is no custom of matrilocal residence in all the matriarchal societies. For example, in Khasi matriarchal society the male establishes separate residence with his wife after marriage. on the other hand, even in some patriarchal societies some son-in-laws settle in the house of their father-in-laws. As a general rule the more restrictions on women, the lower is their status in society. But in this respect also there is no dearth of exceptions.
In many patriarchal societies also one finds a lot of difference in the status of women. For example, the Naga’s of Assam are patriarchal but among them the status of women in Seema Nagas is higher than that among Ao and Angani Nagas. Thc Seema woman has a voice in deciding her mate. She enjoys a higher status in the house of her husband. In some societies where women have economic rights equal to male’s rights, their status is not necessarily higher since sometimes they have to share mac’s activities in addition to female burden. In fact, rights alone do not determine the status of women. It also depends upon the male’s behaviour towards them. Besides this. They have also importance as mothers. Hence in many societies barren women are very much neglected. Tribes which have been influenced by Hindu scriptures have a status of women lower than those which did not have this influence.
In order to evaluate the status of women in tribal society, one will have to take under consideration her economic and political status besides her social status. The status of woman is known from her status in the family, the rights and duties of husband and wife, premarital rights and duties of a daughter etc. If exceptions are left aside, the status of women in tribal societies is generally not lower than that of the male. The rights of son and daughter are generally the same and both enjoy freedom of movement. Among the tribes when dormitories, boys and girls both live in dormitories and Functions may be somewhat different there is hardly any difference in their status. The tribal woman has generally a free choice in selection of mate. Similarly,the rules of divorce are similar for both the male and female. Due to the custom of couvade the male also has to suffer during the period of female’s pregnancy. Concerning freedom about the sexual relationship, there is no distinction among male and female.
Alongwith the social status, the economic status of the tribal woman is also not lower than that of the male. In productive activities, agriculture, animal husbandry etc. male and female work together, Generally the male’s work is harder than that of female’s. In hunting tribes the males go out for hunting while the females perform domestic jobs. All the work is done by mutual cooperation and if there is no love or cooperation, marital relationships are dissolved. Thus the tribal woman has no occasion to suffer and face torture within the four walls of her home living as a slave of her husband like her so many civilized sisters. Her status here is certainly better.
. So far as political rights are concerned, the tribal woman’s status is not lower though her rights are less than that of male’s in political sphere. The tribal chief has so many rights but then he has also the burden of the protection of the tribe. If he fails to carry out this burden he cannot hold the high office of the chief. In fact political power among trials is gained by physical strength and the power of arms. Therefore, naturally males enjoy better political rights. But there are some tribal societies in which political power lies in the hands of women. In brief, the status of women in tribal societies is no less than that of mеп.
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