Tribes of India :
A tribe is a social division in a traditional society consisting of families linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect. A tribe possesses certain qualities and characteristics that make it a unique cultural, social, and political entity. They are also known by the name ‘Adivasis’ in India.
- The nature of what constitutes an Indian tribe and the very nature of tribes have changed considerably over the course of centuries. There are around 645 distinct tribes in India.
- the Constitution of India Officially recognizes tribal population as “Scheduled Tribes” in the Fifth Schedule which is Often grouped together with scheduled castes in the category “Scheduled Castes and Tribes”
- Eligible for certain constitutional benefits & perks.
The Constitution of India, Article 366 (25) defines Scheduled Tribes as “such tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to the scheduled Tribes (STs) for the purposes of this Constitution”.
Common Features of Tribes
- Geographical isolation : live in cloistered, exclusive, remote and inhospitable areas such as hills & forests
- Backwardness : livelihood based on primitive agriculture with low level of technology leading to poverty, Are generally illiterate & unaware of world’s progress
- Shyness of contact : Have a marginal degree of contact with other cultures and people
- Have distinctive culture, language and religion.
List of Tribes in India
The tribe that are found across the various parts of the country are as follows
- Bhils are found In MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and north-eastern part of Tripura.
- They are Divided into two main groups : Central or pure Bhils and Eastern or Rajput Bhils.
- They speak Bhili, which is an Indo Aryan language.
Munda ( means headman of the village)
- Mainly in Jharkhand but are also Spread across Bihar ,WB, Chhattisgarh and Orissa
- They speak Mundari, which is an Austro- Asiatic language.
- They remained hunters for centuries. But now they have been converted into the settled agriculturist.
- It is one of the largest tribe in Indian and are found in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa Jharkhand and Assam
- They speak Santhali, which is a Austro- Asiatic language
- They are engaged in hunting, fishing and cultivation for their livelihood
- Widely spread in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, Bastar district of Chhattisgarh and also in the parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa.
- They speak Gondi language which is related to the Telgu and the other Dravidian languages. In the northern parts Gonds are often seen speaking the local Hindi.
- They are divided into four tribes namely – Raj Gonds, Madia Gonds, Dhurve Gonds, Khatulwar Gonds.
- Mainly found in the state of Assam and the Jaintia hills in Meghalaya, Other places are Punjab, UP, Manipur, WB and J&K
- They are called by the different names such as Khasi Pahris, Khuchia, Kassi, Khashi and Khasa
- They speak Khasi-an Austro- Asiatic language.
- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa
- They are the forest-dwelling aboriginals from central India
- They do not interact with other tribal, believe in a hand-to-mouth existence.
Birhor (it means peoples of jungles)
- They are found in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa and are known as the hunter tribe.
- This tribe is a Proto-Australoid tribe.
- The tribe is divided into two major sub-tribes into : the Jaghis Birhor are wandering in nature and practice shift cultivation while Uthalu Birho is a settled tribe, and follow agro-based economy)
- This tribe is found at Nallamalai hills of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha·
- They speak Chenchu language with the Telgu accent.
- They are referred to as one of the Primitive Tribal Groups that are still dependent on forests and do not cultivate land but hunt for a living.
- They mainly dwell around Himachal Pradesh in the regions of Dhauladhar mountain range, Chamba, Bharmaur and the areas near to Dharamshala.
- Their main occupation is shepherding and they make their livelihood by rearing and selling sheep, goats, mules and horses.
- They speak the Gaddi Language but for writing they use Takri and Hindi.
- They are the inhabitants of the Pangi valley of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh.
- They are mostly engaged in farming.
- They are also known as the Lachenpasand Lachungpas.
- They are of the Tibetan origin and migrated to Sikkim around 16th century.
- They form 14% of the total population of Sikkim.
- They usually speak Sikkimese. They also speak Lepcha, Bhutia, Nepali, English and Hindi.
- They are one of the indigenous tribe of Sikkim belonging to Nepali stock.
- Mongoloid looking by figure having their own language, faith, costume, culture and life style.
- They are farmers by profession.
- They are one of the indigenous tribe of Sikkim.
- They call themselves Rongkup and their language is Lepcha.
- They follow the same Tibetan form of Buddhism besides their local faith.
- They are one of the primitive tribal groups of India found in Uttarakhand and UP.
- They are indigenous peoples in the Dehradun and Nainital in Kumaon region.
- Major occupation are agriculture and animal husbandry.
Apatani or Tanni
- They are settled agriculturists inhabiting the valley around Ziro-the headquarters of Lower Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh.
- They practice permanent wetland cultivation in hilly terrain by slicing the hills.
Adis/ Bokar Lhoba
- This tribe is found in the region of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and are divided into two main such as Bogum and Bomis.
- They by nature are democratic and organized village council called Kebang.
- In Arunachal Pradesh they constitute a large group of people inhabiting the major part of Lower Subhansiri district.
- They are Indo-Mongoloid group of people and their language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman family.
- The tribe as a whole is fond of hunting and fishing in which they perhaps excel than any other neighboring tribes.
- They are a sub-group of the Shan people in Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Tai-Khamti have their own script for their language, known as ‘Lik Tai’, which was originated from the Shan (Tai) script of Myanmar
- They are main inhabitant of Upper Sunansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Their main occupation is agriculture.
- The Angamis are a major Naga ethnic group native to the state of Nagaland in North-East India.
- Tenyidie is the most common language spoken
- Agriculture is the main occupation.
- They are one of the seventeen major Naga Tribes located in Nagaland
- They follow patriarchal system.
- Originally they were animist and Agriculture is the main occupation.
- section of them have migrated to Karbi Anglong districts of Assam
Sema /Sumi Nagas
- They are one of the major tribes of Nagaland recognized for their martial art skills.
- They mainly inhibit Zunheboto in Nagaland and Assam.
- They are most united and aggressive tribe.
- They live primarily in the south-western part of Kohima district
- They inhabit Barrail range of hills in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam.
- They speak Zeme which is a Sino-Tibetan language.
Konyak (means blackhead or human)
- They are the largest out of 17 officially recognized tribes in Nagaland,
- They are known as ‘those violent headhunters with tattooed faces.’
- they now practice agriculture and hunt seasonally.
- They are the second-largest tribe in Meghalaya and comprise about a third of the local population.
- The youngest daughter inherits the property from her mother. Sons leave the parents’ house at puberty, and are trained in the village bachelor dormitory. After getting married, the man lives in his wife’s house.
- Garos tribe has matrilineal society instead of matriarchal society.
- They are traced in the Jaintia hills in Meghalaya.
- They belong to the Proto Autroloid Monkhmer race
- Basically it is a sub tribe of Khasis and since they have been residing in Jaintia hills, they have been named so.
- They are the second largest tribal community of Tripura.
- they are said to have first come from Shan State of upper Burma and belong to Indo-Mongoloid racial stock.
- Their language is known as “Kaubru” which have a tonal effect of Kuki language though broadly it is Kok-Borok (language of men).
- tribe is nomadic in nature and a large numbers among them maintain their livelihood involving Top Hill Jhum Cultivation, food gathering, fishing & hunting.
- They belong to Kuki-Chin group of tribes in Tripura.
- They live on Jhum Cultivation and hunting of wild animal. They are also famous as orange producing community.