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Tribal Population in India - Important Characteristics of Indian Tribes

BY: David Prakash Kumar | Category: Travel | Submitted: 2010-04-29 11:32:18
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Article Summary: "The tribal population is unique in India. There are different groups of people and they have various kinds of rituals and traditions that are unique!.."

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The tribal population in India forms a huge chunk of the population. A part of the tribal population has joined the mainstream life and they cannot be considered to be tribals in the about 27% of India's population which includes 8% tribals and the rest as other castes.
The tribal population in India is second only to Africa in the World. The actual number of tribals in India is 77 million (8% of India's population). Most of these people are from the North East - 12%; Southern states - 7%, Central zone - 81%.

Main Tribal states

There are certain states in India where the number of tribal population is much more than that of the other states. The states where the tribal population is considerable are as follows: In the North East, the states are Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Tripura, Assam, Sikkim. The other regions in which there are a lot of tribals are Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh. The main tribal people in India are as follows: Bhills, Goands, Meena, Munda, Oraon, Santhala, Ho, Khond

Characteristics of the tribal population in India

1) Close attachment to ancestral territory: All the tribal people have a very close attachment to the territory that they have been living in. In fact there are some tribes that have not been civilized yet and they are fierce and may even kill at times when they are disturbed and are made to go away from their ancestral land.

2) Close to natural resources: Most of the tribal population in the forests of India lives in areas that are rich in natural resources. These resources include those like iron ore, manganese and even precious and semi precious stones. These make it a hot spot for all the mining companies who try to make many mines in these areas, but the tribals and their support groups are against this.

3) Self-identification and identification by others as member of distinct cultural group: This is true because many of the tribals have their own language and they have their own culture that is very different and unique from that of the other groups of the population.

4) Indigenous language: Another unique characteristic of the tribals is that they have their own language. Each of the tribal groups have their own language and this also makes them to be very unique when compared to other large groups of populations. In fact there are some tribal groups where there may be only a few hundred people, but they have their own language.

5) Presence of customary, social and political institutions: In spite of the various problems, they do have their own social and political institutions and live a life that is full of rituals and other traditions.

6) Vulnerability to severe dislocation, disruption and exploitation: The tribal population is very vulnerable to all the problems mentioned above because of the caste system in India and also because of the isolation they face so that they will give up their land to the mining companies.

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