Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India. The same term Adivasi is used for the ethnic minorities of Bangladesh and the native Vedda people of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ආදී වාස). The word is also used in the same sense in Nepal as is another word janajati (Nepali: जनजाति; janajāti), although the political context differed historically under the Shah and Rana dynasties.
Adivasi societies are particularly present in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and some north-eastern states, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Many smaller tribal groups are quite sensitive to ecological degradation caused by modernisation. Both commercial forestry and intensive agriculture have proved destructive to the forests that had endured swidden agriculture for many centuries.
- 1 Connotations of the word adivāsi
- 2 Scheduled tribes
- 3 Particularly vulnerable tribal groups
- 4 Geographical overview
- 5 The peopling of India
- 6 Mughal and colonial periods
- 7 Tribal classification criteria and demands
- 8 Religion
- 9 Tribal system
- 10 Education
- 11 Economy
- 12 Gallery
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Connotations of the word adivāsi
Although terms such as atavika, vanavāsi ("forest dwellers"), or girijan ("hill people") are also used for the tribes of India, adivāsi carries the specific meaning of being the original and autochthonous inhabitants of a given region and was specifically coined for that purpose in the 1930s. Over time, unlike the terms "aborigines" or "tribes", the word "adivasi" has developed a connotation of past autonomy which was disrupted during the British colonial period in India and has not been restored.
In Nepal, the infiltration of Khas people from west to east through the Middle Hills, then the consolidation of dozens of petty kingdoms by the Shahs followed by the usurpation by the Ranas brought indigenous nationalities under orthodox Hindu rule and then codified inferior social and political status into a corpus of law known as Muluki Ain. Although the Shah kings were restored to power in the revolution of 1950, they still governed mostly for and through high caste Bahuns, Thakuris, Chhetris and Newars. Enfranchisement of adivasis—except Newars—seldom advanced beyond lip service. This produced grievances that were instrumental in the Nepalese Civil War, where the rank and file of guerrilla fighters were largely adivasi. Thus in Nepal, there are no historical parallels to British interference with orthodox Hindu discrimination, nor was there much resembling India's significantly effective post-Independence efforts to improve the lot of adivasis.
In India, opposition to usage of the term is varied, and it has been argued that the "original inhabitant" contention is based on the fact that they have no land and are therefore asking for a land reform. They argue that they have been oppressed by the "superior group" and that therefore they require and demand a reward and more specifically a land reform .
In Northeast India, the term adivāsi applies only to the Tea-tribes imported from Central India during colonial times, while all tribal groups refer collectively to themselves by using the English word "tribes".
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". In Article 342, the procedure to be followed for specification of a scheduled tribe is prescribed. However, it does not contain the criterion for the specification of any community as scheduled tribe. An often used criterion is based on attributes such as:
- Geographical isolation – they live in cloistered, exclusive, remote and inhospitable areas such as hills and forests.
- Backwardness – their livelihood is based on primitive agriculture, a low-value closed economy with a low level of technology that leads to their poverty. They have low levels of literacy and health.
- Distinctive culture, language and religion – communities have developed their own distinctive culture, language and religion.
- Shyness of contact – they have a marginal degree of contact with other cultures and people.
Particularly vulnerable tribal groups
The Scheduled Tribe groups who were identified as more isolated from the wider community and who maintain a distinctive cultural identity have been categorised as 'Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups' (PTGs) (previously known as Primitive Tribal Groups) by the Government at the Centre. So far seventy-five tribal communities have been identified as 'particularly vulnerable tribal groups' in different States of India. 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 tribes are awakening and demanding their rights for special reservation quota for them.
There is a substantial list of Scheduled Tribes in India recognised as tribal under the Constitution of India. Tribal people constitute 8.6% of the nation's total population, over 104 million people according to the 2011 census. One concentration lives in a belt along the Himalayas stretching through Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand in the west, to Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland in the northeast. In the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland, more than 90% of the population is tribal. However, in the remaining northeast states of Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Tripura, tribal peoples form between 20 and 30% of the population.
Another concentration lives in the hilly areas of central India (Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and, to a lesser extent, Andhra Pradesh); in this belt, which is bounded by the Narmada River to the north and the Godavari River to the southeast, tribal peoples occupy the slopes of the region's mountains. Other tribals, including the Santals, live in Jharkhand and West Bengal. Central Indian states have the country's largest tribes, and, taken as a whole, roughly 75% of the total tribal population live there, although the tribal population there accounts for only around 10% of the region's total population.
There are smaller numbers of tribal people in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala in south India; in western India in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands. About one percent of the populations of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are tribal, whereas about six percent in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are members of tribes.
The peopling of India
The concept of 'original inhabitant' is directly related to the initial peopling of India, which, due to the debate on topics such as the Indo-Aryan migration hypothesis, has been a contentious area of research and discourse. Some anthropologists hypothesize that the region was settled by multiple human migrations over tens of millennia, which makes it even harder to select certain groups as being truly aboriginal. One narrative, largely based on genetic research, describes Negritos, similar to the Andamanese adivasis of today, as the first humans to colonise India, likely 30–65 thousand years before present (kybp). 60% of all Indians share the mtDNA haplogroup M, which is universal among Andamanese islander adivasis and might be a genetic legacy of the postulated first Indians. Some anthropologists theorise that these settlers were displaced by invading Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people (who largely shared skin pigmentation and physiognomy with the Negritos, but had straight rather than curly hair), and adivasi tribes such as the Irulas trace their origins to that displacement. The Oraon adivasi tribe of eastern India and the Korku tribe of western India are considered to be examples of groups of Australoid origin. Subsequent to the Australoids, most anthropologists and geneticists agree that Caucasoids (including both Dravidians and Indo-Aryans) and Mongoloids (Sino-Tibetans) immigrated into India: the Dravidians possibly from Iran, the Indo-Aryans possibly from the Central Asian steppes and the Tibeto-Burmans possibly from the Himalayan and north-eastern borders of the subcontinent. None of these hypotheses is free from debate and disagreement.
Ethnic origins and linguistic affiliations in India match only inexactly, however: while the Oraon adivasis are classified as an Australoid group, their language, called Kurukh, is Dravidian. Khasis and Nicobarese are considered to be Mongoloid groups and the Munda and Santals are Australoid groups, but all four speak Austro-Asiatic languages. The Bhils and Gonds are frequently classified as Australoid groups, yet Bhil languages are Indo-European and the Gondi language is Dravidian. Also, in post-colonial India, tribal languages suffered huge setbacks with the formation of linguistic states after 1956 under the States Reorganisation Act. For example, under state-sponsored educational pressure, Irula children are being taught Tamil and a sense of shame has begun to be associated with speaking the Irula language among some children and educated adults. Similarly, the Santals are "gradually adopting languages of the areas inhabited, like Oriya in Odisha, Hindi in Bihar and Bengali in West Bengal."
Mughal and colonial periods
Although considered uncivilised and primitive, adivasis were usually not held to be intrinsically impure by surrounding (usually Dravidian or Aryan) casted Hindu populations, unlike Dalits, who were. Thus, the adivasi origins of Valmiki, who composed the Ramayana, were acknowledged, as were the origins of adivasi tribes such as the Grasia and Bhilala, which descended from mixed Rajput and Bhil marriages. Unlike the subjugation of the Dalits, the adivasis often enjoyed autonomy and, depending on region, evolved mixed hunter-gatherer and farming economies, controlling their lands as a joint patrimony of the tribe. In some areas, securing adivasi approval and support was considered crucial by local rulers, and larger adivasi groups were able to sustain their own kingdoms in central India. The Gond Rajas of Garha-Mandla and Chanda are examples of an adivasi aristocracy that ruled in this region, and were "not only the hereditary leaders of their Gond subjects, but also held sway over substantial communities of non-tribals who recognized them as their feudal lords."
This relative autonomy and collective ownership of adivasi land by adivasis was severely disrupted by the advent of the Mughals in the early 16th century.
Rebellions against Mughal authority are the Bhil Rebellion of 1632 and the Bhil-Gond Insurrection of 1643 which were both crushed by Mughal soldiers.
From the very early days of British rule, the tribesmen resented the British encroachments upon their tribal system. They were found resisting or supporting their brethren of Tamar and Jhalda in rebellion. Nor did their raja welcome the British administrative innovations. Beginning in the 18th century, the British added to the consolidation of feudalism in India, first under the Jagirdari system and then under the zamindari system. Beginning with the Permanent Settlement imposed by the British in Bengal and Bihar, which later became the template for a deepening of feudalism throughout India, the older social and economic system in the country began to alter radically. Land, both forest areas belonging to adivasis and settled farmland belonging to non-adivasi peasants, was rapidly made the legal property of British-designated zamindars (landlords), who in turn moved to extract the maximum economic benefit possible from their newfound property and subjects. Adivasi lands sometimes experienced an influx of non-local settlers, often brought from far away (as in the case of Muslims and Sikhs brought to Kol territory) by the zamindars to better exploit local land, forest and labor. Deprived of the forests and resources they traditionally depended on and sometimes coerced to pay taxes, many adivasis were forced to borrow at usurious rates from moneylenders, often the zamindars themselves. When they were unable to pay, that forced them to become bonded labourers for the zamindars. Often, far from paying off the principal of their debt, they were unable even to offset the compounding interest, and this was made the justification for their children working for the zamindar after the death of the initial borrower. In the case of the Andamanese adivasis, long isolated from the outside world in autonomous societies, mere contact with outsiders was often sufficient to set off deadly epidemics in tribal populations, and it is alleged that some sections of the British government directly attempted to destroy some tribes.
Land dispossession and subjugation by British and zamindar interests resulted in a number of adivasi revolts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, such as the Santal hul (or Santhal rebellion) of 1855–56. Although these were suppressed ruthlessly by the governing British authority (the East India Company prior to 1858, and the British government after 1858), partial restoration of privileges to adivasi elites (e.g. to Mankis, the leaders of Munda tribes) and some leniency in tax burdens resulted in relative calm, despite continuing and widespread dispossession, from the late nineteenth century onwards. The economic deprivation, in some cases, triggered internal adivasi migrations within India that would continue for another century, including as labour for the emerging tea plantations in Assam.
Participation in Indian independence movement
There were tribal reform and rebellion movements during the period of the British Empire, some of which also participated in the Indian independence movement or attacked mission posts. There were several Adivasis in the Indian independence movement including Dharindhar Bhyuan, Laxman Naik, Jantya Bhil, Bangaru Devi and Rehma Vasave.
List of rebellions
- Great Kuki Invasion of 1860s
- Halba rebellion (1774–79)
- Chamka rebellion (1776–1787)
- Chuar rebellion in Bengal (1795–1800)
- Bhopalpatnam Struggle (1795)
- Khurda Rebellion in Odisha (1817)
- Bhil rebellion (1822–1857)
- Paralkot rebellion (1825)
- Tarapur rebellion (1842–54)
- Maria rebellion (1842–63)
- First Freedom Struggle (1856–57)
- Bhil rebellion, begun by Tantya Tope in Banswara (1858)
- Koi revolt (1859)
- Gond rebellion, begun by Ramji Gond in Adilabad (1860)
- Muria rebellion (1876)
- Rani rebellion (1878–82)
- Bhumkal (1910)
- The Kuki Uprising (1917–1919)in Manipur
- 1st Rampa Rebellion (1879), Vizagapatnam (Now Visakhapatnam Dist.)
- 2nd Rampa Rebellion (1921–1923), Visakhapatnam Dist.
- Santhal Revolt (1885–1886)
- Munda rebellion
Tribal classification criteria and demands
Population complexities, and the controversies surrounding ethnicity and language in India, sometimes make the official recognition of groups as adivasis (by way of inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list) political and contentious. However, regardless of their language family affiliations, Australoid and Negrito groups that have survived as distinct forest, mountain or island dwelling tribes in India and are often classified as adivasi. The relatively autonomous Mongoloid tribal groups of Northeastern India (including Khasis, Apatani and Nagas), who are mostly Austro-Asiatic or Tibeto-Burman speakers, are also considered to be adivasis: this area comprises 7.5% of India's land area but 20% of its adivasi population. However, not all autonomous northeastern groups are considered adivasis; for instance, the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Meitei of Manipur were once tribal but, having been settled for many centuries, are caste Hindus.
It is also difficult, for a given social grouping, to definitively decide whether it is a 'caste' or a 'tribe'. A combination of internal social organisation, relationship with other groups, self-classification and perception by other groups has to be taken into account to make a categorisation, which is at best inexact and open to doubt. These categorisations have been diffused for thousands of years, and even ancient formulators of caste-discriminatory legal codes (which usually only applied to settled populations, and not adivasis) were unable to come up with clean distinctions.
Demands for tribal classification
An additional difficulty in deciding whether a group meets the criteria to be adivasi or not are the aspirational movements created by the federal and state benefits, including job and educational reservations, enjoyed by groups listed as scheduled tribes (STs). In Manipur, Meitei commentators have pointed to the lack of scheduled tribe status as a key economic disadvantage for Meiteis competing for jobs against groups that are classified as scheduled tribes. In Assam, Rajbongshi representatives have demanded scheduled tribe status as well. In Rajasthan, the Gujjar community has demanded ST status, even blockading the national capital of Delhi to press their demand. However, the Government of Rajasthan declined the Gujjars' demand, stating the Gujjars are treated as upper caste and are by no means a tribe. In several cases, these claims to tribalhood are disputed by tribes who are already listed in the schedule and fear economic losses if more powerful groups are recognized as scheduled tribes; for instance, the Rajbongshi demand faces resistance from the Bodo tribe, and the Meena tribe has vigorously opposed Gujjar aspirations to be recognized as a scheduled tribe.
Endogamy, exogamy and ethnogenesis
Part of the challenge is that the endogamous nature of tribes is also conformed to by the vast majority of Hindu castes. Indeed, many historians and anthropologists believe that caste endogamy reflects the once-tribal origins of the various groups who now constitute the settled Hindu castes. Another defining feature of caste Hindu society, which is often used to contrast them with Muslim and other social groupings, is lineage/clan (or gotra) and village exogamy. However, these in-marriage taboos are also held ubiquitously among tribal groups, and do not serve as reliable differentiating markers between caste and tribe. Again, this could be an ancient import from tribal society into settled Hindu castes. Interestingly, tribes such as the Muslim Gujjars of Kashmir and the Kalash of Pakistan observe these exogamous traditions in common with caste Hindus and non-Kashmiri adivasis, though their surrounding Muslim populations do not.
Some anthropologists, however, draw a distinction between tribes who have continued to be tribal and tribes that have been absorbed into caste society in terms of the breakdown of tribal (and therefore caste) boundaries, and the proliferation of new mixed caste groups. In other words, ethnogenesis (the construction of new ethnic identities) in tribes occurs through a fission process (where groups splinter-off as new tribes, which preserves endogamy), whereas with settled castes it usually occurs through intermixture (in violation of strict endogamy).
Unlike castes, which form part of a complex and interrelated local economic exchange system, tribes tend to form self-sufficient economic units. For most tribal people, land-use rights traditionally derive simply from tribal membership. Tribal society tends to the egalitarian, with its leadership based on ties of kinship and personality rather than on hereditary status. Tribes typically consist of segmentary lineages whose extended families provide the basis for social organisation and control. Tribal religion recognises no authority outside the tribe.
Any of these criteria may not apply in specific instances. Language does not always give an accurate indicator of tribal or caste status. Especially in regions of mixed population, many tribal groups have lost their original languages and simply speak local or regional languages. In parts of Assam—an area historically divided between warring tribes and villages—increased contact among villagers began during the colonial period, and has accelerated since independence in 1947. A pidgin Assamese developed, whereas educated tribal members learned Hindi and, in the late twentieth century, English.
Self-identification and group loyalty do not provide unfailing markers of tribal identity either. In the case of stratified tribes, the loyalties of clan, kin, and family may well predominate over those of tribe. In addition, tribes cannot always be viewed as people living apart; the degree of isolation of various tribes has varied tremendously. The Gonds, Santals, and Bhils traditionally have dominated the regions in which they have lived. Moreover, tribal society is not always more egalitarian than the rest of the rural populace; some of the larger tribes, such as the Gonds, are highly stratified.
The apparently wide fluctuation in estimates of South Asia's tribal population through the twentieth century gives a sense of how unclear the distinction between tribal and nontribal can be. India's 1931 census enumerated 22 million tribal people, in 1941 only 10 million were counted, but by 1961 some 30 million and in 1991 nearly 68 million tribal members were included. The differences among the figures reflect changing census criteria and the economic incentives individuals have to maintain or reject classification as a tribal member.
These gyrations of census data serve to underline the complex relationship between caste and tribe. Although, in theory, these terms represent different ways of life and ideal types, in reality they stand for a continuum of social groups. In areas of substantial contact between tribes and castes, social and cultural pressures have often tended to move tribes in the direction of becoming castes over a period of years. Tribal peoples with ambitions for social advancement in Indian society at large have tried to gain the classification of caste for their tribes. On occasion, an entire tribe or part of a tribe joined a Hindu sect and thus entered the caste system en masse. If a specific tribe engaged in practices that Hindus deemed polluting, the tribe's status when it was assimilated into the caste hierarchy would be affected.
The majority of Adivasi practice Hinduism and Christianity. During the last two decades Adivasi from Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand have converted to Protestant groups. Adivasi beliefs vary by tribe, and are usually different from the historical Vedic religion, with its monistic underpinnings, Indo-European deities (who are often cognates of ancient Iranian, Greek and Roman deities, e.g. Mitra/Mithra/Mithras), lack of idol worship and lack of a concept of reincarnation.
Adivasi roots of modern Hinduism
Some historians and anthropologists assert that much of what constitutes folk Hinduism today is actually descended from an amalgamation of adivasi faiths, idol worship practices and deities, rather than the original Indo-Aryan faith. This also includes the sacred status of certain animals such as monkeys, cows, peacocks, cobras (nagas) and elephants and plants such as the sacred fig (pipal), Ocimum tenuiflorum (tulsi) and Azadirachta indica (neem), which may once have held totemic importance for certain adivasi tribes.
A sant is an Indian holy man, and a title of a devotee or ascetic, especially in north and east India. Generally a holy or saintly person is referred to as a mahatma, paramahamsa, or swami, or given the prefix Sri or Srila before their name. The term is sometimes misrepresented in English as "Hindu saint", although "sant" is unrelated to "saint".
- Sant Buddhu Bhagat, led the Kol Insurrection (1831–1832) aimed against tax imposed on Mundas by Muslim rulers.
- Sant Dhira or Kannappa Nayanar, one of 63 Nayanar Shaivite sants, a hunter from whom Lord Shiva gladly accepted food offerings. It is said that he poured water from his mouth on the Shivlingam and offered the Lord swine flesh.
- Sant Dhudhalinath, Koli, Gujarati, a 17th or 18th century devotee (P. 4, The Story of Historic People of India-The Kolis)
- Sant Ganga Narain, led the Bhumij Revolt (1832–1833) aimed against missionaries and British colonialists.
- Sant Girnari Velnathji, Koli, Gujarati of Junagadh, a 17th or 18th century devotee
- Sant Gurudev Kalicharan Brahma or Guru Brahma, a Bodo whose founded the Brahma Dharma aimed against missionaries and colonialists. The Brahma Dharma movement sought to unite peoples of all religions to worship God together and survives even today.
- Sant Kalu Dev, Punjab, related with Fishermen community Nishadha
- Sant Kubera, ethnic Gujarati, Koli tribal of Sarsa, taught for over 35 years, and had 20,000 followers in his time.
- Sant Jatra Oraon, Oraon, led the Tana Bhagat Movement (1914–1919) aimed against the missionaries and British colonialists
- Sant Sri Koya Bhagat, Koli, Gujarati, a 17th or 18th century devotee
- Sant Tantya Mama (Bhil), a Bhil after whom a movement is named after – the "Jananayak Tantya Bhil"
- Sant Tirumangai Alvar, Kallar, composed the six Vedangas in beautiful Tamil verse 
- Bhaktaraj Bhadurdas, Koli, Gujarati, a 17th or 18th century devotee
- Bhakta Shabari, a Nishadha woman who offered Shri Rama and Shri Laxmana her half-eaten ber fruit, which they gratefully accepted when they were searching for Shri Sita Devi in the forest.
- Madan Bhagat, Koli, Gujarati, a 17th or 18th century devotee
- Sany Kanji Swami, Koli, Gujarati, a 17th or 18th century devotee
- Bhaktaraj Valram, Koli, Gujarati, a 17th or 18th century devotee
- Maharshi Matanga, Matanga Bhil, Guru of Bhakta Shabari. In fact, Chandalas are often addressed as ‘Matanga ’in passages like Varaha Purana 1.139.91
- Maharshi Valmiki, Kirata Bhil, composed the Ramayana. He is considered to be an avatar in the Balmiki community.
- Birsa Bhagwan or Birsa Munda, considered an avatar of Khasra Kora. People approached him as Singbonga, the Sun god. His sect included Christian converts. He and his clan, the Mundas, were connected with Vaishnavite traditions as they were influenced by Sri Chaitanya. Birsa was very close to the Panre brothers Vaishnavites.
- Kirata – the form of Lord Shiva as a hunter. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple, Kerala adores Lord Shiva in this avatar and is known to be one of the oldest surviving temples in Bharat.
- Vettakkorumakan, the son of Lord Kirata.
- Kaladutaka or 'Vaikunthanatha', Kallar (robber), avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Other tribals and Hinduism
The tribals "can be given yajñopavîta (…) They should be given equal rights and footings in the matter of religious rights, in temple worship, in the study of Vedas, and in general, in all our social and religious affairs. This is the only right solution for all the problems of casteism found nowadays in our Hindu society."
At the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar, there are Brahmin and Badu (tribal) priests. The Badus have the most intimate contact with the deity of the temple, and only they can bathe and adorn it.
The Bhils are mentioned in the Mahabharata. The Bhil boy Ekalavya's teacher was Drona, and he had the honour to be invited to Yudhisthira's Rajasuya Yajna at Indraprastha. Indian tribals were also part of royal armies in the Ramayana and in the Arthashastra.
The Munda,Ho,Santhal and Oraon tribe followed the Sarna religion, where Sarna means sacred grove. Their religion is based on the oral traditions passed from generation-to-generation. It strongly believes in one God, the Great Spirit. Traditionally, the women were not allowed into the Sarna places of worship (sarna sthal), but Akhil Bhartiya Sarna Dharma Samiti (All India Sarna Religion Committee) has campaigned against this custom.
Demands for a separate religious code
Some Adivasi organisations have demanded that a distinct religious code be listed for Adivasis in the 2011 census of India. The All India Adivasi Conference was held on 1 and 2 January 2011 at Burnpur, Asansol, West Bengal. 750 delegates were present from all parts of India and cast their votes for Religion code as follows: Sari Dhorom – 632, Sarna – 51, Kherwalism – 14 and Other Religions – 03. Census of India.
Tribals are not part of the caste system, and usually constitute egalitarian societies. Christian tribals do not automatically lose their traditional tribal rules.
When in 1891 a missionary asked 150 Munda Christians to "inter-dine" with people of different rank, only 20 Christians did so, and many converts lost their new faith. Father Haghenbeek concluded on this episode that these rules are not "pagan", but a sign of "national sentiment and pride", and wrote:
"On the contrary, while proclaiming the equality of all men before God, we now tell them: preserve your race pure, keep your customs, refrain from eating with Lohars (blacksmiths), Turis (bamboo workers) and other people of lower rank. To become good Christians, it (inter-dining) is not required."
However, many scholars argue that the claim that tribals are an egalitarian society in contrast to a caste-based society is a part of a larger political agenda by some to maximize any differences from tribal and urban societies. According to scholar Koenraad Elst, caste practices and social taboos among Indian tribals date back to antiquity:
"The Munda tribals not only practise tribal endogamy and commensality, but also observe a jâti division within the tribe, buttressed by notions of social pollution, a mythological explanation and harsh punishments.
A Munda Catholic theologian testifies: The tribals of Chhotanagpur are an endogamous tribe. They usually do not marry outside the tribal community, because to them the tribe is sacred. The way to salvation is the tribe. Among the Santals, it is tabooed to marry outside the tribe or inside ones clan, just as Hindus marry inside their caste and outside their gotra. More precisely: To protect their tribal solidarity, the Santals have very stringent marriage laws. A Santal cannot marry a non-Santal or a member of his own clan. The former is considered as a threat to the tribe's integrity, while the latter is considered incestuous. Among the Ho of Chhotanagpur, the trespasses which occasion the exclusion from the tribe without chance of appeal, are essentially those concerning endogamy and exogamy."
Inter-dining has also been prohibited by many Indian tribal peoples.
Extending the system of primary education into tribal areas and reserving places for tribal children in middle and high schools and higher education institutions are central to government policy, but efforts to improve a tribe's educational status have had mixed results. Recruitment of qualified teachers and determination of the appropriate language of instruction also remain troublesome. Commission after commission on the "language question" has called for instruction, at least at the primary level, in the students' native language. In some regions, tribal children entering school must begin by learning the official regional language, often one completely unrelated to their tribal language.
Many tribal schools are plagued by high drop-out rates. Children attend for the first three to four years of primary school and gain a smattering of knowledge, only to lapse into illiteracy later. Few who enter continue up to the tenth grade; of those who do, few manage to finish high school. Therefore, very few are eligible to attend institutions of higher education, where the high rate of attrition continues. Members of agrarian tribes like the Gonds often are reluctant to send their children to school, needing them, they say, to work in the fields. On the other hand, in those parts of the northeast where tribes have generally been spared the wholesale onslaught of outsiders, schooling has helped tribal people to secure political and economic benefits. The education system there has provided a corps of highly trained tribal members in the professions and high-ranking administrative posts.
An academy for teaching and preserving Adivasi languages and culture was established in 1999 by the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre. The Adivasi Academy is located at Tejgadh in Gujarat.
Most tribes are concentrated in heavily forested areas that combine inaccessibility with limited political or economic significance. Historically, the economy of most tribes was subsistence agriculture or hunting and gathering. Tribal members traded with outsiders for the few necessities they lacked, such as salt and iron. A few local Hindu craftsmen might provide such items as cooking utensils.
In the early 20th century, however, large areas fell into the hands of non-tribals, on account of improved transportation and communications. Around 1900, many regions were opened by the government to settlement through a scheme by which inward migrants received ownership of land free in return for cultivating it. For tribal people, however, land was often viewed as a common resource, free to whoever needed it. By the time tribals accepted the necessity of obtaining formal land titles, they had lost the opportunity to lay claim to lands that might rightfully have been considered theirs. The colonial and post-independence regimes belatedly realised the necessity of protecting tribals from the predations of outsiders and prohibited the sale of tribal lands. Although an important loophole in the form of land leases was left open, tribes made some gains in the mid-twentieth century, and some land was returned to tribal peoples despite obstruction by local police and land officials.
In the 1970s, tribal peoples came again under intense land pressure, especially in central India. Migration into tribal lands increased dramatically, as tribal people lost title to their lands in many ways – lease, forfeiture from debts, or bribery of land registry officials. Other non-tribals simply squatted, or even lobbied governments to classify them as tribal to allow them to compete with the formerly established tribes. In any case, many tribal members became landless labourers in the 1960s and 1970s, and regions that a few years earlier had been the exclusive domain of tribes had an increasingly mixed population of tribals and non-tribals. Government efforts to evict nontribal members from illegal occupation have proceeded slowly; when evictions occur at all, those ejected are usually members of poor, lower castes.
Improved communications, roads with motorised traffic, and more frequent government intervention figured in the increased contact that tribal peoples had with outsiders. Commercial highways and cash crops frequently drew non-tribal people into remote areas. By the 1960s and 1970s, the resident nontribal shopkeeper was a permanent feature of many tribal villages. Since shopkeepers often sell goods on credit (demanding high interest), many tribal members have been drawn deeply into debt or mortgaged their land. Merchants also encourage tribals to grow cash crops (such as cotton or castor-oil plants), which increases tribal dependence on the market for basic necessities. Indebtedness is so extensive that although such transactions are illegal, traders sometimes 'sell' their debtors to other merchants, much like indentured peons.
The final blow for some tribes has come when nontribals, through political jockeying, have managed to gain legal tribal status, that is, to be listed as a Scheduled Tribe.
Tribes in the Himalayan foothills have not been as hard-pressed by the intrusions of non-tribal. Historically, their political status was always distinct from the rest of India. Until the British colonial period, there was little effective control by any of the empires centred in peninsular India; the region was populated by autonomous feuding tribes. The British, in efforts to protect the sensitive northeast frontier, followed a policy dubbed the "Inner Line"; non-tribal people were allowed into the areas only with special permission. Postindependence governments have continued the policy, protecting the Himalayan tribes as part of the strategy to secure the border with China.
Government policies on forest reserves have affected tribal peoples profoundly. Government efforts to reserve forests have precipitated armed (if futile) resistance on the part of the tribal peoples involved. Intensive exploitation of forests has often meant allowing outsiders to cut large areas of trees (while the original tribal inhabitants were restricted from cutting), and ultimately replacing mixed forests capable of sustaining tribal life with single-product plantations. Nontribals have frequently bribed local officials to secure effective use of reserved forest lands.
The northern tribes have thus been sheltered from the kind of exploitation that those elsewhere in South Asia have suffered. In Arunachal Pradesh (formerly part of the North-East Frontier Agency), for example, tribal members control commerce and most lower-level administrative posts. Government construction projects in the region have provided tribes with a significant source of cash. Some tribes have made rapid progress through the education system (the role of early missionaries was significant in this regard). Instruction was begun in Assamese but was eventually changed to Hindi; by the early 1980s, English was taught at most levels. Northeastern tribal people have thus enjoyed a certain measure of social mobility.
The continuing economic alienation and exploitation of many adivasis was highlighted as a "systematic failure" by the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in a 2009 conference of chief ministers of all 29 Indian states, where he also cited this as a major cause of the Naxalite unrest that has affected areas such as the Red Corridor.
Some portraits of adivasi people.
- Lok Sabha Debates ser.10 Jun 41–42 1995 v.42 no.41-42, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Parliament of India, 1995, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Adivasis are the aborigines of India ..."
- Minocheher Rustom Masani and Ramaswamy Srinivasan (1985), Freedom and Dissent: Essays in Honour of Minoo Masani on His Eightieth Birthday, Democratic Research Service, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Adivasis are the original inhabitants of India. That is what Adivasi means: the original inhabitant. They were the people who were there before the Dravidians. The tribals are the Gonds, the Bhils, the Murias, the Nagas and a hundred more. ..."
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1968), The Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : Satyagraha in South Africa, Navajivan Publishing House, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Adivasis are the original inhabitants ..."
- Acharya, Deepak and Shrivastava Anshu (2008): Indigenous Herbal Medicines: Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices, Aavishkar Publishers Distributor, Jaipur- India. ISBN 978-81-7910-252-7. pp 440.
- Elst, Koenraad: (2001)
- Robert Harrison Barnes, Andrew Gray and Benedict Kingsbury (1995), Indigenous peoples of Asia, Association for Asian Studies, ISBN 0-924304-14-6, retrieved 2008-11-25, "The Concept of the Adivāsi: According to the political activists who coined the word in the 1930s, the "adivāsis" are the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent ..."
- Louise Waite (2006), Embodied Working Lives: Work and Life in Maharashtra, India, Lexington Books, ISBN 0-7391-0876-X, retrieved 2008-11-25, "The scheduled tribes themselves tend to refer to their ethnic grouping as adivāsis, which means 'original inhabitant.' Hardiman continues to argue that the term adivāsi is preferable in India as it evokes a shared history of relative freedom in precolonial times ..."
- Govind Sadashiv Ghurye (1980), The Scheduled Tribes of India, Transaction Publishers, ISBN 0-87855-692-3, retrieved 2008-11-25, "I have stated above, while ascertaining the general attitude of Mr. Jaipal Singh to tribal problems, his insistence on the term 'Adivāsi' being used for Schedule Tribes ... Sir, myself I claim to an Adivāsi and an original inhabitant of the country as Mr. Jaipal Singh pal... a pseudo-ethno-historical substantiation for the term 'Adivāsi'."
- "THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA". Retrieved 21 March 2012.
-  Labour Bureau, Government of India (from here)
- New Book: Anthropology of Primitive Tribes in India
- Edwin Bryant and Laurie L. Patton (2005), The Indo-Aryan Controversy, Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1462-6, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... we now exist in an era where one's use of evidence is inevitably suspect of being linked to nationalist, colonialist, or cultural agendas ... No issue is more illustrative of this impasse than the debate about Aryan origins ..."
- Ludwig Gumplowicz and Irving Louis Horowitz (1980), Outlines of Sociology, Transaction Publishers, ISBN 0-87855-693-1, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Negritos were the earliest inhabitants of India ... The Proto-Australoids who followed them had their type more or less fixed in India and therefore may be considered to be the true aborigines. Thereafter the Austro-Asiatic peoples came ... the Indo Aryans came and settled in India; so, too, did the Dravidians ... This being the state of our knowledge regarding the peopling of India, it would be hazardous to look upon one particular section of the population as the aborigines of India ..."
- Spencer Wells (2002), The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-11532-X, "... the population of south-east Asia prior to 6000 years ago was composed largely of groups of hunter-gatherers very similar to modern Negritos ... So, both the Y-chromosome and the mtDNA paint a clear picture of a coastal leap from Africa to south-east Asia, and onward to Australia ... DNA has given us a glimpse of the voyage, which almost certainly followed a coastal route va India ..."
- Jim Mason (2005), An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature, Lantern Books, ISBN 1-59056-081-7, "... Australia's "aboriginal" peoples are another case in point. At the end of the Ice Age, their homeland stretched from the middle of India eastward into southeast Asia and as far south as Indonesia and nearby islands. As agriculture spread from its centers in southeast Asia, these pre-Australoid forager people moved farther southward to New Guinea and Australia. ..."
- Revathi Rajkumar et al., Phylogeny and antiquity of M macrohaplogroup inferred from complete mt DNA sequence of Indian specific lineages, BMC Evolutionary Biology 2005, 5:26 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-5-26
- K.V. Zvelebil (1982), The Irula language, O. Harrassowitz, ISBN 3-447-02247-7, "... into the low jungles of the Nilgiris (such movement might have been instigated eg by the advancing Australoids pushing out an earlier pre-Australoid ...)"
- Stephen Fuchs (1974), The Aboriginal Tribes of India, Macmillan India, ISBN 0-333-19782-8, "... Guha thinks that the Negritos were the earliest racial element in India. He believes that the Kadar, Irulas and Panyans of south India have a Negrito strain, even though he admits that they are not pure Negritos ..."
- S. Neeta and V.K. Kashyap (January 2004), Allelic variation at 15 microsatellite loci in one important Australoid and two Indocaucasoid groups of Chhattisgarh, India 49 (1), Journal of Forensic Sciences, ISSN 0022-1198, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Among the studied population groups, Oraon is a tribal group, conventionally agriculture-based, ethnically Australoid. They are confined to the small villages and do not prefer to marry outside their community maintaining the genetic make-up without any admixture. ..."
- N. Saha and H.K. Goswami (1987, Vol. 37, No. 5), Some Blood Genetic Markers in the Korkus of Central India, International Journal of Human and Medical Genetics, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... A sample of 102 individuals from the Korkus tribe, an Australoid race inhabiting Central India, was studied for the distribution of haemoglobin and ten red cell enzyme types ..."
- Tamil Literature Society (1963), Tamil Culture 10, Academy of Tamil Culture, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... together with the evidence of archaeology would seem to suggest that the original Dravidian-speakers entered India from Iran in the fourth millennium BC ..."
- Namita Mukherjee, Almut Nebel, Ariella Oppenheim and Partha P. Majumder (December 2001), "High-resolution analysis of Y-chromosomal polymorphisms reveals signatures of population movements from central Asia and West Asia into India" (PDF), Journal of Genetics (Springer India) 80 (3), retrieved 2008-11-25, "... More recently, about 15,000–10,000 years before present (ybp), when agriculture developed in the Fertile land of Crescent region that extends from Israel via northern Syria to western Iran, there was another eastward wave of human migration (Cavalli-Sforza et al., 1994; Renfrew 1987), a part of which also appears to have entered India. This wave has been postulated to have brought the Dravidian languages into India (Renfrew 1987). Subsequently, the Indo-European (Aryan) language family was introduced into India about 4,000–3,000 ybp ..."
- Dhavendra Kumar (2004), Genetic Disorders of the Indian Subcontinent, Springer, ISBN 1-4020-1215-2, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The analysis of two Y chromosome variants, Hgr9 and Hgr3 provides interesting data (Quintan-Murci et al., 2001). Microsatellite variation of Hgr9 among Iranians, Pakistanis and Indians indicate an expansion of populations to around 9000 YBP in Iran and then to 6,000 YBP in India. This migration originated in wha was historically termed Elam in south-west Iran to the Indus valley, and may have been associated with the spread of Dravidian languages from south-west Iran (Quintan-Murci et al., 2001). ..."
- Frank Raymond Allchin and George Erdosy (1995), The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia: The Emergence of Cities and States, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-37695-2, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... There has also been a fairly general agreement that the Proto-Indoaryan speakers at one time lived on the steppes of Central Asia and that at a certain time they moved southwards through Bactria and Afghanistan, and perhaps the Caucasus, into Iran and India-Pakistan (Burrow 1973; Harmatta 1992) ..."
- Hermann Kulke, Dietmar Rothermund (1998), High-resolution analysis of Y-chromosomal polymorphisms reveals signatures of population movements from central Asia and West Asia into India, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-15482-0, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... During the last decades intensive archaeological research in Russia and the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union as well as in Pakistan and northern India has considerably enlarged our knowledge about the potential ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and their relationship with cultures in west, central and south Asia. Excavations in southern Russia and Central Asia convinced the international community of archaeologists that the Eurasian steppes had once been the original home of the speakers of Indo-European language ..."
- Richard Cordaux , Gunter Weiss, Nilmani Saha and Mark Stoneking (2004), "The Northeast Indian Passageway: A Barrier or Corridor for Human Migrations?", Molecular Biology and Evolution (Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution) 21 (8): 1525–33, doi:10.1093/molbev/msh151, PMID 15128876, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Our coalescence analysis suggests that the expansion of Tibeto-Burman speakers to northeast India most likely took place within the past 4,200 years ..."
- Jim Cummins and David Corson (1999), Bilingual Education, Springer, ISBN 0-7923-4806-0, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... over one million speakers each: Bhili (Indo-Aryan) 4.5 million; Santali (Austric) 4.2 m; Gondi (Dravidian) 2.0 m; and Kurukh (Dravidian) 1.3 million ..."
- R. Khongsdier, Nandita Mukherjee (2003, Vol. 122, Issue 2), "Growth and nutritional status of Khasi boys in Northeast India relating to exogamous marriages and socioeconomic classes", American Journal of Physical Anthropology 122 (2): 162–70, doi:10.1002/ajpa.10305, PMID 12949836, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Khasis are one of the Indo-Mongoloid tribes in Northeast India. They speak the Monkhmer language, which belongs to the Austro-Asiatic group (Das, 1978) ..."
- Govinda Chandra Rath (2006), Tribal Development in India: The Contemporary Debate, SAGE, ISBN 0-7619-3423-5, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Car Nicobarese are of Mongoloid stock ... The Nicobarese speak different languages of the Nicobarese group, which belongs to an Austro-Asiatic language sub-family ..."
- Malini Srivastava (2007), "The Sacred Complex of Munda Tribe" (PDF), Anthropologist, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Racially, they are proto-australoid and speak Mundari dialect of Austro-Asiatic ..."
- A. B. Chaudhuri (1993), State Formation Among Tribals: A Quest for Santal Identity, Gyan Publishing House, ISBN 81-212-0422-4, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Santal is a large Proto-Australoid tribe found in West Bengal, northern Odisha, Bihar, Assam as also in Bangladesh ... The solidarity having been broken, the Santals are gradually adopting languages of the areas inhabited, like Oriya in Odisha, Hindi in Bihar and Bengali in West Bengal and Bangladesh ..."
- A. B. Chaudhuri (1949), Tribal Heritage: A Study of the Santals, Lutterworth Press, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Santals belong to his second "main race", the Proto-Australoid, which he considers arrived in India soon after the Negritos ..."
- U. Shankarkumar (1(2): 91–94 (2003)), "A Correlative Study of HLA, Sickle Cell Gene and G6PD Deficiency with Splenomegaly and Malaria Incidence Among Bhils and Pawra Tribes from Dhadgon, Dhule, Maharastra" (PDF), Studies of Tribes and Tribals, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Bhils are one of the largest tribes concentrated mainly in Western Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Eastern Gujarat and Northern Maharastra. Racially they were classified as Gondids, Malids or Proto-Australoid, but their social history is still a mystery (Bhatia and Rao, 1986) ..."
- Aloysius Irudayam and Jayshree P. Mangubhai, India Village Reconstruction & Development Project (2004), Adivasis Speak Out: Atrocities Against Adivasis in Tamil Nadu, Books for Change, ISBN 81-87380-78-0, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... uncivilised ... These forests and land territories assume a territorial identity precisely because they are the extension of the Adivasis' collective personality ..."
- C.R. Bijoy, Core Committee of the All India Coordinating Forum of Adivasis/Indigenous Peoples (February 2003), "The Adivasis of India – A History of Discrimination, Conflict, and Resistance", PUCL Bulletin (People's Union for Civil Liberties, India), retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Adivasis are not, as a general rule, regarded as unclean by caste Hindus in the same way as Dalits are. But they continue to face prejudice (as lesser humans), they are socially distanced and often face violence from society ..."
- Thakorlal Bharabhai Naik (1956), The Bhils: A Study, Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Valmiki, from whose pen this great epic had its birth, was himself a Bhil named Valia, according to the traditional accounts of his life ..."
- Edward Balfour (1885), The Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Bernard Quaritch, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... In Mewar, the Grasia is of mixed Bhil and Rajput descent, paying tribute to the Rana of Udaipur ..."
- R.K. Sinha (1995), The Bhilala of Malwa, Anthropological survey of India, ISBN 978-81-85579-08-5, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... the Bhilala are commonly considered to be a mixed group who sprung from the marriage alliances of the immigrant male Rajputs and the Bhil women of the central India ..."
- R. Singh (2000), Tribal Beliefs, Practices and Insurrections, Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., ISBN 81-261-0504-6, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Munda Parha was known as 'Manki', while his Oraon counterpart was called 'Parha Raja.' The lands these adivasis occupied were regarded to be the village's patrimony ... The Gond rajas of Chanda and Garha Mandla were not only the hereditary leaders of their Gond subjects, but also held sway over substantial communities of non-tribals who recognized them as their feudal lords ..."
- Milind Gunaji (2005), Offbeat Tracks in Maharashtra: A Travel Guide, Popular Prakashan, ISBN 81-7154-669-2, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Navegaon is one of the forests in Maharashtra where the natives of this land still live and earn their livelihood by carrying out age old activities like hunting, gathering forest produce and ancient methods of farming. Beyond the Kamkazari lake is the Dhaavalghat, which is home to adivasis. They also have a temple here, the shrine of Lord Waghdev ..."
- Surajit Sinha, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (1987), Tribal polities and state systems in pre-colonial eastern and north eastern India, K.P. Bagchi & Co., ISBN 81-7074-014-2, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The way in which and the extent to which tribal support had been crucial in establishing a royal dynasty have been made quite clear ... tribal loyalty, help and support were essential in establishing a ruling family ..."
- Hugh Chisholm (1910), The Encyclopædia Britannica, The Encyclopædia Britannica Co., retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The 16th century saw the establishment of a powerful Gond kingdom by Sangram Sah, who succeeded in 1480 as the 47th of the petty Gond rajas of Garha-Mandla, and extended his dominions to include Saugor and Damoh on the Vindhyan plateau, Jubbulpore and Narsinghpur in the Nerbudda valley, and Seoni on the Satpura highlands ..."
- P. 27 Madhya Pradesh: Shajapur By Madhya Pradesh (India)
- P. 219 Calcutta Review By University of Calcutta, 1964
- Piya Chatterjee (2001), A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation, Duke University Press, ISBN 0-8223-2674-4, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Among the Munda, customary forms of land tenure known as khuntkatti stipulated that land belonged communally to the village, and customary rights of cultivation, branched from corporate ownership. Because of Mughal incursions, non-Jharkhandis began to dominate the agrarian landscape, and the finely wrought system of customary sharing of labor, produce and occupancy began to crumble. The process of dispossession and land alienation, in motion since the mid-eighteenth century, was given impetus by British policies that established both zamindari and ryotwari systems of land revenue administration. Colonial efforts toward efficient revenue collection hinged on determining legally who had proprietal rights to the land ..."
- Ulrich van der Heyden and Holger Stoecker (2005), Mission und macht im Wandel politischer Orientierungen: Europäische Missionsgesellschaften in politischen Spannungsfeldern in Afrika und Asien zwischen 1800 und 1945, Franz Steiner Verlag, ISBN 3-515-08423-1, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The permanent settlement Act had an adverse effect upon the fate of the Adivasis for, "the land which the aboriginals had rested from the jungle and cultivated as free men from generation was, by a stroke of pen, declared to be the property of the Raja (king) and the Jagirdars." The alien became the Zamindars (Landlords) while the sons of the soil got reduced to mere tenants. Now, it was the turn of the Jagirdars-turned-Zamindars who further started leasing out land to the newcomers, who again started encroaching Adivasi land. The land grabbing thus went on unabated. By the year 1832 about 6,411 Adivasi villages were alienated in this process ..."
- O.P. Ralhan (2002), Encyclopaedia of Political Parties, Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., ISBN 81-7488-865-9, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Permanent Settlement was 'nothing short of the confiscation of raiyat lands in favor of the zamindars.' ... Marx says '... in Bengal as in Madras and Bombay, under the zamindari as under the ryotwari, the raiyats who form 11/12ths of the whole Indian population have been wretchedly pauperised.' To this may be added the inroads made by the Company's Government upon the village community of the tribals (the Santhals, Kols, Khasias etc.) ... There was a wholesale destruction of 'the national tradition.' Marx observes: 'England has broken down the entire framework of Indian society ..."
- Govind Kelkar and Dev Nathan (1991), Gender and Tribe: Women, Land and Forests in Jharkhand, Kali for Women, ISBN 1-85649-035-1, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... of the features of the adivasi land systems. These laws also showed that British colonial rule had passed on to a new stage of exploitation ... Forests were the property of the zamindar or the state ..."
- William Wilson Hunter, Hermann Michael Kisch, Andrew Wallace Mackie, Charles James O'Donnell and Herbert Hope Risley (1877), A Statistical Account of Bengal, Trübner, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Kol insurrection of 1831, though, no doubt, only the bursting forth of a fire that had long been smouldering, was fanned into flame by the following episode:- The brother of the Maharaja, who was holder of one of the maintenance grants which comprised Sonpur, a pargana in the southern portion of the estate, gave farms of some of the villages over the heads of the Mankis and Mundas, to certain Muhammadans, Sikhs and others, who has obtained his favour ... not only was the Manki dispossessed, but two of his sisters were seduced or ravished by these hated foreigners ... one of them ..., it was said, had abducted and dishonoured the Munda's wife ..."
- Radhakanta Barik (2006), Land and Caste Politics in Bihar, Shipra Publications, ISBN 81-7541-305-0, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... As usually the zamindars were the moneylenders, they could pressurize the tenants to concede to high rent ..."
- Shashank Shekhar Sinha (2005), Restless Mothers and Turbulent Daughters: Situating Tribes in Gender Studies, Stree, ISBN 81-85604-73-8, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... In addition, many tribals were forced to pay private taxes ... ..."
- Economic and Political Weekly, Sameeksha Trust, 1974, V.9, No.6-8, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Adivasis spend their life-times working for the landlord-moneylenders and, in some cases, even their children are forced to work for considerable parts of their lives to pay off debts ..."
- Sita Venkateswar (2004), Development and Ethnocide: Colonial Practices in the Andaman Islands, IWGIA, ISBN 87-91563-04-6, "... As I have suggested previously, it is probable that some disease was introduced among the coastal groups by Lieutenant Colebrooke and Blair's first settlement in 1789, resulting in a marked reduction of their population. The four years that the British occupied their initial site on the south-east of South Andaman were sufficient to have decimated the coastal populations of the groups referred to as Jarawa by the Aka-bea-da ..."
- Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Francesco Cavalli-Sforza (1995), The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution, Basic Books, ISBN 0-201-44231-0, "... Contact with whites, and the British in particular, has virtually destroyed them. Illness, alcohol, and the will of the colonials all played their part; the British governor of the time mentions in his diary that he received instructions to destroy them with alcohol and opium. He succeeded completely with one group. The others reacted violently ..."
- Paramjit S. Judge (1992), Insurrection to Agitation: The Naxalite Movement in Punjab, Popular Prakashan, ISBN 81-7154-527-0, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Santhal insurrection in 1855–56 was a consequence of the establishment of the permanent Zamindari Settlement introduced by the British in 1793 as a result of which the Santhals had been dispossesed of the land that they had been cultivating for centuries. Zamindars, moneylenders, traders and government officials exploited them ruthlessly. The consequence was a violent revolt by the Santhals which could only be suppressed by the army ..."
- The Indian Journal of Social Work, Department of Publications, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 1956, v.59, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Revolts rose with unfailing regularity and were suppressed with treachery, brute force, tact, cooption and some reforms ..."
- Roy Moxham (2003), Tea, Carroll & Graf Publishers, ISBN 0-7867-1227-9, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... many of the labourers came from Chota Nagpur District ... home to the Adivasis, the most popular workers with the planters – the '1st class jungley.' As one of the planters, David Crole, observed: 'planters, in a rough and ready way, judge the worth of a coolie by the darkness of the skin.' In the last two decades of the nineteenth century 350,000 coolies went from Chota Nagpur to Assam ..."
- HEUZE, Gérard: Où Va l’Inde Moderne? L’Harmattan, Paris 1993. A. Tirkey: "Evangelization among the Uraons", Indian Missiological Review, June 1997, esp. p. 30-32. Elst 2001
- "Tribal Protests and Rebellions'
- Page 63 Tagore Without Illusions by Hitendra Mitra
- Sameeksha Trust, P. 1229 Economic and Political Weekly
- P. 4 "Freedom Movement in Khurda" Dr. Atul Chandra Pradhan
- P. 111 The Freedom Struggle in Hyderabad: A Connected Account By Hyderabad (India : State)
- P. 32 Social and Political Awakening Among the Tribals of Rajasthan By Gopi Nath Sharma
- P. 420 Who's who of Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh By Sarojini Regani
- James Minahan and Leonard W. Doob (1996), Nations Without States: A Historical Dictionary of Contemporary National Movements, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-28354-0, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... The Adivasi tribes encompass the pre-Dravidian holdovers from ancient India ..."
- Sarina Singh, Joe Bindloss, Paul Clammer and Janine Eberle (2005), India, Lonely Planet, ISBN 1-74059-694-3, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... Although the northeast states make up just 7.5% of the geographical area of India, the region is home to 20% of India's Adivasis (tribal people). The following are the main tribes ... Nagas ... Monpas ... Apatani & Adi ... Khasi ..."
- Moirangthem Kirti Singh (1988), Religion and Culture of Manipur, Manas Publications, ISBN 81-7049-021-9, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The Meiteis began to think that root cause of their present unrest was their contact with the Mayangs, the outsider from the rest of India in matters of trade, commerce, religious belief and the designation of the Meiteis as caste Hindus in the Constitution of India. The policy of reservations for the scheduled castes and tribes in key posts began to play havoc ..."
- Man, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1972, v.7, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Nor, for that matter, does a traits approach to drawing distinctions between tribe and caste lead to any meaningful interpretation of social or civilizational processes. Social boundaries must be defined in each case (community or regional society) with reference to the modes of social classification, on the one hand, and processes of social interaction, on the other. It is in their inability to relate these two aspects of the social phenomenon through a model of social reality that most behavioural exercises come to grief ..."
- Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (1959), Lōkayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism, People's Publishing House, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Even the authors of our traditional law-codes and other works did not know whether to call a particular group of backward people a caste or a tribe ..."
- Robert Goldmann and A. Jeyaratnam Wilson (1984), From Independence to Statehood: Managing Ethnic Conflict in Five African and Asian States, Pinter, ISBN 0-86187-354-8, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Because the question of what groups are to be given preferences is constitutionally and politically open, the demand for preferences becomes a device for political mobilisation. Politicians can mobilise members of their caste, religious or linguistic community around the demand for inclusion on the list of those to be given preferences ... As preferences were extended to backward castes, and as more benefits were given to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, the 'forward' castes have ..."
- Col. Ved Prakash (2006), Encyclopaedia of North-east India, Vol# 2, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, ISBN 81-269-0704-5, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... An angry mob of Koch-Rajbongshis (KRs) ransacked 4-8-03 the BJP office, Guwahati, demanding ST status for the KRs ... the KRs have been demanding the ST status for long, and the Bodos are stoutly opposed to it ..."
- "Gujjars enforce blockade; Delhi tense", The Times of India, 29 May 2008, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Gujjars on Thursday blocked road and rail traffic in the capital and adjoining areas as part of their 'NCR rasta roko' agitation ... The NCR agitation, called by All India Gujjar Mahasabha, is in support of the community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan ..."
- "rajasthan-government-denies-st-status-to-gujjars", merinews
- "What the Meena-Gujjar conflict is about", Rediff, 1 June 2007, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... Rajasthan is sitting on a potential caste war between the Gujjars and Meenas with the former demanding their entry into the Schedule Tribes list while the Meenas are looking to keep their turf intact by resisting any tampering with the ST quota ..."
- Mamta Rajawat (2003), Scheduled Castes in India: a Comprehensive Study, Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., ISBN 81-261-1339-1, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... endogamy is basic to the morphology of caste but for its origin and sustenance one has to see beyond ... D.D. Kosambi says that the fusion of tribal elements into society at large lies at the foundation of the caste system; Irfan Habib concurs, suggesting that when tribal people were absorbed they brought with them their endogamous customs ..."
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- Richard V. Weekes (1984), Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-24640-8, retrieved 2008-11-26, "... The preference for in-marriage produces the reticulated kinship system characteristic of Punjabi Muslim society, as opposed to Hindu lineage exogamy and preference for marriage outside one's natal village ..."
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- Thomas R. Trautmann (1997), Aryans and British India, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-20546-4, retrieved 2008-11-26, "...The radiating, segmentary character of the underlying genealogical figure requires that the specifications be unilineal ... we have in the Dharmasastra doctrine of jatis a theory of ethnogenesis through intermixture or marriage of persons of different varnas, and secondary and tertiary intermixtures of the original ones, leading to a multitude of units, rather than the radiating segmentary structure of ethnogenesis by fission or descent ..."
- Todd Scudiere (1997), Aspects of Death and Bereavement Among Indian Hindus and American Christians: A Survey and Cross-cultural Comparison, University of Wisconsin – Madison, retrieved 2008-11-25, "... the Vedic Aryan was not particularly eager to enter heaven, he was too much this-worldly oriented. A notion of reincarnation was not introduced until later. However, there was a concept of a universal force – an idea of an underlying monistic reality that was later called Brahman ..."
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