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TRIBES COMMUNITY IN RAJASTHAN: A TRUE NARRATIVE OF SETTLEMENT

University of Alberta, Harvard Graduate School of Education (Professional), Antarctic Institute of Canada 21 Feb 2021

The tribal population in Rajasthan is focused in the areas of Sirohi, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Chittorgarh, and Banswara districts to the Kota, Sawai-Madhopur, Tonk, Jaipur, and Kota districts. Bhil community is one of the ancient tribes of India who could be identified as one of the Dravidian racial tribes of Western India and fits Australoid groups of tribes. They are not gypsies. The Bhil country of South-Western Rajasthan is mountainous, comprising the roughest part of the Aravalli hills. They live inmates of separated hovels among the hills. Their huts statuses on a little knoll in the middle of its way of refined ground. The settlement has been divided into several paras or phalas that offer shelter and defense in case of any violence. Bhil occupancy of Rajasthan is a group of huts within a solitary attachment which is their strength as a collective tribal community. They have migrated within India and settled as well. The settlement process through migration even expanded in India`s far northeast region such as in Tripura. The Meena’s is another tribal community of Rajasthan comprises almost half of the tribal population. They live in thick forests is called Mewasas. Mewasas settlement was one of the oldest forms of tribal living place in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The groups of their houses were called pal where most of the population fitted. Jaipur, Sawai-Madhopur and Tonk territory were the areas where Meena’s were settled. The term Meena is from the Sanskrit word meen which is fish. Meena community originates from Lord Vishnu`s Matsya Avatar. The classification of Meena’s community such as Purana Basis Meena’s and Naya Basis Meena’s dictated their role in the society. Purana Basis Meena’s are agriculturists and Naya Basis belong to the light-fingered who was accused of stealing traditionally. And they had to go to the police station under the Criminal Tribal Act. The Garcia community is another tribe of the Rajasthan state of India. They did not build their houses as a group but infrequent adobes. They would build their houses at the incline of the hills and heaps, where ground spread ahead of them. Houses would be made by leaves and bamboo and little plastered over with cow-dung. It has been said that Bhil tribal community related to Eklavya and from ancient times they ruled over the territories of Southern Rajasthan. They were formed into rulers like Dungariya which is Dungarpur, Bansia which is Banswara, Kotea which is Kota and Dewa which is Udaipur. The bhil community in ancient times was considered as one of the trustworthy soldiers and watchmen. The author Abul Fazal wrote in his book Ain-i-Akbari about them that they were the most diligent and law enduring populace. In Hindu Mythology Mata Shabari was a well-known Bhil figure who offered half-eaten berries to Lord Rama and Lakshmana. In Mahabharata existence of the Bhil community has been explained. The settlement of other tribes in Rajasthan such as Santhals and Gonds has been existing in a similar way to other tribes. Tribes of India has consisted of three major groups: Bhil, Gond and Santhal. Bhil is the largest group of India with a population of estimates 17071049. The Gond tribal group is the second-largest with an estimated 13256928 population and the Santhal tribe group is the third largest with an estimated population of 6570807. The settlement and migration of the tribe`s community in India have been extended through various routes and places within India. Gaddi tribe group is the successors of Garhwa rulers of Rajasthan, who are living in South-western Rajasthan, and migrated in the Western Himalayas in Kangra, and Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Rajasthan is enriched by Bhil and Meena tribe’s community mainly and both have contributed with their unique traditions, civilization, and rites. This is how the tribe culture of Rajasthan is quite rich by various communities of tribes such as Bhil, Meena, Santhal, Gond, Gadia Lohar, Bishnoi, Meghval, Rabari, Garasia etc. They are all linked with Vedic India and have been migrated since then to present India’s several states through an evolutionary process. They settled from South-West Rajasthan to the North-East of Indian states such as Tripura’s Bhil community, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana. Their domestic migration process was due to obtain better economic life from place to place. They have been modified themselves through various evolutionary processes. Historically they were a part of India’s Vedic age, Ramayana, and Mahabharata periods and survived themselves by following their rituals, customs, and traditionalism. Historically they survived the attacks of Hunas, Aryans, Sakas, Kusanas and successfully maintained their values, norms, and ethics. The history of the tribe’s community of the world detects that they were linked with soil, and nature such as the sun, the tribal communities of Rajasthan are not different from the rest of the global tribe’s community. They accepted Hinduism as their major religion through their connection with traditional Santana Dharma of ancient India; however, Sikhism is also quite predominant amongst these tribes of Rajasthan. The modern-day society creates a state-of-art image in a socio-economic environment that creates influences of various religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Parsi, Islam and the tribes of Rajasthan take up these religions as their religious faith as well as Hinduism and Sikhism. Cultivation is still the main professionalism of those tribe communities of Rajasthan, but due to modernization and the requirement of the settlement process, they developed themselves as business and commercial personnel as well. At the core of the state of Rajasthan, the Garsia tribes live with their resources of ethos, art, and music, which makes their wonderful culture.  The acculturation process was thus created in Rajasthan through which the state has been turned into a global tourism spot and destination in India. The tribes, desert, environment, dynasties, and histories of Rajasthan have connected each other. Therefore, it has created a mystery to everyone for the exploration of those ancient tribes and their activities. The bhil community occupies a major position, while Gadia Lohar Tribe has importance as well. They have superb language, food, habits, and stunning clothes. All the tribes of Rajasthan distribute a common behaviour, but they are different through jewels, get-ups, carnivals, and centenaries. Stories of ethnic communities are not always good. In Rajasthan, it was a similar picture of tribal communities. They were isolated from the mainstream of society. The tribal of Southern Rajasthan was the first settlers in the country. They were brutally tortured by the landlord of the feudal society from the beginning. They were remaining illiterate, innocent because of their connection with nature (soil and sun). After India`s independence, they have been given protection constitutionally through various amendments and have been given reserve community status. It has been observed that the tribal in southern Rajasthan (Bhil) had been divided into classes that created hierarchies among them and the colonial system influenced them for various social and economic classification. They were deprived through this class system by the Jaigirdar and little upper classes of their society. The Colonial system and the traditionalism of feudalism, hierarchies made them isolated economically, socially, and politically. The government of India expensed a lot of money for the development of the tribal communities in Rajasthan to bring them into the mainstream of Indian society. However, money has been utilized for the non-tribal community development in some cases and areas by the district and local administration. Feudalism and Rajasthan have especial relation and connection with Bhil tribes. The development of tribes in the feudal system was nothing but a horrifying period. Mewar and Dungarpur of southern Rajasthan were given educational facilities for the Bhil boys. The settlement of Bhil tribes in feudal India and Rajasthan was based on assured livelihood facilities such as provide land for cultivation and other equipment. Rajput rulers paid for the entire expenses on behalf of the Bhil community. It was a special relationship between Bhil and Rajput rulers due to Bhil`s heroic work for the dynasty at that time.  Therefore, tribes in India and Rajasthan have seen two special periods such as feudal India and India after independence. Their settlement has been permanent by the initiative of the government of India through the preservation of the communities. Under-five years national development planning government of India has made community development programs, rural society, Tribal development blocks. Overall, the settlement process of Tribal communities finally has seen a real development under the government assistance through a secular image from the form of their ancient India, feudal India and India after independence.   

 

References:

1.             Webindia123.com. 2021. Tribal Settlements of Rajasthan - People of Rajasthan - Cultural Complexity of Rajasthan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 January 2021].

2.             Mishra, M., 2021. Comprehensive Essay On “Bhils Tribe” Of India. [online] World’s Largest Collection of Essays! Published by Experts. Available at: [Accessed 20 January 2021].

3.              Kumar, M., 2021. Tribes of India - Gond, Santhal, Munda, Khasi, Bhil, Tharu, Bhotia, Buxa. [online] My academy - UPSC, PCS, Engg, SSC & RRB. Available at: [Accessed 23 June 2020]

4.                Tribesindia.in. 2021. About Rajasthan Tribal Peoples | Indiatribes.Com. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 January 2021].

5.               SHARMA, G. N. (1986). Social and political awakening among the tribal of Rajasthan. Jaipur, Centre for Rajasthan Studies, University of Rajasthan.

Sharma, G.N. (1986). Social and Political Awakening Among the Tribal of Rajasthan (Book, 1986) [Worldcat.Org]. [online] Worldcat.org. Available at: [Accessed January 2021]

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