Tribals, Dikus and The Vision of a Golden Age

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Introduction of Tribals, Dikus and The Vision of a Golden Age

The traditions and ceremonies followed by most of the tribal groups are quite diverse from those established by the Brahmins. These communities have not been characterized by the division of caste societies. All those who belonged to the same tribe saw themselves sharing common ties of kinship. However, there was the existence of social and economic differences within the tribes as well. In this Story Tribals Dikus Vision Golden Age, students will learn some of the issues related to Tribals, Dikus, etc. 

 

Some of the questions covered in this chapter are: What are the issues Birsa had already set out to solve? Who were the strangers referred to as Dikus, and how did they oppress the people of the area? What was going on with the tribal people under British rule? How have their lives changed? Here, we have provided explanations of these topics covered in the Story Tribals Dikus Vision Golden Age, for the easy understanding of students.

 

There are many other tribal groups as well but the ceremonies performed by the Brahmins are very different from that of the other tribal groups. These people groups have not been described by the division of position social orders. Every one of the people who had a place with a similar tribe saw themselves sharing normal ties of family relationships.

 

In any case, there was the presence of social and financial contrasts inside the tribes too. In this Story Tribals Dikus Vision Golden Age, understudies will gain proficiency with a portion of the issues identified with Tribals, Dikus, etc. Some of the inquiries shrouded in this part are:

 

What are the issues Birsa had effectively decided to settle? Who were the outsiders alluded to as Dikus, and how could they abuse individuals of the space? What was happening with the ancestral individuals under British rule? How have their lives changed? Here, we take care of given clarifications of these themes in the Story Tribals Dikus Vision Golden Age, for the simple comprehension of understudies.

 

The Process of Living as a Tribal Group

There are many tribal groups, and we will learn about their process of living and how they managed to sustain all those years. We will learn about their origin and other facts.

 

Starting with the Jhum Cultivations:

  • It is also known as shifting cultivation.

  • It was practiced mostly in forests.

  • By cutting the treetops, the farmers enabled sunlight to hit the ground which was beneficial for cultivation.

  • It is also known as the primitive type of cultivation.

  • It is known to be a loss to the forest land.

 

Next are, Hunters and Gatherers:

  • Tribal groups majorly gathered their strength from hunting and harvesting in forests.

  • Hunters and Gatherers reside in Odisha, mainly in Khonds.

  • The forest shrubs and herbs are used for medicinal purposes and it ends up being beneficial for society or the local market.

  • These groups generally depend on barter systems.

 

The next groups are the Herded Animals:

  • There are also tribes that exist and survive by hunting animals.

  • Under these, the Punjabi Hills, the Van Gujjars, and Labadis of Andhra Pradesh tribes or groups come.

  • They used to move and settle their herd and group according to the climate or the season.

  • These are a few groups that help us understand their cultivation and their lifestyle. These people devote all their lives to this and their tribe. They keep changing and accepting the environment accordingly.

 

How did Tribal Groups Live?

Some were Jhum Cultivators:

  • Jhum cultivation, which is shifting cultivation, was being practiced on small stretches of land, often in forests. 

  • The farmers cut the treetops to enable sunlight to touch the ground and torched the vegetation on the land to open it for cultivation. 

  • When the crop was prepared and harvested, they relocated to another area and left the ground to replant itself for several years. 

  • This method of cultivation is termed as a primitive type of cultivation and is considered to be a loss to forest land.

 

Some were Hunters and Gatherers:

  • In many areas, tribal groups have survived through hunting and harvesting of forest products. 

  • In Khonds, there have been hunters and gatherers residing in the Odisha forests. 

  • Many forest shrubs and herbs have been used for medicinal purposes, and forest products have been sold in the local markets. 

  • Baiga tribes of Central India were all unwilling to work for others. 

  • Tribal communities often required to exchange goods that were not produced in the locality. It has led to their reliability on traders and money-lenders. 

  • Tribal groups depended mainly on the barter system.

 

Some herded Animals:

  • Many tribes have existed by herding and rearing animals and by collecting forest products. 

  • They have been pastoralists who, as per the seasons, moved their herds of cattle or sheep. 

  • The Van Gujjars of the Punjab Hills and the Labadis of Andhra Pradesh were shepherds of cattle. The Gaddis of Kulu had been shepherds, and the Bakarwals of Kashmir reared goats. 

  • Later, the British laws on forest land grazing came to an end and became the main cause for tribal resentment.

 

Some took to Settled Cultivation:

  • Many tribes had started to settle rather than relocating from place to place. They started to use the plow and started gaining rights over the land they stayed on. 

  • Few tribes, such as Mundas, perceived the clan rights over land and claimed that the land belonged to the entire clan. 

  • British authorities saw settled tribes like the Gonds and the Santhals as more civilized than hunter-gatherers or shifters. 

  • Recovery of a large amount of taxes was also done from tribal people, and in the case of non-payment of revenue, their land was snatched away, and it became a cause of conflict.

 

How Did Colonial Rule Affect Tribal Lives?

What happened to Tribal Chiefs?

  • Prior to the arrival of the British, tribal chiefs enjoyed economic power and had the right to manage and govern their territories. 

  • Under British rule, the activities and authority of tribal chiefs altered as they were allowed to maintain their land titles but lost their administrative privileges and were made to accept the laws of the British in India. 

  • The rules laid down by the British had also taken over the privilege and power to manage the forest area.

 

What happened to the Shifting Cultivators?

  • The British were unhappy with the shifting cultivators as it was difficult to rule an unsettled community. 

  • The British wanted a regular source of revenue for the state and established land settlements. 

  • The British effort to settle down the Jhum cultivators was not very successful in the North-Eastern part of India, as the soil was not adequately fertile. 

  • Having faced widespread protests, the British had to permit them the right to continue to cultivate in some parts of the forest. 

  • In most of the central parts, Jhum cultivation was forbidden and the land was allocated for cultivation.

 

Forest Laws and Their Impact:

  • The identity of tribal communities was directly linked to the forest. 

  • The British stretched their authority over all forests and claimed them as state property. 

  • Reserved forests were intended for timber production by the British, but the forest village was settled within the forest for cheap labor. 

  • People were not allowed to move freely or practice Jhum cultivation in the reserved forests. 

  • This law had an impact on the very survival of tribals since they depended mainly on forests and their products. Many tribal groups responded to colonial forest laws and surged in open rebellion.

 

Problem with Trade:

  • In the 19th century, tribal communities found traders and money lenders arriving into the forest, offering loans to tribal people and asking them to work for wages. This led to the trapping of tribal people in the vicious debt trap and intensified the misery of their lives. 

  • Indian silk was in high demand in European markets in the 18th century. 

  • The Hazaribagh Santhals cultivated cocoons. The traders invested in their agents who offered loans to the tribal communities and obtained the cocoons. 

  • Coconuts were shipped to Burdwan or Gaya to be sold at 5 times the price. 

  • Different crops grown by tribal people were taken over by traders at lower prices and sold in the market at higher prices.

 

Search For Work:

  • The sufferings of the tribal people who had to get away from their homes in search of work were even worse. 

  • Natives have been recruited in great numbers to work for tea plantations and coal mines via low-wage contractors, preventing them from returning home.

 

A Closer Look

Birsa Munda:

  • A movement started under the governance of Birsa Munda. 

  • The British authorities were concerned that the Birsa movement's political aim was to drive out missionaries, money lenders, Hindu landlords, and the government, and to establish a Munda Raj with Birsa at its top. 

  • Birsa Munda was arrested in 1895. 

  • He was released in 1897 and traveled to many villages to gather support. He encouraged people to destroy 'Ravana', i.e., Dikus and Europeans and to establish a tribe under his leadership. 

  • In 1900, Birsa passed away due to cholera and the movement died away. 

  • The British made the laws stricter so that the moneylenders could not really exploit the tribes by stealing their lands.

 

Did You know?

  • ‘Abua raj ster jana, maharani raj tundu jana’ is the slogan by Birsa Munda, which is still famous in Eastern India.

  • ‘Gandhi Se Pehle Gandhi’ is a motion picture released in 2008 based on the life and activities of Birsa Munda.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Briefly explain the Hunter-Gatherer activities practised by the tribals in the chapter.

Tribal communities in many areas survived by the hunting of animals and the gathering of forest products. The Khonds were a community that survived by collective hunting and divided the food among themselves. The community consumed roots and fruits and used oil of sal and mahua to cook food. For medicinal purposes, shrubs and herbs have been used from forests.


These forest folks exchanged goods with the items they required in return for their valuable forest products. When the forest produced shrunk, tribal communities had to move in search of work as labourers. Tribal groups depended on traders and moneylenders as they often needed money to buy and sell goods that were not manufactured in the locality. But the interest on the loans was quite high.

2. How were the Jhum cultivators treated under British Colonial Rule?

The British were frustrated with the Jhum cultivators because they're always shifting from place to place in search of farming land. For organizational and financial reasons, the British wanted Jhum cultivators to settle down and become a landowner. The Government believed that it was easier to manipulate and manage peasant farmers than the Jhum cultivators. 


Moreover, changes in forest law have had a significant impact on tribal life. The British widened their authority over all forest areas and declared forests to be government property. People were not permitted to freely move in these forest areas, to cultivate, to gather fruit, or to hunt. Many Jhum cultivators were thus forced to relocate to other regions in search of jobs and livelihoods.

3. How did tribal groups start the Jhum cultivation and what were the major highlights of the respective cultivation?

The tribe started the Jhum cultivation on small stretches of land basically in forests. Jhum cultivation is also known as shifting cultivation. It is known to be a loss to the forest land. It was running by cutting the treetops, the farmers enabled sunlight to hit the ground which was beneficial for cultivation. It was the primitive type of cultivation. It was practiced mostly in forests.

4. What was the role of gatherers and hunters during the cultivation and where do they reside at that time?

Hunters and gatherers were the strength of the tribal group they helped to gather food and land. Hunters and Gatherers reside in Odisha, mainly in Khonds. These groups generally depend on barter systems. Tribal groups majorly gathered their strength from hunting and harvesting in forests. The forest shrubs and herbs are used for medicinal purposes and it ends up being beneficial for society or the local market.

5. How do the tribal group people herd their animals in forests?

Herding animals was a tough task as the food was not available for the people also. So, Under these, the Punjabi Hills, the Van Gujjars, and Labadis of Andhra Pradesh tribes or groups come. There are also tribes that exist and survive by hunting animals. They used to move and settle their herd and group according to the climate or the season. This is how they heard their animals and carried them along.

6. How were the tribal people treated by the brahmins at that time?

The tribal groups were the lower people of the society. There are many other tribal groups as well but the ceremonies performed by the Brahmins are very different from that of the other tribal groups. These people groups have not been described by the division of position social orders. Every one of the people who had a place with a similar tribe saw themselves sharing normal ties of family relationships. There was the presence of social and financial contrasts inside the tribes too. The condition of the tribe was not acceptable at that period. 

7. What was the condition of settled cultivation and the people who chose it as their living?

  • There were many tribes who chose to settle rather than move to other places.

  • The people who opted for settle cultivation started to take their rights on the land they were living.

  • The theory started using a plow over there. Some clans started dividing the land clan-wise to make peace.

  • Some of the settled tribes like the Gonds and Santhals were under the eye of British authorities. 

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