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Tribes, Nomads, and Settled Communities

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Last updated date: 16th May 2024
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What are Tribes?

A tribe is a division in a society that comprises families with a common social, economic, religious connections, or blood relations, sharing a common culture and dialect. However, tribes and nomads bear certain features that make them unique cultural, social, and political entities.


In ancient times, India had a stringent caste system. People were divided as tribes, nomads, and settled communities who lived and flourished in their own communities. So, we understand that communities are categorized into tribes, nomads, and settled. Nomads were wanderers who preferred to stay in temporary sheds and move over long distances with their animals and live their life on milk and other pastoral products. Basically, they didn’t rely on their money for their living, instead, they exchanged wool, ghee with settled agriculturists for grain, cloth, utensils, and other products. 


Here, we will learn more about Class 7 History Chapter 7: Tribes, nomads, and settled communities and gather all the information on tribes, nomads, and settled communities.


Tribal People Community

Tribal societies and tribal people are integral parts of the culture of a place. They were entirely different from those who existed in big cities. Also, tribal people never followed the social rules and rituals prescribed by the Brahmanas because they split societies into uncountable unequal classes. A unique bond of kinship among the members of each tribe was one of the great features of the tribe community.


The chief source of livelihood for these people was agriculture. However, among these communities, hunter-gatherers or herders were also there. Some tribes were nomadic who continued wandering from one place to another for their livelihood. While, other tribes preferred to live in forests, hills, deserts, and places difficult to reach.


Regions Covered By Tribal Societies

  • The most important occupation of the tribal community was agriculture. But there were also hunter-gatherers or herders. Most often they combined these activities to make complete use of the natural resources of the region in which they lived. Some tribes were nomadic moving from one location to another.

  • A tribal group managed the land and pastures and split these among households according to its own rules. Such groups of tribal people were found in nearly every place of the subcontinent. The Khokhar tribe was influential throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, in Punjab.

  • Much later, the Gakkars became more powerful. In Multan and Sind, the Langahs and Arghuns ruled a lot of the extensive regions. The Balochis were another huge and powerful tribe in the northwest. The Gaddi Shepherds resided in the western Himalayas. The Nahas Ahoms and plenty of others lived in the remote north-Japanese part of the subcontinent.

  • In various regions of current Bihar and Jharkhand, Chero Chiefdoms had emerged by the twelfth century. However, they were subdued by the Mughals. The Mundas and Santhals were different vital tribes that lived in these states and additionally in Orissa and Bengal. The Kolis, Berads, and several others lived in the highlands of  Maharashtra highland, Karnataka, and Gujarat.

  • Further, there were huge tribal populations, such as Koragas, Vetars, Maravars, and plenty of others in the South. Across western and central India which is woodland and fertile land, the tribal group of Bhils was spreading. With their most important occupation being agriculture and hunting-gathering, their region had perfectly suited the geographical region in which they lived.

  • Around the late 16th century lots of tribal people had ended up settled agriculturists and a few even were Zamindars. Many Bhil clans nevertheless remained hunter-gatherers. The Gonds were discovered in a huge variety throughout the present-day states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh.


List of Tribal Communities in India: State-wise List


State

Community(s)

Current population

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Sentinelese Tribe



44



The Great Andamanese Tribe

44

The Onge Tribe 

101

The Jarawa Tribe

380

Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh

The Kamar Tribe 

666

Kerala

The Kadar Tribe 

2, 949

Kerala and Tamil Nadu

The Kurumba Tribe 

9, 409

Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh & Odisha

The Birhor Tribe 

11, 751

Odisha

The Bondo Tribe

12, 231

The Dongria Khond Tribe in Odisha

6, 306 (in Odisha)   +    1,03, 290 (Andhra Pradesh)


Tribes, Nomads, And Settled Communities Summary

We have gathered all the information on tribes, nomads, and settled communities. Now, let us go through the features of tribes and nomads Communities we learned so far are:

  • People of this society never followed any of the social rules and rituals established by Brahmanas. However, they had their own rich oral traditions.

  • They had a great kinship among their people.

  • They never divided themselves into many unequal classes.


List of Major Nomadic Communities

The major pastoral nomadic communities are:

  • Bakarwal - Jammu & Kashmir

  • Bhutia - North district of Sikkim

  • Ghosi - Bihar, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh

  • Gujjar - Jammu, and Kashmir (J & K), Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan


Facts on Indian Communities

  • As per the Constitution of India, there are around 645 distinct tribes in India. The census of 2011 demonstrated that Bhil is the largest tribe in the country having a population of above 40 lakhs! 

  • Some communities do not institute monolithic groups but incorporate various groups that often refer to themselves as jatis or quoms; these are as follows:

  • Gandhila is sometimes pronounced as Gandhil and Gondola (belonging to Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh).

  • Gadia Lohar also known as Gaduliya Lohars (belonging to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan).

  • Gavli - belonging to Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and Gujarat

  • Monpa - Tibet dialect community - Tawang and West Kemeng districts of Arunachal Pradesh.


Conclusion

Thus, in this article, we have covered the tribals as well as nomads. These are said to be the original people of the land and said to live a simple life. They used to live near nature and forests. These have their own communities, lifestyle, religion, traditions and rituals, etc. 

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FAQs on Tribes, Nomads, and Settled Communities

1. List some of the characteristics of tribal communities in India.

Though tribal societies were united by kinship bonds, there are other  principal features of the tribal societies, which are as follows:

  • Some traits were absent in tribal societies, such as strong, complex, formal organisation.

  • These societies had a communitarian basis of landholding.

  • There was no hierarchy among men and groups in tribal societies.

2. List the major tribes in Andhra Pradesh.

The major tribes in Andhra Pradesh are:

  • Andh, 

  • Sadhu Andh, 

  • Bhagata, Bhil, 

  • Chenchus (Chenchawar), 

  • Gadabas, 

  • Gond, 

  • Goundu, 

  • Jatapus, 

  • Kammara, 

  • Kattunayakan, 

  • Kolawar, 

  • Kolam, 

  •  Banjara

Other communities were Yenadis, Sugalis, Lambadis, Konda, Manna, Savaras, Dabba, Dhora, Pardhan, Rona, Yerukula, Nakkala, Dhulia, Thoti, Sugalis, Kondareddis, Koya, Mukha Dhora, Valmiki , etc.

3. List the major tribes in Odisha.

The communities in Odisha are:

  • Gadaba, 

  • Ghara, 

  • Kharia, 

  • Khond, 

  • Matya, 

Others are Oraons, Rajuar, Santhals, Bathudi, Bathuri, Bhottada, Bhumij, Gond, Juang, Kisan, Kolha, Kora, Khayara, Koya, Munda, Paroja, Saora, Shabar, Lodha, etc.