CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 4 Notes - Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age

Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Class 8 Notes History Chapter 4 - PDF Download

The rituals and customs which were followed by different tribes early on were entirely different. These rituals differed from the ones that were propagated by the Brahmans. Now, these were the societies that were not really characterized by caste-based societies and their divisions. According to the Class 8 History Chapter 4, those who were of the same tribe would share certain common ties which denoted kinship. Also, there was some sort of economic and social differences within the tribes too.

Access Class 8 Social Science (History) Chapter 4 - Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Notes part-1

Access Class 8 Social Science (History) Chapter 4 - Tribals, Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age Notes

The Lifestyles of Different Tribal Groups in India 

  • During the 19th century, tribal people in different parts of India were involved in various activities like Jhum cultivators, Hunters & Gatherers, Herded animals, & Settled cultivation.

  • Itinerant cultivation took place in small plots of land, mainly in the forests.

  • In Jhum cultivators, the farmers cut off the tree tops to allow sunlight to reach the ground and burned the vegetation on the ground to clean it for cultivation.

  • They scattered the ashes from the fire, which contained potash, to fertilize the ground.

  • Once the harvest was prepared and harvested, they moved to another field. One field that was once grown was left fallow for several years.

  • Itinerant farmers have been discovered in the mountainous and wooded regions of northeastern and central India.

  • The lives of these tribal peoples depended on the freedom of movement in the forests and the possibility of using the land and forests to cultivate their crops. 

  • In many parts of the country, tribal groups lived by hunting animals and gathering forest products.

  • They saw forests as critical to their survival. The Khonds were such a community that lived in the forests of Orissa. They routinely engaged in collective hunting and then shared the meat.

  • They used a wide range of shrubs and forest herbs for medicinal purposes and sold forest products in local markets.

  • Local weavers and leathers turned to the Khonds when they needed supplies of kusum and palash flowers to colour their garments and leather.

  • Tribal groups often had to buy and sell in order to obtain commodities that were not produced in the community.

  • Money lenders gave out loans with which tribals responded to their cash flow needs, adding to what they gained. But interest on the loans was generally quite high.

  • A lot of tribal groups lived in animal farming. They were pastoralists travelling with their herds of cattle or sheep depending on the season

  • When one spot ran out of grass, they moved to another area. 

  • The Van Gujjars of the Punjab Hills and the Labadis of Andhra Pradesh were livestock farmers, the Gaddis of Kulu were shepherds and the Bakarwals of Kashmir were goat breeders. 

  • Even before the 19th century, many members of the tribal groups had begun to set up,and cultivating their fields in one place year after year, rather than moving from one place to another.

  • They started using the plow and progressively acquired rights to the land on which they lived. In many cases, such as the Mundas of Chottanagpur, the land was part of the whole clan.

  • For the British authorities, established tribal groups like the Gonds and Santhals are more civilized than hunters or itinerant farmers.

  • Very often, some people within the clan have become more powerful than others, some have become leaders and others disciples. Powerful men often rented their land instead of farming it on their own.


Effects on the Tribal Lives due to British Colonial

  • Tribal group life has changed during British domination.

  • Prior to the arrival of the British, in many areas, tribal leaders were important individuals. They were economically powerful and had the right to administer and control their territories. In some locations, they had their own police and determined local land and forest management rules.

  • They were also charged with honouring the British and disciplining tribal groups on behalf of the British. They lost the authority they previously enjoyed among their people, and were unable to fulfill their traditional duties.

  • The British were uncomfortable with groups moving around without a fixed house. They wanted the tribals to settle and become peasant farmers.

  • The British extended their control over the entire forest and declared it the property of the state. Some forests were classified as reserved forests because they made wood that the British wanted. In those forests, people did not have the right to move freely, to grow crops, to gather fruit or to hunt animals.


The Issue of the Traders and Moneylenders

  • During the nineteenth century, tribal groups have found that merchants and money lenders come to forests more often, wanting to buy forest products, offering cash loans, and asking them to work for wages.

  • Tribal groups were slow to understand the implications of what was happening.

  • The silk merchants would send their agents to lend to the tribes and pick up the cocoons.

  • Silk producers won very little money. Naturally, many tribal groups saw the market and merchants as their principal enemies.


The search for work

  • The fate of the tribals who were forced to move away from their homes in search of employment was even worse.

  • From the end of the nineteenth century, tea plantings began to appear and mining became an important industry.

  • Large numbers of tribes were recruited to work on the tea plantations of Assam and the coal mines of Jharkhand. They were hired by entrepreneurs who paid them miserably low wages and prevented them from returning home.


Understanding the Lifestyle of Tribal Groups

In order to understand more about ‘Dikus’, you need to know the lifestyle of the tribal groups. Let us have a close look at that right now to understand more.


Who were the Jhum Cultivators?

Most of the tribal people tend to practice Jhum Cultivation. It is a name given to the shifting cultivation. Now, this type of cultivation is practised on certain small patches of the land. The planters would cut down certain treetops in order to guarantee the safe passage of sunlight to the ground so that the vegetation can be cleared for cultivation in the best way. The crops are then ready to be harvested and then were moved to some other field. Most of these cultivators took to the forested and hilly areas of Central and North-Eastern India.


Hunters and Gatherers: Who were they?

There were certain tribal groups that would survive mostly by hunting down different animals and then gathering the forest produce as well. There was a community of people known as the Khonds who would survive on the collective hunting of meat and then the division which happened amongst their own. Khonds would eat the roots as well as the fruits and use the seeds for extracting oil. Also, the herbs and shrubs were used for different medicinal purposes.


Herding Animals and Settled Cultivation

Amongst the different tribes, some people used rearing and herding as their primary occupation. These people were pastoralists and moved along with the cattle that they had. Apart from that, some tribal groups began their process of settling down before the 19th century. They settled on the land of Chotanagpur and were known as Mundas. These people of the clan were known to be the descendants of original settlers.


The Impact of Forest Laws During the British Rule

It is not an understatement to say that the lives of the Tribal people were greatly affected due to the new laws of the Forest which came into existence during the British rule. The British people made sure that tribal people were not allowed to enter the forest. However, they also faced a grave problem when it came to finding labourers. In that case, the officials of the Colonial rule came up with certain solutions. They decided that the Jhum Cultivators would be given certain small patches of land in these forests for cultivation in return for services provided to the Labour Department. Most of the tribal groups completely disobeyed those rules. Hence, there were some protests which spread like wildfire in all of the states. This led to several problems during British rule.

To understand the meaning of ‘dikus', students need to go through this chapter for sure. Here, they will be able to answer some different questions about Tribals and Dikus as well. Most of the questions are concerned with the Birsa and their resolves. Also, there are some questions about who are the people referred to as Dikus and so much more. There are some questions regarding the tribal people that stayed during the British rule. We have provided a short summary of the chapter in order to make the concept a little bit clearer for the students.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What was the Effect of Colonial Rule in Tribal Lives?

Ans. The lives of these people belonging to the tribes changed a lot when the British Rule began. Here we are going to answer a few questions about the changes in people’s lives due to the beginning of Colonial rule.

Q2. What Exactly Happened to Certain Tribal Chiefs During the British Rule?

Ans. According to the Class 8 History Chapter 4 Notes, before the arrival of the British, tribal chiefs were considered to be extremely important. They had more economic power and also the right to control and administer the territories which were under them. However, during the British Rule, the power, as well as the functions for the tribal chiefs, changed a bit as they lost all their power of administration and had to follow certain laws made by the rulers.

Q3. What was the Effect of the British Rule on Jhum Cultivators?

Ans. One of the main goals of the British rule was to ensure that certain tribal groups settled down in the best way. This ensured the control and administration of the British over such peasants. Hence, there were some land settlements introduced by the British in order to ensure that these cultivators would get proper revenue resources in the best way. However, this effort didn’t prove to be very successful as there were widespread protests along in the states.

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