Name the notable tribes in India.
The notable tribes in India were
- The Bodos of Assam
- The Gonds of Central India
- The Kurumbars of South India
- The Todas of the Nilgiri plateau
The Mundas of Jharkhand
What were the activities of the Tribals?
Tribal people in different parts of India were involved in a variety of activities. They were
- Shifting Cultivation
- Hunting & Gathering forest produce
- Herding animals
- Settled cultivation
Write a short note on 'shifting cultivation'.
In shifting cultivation a plot of land is cleared by felling the trees and burning them. Small patches of land in forests were used for this kind of cultivation. The cultivators cut the treetops to allow sunlight to reach the ground. The ashes of burnt trees were mixed with the soil to fertilize it. The tribals used the axe to cut trees and the hoe to scratch the soil in order to prepare it for cultivation. They scattered the seeds on the field instead of ploughing the land and sowing the seeds. Once the crop was ready it was harvested.
After the soil lost its fertility, the land was abandoned and the cultivator moved to a new plot. Shifting cultivation is also known as 'slash and burn' agriculture.
Shifting cultivation usually starts with cutting trees and a fire which clears a spot for crop production. In the ideal case, shifting cultivation is a cycle where farmers come back to the original place after a couple of years
How did the status of the tribal chiefs change after the British established power in India?
Why did the British dislike 'shifting cultivators'?
The British did not like people moving from place to place, as was the case with shifting cultivators. They wanted tribal groups to settle down and become settled cultivators as it would be easier to control and administer people who were in one place. The British also found it easy to collect revenue from people who were settled in one place and maintain records on them.
What is 'Land Settlement Act' and why was it enforced?
Land Settlement Act which was enforced by the British defined the rights of each individual to a measured piece of land, and fixed the revenue for that piece of land, which had to be paid to the British. The British enforced this law as they wanted a regular revenue source from the states.
What are 'Reserved forests'?
Some forests were classified as Reserved Forests by the British as they produced timber which they wanted. The tribals were not allowed to move freely in these forests and practice Shifting cultivation. They were also not allowed to collect fruits or hunt animals in the reserved forests.
Mention the 2 rebellions that took place as a protest against forest laws.
Many tribals were against the Forest Laws and rebelled against it. Some tribals also rose in open rebellion against the British. They were
- Songram Sangma in 1906 in Assam
- The forest Satyagraha of the 1930s in the Central Provinces.
Write a short note on the Santhals of Jharkhand.
Santhals are the third largest tribe in India. They are mostly found in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Assam. Santhals belong to the Pre Aryan period. They were the great fighters during the British regime in India.
They wagged war against the Permanent Settlement Act enforced by Lord Cornwallis in 1855. During the late 1850s, Santhals hero Sidhu had accumulated around 10 thousand Santhals to run a parallel government against the British government.
Santhals speak Santhali language, which belongs to the Austro- Asiatic language family. The livelihood of the Santhals revolves around the forests they live in. They fulfil their basic needs from the trees and plants of the forests. The also cultivated silk warms.
An animal sacrifice to the Gods was a common practice among the Santhals to appease the Gods and Goddess.
Santhals mainly celebrate the Karam festival which falls in the month of September and October. It is the tradition among the Santhals to grow the Karam tree outside their house after the purification process.