Tribal Society Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts: Geographical Ecology and Linguistics

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  • Primitive
  • Difficult to define as they vary a lot in characteristics like:
    • Geographical isolation
    • Ancient mode of production
    • Endogamy
    • Language and culture
    • Unorganized religion
    • Illiterate
  • Tribe as an attitude: Cruel, violent and uncivilized. – Henry Maine
  • Tribes as a dual organization: Clan and Religion by David Maybury Lewis
  • India – Indian constitution accepted the recommendation of Simon Commission in 1929 - tribes as Janajati/STs/Adivasi.

Geographical Ecology of Tribes in India

  • Himalayan tribes - Khasa, Darad, Nagas of Nagaland, Gaddis and Bakarwals of J&K and Himachal
  • Central India – Santhal, Munda, Baiga
  • Western India- Bhils, Garasia
  • Southern India- Dodas of Niligiri, Chenchu, Cherokee
  • Islanders – Jarava, Sentinel (extinct)

Biraja Sankar Guha

There are seven tribes in India with population of one lakh and above:

  • The Gonds
  • The Bhills
  • The Santhals
  • The Minas
  • The Oraons
  • The Mundas
  • The Khonds

Indian Tribes on the Basis of Linguistics

  • David G. Bromley used the term ethnicity over race.
  • Race is a biological term and ethnicity includes cultural- linguistic concept.
  • According to Grierson, the editor and compiler of The Linguistic Survey of India, nearly 180 languages and about 550 dialects are spoken by Indians.
    • Indo- European linguistic group
    • Dravidian linguistic group
    • Tibeto- Chinese linguistic group: a branch of the Sino-Tibetan family
    • Austro- Asiatic linguistic group

Indo- European Linguistic Group

Hezang and Bhili liguistic tribes

Dravidian Linguistic Group

  • Yerwa of Mysore
  • Oraon of Chotanagpur
  • It is said that the Dravidian language travelled via the Pakistan area to south India where it gave rise to Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam

Tibeto- Chinese Linguistic Group

  • A branch of the Sino-Tibetan family
  • Along the Himalayas from north-eastern Assam to north-east Punjab.
  • Lepchas of Darjeeling and Nagaland

Austro- Asiatic Linguistic Group

  • Earliest--Munda speech
  • Two branches: Munda and Mon-Khmer.
  • Mon-Khmer represents Khasi language spoken in Khasi and Jantia hills in Meghalaya in north-east India and also in the Nicobar Islands.
  • Munda: Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Orissa … Santhal tribes
  • Large numbers of Munda and Dravidian words are to be found in the Rig Veda.

Tribal Living

Youth dormitories

  • Socializing institutions for youth
  • Prepares them for upcoming roles
  • Trainings – biological, economical, cultural, social
  • Can be separate or together


Q. 1. Which of these is not a tribe in India?

a) Konyaks

b) Kunbi

c) Aos

d) Jaintias

Answer: b

Q. 2. Which zone consists of the highest population of tribe in India?

a) Central

b) North east

c) Northern

d) Southern

Answer: a

#Rural Sociology

#Tribal Society

#Caste-Tribe Settlements (New 2019)