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Yojana Magazine Analysis – July 2022

Policies on Scheduled Tribes

  • Introduction
    • The framers of the Constitution acknowledged the fact that a few communities in India were experiencing extreme social, educational and economic backwardness on account of the primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure facilities and geographical isolation. In this context, various provisions were made in the Constitution of India, to uplift such communities.

  • Provisions for the Upliftment of Scheduled Tribes in the Constitution
  • The Constitution of India in Article 366 prescribes that the Scheduled Tribes (ST) mean “such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 of the Constitution to be Scheduled Tribes.”
    • Article 342 states that the President may, with respect to any State or Union territory after consultation with the Governor, specify the tribes or tribal communities as scheduled tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory, as the case may be.
    • STs are notified in 30 States/UTs and the number of individual ethnic groups, etc., notified as STs is 705.
  • Articles 15 and 16 empowered the Government for making special provisions for the Scheduled Tribes in education and public employment.
  • Article 46 of the Constitution provides that “the State shall promote with special care, the educational and economic interest of the weaker section of the people, and, in particular, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation”.
  • Statutory Provisions
    • Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
      • The Act was passed to prevent the offences of atrocities against the members of the SCs and the STs and to provide for Special Courts for the trial of such offences.
      • The Act also envisages providing relief and rehabilitation for the victims of atrocities.
    • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
      • The Act recognises and vests forest rights and occupation of forest land to STs.
      • The Act encompasses Rights of Self-cultivation and Habitation which are usually regarded as Individual Rights; and Community Rights such as Grazing, Fishing and Access to Water bodies in forests, and Habitat Rights for Scheduled Tribes.
    • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
      • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) is a constitutional body set up under Article 338A through the 89th Constitution Amendment Act, 2003.
      • The erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely:
        • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)
        • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
      • The first National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was constituted in 2004.
      • NCST is duty bound duty to act as a watchdog for STs, protect the rights of the tribal people and ensure the responsibilities of different institutions for their welfare.

Healthcare Challenges

  • Introduction
    • The United Nation’s State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Report states that for indigenous peoples, health is equivalent to the harmonious co-existence of human beings with nature.
    • However, most of the healthcare systems across the world struggle to provide adequate and appropriate health care to indigenous people.
    • The main sources of health data for tribal people in India are the demographic health surveys conducted periodically by the government.
  • Healthcare Challenges of Tribals in India
    • The health information systems of the government also do not always capture the data adequately.
      • Data on the tribal populations in India are often limited to cross-sectional surveys focusing on specific diseases like malaria and do not focus on larger socio-political issues.
      • Disease surveillance and epidemiological data on infectious diseases are also inadequate.
    • There is a lack of understanding and responsiveness of local health systems to tribal-specific health problems.
    • Mental health illnesses and substance abuse aspects of health which are emerging as a serious social concern in many tribal communities across the country are neglected.
    • Despite various interventions, there still remain severe deficiencies in access to antenatal, delivery and postnatal services across tribal communities in India.
    • Appropriate treatment for childhood illnesses in tribal children is poor when compared to their non-tribal counterparts.
      • Infant mortality and under-five mortality rates are higher among tribal children in most states.
    • Further, the prevalence of malnutrition and undernutrition in terms of proteins, calories and micronutrients is higher among tribal children.
    • Incidences of infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS have also resulted in higher morbidity and mortality rate.
    • Environmental health which is a key social determinant of overall health is also neglected in tribal areas.
  • Way forward
    • Comprehensive information on tribal health is crucial to tackling various healthcare challenges of the tribal population in India.
    • A national-level assessment of tribal health can only highlight recurring themes and gaps in tribal health. Hence efforts are to be focused on identifying areas or region-specific problems.
    • There is a need to explore the inter-linkages of health with other dimensions of human development such as education, land tenure, and empowerment.
    • Deficiencies in the delivery of health programmes, schemes and services must be resolved.
      • Civil society and NGOs play a key role in delivering services to tribal areas.
    • Efforts must be undertaken to harness the rich traditional health knowledge that exists among the tribal communities and specific interventions are needed to curb adverse cultural practices.
    • Further, special attention should be paid to screening genetic diseases like haemoglobinopathies and sickle cell anaemia, insect/animal-related bites or injuries and addiction to tobacco. Healthcare infrastructure must be updated as required.

The North Eastern Milieu

  • Tribals in North Eastern Region
    • Nearly 12% of the total tribal population in India lives in the North Eastern States.
    • Unlike the Central and South Indian States, where the tribal population is a minority, tribal communities constitute over 80% of the population in States like Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
    • North Eastern Region (NER) houses about 133 Scheduled Tribe groups, out of a total of 659 distinct groups presently identified in India.
  • Ecology and Inhabitants of NER
  • NER covers about 7.9% of the geographical area of the country.
  • The region is famous for its magnificent hills, deep gorges, wandering rivers and rivulets, undulating land, fertile valleys and varied flora & fauna.
    • The topography and the climatic conditions of the region have made North East India a distinct geographical region in the country.
  • NER shares about 4200 km of international boundary with four countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar.
  • It is connected to the rest of India through a narrow route popularly known as the “Chicken’s Neck”.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim could be described as hilly, whereas Assam is largely a plain region.
  • Agriculture has been the major occupation and source of livelihood for the people in NER. Two distinct types of agricultural practice in NER may be observed:
    • Settled agriculture in the plains and valleys and gentler slopes
    • Slash and burn cultivation (jhum) in the hilly states
  • In the lowland areas of the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys, three agricultural systems of rice are followed, namely Sali kheti, Ahu kheti, and Bao kheti.
  • Forest products have been the source of food and fuel.
  • Culture and Tradition
    • The North East is regarded as a “repository of traditional knowledge systems” as the crucial information about the selection of land, seeds, time of sowing, transplanting the seedlings, harvesting, storing, and preserving seeds for the next season have been transmitted to farmers from their forefathers through oral traditions.
    • NER is often described as the cultural mosaic of India being receptive to diverse tribal communities, linguistic, and ethnic identities.
    • The tribal communities of the North East have their own traditional system of governance and chieftainship is the most prevalent.
    • The members of the tribes are united by kinship and marriage, thus it becomes difficult to differentiate between political and domestic matters. Lineage segmentation is the chief principle of the political structure of the tribal communities.
  • Important tribal festivals in NER
  • Each society has its own cultural tradition and social system which includes different modes of festivities which are mostly related to agriculture. This include:
    • Arunachal Pradesh – Moh-Mol (Tangsa), Mopin & Solung (Adi), Oriah (Wancho), Nyokum (Nyishi), Reh (Mishmi), Lossar (Monpa), Boori-Boot (Hill Miris)
    • Assam – Magh Bihu, Bohag Bane, Ali-Ai-Ligang (Mishing), Baikho (Rabha) and Baishagu (Dimasa)
    • Nagaland –  Moatsu (Ao), Ngada (Rengma), Monyu (Phom), Naknyulutn (Chang), Sekrenyi (Angami) and Suhkruhnye (Chakhensang)
    • Manipur – Lai Haraoba dance, Thabal Chongba dance and Raslila
    • Mizoram – Chapchar Kut, Mim Kut and Cheraw (the Bamboo Dance)
    • Tripura – Garia Puja, Kharchi Puja, Ker Puja and others
    • Meghalaya – Wangala Festival (Garo), Shad Suk Mynsieum (Khasi) and Behdienkhlam (Jaintia)
  • Decline in the tribal population in NER
    • In recent years it is seen that the tribal population in NER is on the decline.
    • Tripura has witnessed a decline from 56% in 1951 to less than 30% in 2001.
    • In Arunachal Pradesh, the tribal population has declined from 90% in 1951 to less than 64% in 1991.
    • Bodo Tribes who are a plain land tribal community of Assam have become a minority in many areas of Bodoland Territorial Region.

Tribals in Gujarat

  • Introduction
    • As per the 2011 Census, the total population in Gujarat was 604.39 lakh out of which the tribal population accounts for 14.76%.
    • There are 26 Scheduled Tribe groups in the State.
    • Since 2001, there has been a significant increase in the literacy rate for the tribal communities.
  • Few important Tribal communities in Gujarat
  • Bhil: The word Bhil comes from the Dravidian word “billu” which means bow to shoot arrows. The Bhils have been carrying arrows with them since ancient times.
    • The population of the Bhil tribe lives in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Aravalli, Panchmahal, Dahod, Dang, Baruch, Narmada, Tapi, and Surat districts.
  • Warli: Warli comes from the word “waral” which means a small piece of land. The community is famous for their Warli paintings which are made on the walls of dung with soaked rice water, using acacia and bamboo sticks.

  • Gond: Gond people speak Gondi dialects which are derived from a mix of Tamil, Kannada and Telugu.
    • It could therefore be presumed that they might have come from South India.
    • A Gond dynasty is said to have ruled for several centuries in the Chandama region.
  • Siddi: Siddis mainly reside across India, especially in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala.
    • They also reside in Karnataka in Ankola, Solapur and Mangrol taluka.
    • Siddis are a tribe of African descent who migrated and settled in rural areas in India.
    • They are included in the primitive group.
    • They are famous for their Dhamal Dance.

  • Rathwa: Rathwas came from Alirajpur near Madhya Pradesh. Farming, animal husbandry, poultry farming, and forestry are their main occupations.
  • Dhodia: This tribe is found in the Bang, Naysari, Surat, Valsad, and Tapi districts of Gujarat. In the Bhili dialect, the roof is called Dhuda and its inhabitants are known as Dhodia.
  • Chaudhri: Chaudhri community living in the districts of South Gujarat considers itself to be of Rajput descent.
  • Patelia: After the fall of Patai Rawal Pavagadh, those Rajputs and Kshatriyas who settled in different forest areas were known as Patelia.
    • They became leaders of the village and were managing village affairs, thus becoming “Patel” of a village.
  • Tribal Culture
    • Art
      • Pithora paintings: The Rathwa tribes have their bamboo walls plastered with clay and the local deity Pithoradev is painted on the wall.
      • Warli paintings: Paintings of Warlis are ritual decorations during weddings where women draw patterns on the walls of the bride’s house with rice powder after clay-plastering.

    • Tribal Wear
      • Tribal individuals are known to use clothing such as langoti, Chaniya (a skirt), faliya (headscarf), coloured Kabja (jacket, blouse), Odhni (headcloth), Baloyas (kind of bangles) from wrist to elbow, and Pijaniyas (heavy anklet) of brass on legs.
    • Tribal Healing System
      • Bhagat Bhava: This healing system is mainly found in the tribal belts of Gujarat, especially Dang, Narmada, Vaisad, and forest-dominated areas of Dahod, Pancharnahal, Sabarkantha, and Banaskantha.
      • They play an important part in the religion, health and society of the tribals.

Tribal Songs of Chhattisgarh

  • Tribal songs
    • Traditional songs and music form the identity of the tribal culture.
    • Traditional songs reflect the natural spirit and innate energy of every stage of tribal life.
    • The tribal areas of Chhattisgarh are known for their traditional tribal songs and music.
    • Initially, the tribal songs in their dialects reverberated with the rebellion of their area, and then with the movement that was prevalent in the country.
    • The national awareness of the tribal communities is seen in the songs of different dialects such as Halbi, Bhatri, Muria, Gondi, Oraon, Baiga, etc.
  • Famous tribal songs and dialects
    • Bhumkal Songs – these songs are in Bhatri Dialect which is considered one of the most illustrative tribal dialects. There are songs on Veer Narayan Singh and the Bhumkal rebellion.
    • Halbi Song – The songs of the Halba tribe are said to be a great treasure of the tribal folk tradition. It describes the freedom struggle of the country.

  • Gondi Songs – In Chhattisgarh, the Gond tribe has been predominant and many songs composed in their Gondi dialect became a part of community life in the tribal area.
  • Baiga Song – The Baiga tribe, living in the central parts of Chhattisgarh, is a unique tribe which has its own distinct cultural identity and its folk songs and dances are highly appreciated.
  • Oroan Song – Oraon is a dominant tribe in the north of Chhattisgarh and the songs composed in the Oraon dialect motivated the national movement of the entire region.

Rich Heritage of Gonds

  • The Gonds
  • According to the 2011 Census, the tribals account for 109 million and represent 8.6% of the country’s total population.
  • Of the total tribal population of the country, the Gonds are the largest in number.
  • Gonds are seen in states across India such as Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • There are several sub-tribes under the Gonds which share common ethnic origins.
  • Various theories have been put forth to decode the origin of the Gonds as a race and one theory says that the name ‘Gond’ was given to them by other communities.
    • The members of this community do not call themselves by that name, instead, they called and still call themselves “Koi” or “Koithur”.
  • Social Structure of the Gonds
    • The social structure of the Gonds is one of the oldest and most unique systems created by their chief preceptor Pahandi Pari Kupar Lingo.
    • They have about 750 paadings (clans) and 2250 paadi (totems) and initially 4 saga divisions.
    • The Gond family is the smallest social unit.
      • The Gond family is patrilineal and patrilocal.
      • Only unmarried daughters are regarded as members of the family. They become a part of their husbands’ family post-marriage.
  • Pari (clan) –  Gonds use the term “pari” to express their group. A Gond clan is a unilateral group consisting of family members with the same clan name.
    • The members of the clan are believed to be descended from a common ancestor.
  • Sub-Castes – There are various sub-castes which include the Pardhans, Ojhas, Nagarchis, Dholis, Raj Gonds, Khatola Gonds, Madia Gonds, Dhur Gonds, Dadve Gonds, Mokashi Gonds, Ciaita Gonds, Koyas, etc.
  • Marriage – Marriage is forbidden among blood relatives, however, marriage among the children of maternal uncles and paternal aunts is common.
  • Status of women – Most of the domestic work is centred around women.
    • The husband consults the wife in all the major conflicts within the family.
    • However, women are excluded from certain rituals.
  • Religious life of Gonds
    • Like most of the tribes, Gonds believe firmly in myths and omens.
    • Gonds also believe in life after death, ancestor worship, sacrifice, and sacred plants and animals.
    • The priests among the Gonds are called Pujar, Bhagat, and Baiga.
    • The important festivals of Gonds include Akkari, Jiwati, Pola, Diwali Nawo tindana, Dussera, Phag or Shimga.
  • Important cultural aspects of Gonds
    • Mohuwa – flowers of the mohuwa are extensively used by Gonds in their diet.
      • The liquor prepared using distilled flowers of Mohuwa is an important part of their religious and social culture.
    • Tattoos – Gonds tattoo their bodies and are seen as true jewellery that remains with them even after their death.
    • Songs & Dances – The songs of Gonds have different ragas for different seasons and occasions. The main dance forms are Karma, Ri-na, Ri-lo, Re-la, SelaDanda (stick), Mandari, Hulki, and Suwa, etc.
      • Songs and dances are accompanied by various musical instruments like drums, flute, cymbals and others.

    • Arts and crafts – Gonds are said to be experts in arts and crafts. They are also experts in wall paintings and floral designs with geometric designs and stylistic figures of plants and animals.
      • The geometric and symbolic designs are carved on walls and doors, on combs and tobacco cases.

    • Gotul – is a traditional institution of the Gonds that was used to inculcate a sense of discipline and cooperation among its members.
    • It was the centre of learning and inculcated integrity and uniqueness among all the members of the Gotul.
      • It helped members learn about idioms, wisdom sayings, ecology and forestry, medicines and herbals, hunting and fishing.
    • Gondi Language – Gondi is a pre-Dravidian language and that is the mother tongue of the Gonds.
      • Gonds, when communicating with outsiders, use a colloquial type of Hindi, known as Chhattisgarhi.

Tribals in Jharkhand

  • Introduction
    • The mineral-rich plateau is inhabited by different tribal populations, of which Santhals, Hos, Kharias, Mundas and Oraons are the most prominent ones.
    • 76% of Jharkhand households are in the rural areas and about 28% of the households belong to the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Important tribals in Jharkhand
    • Oraons – are the most populous tribal groups in north-east India.
      • Oraons are considered to be related to proto-Australoids and have been inhabiting the land since the pre-Dravidian era.
    • Santhals – have the most primitive caste system among the oldest tribes.
      • They are also one of the largest tribal groups in India.
    • Munda – is an agriculturist tribal group.
      • Many of the agricultural implements mentioned in Vedic literature such as langala, or hula (plough) and kuddala (spade), are of the etymological origin of the Munda tribe.
  • Various challenges faced by the tribals in Jharkhand
    • According to NFHS-5, the socio-economic condition of families of STs in Jharkhand is not at par with that of other families and there is a need for critical attention of the government for furthering the welfare of the STs of Jharkhand.
    • Schedule Tribes households lag in aspects such as pucca houses, electricity, health and drinking water facilities.
    • The non-existence of proper toilet facilities in the houses is reflective of their socio-economic situation.
    • Pre-schooling of children and school attendance of school-going children are also very low.
    • Malnutrition and undernourishment are also major causes of concern with respect to tribal children in Jharkhand.
    • Prevalence of Naxalism and law and order problems are also crucial challenges to tribals in Jharkhand.
  • Central Assistance for Welfare of Scheduled Tribes
    • Scheduled Tribe Component or Development Action Plan for STs (STC or DAPST)
        • Earlier funds from the Central Government were being earmarked by the Ministries/Departments against their plan allocation under the broad strategy of the Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) as per the recommendations of a Task Force.
        • Post-2017-18, there was a merger of Plan and non-Plan funds and TSP was renamed “Development Action Plan for STs” (DAPST).
  • Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan or Tribal Sub-Scheme of States: It is an Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan which is given by the Central Government to States to support their efforts in bridging the gap between the tribal population and other social groups.
  • Grant-in-aid under Article 275(1): Grants-in-aid from the Union are provided to promote the welfare of the STs or raise the level of administration of the ST areas.
  • Scholarship and Fellowship schemes: The Centre has made provisions for scholarships to ST students of the country which are available at various levels of education such as pre-matric education and post-matric education.
  • Special Fund for Protection of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups:
    • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) are those tribal communities with a pre-agriculture level of technological expertise, a stagnant or declining population, an extremely low level of literacy, and a subsistence economy.
    • About 75 such PVTGs have been identified in 18 States.
    • The priority is to accord protection and improvement in the social indicators like livelihood, health, nutrition, and education to improve their situation.
  • National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation: It is a PSU working under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
    • It extends concessional loans to eligible ST persons for undertaking income generation activities or self-employment.
  • Conclusion
    • The growth and development of communities, societies and civilisations are usually carried out through the functioning of various factors and in a country like India, the tribal communities are similarly placed in their aspiration while the mainstream, situational and environmental factors, are creating greater hindrances to their growth and development.
    • In recent times, the Governments have given more emphasis to the tribals through interventions like celebrating the tribal way of life, their art, and culture and assuring newfound respect in the society by commemorating their contributions to freedom struggle and contributions to society.

Sports in Tribal-dominated Areas

  • Introduction
    • In recent years, many sports players have emerged from the tribal-dominated belts such as Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and North Eastern States who have brought laurels to the country in both national and International level competitions.
    • These players come from extreme geographical conditions and have relatively limited availability of world-class sports facilities.
    • In this context, there has been an increased emphasis on sports in India, especially in tribal areas leading to better performance in various international sporting events.
  • Sports in tribal-dominated areas
    • Sports such as hockey, archery, athletics, wrestling, kho-kho, kabaddi, volleyball, swimming, canoeing-kayaking, taekwondo, judo, shooting and horse riding are extremely famous among tribals.
    • Hockey – Jaipal Singh Munda, Sylvanus Dung Dung, Birendra Lakra, Beauty Dungdung, Pramodini Lakra, Nikki Pradhan, Salim Tete and Mahima Tete are well-known hockey players from tribal backgrounds.
    • Archery – Deepika Kumari who became the world’s number one archer and is also a Padma Shri and Arjuna Awardee is from a tribal-dominated area.
      • Garo Ho, Rimil Buriuli, Purmina Mohato, and Laxmirani Majhi are other noted Indian archers from tribal-dominated areas.

  • Government initiatives
    • Continuing efforts are being made by the governments to identify talented sportspersons in tribal areas and provide them with adequate facilities for their promotion and training.
    • Under the Chhattisgarh Sports Policy 2017, emphasis has been laid on adopting a strategic approach to encourage and develop various sporting activities and players in Chhattisgarh, under which, the identification of outstanding and capable players in various sports in all the districts of the State is included.
    • In Madhya Pradesh, efforts are being made at the government level to promote sports talent in tribal-dominated areas.
  • Conclusion
    • Stories of sports talent emerging from the tribal-dominated areas are inspiring and the Governments are making sustained efforts to identify talents from these belts and provide them with adequate training, equipment and facilities.

Indigenous Culture

  • Indigenous Culture of India
    • The culture and diversities of indigenous people in India are remarkable.
    • Regions such as Northeast India, Rajasthan, Odisha and West Bengal have large concentrations of such indigenous communities.
    • The traditional knowledge, cultural expression, knowledge about local flora and fauna, medicine, agriculture, textile, and food of the indigenous people is immense.
    • According to a World Bank report, “Indigenous Peoples own, occupy, or use a quarter of the world’s surface area, they safeguard 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. They hold vital ancestral knowledge and expertise on how to adapt, mitigate, and reduce climate and disaster risks.”
  • Adis of Arunachal Pradesh
    • The literal meaning of “adi” is mountain top or hill.
    • Adis are known to have migrated from further north and have settled in various districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
    • They speak the Sino-Tibetan language.
    • They are traditionally nature worshippers and follow the faith of Donyi-Polo.
      • Adis are hence dependent on nature and are fully self-sufficient in their livelihood and lifestyle and all their resources come from the forests.
  • Adis are famous for their age-old house-making skills, and they take just one or two days to build a house.
    • Adi men are good craftsmen and have a unique way of building houses using different types of plant materials.
    • The traditional houses are constructed with different types of bamboo, wood, canes, leaves, etc., and no nails are used in their construction.
    • These are also collected based on the phase of the moon and the materials collected just before the new moon are free from insects, and last long.
    • Once a house is complete, the Adis celebrate it with their traditional rice beer.
  • Tangsas of Arunachal Pradesh
    • The Tangsa community inhabits the Changlang district of eastern Arunachal Pradesh, located in the Patkai hills.
    • The Tangsas have a rich cultural heritage and are well known for their traditional knowledge and skills of natural food processing and preservation, sustainable cooking, weaving, architecture and basketry.
    • However, they are most famous for their indigenous bamboo tea-making.
    • The Tangsas, along with the Singphos, are believed to be the original tea-makers in India, much before the British introduced it commercially.
    • Tangsas process tea leaves following their traditional methodology which provides for the natural preservation of the roasted dry tea for many years.
    • Tangsas believe that their indigenous tea has medicinal values.
    • The staple diet and cuisine of Tangsas, consisting of rice, meat, and fish, are all cooked using bamboo.
  • Kalbelias of Rajasthan
    • Kalbelia is a unique nomadic community of snake-charmers and is also referred to as “ghoomantar”.
      • In their language, Kal means ‘snake’ and Belia means ‘friendship’.
    • Kalbelias are known for their “Kalbelia dance”.
    • The knowledge of their cultural forms and practices is passed down through generations orally.

  • The Kalbelia tradition is rich in indigenous music, songs, dance and handicrafts (embroidery and ethnic jewellery) all combined together to create a vibrant and colourful folk form.
  • The men play music with their main instrument being the wind instrument called Pungi that is accompanied by percussion instruments, Dafli and to the beats and tunes of which the Kalbelia women dance.
  • Kalbelia is inscribed in the UNESCO 2003 Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • The Rajbongshis of West Bengal
    • Rajbongshi is an indigenous community residing in West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and other Northeast regions.
    • The word Rajbongshi literally means “royal community” and is believed to have hailed from the ancient Koch kingdom.
    • Rajbongshis are well known for art forms such as Bamboo and Dhokra crafts, performing arts like Gomira Dance (Mukha Nach) and the satirical folk drama, Khon.

  • Gomira Dance locally known as Mukha Nacli, is a form of ritualistic dance practised by this community by putting on Gomira wooden masks of different forms of deities.
  • Instruments include drums, dhak, shehnai and metal gong.
  • Gomira mask makers reside in the Kushmandi block in Dakshin Dinajpur and Kaliagani block in Uttar Dinajpur.
  • The Gomira dance festival is organized usually during the months of Chaitra and Ashad (April-July).
  • Dhokra crafts or mat weaving is an indigenous tradition practised by the Rajbongshi women.
    • Weaving is done on home-based back strap looms.
    • Jute, which is grown locally, is hand processed and hand-woven to produce the natural fibre products, making the products highly sustainable.
  • Conclusion
    • The indigenous communities have nurtured oral cultural traditions of songs, theatre, dance, and social customs to help them survive the test of time with faith and hope. When the world is struggling for solutions and success in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, there are hundreds of indigenous communities across the country which do not have any carbon footprint of their traditional ways of living and are mostly self-sufficient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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