Written by the Head of the Department of Sociology, this book is an extensive study of the important tribes of India to convey that races and tribes are not the same and that the tribes are distinguished by their physical features, cultural traditions clan-wise and locality-wise, kinship marriages and rituals and ceremonies.
Following Independence in 1947, social and economic problems prompted the powers to wake up to those people in India who had for ages lived in utter darkness in their world?the villagers and tribals who were not aware of their social and political responsibilities and terms like democracy, fundamental rights, equality, fraternity, justice, etc. carried no meaning for a majority of them. Only the highly educated would gather information about political ideologies, economic development and social change in the light of the new political ideals.
Under its new policy purview, Independent India could not afford the isolationist policy towards Indian tribes to continue. A number of special provisions for the progress of tribals and safeguards for their interests were included in the Indian Constitution.
The author of this book divides the problems of tribal developments into two categories??the one which the tribals face and the other, which the functionaries working in a tribal society come across.? Closely related to the problems of the tribals is the need to understand the life and culture of the tribals. And for this, it is necessary to study the various kinds of social groupings and related institutions that are formed on social, economic, political and religious considerations. For instance, members of a Bhil clan residing on the plains of Madhya Pradesh may not have social formations and culture identical to the Bhils of Mewar and those of the Dang district of Gujarat. Similarly the Sehariyas, living in the dacoit-infested area of Morena, differ in certain respects from the colonised people of the same fraternity in Rajasthan.
Apart from the perplexing varieties and diversities in their socio-religious and economic conditions, the biggest problem is their isolation, which prevents modern technological advancement to reach them. Moreover, unlike the modern man who adapts himself to the technology that interacts between him and nature, the life of the primitive man shows more of his adaptation to nature than of Nature modified to his needs and tastes.
Further, the author speaks about the impact of total surrender of the tribals to their environment. ?A communal solitude and changing environment in course of time comes to bear a static pose and the primitive man brought up under their impact is held there till his death. Thus it is established that the tribals are less open to changes caused due to quick development and more possibly would remain unchanged for a few more years to come.?
Since the author had conducted his research in Manthol, a village in Bidar district of Karnataka, the study deals with its rural condition and the geographical, historical, cultural, linguistic and administrative aspects of Bidar. The main objective of his study is to get acquainted with various aspects of the tribal group called Gondkurbs. Bidar, besides being the district headquarters, since the days of the Nizam, is famous as the city of Vidura Nagar and the surrounding area was once known as Kuntala rajya of Nala. The place was under the influence of Jainism for long before the cult of Veerashaivism was born and nourished here. Besides, its soil is clayey which provides for the artistic works of Bidriware. It is one of the most backward areas of Karnataka.
The author has extensively studied the leisure activities, housing ownership, landed property, occupational patterns, types of soil, income and expenditure in detail. He has also given a list of the scheduled tribes in relation to the total tribal population of India, the state-wise seats reserved in Parliament, the guidelines set by the Adivasi Academy and Tribal Commission, the tribal revolts in India, the land alienation laws in various states and the measures adopted for the uplift of scheduled tribes. However this is a very reader-specific book.
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