AbstractTribes are primitive clans under recognizedchief and usually claiming common ancestor, they dwell in isolated locations indense forests and around hills to avoid contact with others in society, tomaintain their culture and tradition. There is a wide gap between developmentalstandards of tribals and non-tribals section of Tamil Nadu at social setting. Therehad been major impacts on the tribalsettlements due to the intrusion of the non tribals over the tribals. Tribesface prejudice and violence from the society at large. Displacement of land standsas the major reason for the economic and social problem of the tribes. Ashocking report says that state has been monitoring the tribal populationand more than 80% of ethic group isstatic in nature and may face extinction if measures are not undertaken.
Forestdepartments have helped to engage tribals in afforestation, cultivation forlivelihoods, educate Introduction ‘Tribeshas been defined as group of primitive clans under recognized chief and usuallyclaiming common ancestor’ (the concise oxford dictionary, oxford universitypress, Madras). Adivasis are original tribes. The legal andconstitutional term is “Schedule Tribes”. Their settlements are mostly aroundmountains and hill areas at a distance from plains .Most of the tribes arehunters-gatherers, agriculturists, Cattle farming, etc. They usually dwell intointerior forest areas, unaccessible locations in hilly areas to avoid contactwith non tribes. This is done so to maintain their culture and follow their traditionalway of living.
They are often regarded as “primitive”, since independence. Majorityof the scheduled tribes live in rural areas their main concern is the economicexploitation. Most of them depend on forest produce for their livelihood.Tribes have been denied the rights of land, in many cases they are fined andpenalized for using the product produce which they had been enjoying sincegenerations. Measures have been taken to avoid destruction of forest.
Tribesface prejudice and violence from the society at large. Reforms are undertaken bythe government at state level to protect the welfare of tribal community.Displacement of land stands as the major reason for the economic and socialproblem of the tribes. Statement of Problem There is a wide gap between developmentalstandards of tribals and non-tribals section of Tamil Nadu at social setting. The right to preserve and enjoy the culturalheritage in harmony with nature is severely threatened by the process ofmodernization and economic growth.
There is a threat that most of the tribalgroups are static and may face extinction. It is time we gather momentum tolook into the issues of the livelihood of tribes and help them revive their standards of livingfor existence.Problems faced by tribes Therecurrent problems faced by the tribes are lack of transportation, nonavailability of medical and health facilities, traditional practices that areat times detrimental to their health and behavior. Mostly the developmentalprogrammes do not reach them because of the remote habitation within theforests. In some parts of tribal settlements even officials find it difficultto access the tribal destination, as they have to ascend steep hills. Result of intrusion by outsiders on tribalsettlements· resultedin total disintegration of community· headmanlost the power of solidarity in exercising his duties for tribal people welfare· tribalpeople became more vulnerable· Jointfamily system had disintegrated and common farming was no longer possible· Forestreserves had limited the tribals to access the deep forests for livelihood· tribal beliefs have been altered due tocontact with missionaries· Conversionto Christianity gave a number of advantages especially education.
Impact on tribal economy by outsiders· Thoughcommunication, road and government intervention increased, outside tradersengaged tribal people into mortgaging their land· Tribalpeople are sometimes forced as bonded labourers Education Theschool dropout is very high with respect to tribes increasing from primary tohigher secondary. TN forest department is helping to educate tribal children byoffering attractive facilities. Primary education to tribals were started asearly as 1951 by the forest department and extended to nearby villages incertain district and quality education is being offered to students Teachers intribal schools have high drop out rates. Schooling helps tribal people tosecure political and economic benefits. Forest department has a major role to play forthe development of remote tribal areasStatic nature and Endangered list of tribes Aresearch concluded that there are only 54000 number of tribes by genetics and the rest of tribal populationdo not know which group they belong to. Of the 36 tribal community in Tamil Nadu 6 major community of tribes likekota, kurumba, irular, paniyan and katunayakar has neither decreased nor increasedand it remains static.
They are known as particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG).A shocking report says that state has been monitoring the tribal population and morethan 80% of ethic group is static in nature. Tamil Nadu has 36 types of tribes,six are on endangered list. The total population has gone down to less than2000,of this Kochuvelan, Melakudi and Maha malasar are on the verge ofextinction with their total populationof less than 160.
Tribal Population Details of PVTG NAME TOTAL POPULATION POPULATION OF TRIBES AS PERCENTAGE TO TOTAL KOCHU VELAN 7 .0008 MEKAKUDI 66 .0083 MAHA MALASAR 77 .0096 KORAGA 106 .
012 ARANADAR 138 .017 MALAI ARAYAN 172 .021 Source: Social watch Identificationof tribes is increasingly becoming difficult due to inter caste marriage,religion, conversion migration and lack of genetic or anthropological data. Only20% of tribes continue doing their ethnic occupation like rearing sheep,collecting honey, harvesting timber and other forest products. Many tribes who aredisintegrated from their group due to exploitation of non tribal end up as bondedlabourers in brick kilns. Significance of study Tribes in Tamil Nadu are cultivators,agricultural labourers and dependent on forests for livelihood. The tribals significantlycontributed in the management and conservation of forests.
The need of the hourfor tribal development is to reduce the gap between the tribal and non tribalpopulation with respect to economic, educational and social status. Tribes havebeen setting an example for communal and sustainable ways of living which actsas a counterbalance for all the damage we have caused as a result ofmodernization and destruction of environment. They have to live in peace, as their destruction is highly detrimentalto humanity. The reason for their staticnature is the exploitation by others in dominant society.
We need to adoptmeasures to protect them and help them lead a harmonious life with nature.Central and state scheme for tribals are aimedat · Habitatrestoration and improvement· Protectionand conservation measure· Managementplanning and human resource development· Ecodevelopment and community participation in conservation of bio resource· Mitigationof human wildlife conflict.· Promotionof low impact eco tourism.Review of Literature Jayakumar and Palaniammal (2016) made a study on ‘Socio economic statusof Schedule Tribes in Kalrayan hills, Salem district, Tamil Nadu.’ Agricultureis predominant for majority of households, which accounted for their incomealso. The study discusses the incomelevel of various households.
The studyemphasizes the need for attention into education, which will stand as amotivating factor for improving their future. Biswajith, Arunasis and Subhasish (2015) aims to study the’ socioeconomic status of some selected tribes in West Bengal, India’ The study wasconducted in four blocks (Sabar, Oroan, Santhal and Tota) in 2 purposivelyselected districts of West Bengal. Atotal of 400 samples were collected for study. The results revealed that, all the four tribes differed largely on Social Economic Status, and among alltribal sub caste, the one with low Social Economic Status was related to lowliteracy level and it also made a difference in their livelihood and behavioralpattern largely.
Selvakumar and sivakumar (2014) made a ‘studyon the current socio-economic conditions of the tribal communities in Nilgirisdistrict, Tamil Nadu. The study highlightsthe social organization, livelihood and customs of the tribes with the rest ofthe state. The data for study wascollected through field survey and secondary data covering a random sampling of100 households. The study reveals thatthe backwardness of tribal population with respect to social, economic, healthand lifestyle patterns. TameRamya (2014) aimed to study ‘socio economic status and associate problems ofthe tribals, A case study of village in kurung kumay district of ArunachalPradesh’. The study tries to highlightthe various aspects of socio economic structure with respect to age, maritalstatus, educational structure, economic status etc.
It attempts to explore the problems faced bythe tribal villages with respect to economic, education, sanitation and basicamenities for livelihood. The study aimsat suggesting ways to overcome their social constraints in receiving properfacility. The data was collected fromvillages through interview with the help of questionnaire. The sample consisted of age group 18 yearsand above. The study suggests measuresto be undertaken by the Government to improve sanitation, housing conditions,healthcare, literacy rate, credit facility, irrigation and promote self-helpgroups. Rajkumar, Pulla and Jayanand (2013) made anattempt to ‘Analyse the Socio Economic status of Schedule Tribes inAndhrapradesh’. Multi stage randomsampling technique was adapted for the study.
Primary data was collected with the help of pre-structuredquestionnaire. 89 samples responded forthe tool. The result reveals farming wasthe primary occupation and the heads of the households were mostly agriculturallabourers. The study refers the declinein sex ratio in the community and highlights the exploitation of uneducatedtribals by money lenders, charging high interest rates. The study recommends the Government to takesteps to promote banking service, for economic development and financialstability and to increase literacy among tribals. Pulla(2013) aims to study on ‘socio economic status of scheduled tribes’ ‘Theconstitution of India insured social and economic justice, equality of statusand opportunity assurance of the individuals dignity for all its citizens. Our constitution has provisions to safeguardand promote the cultural, social, educational and economic interests of ST andSC to bring them on par with the mainstream nation’. This paper addresses the SocialEconomic Status of the Scheduled Tribes in Visakapatnam district of AP in India.
More than 70% of the participants were illiterates. Cultivation supports the income for majorityof households. Wage labourers who alsoform a part of the sample under study have comparably low income. The need for promoting education of ScheduledTribes, as a motivating factor for their future is largely emphasized.Discussion Theabove studies clearly portrays thecurrent problems faced by the tribes. Majority of the studies show that illiteracy has been a strong factorfor the backwardness and reason for being trapped by money lenders and bankingfacilities be arranged for providing loans Amenities should be provided for them to foster education in their settlementsand promote self-help groups for their empowerment and communal development.SuggestionsThe schemes of tribals should pay muchattention towards· Infrastructuresupport for tribal settlement development· Improvestandard of living within forest areas.
· Establishpartnership with tribes for development and empowerment· Engagethem in conservation and management of forest wealth.· Todevelop required skills and utilize their knowledge for overall prosperityConclusion ‘poverty may be absolute or relativedeprivation of well-being of a section of population’. The concept of well being is multi dimensional, thereforeit becomes difficult for the measurement of poverty. Poverty means not only material deprivation,which is measured by income or consumption, but it can also be measured interms of low achievement in education and health. It means to be illiterate and not schooled. (Pawar,Suresh Krishna (2012) aimed to study ‘socio economic status of tribalpopulation in Maharashtra-a geographical analysis). Government has developedmany schemes for the upliftment of tribes, to enhance better quality of lifebut the expected growth among them is yet to be achieved.
Tribals are still facing a number of problemsincluding poverty, illiteracy, poorhealth facilities etc. A 1969report submitted by the tribal development programme stated the main problemsof tribal communities as· Indebtedness· Landalienation· Educationbackwardness· Lack ofcommunicationFollowing the report, Government took steps to promote the welfare of tribeswith the objectives of tribal sub-plans.· To help scheduledtribes family cross the poverty line· Toprovide basic infrastructure facilities for improving the living conditions oftribal people Butthe total eradication of the problems is yet to be achieved.
How much ever plans have been sanctioned andtried to be implemented there seems tobe a lag in the improvement of the condition of the tribes, they are beinglooked down, their communities have disintegrated and people have startedmoving into for petty inocmes in brick kilns , road laying, wage workers,domestic cleaners and so on. As a partof the population have become nomads, they are unable to educate their childrenin the new settlement, safety has become a major concern for their childrenespecially girls and women.If this is the urban and semi urban scenario, therural people quite a lot of problems. Their hardwork of gathering honey and other forest resources are beingencashed for low sums or just snatched in the name of power. Being illiterate from a rural and tribalbackdrop a section of tribes are unaware of the Government measures, notwilling to relocate and not able to sustain in the settlement.
Their protein intake and food patterns,health and hygiene have been loweredconsiderably and the new intruders in the name of money lending have plunderedtheir only valuable wealth ‘land’, because of which some tribes havre started moving toward better livelihood butuntimately landed as bonded labourers, later rescued and rehabilitated. But this is not the case with all the tribes,there are certain tribal communities where the literacy rate is above the stateliteracy ratio. The foremost of all the tribes, Malayalis have an excellentliteracy ratio and most of them have engaged in tourism and are leading a wellsettled lives without hassles. They have chosen to become empowered byeducating and securing jobs through theGovernment quotas also. But we need tolook at the last tribal citizen who inspite of having every right to lead abetter and fulfilled life is lost amidst the chaos of modernization andpolitical power and to reach out a helping hand for sustaining him in hiscommunity. If this assurance be giventhen we can proudly say that the tribals are the guardians of our very mothernature and we shall find peace by guarding the naute in this digitalized world.
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