Abstract group is static in nature and may

Abstract

     Tribes
are primitive clans under recognized chief and usually claiming common
ancestor, they dwell in isolated locations in dense forests and  around hills  to avoid contact with others in society, to
maintain their culture and tradition. There is a wide gap between developmental
standards of tribals and non-tribals section of Tamil Nadu at social setting. There
had been major impacts on the tribal settlements due to the intrusion of the
non-tribals over the tribals. Tribes face prejudice and violence from the
society at large. Displacement of land stands as the major reason for the
economic and social problem of the tribes. A shocking report says that state
has been monitoring the tribal population and more than 80% of ethic group is
static in nature and may face extinction if suitable measures are not
undertaken. Forest departments have helped to engage tribals in afforestation
and cultivation for livelihoods.  The
right to preserve and enjoy the cultural heritage in harmony with nature is
severely threatened by the process of modernization and economic growth. Tribes
have been setting an example for communal and sustainable ways of living which
acts as a counterbalance for all the damage we have caused as a result of
modernization and destruction of environment.

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     The
school dropout is very high with respect to tribes increasing from primary to
higher secondary. Majority of the studies on tribes show that lack of education
has been a strong factor for the backwardness in addition to other factors. This
study highlights the problems faced by tribes, the reason behind their current
situation and measures that could be adopted for a better and harmonious
living.

 

     Introduction

     ‘Tribes
has been defined as group of primitive clans under recognized chief and usually
claiming common ancestor’ (the concise oxford dictionary, oxford university
press, Madras). Adivasis are original tribes. The legal and
constitutional term is “Schedule Tribes”. Their settlements are mostly around
mountains and hill areas at a distance from plains .Most of the tribes are
hunters-gatherers, agriculturists, Cattle farming, etc. They usually dwell into
interior forest areas, inaccessible locations in hilly areas to avoid contact
with non tribes. This is done so to maintain their culture and follow their traditional
way of living. They are often regarded as “primitive”, since independence. Majority
of the scheduled tribes live in rural areas their main concern is the economic
exploitation Close to 90% of tribals live in rural areas. Most of them depend
on forest produce for their livelihood. Tribes have been denied the rights of
land, in many cases they are fined and penalized for using the product produce
which they had been enjoying since generations. Measures have been taken to
avoid destruction of forest. Tribes face prejudice and violence from the
society at large. Reforms are undertaken by the government at state level to
protect the welfare of tribal community. Displacement of land stands as the
major reason for the economic and social problem of the tribes.

Statement
of Problem

   ‘The
constitution of India insures social and economic justice, equality of status
and opportunity assurance of the individuals dignity for all its citizens.  Our constitution has provisions to safeguard
and promote the cultural, social, educational and economic interests of ST and
SC to bring them on par with the mainstream nation'(Pulla 2013), but there is a
wide gap between developmental standards of tribals and non-tribals section of
Tamil Nadu at social setting.  The right
to preserve and enjoy the cultural heritage in harmony with nature is severely
threatened by the process of modernization and economic growth. It is time we
gather momentum to look into the issues of the livelihood of tribes and help
them revive their standards of living for existence, else the static tribal
groups may face extinction in due course.

Problems
faced by tribes    

     The
recurrent problems faced by the tribes are lack of transportation, non
availability of medical and health facilities, traditional practices that are
at times detrimental to their health and behavior. Mostly the developmental
programmes do not reach them because of the remote habitation within the
forests. In some parts of tribal settlements even officials find it difficult
to access the tribal destination, as they have to ascend steep hills.    

Result
of intrusion by outsiders on tribal settlements

·        
resulted
in total disintegration of community

·        
headman
lost the power of solidarity in exercising his duties for tribal people welfare

·        
tribal
people became more vulnerable

·        
Joint
family system had disintegrated and common farming was no longer possible

·        
Forest
reserves had limited the tribals to access the deep forests for livelihood

·        
 tribal beliefs have been altered due to
contact with missionaries

·        
Conversion
to Christianity gave a number of advantages especially education.

Impact
on tribal economy by outsiders

·        
Though communication,
road and government intervention increased, outside traders engaged tribal
people into mortgaging their land

·        
Tribal
people are sometimes forced as bonded labourers  

Education

     Schooling
helps tribal people to secure political and economic benefits. The school
dropout is very high with respect to tribes, increasing from primary to higher
secondary. TN forest department is helping to educate tribal children by
offering attractive facilities. Primary education to tribals were started as
early as 1951 by the forest department and extended to nearby villages in
certain district and quality education is being offered to students Teachers in
tribal schools have high drop out rates due to lack of facilities.

Static
nature and Endangered list of tribes

     A research concluded that there are only 54000 number of tribes  by genetics and the rest of tribal population
do not know which group they belong to. Of the 36 tribal community in     Tamil Nadu,  6 major community of tribes like kota, kurumba,
irular, paniyan and katunayakar has neither decreased nor increased and remains
static. They are known as particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG).

‘PVTG is characterized by

·        
Pre-agricultural
level of technology

·        
Stagnant
or declining population

·        
Extremely
low literacy

·        
Subsistence
level of economy’ (Indiantribal heritage.org, 2017)

     A
shocking report says that state has been monitoring the tribal population and   more
than 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 than
2000,of this Kochuvelan, Melakudi and Maha malasar are on the verge of
extinction  with their total population
of 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

     Identification
of tribes is increasingly becoming difficult due to inter caste marriage,
religion, conversion migration and lack of genetic or anthropological data. Only
20% of tribes continue doing their ethnic occupation like rearing sheep,
collecting honey, harvesting timber and other forest products. Many   tribes   who are
disintegrated from their group due to exploitation of non tribal end up as bonded
labourers   in brick kilns.

Significance
of study

  Tribes
in Tamil Nadu are cultivators, agricultural labourers and dependent on forests for
livelihood. The tribals significantly contributed in the management and
conservation of forests. The need of the hour for tribal development is to
reduce the gap between the tribal and non tribal population with respect to
economic, educational and social status. Tribes have been setting an example
for communal and sustainable ways of living which acts as a counterbalance for
all the damage we have caused as a result of modernization and destruction of
environment.  The reason for their static
nature is the exploitation by others in dominant society. We need to adopt
measures to protect them and help them lead a harmonious life with nature.

Central
and state scheme for tribals

    
Central and state schemes are aimed at

·        
Habitat
restoration and improvement

·        
Protection
and conservation measure

·        
Management
planning and human resource development

·        
Eco
development and community participation in conservation of bio resource

·        
Mitigation
of human wildlife conflict.

·        
Promotion
of low impact eco tourism.

Review
of Literature

    
Jayakumar and Palaniammal (2016) made a study on ‘Socio economic status
of Schedule Tribes in Kalrayan hills, Salem district, Tamil Nadu.’ Agriculture
is predominant for majority of households, which accounted for their income
also.  The study discusses the income
level of various households.  The study
emphasizes the need for attention into education, which will stand as a
motivating factor for improving their future.

    
Biswajith, Arunasis and Subhasish (2015) aims to study the’ socio
economic status of some selected tribes in West Bengal, India’ The study was
conducted in four blocks (Sabar, Oroan, Santhal and Tota) in 2 purposively
selected districts of West Bengal.  A
total of 400 samples were collected for study. 
The results revealed that, all the four tribes differed largely  on Social Economic Status, and among all
tribal sub caste, the one with low Social Economic Status was related to low
literacy level and it also made a difference in their livelihood and behavioral
pattern largely.

       Selvakumar and sivakumar (2014) made a ‘study
on the current socio-economic conditions of the tribal communities in Nilgiris
district, Tamil Nadu.  The study highlights
the social organization, livelihood and customs of the tribes with the rest of
the state.  The data for study was
collected through field survey and secondary data covering a random sampling of
100 households.  The study reveals that
the backwardness of tribal population with respect to social, economic, health
and lifestyle patterns.

     Tame
Ramya (2014) aimed to study ‘socio economic status and associate problems of
the tribals, A case study of village in kurung kumay district of Arunachal
Pradesh’.  It attempts to explore the
problems faced by the tribal villages with respect to economic, education,
sanitation and otherbasic amenities for livelihood.    The data was collected from villages
through interview with the help of questionnaire.  The sample consisted of age group 18 years
and above.  The study suggests measures
to be undertaken by the Government to improve sanitation, housing conditions,
healthcare, literacy rate, credit facility, irrigation and promote self-help
groups.

      Rajkumar, Pulla and Jayanand (2013) made an
attempt to ‘Analyse the Socio Economic status of Schedule Tribes in
Andhrapradesh’.  Multi stage random
sampling technique was adapted for the study. 
Primary data was collected with the help of pre-structured
questionnaire.  89 samples responded for
the tool.  The result reveals farming was
the primary occupation and the heads of the households were mostly agricultural
labourers.  The study refers the decline
in sex ratio in the community and highlights the exploitation of uneducated
tribals by money lenders, charging high interest rates.  The study recommends the Government to take
steps to promote banking service, for economic development and financial
stability and to increase literacy among tribals.    

    Pulla
(2013) aims to study on ‘socio economic status of scheduled tribes’ and addresses
the Social Economic 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 majority of households.  Wage labourers who also form a part of the
sample under study have comparably low income. 
The need for promoting education of Scheduled Tribes, as a motivating
factor for their future is largely emphasized.

Suggestions

The schemes of tribals should pay much
attention towards

·        
Infrastructure
support for tribal settlement development

·        
Improve
standard of living within forest areas.

·        
Establish
partnership with tribes for development and empowerment

·        
Engage
them in conservation and management of forest wealth.

·        
To
develop required skills and utilize their knowledge for overall prosperity

Conclusion

      ‘Poverty may be absolute or relative
deprivation of well-being of a section of population’.  The concept of well being is multidimensional,
therefore it 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 in
terms of low achievement in education and health.  It means to be illiterate and not schooled. (Pawar
and SureshKrishna, 2012). Government has developed many schemes for the
upliftment of tribes, to enhance better quality of life but the expected growth
among them is yet to be achieved. 
Tribals are still facing a number of problems including poverty,
illiteracy, poor health facilities etc. A 1969 report submitted by the tribal
development programme stated the main problems of tribal communities,

·        
Indebtedness

·        
Land
alienation

·        
Education
backwardness

·        
Lack of
communication

Following the report, Government  took steps to promote the welfare of tribes
with the objectives of tribal  sub-plans.

·        
To help
scheduled tribes family cross the poverty line

·        
To
provide basic infrastructure facilities for improving the living conditions of
tribal people

     But
the total eradication of the problems is yet to be achieved.  Many plans have been sanctioned and tried to
be  implemented, but there seems to be a
lag in the improvement of the condition of the tribes, they are being looked
down, their communities have disintegrated and people have started moving into
for petty incomes in brick kilns , road laying, wage workers, domestic workers
and so on.  As a part of the population have
become nomads, they are unable to educate their children in the new settlement,
safety has become a major concern for their children especially girls and women
.If this is the urban and semi urban scenario, the rural people quite a lot of
problems.  Their hardwork of gathering
honey and other forest resources are being encashed for low sums or just
snatched in the name of power.  Being
illiterate from a rural and tribal backdrop a section of tribes are unaware of the
Government measures, not willing to relocate and not able to sustain in the
settlement.  Their protein intake and food
patterns, health and hygiene have been lowered considerably and the new
intruders in the name of money lending have plundered their only valuable
wealth ‘land’, because of which some tribes havre  started moving toward better livelihood but
untimately landed as bonded labourers, a few 
later identified, 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 state
literacy ratio. The foremost of all the tribes, Malayalis have an excellent
literacy and have chosen to become empowered by educating and securing jobs
through  the Government quotas also.

       Tribals have taught us what ‘civilized’ is,
which if respecting the difference of others and accepting the values of human
diversity, otherwise they would not have flourished under a single headman.
They taught us communal living. Tribes and their culture are destroyed
gradually because of the intruders, who are not attracted by the tribal culture
or values but by the minerals, the trees and the valuable resources in the
forests. But we need to look at the last tribal citizen who inspite of having
every right to lead a better and fulfilled life is lost amidst the chaos of modernization
and political power and to reach out a helping hand for sustaining their
community.  If this assurance be given
then we can proudly say that the tribals are the guardians of our mother nature
and we shall find peace by guarding the nature in this digitalized world.

 

Jayakumar
and Palaniammal(2016), Socio-Economic status of scheduled tribes in Kalrayan
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Sunil Kumar Baskey(2016), A study on the
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Biswajith Pal, Arunasis Goswami and Subhasish
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current research

Tame Ramya(2014), Socio-Economic status and
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Selvakumar
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Rajkumar, Pulla,Jayanand(2013), Analysis of
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research, ISSN:2230-9926, vol 03, issue 11, pp 136-140.

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