Tribes, Nomads and Settled Communities - Class 7

Q1. Discuss about different tribal groups in India – separately.


In India more than 500 types and it comprises approximately 9% of the total populations are belongs to several tribes. Some major tribal groups are as follows:
  1. Gond tribes: The Gond tribes are mostly found in Central India in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. They are also spotted in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. This tribal community in India is mostly spotted in the Aravali Ranges of Sirohi in Udaipur and some places of Dungarpur and Banswara districts of Rajasthan. Further, the settlements of the Bhil tribes are also found in parts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tripura. The Bhili language, which is an Indo – Aryan language, is one of the most interesting features to experience.
  2. Santhal tribes: The Santhal tribes are the major tribes of West Bengal and are mostly seen in the districts of Bankura and Purulia. They are also widely seen in parts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam. The Santhals are largely dependent on agriculture and livestock; further, they are well versed in the art of hunting.
  3. Khasi: If you are seeking to discover the culture hidden in the mystical mountains of Meghalaya… the ethnical clamour of the Khasi tribes, who are filled with lots of music, playing musical instruments like drums, guitars, flutes, wooden pipes and metal cymbals, surely going to make your tour to Meghalaya  bright and striking. The Khasi tribes are mostly spotted in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and are also found in parts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and West Bengal.
  4. Garo: One of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world that are mostly spotted in the hills of Meghalaya, the Garo Tribes are ideally known for their vivid lifestyle. They are also spotted in the neighbouring areas of Bangladesh and parts of West Bengal, Assam and Nagaland. It is easy to distinguish the Garo tribes from other tribes of Meghalaya. Women are often found in varieties of traditional ornaments, whereas men are seen wearing turbans with feathers stuck behind them.
  5. Munda: Don’t miss the Nupur dance when you are in the abode of the Munda tribes. Their settlement is largely based in the Chota Nagpur Plateau region and is mostly spotted in the dense of Jharkhand. Further, parts of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha are also inhabited by the Munda Tribes. Amidst the vast eco sphere… these Munda tribes display a simple and basic lifestyle that follows the Sarna religion, believing in a God called Singbonga.
  6. Bhutia: Dominating the landlocked territory of Sikkim that is bordered by the Indian Himalaya, the Bhutias are widely known for their traditional grandeur, art and cuisine. One cannot forget the unique preparation of momo, steamed meat dumplings and thukpa… slurpy, burpy and yummy! Travel into the land of the Bhutias during the Losar and Loosong festivals and experience the vivid culture – dance, music and religion. The hardcore carnivores can try out some spicy beef.
  7. Toto: One of the isolated tribal groups inhabiting the village of Totopara in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal is the Toto tribes. They have a simple lifestyle and are largely dependent on trading vegetables and fruits. In spite of the fact that they define themselves as Hindus, the Totos are believers of god Ishpa and goddess Cheima. If you are wheeling to Totopara during the peak winter season…then steer to Jaldapara National Park, is located approximately 20 kilometers from Totopara. Don’t forget to try out Eu, which is a type of country liquor made from fermented marua, rice powder and malt and is served warm in Poipa (wooden glass).
  8. Bodo: Believed to be the early settlers of Assam… the Bodo tribes today are found in Udalguri and Kokrajhar of Assam and parts of West Bengal and Nagaland. If you are keen to seek the traditional colours of the Bodo people, then travel to North East during the time of the Baishagu Festival, dedicated to Lord Shiva (locally known as Bathou),which is celebrated during the spring season every year. Further, the Bodo tribes are meat – eating people and hence MY FELLOW NON – VEG travellers… just wake up the carnivorous nature in you and try out some unique preparation of pork and fish.  What else to experience? Weaving is one of the most intrinsic part of Bodo culture and hence you can buy some handloom products.
Q1. What do you mean by tribes?
Ans: Many societies in the subcontinent did not follow the social rules and rituals prescribed by the Brahmanas. Nor were they divided into numerous
unequal classes. Such societies are often called tribes. They usually likes to live far from the cities.
Q2. How the tribal groups live together and why?
Ans: Members of each tribe were united by kinship bonds. Many tribes obtained their livelihood from agriculture. Others were hunter-gatherers or herders. Most often they combined these activities to make full use of the natural resources of the area in which they lived.
Usually, A tribal group controlled land and pastures jointly, and divided these amongst households according to its own rules. They always want to live together to protect their all aspects.
Q3. How the present day historians started to write about the tribes?
Ans: Contemporary historians and travellers give very
scanty information about tribes. A few exceptions apart, tribal people did not keep written records. But they preserved rich customs and oral traditions. These were passed down to each new generation. Present-day historians have started using such oral traditions to write tribal histories.
Q4. What is clan?
Ans: A clan is a group of families or households claiming descent from a common ancestor. Tribal organisation is often based on kinship or clan loyalties.
Q5. Which tribes were found in Bengal and Orissa?
Ans: The Mundas and Santals were important tribes that lived in Orissa and Bengal.
Q6. How the tribal groups were subjugated by the rulers in twelfth century?
Ans: In many areas of present-day Bihar and
Jharkhand, Chero chiefdoms had emerged by the
twelfth century.
        Raja Man Singh, Akbar’s famous general, attacked and defeated the Cheros in 1591. A large amount of booty was taken from them, but they were not entirely subdued.
        Under Aurangzeb, Mughal forces captured many Chero fortresses and subjugated the tribe. The Mundas and Santals were among the other important tribes that lived in this region and also in Orissa and Bengal.
Q7. Mention any 5 tribal groups with their habitats in India. ( Write any 5 from here)
1. In Punjab, the Khokhar tribe was very influential during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Later, the Gakkhars became more important.
2. In Multan and Sind, the Langahs and Arghuns dominated extensive regions before they were subdued by the Mughals.
3. The Balochis were another large and powerful tribe in the north-west.
4. In the western Himalaya lived the shepherd tribe of Gaddis.
5. The distant north-eastern part of the subcontinent too was entirely dominated by tribes – the Nagas, Ahoms and many others.
6. The Mundas and Santals were among the other important tribes that lived in this region and also in Orissa and Bengal.
7. The Maharashtra highlands and Karnataka were home to Kolis, Berads and numerous others.
8. Kolis also lived in many areas of Gujarat.
9. Further south  there were large tribal populations of Koragas, Vetars, Maravars and many others.
10. The large tribe of Bhils was spread across western and central India.
11. The Gonds were found in great numbers across the
present-day states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Q8. Write a short note on Nomadic pastoralists.
Ans: Nomadic pastoralists moved over long distances with their animals. They lived on milk and other
pastoral products. They also exchanged wool, ghee, etc., with settled agriculturists for grain, cloth, utensils and other products.
       They bought and sold these goods as they moved
from one place to another, transporting them on their
Q9. What is tanda?
Ans: The Banjaras were the most important trader- nomads. Their caravan was called tanda.
Q10. How the Banjara tribes became more important during the period of emperor Jahangir?
Ans: The Banjaras were the most important trader nomads. Sultan Alauddin Khalji used the Banjaras to transport grain to the city markets. Emperor Jahangir wrote in his memoirs that the Banjaras carried grain on their bullocks from different areas and sold it in towns. They transported food grain for the Mughal army during military campaigns. With a large army there could be 100,000 bullocks carrying grain.
Q11. How the jatis were formed?
Ans: As the economy and the needs of society grew, people with new skills were required. Smaller castes, or jatis, emerged within varnas. For example, new castes appeared amongst the Brahmanas. On the other hand, many tribes and social groups (smiths, carpenters and masons ) were taken into caste-based society and given the status of jatis.
Q12. Who were the Rajputs and how they established a new powerful states?
Ans: Rajputs:
Among the Kshatriyas, new Rajput clans became powerful by the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They belonged to different lineages, such as Hunas, Chandelas, Chalukyas and others. Some of these, too, had been tribes earlier. Many of these clans came to be regarded as Rajputs.
● Making States:
They gradually replaced the older rulers, especially in agricultural areas. Here a developed society was emerging, and rulers used their wealth to create powerful states.
Q13. How did some tribal groups become the part of caste system?
Ans: The rise of Rajput clans to the position of rulers set an example for the tribal people to follow. Gradually, with the support of the Brahmanas, many tribes became part of the caste system.
Q14. How did the large kingdom Garha Katanga demolish?
Ans: The emergence of large states changed the nature of Gond society and the Gond rajas became more influential. The Gond chiefs now wished to be recognised as Rajputs. So, Aman Das, the Gond raja of Garha Katanga, assumed the title of Sangram Shah. His son, Dalpat died early. Durgawati – Dalpat’s wife was started ruling on behalf of her five-year-old son, Bir Narain. In 1565, the Mughal forces under
Asaf Khan attacked Garha Katanga. She was
defeated and preferred to die rather than surrender. Her son, too, died fighting soon after.

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