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Tribal situation in contemporary Indian: Two sides of same coin

Tribes are basically the section of society which are living away from civilized world. Unfortunately, they have been living in poverty since ages now, their culture is been ignored and their rights are getting suppressed. Looking at the current scenario of the nation, today we feel the need of trying to understand the obvious situation of tribal of India. Our country has come a long way when it comes to stereotypes and serving equality amongst citizens. It’s always been said unity in diversity even after its multi-faced structure. It seems like in plight of numerous problems of our nation, the tribal situation is been taken for granted and hence due to that they are suffering. 

According to article 46 of Indian Constitution “The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” But still they are getting ignored since ages now.

First side of the Coin:
Tribal as an unconventional community has always been trying to be a regular and normal part of our society. And we as a citizen has always resisted them being a part of our society. Even Anthropologists and policy makers knowingly or unknowingly becomes biased to some extent while studying tribal or their situation. It has become very difficult to give them a space because even we have become used to this rationalizing. There is a serious need of Anthropologists and policy makers to understand tribal situation also they should know exactly which tribal really want to be amalgamated or wanting to be detribalized part of our nation.

According to various survey held it was seen that scheduled tribes is 8% of India’s millions of populations yet it is one fourth of population is living under poorest wealth. Further it was noticed that tribal were excluded from access of government health facilities and services, which worsened their health conditions. The rate of literacy is low, and their economy is primitive. In as many as 285 taluqas (sub-divisions), they constitute 50 per cent or more of the total population. The tribal situation is not uniform in all the parts of India.

Although there have been some serious efforts made for the development tribal citizens which did not give any satisfactory results. It did not make any changes but resulted into loss of their livelihood, forced and involuntary migration and massive displacement. The major thing was that they tend to lose their lands, their base of sustenance as in forest land. They might end up losing their distinct identity as they were forced to migrate. Most of the tribal group ends up being a landless laborer. It was observed that their life standards get deteriorated drastically and it becomes difficult for them to survive. Most of government made policies has only economic interest.

According to a committee it was clearly shown that tribes were badly affected by most of the government projects. In spite of all protective legislation and schedules, tribal people are being exploited and barely living any life. Moreover, state tries to assimilate migrated tribes instead of integrating them. Whenever tribal has made a peaceful protest against land alienation, state vanquished it by putting criminal charges against them. This is how state has been manipulating tribes!

Second side of the coin:
Looking at the positive side of coin, apparently tribal have stressed their political solidarity. Slowly they are getting aware and becoming politically and socially conscious about preserving their culture and ethnicity and also trying to protect themselves from exploitation. Due to their economic and social backwardness, tribal people are willing to get evolved which is mostly out of frustration which we can assume though. 

Besides of the extensive changes which are taking place in India, tribal cognizant has been strengthened mainly to project tribes as a marked component of Indian society. Industrialization in Jharkhand, for example, has promoted both tribal consciousness and integration with the non-tribal sections in the region. The demand for autonomy by tribal people has originated from their fear of loss of cultural autonomy and of exploitation. 

So, India being a secular country has a numerous culture being followed. Even tribal has their own culture. Their cultural aspects and everyone’s are full of metaphors. Literally cultures cannot meet but even a husband and wife being together for years loses their individuality but not identity. So, there is no wrong in giving tribal, their space in our society without snatching away their identities.

Written By : Riya Navin, GLS Law College.

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