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The People



Tribes

Note : With effect from 15th November 2000 after the new state Jharkand was formed, most of the tribal areas mainly in the forest tracks of Chhotanagpur plateau and Santhal paragana have been separated from the former state of Bihar to Jharkand. The information given below is about these tribals who mostly now belong to the state of Jharkand.

The Tribal population is divided into 30 different tribal groups. Representatives of Negrito, Proto-Australoid, Mongoloid, Mediterranean and Nordic races are found in the population of Bihar. Certain Negrito features were noticed by anthropologists among the aborigines of the Rajmahal hills. The Proto-Australoid features are found in the Kharwar Munda, Bhumij and Mal Pahariyas. Some admixture of Mongoloid blood may be found among the Tharus of Champaran. No clear picture of the origin and composition of these  tribals of Bihar has emerged.

Austric speaking groups include Munda, Santhal, Ho, Birhor, Kharia and others. There is a considerable difference between the Mundas and Oraons. The differences between the Santhals and the Sauria Pahariyas are significant as they are indicative of the differences between the Austric-speaking and the Dravidian-speaking people.  

The chief representatives of the Dravidian races inhabiting the tribal region are the Hos, the Santhals, the Oraons and the Mundas and they together constitute almost four-fifths of the total tribal population of the state. More than one half of the Santhals are found in Santhal Parganas division and about a quarter in Hazaribagh and Singhbhum districts. They are not negligible in Dhanbad, Purnia, Munger and Bhagalpur. Over three-fourths of the Oraons are confined to Ranchi and Palamu. The Oraons are also found in a few blocks in Rohtas and Champaran districts. Nearly three fourths of the Mundas are found in Ranchi district and the bulk of the balance in Singhbhum district. The Hos  are virtually confined to Singbhum. These four tribes have taken to settled cultivation as their mode of life and are gradually getting the benefits of the employment available in the mineral and industrial undertaking scattered over the plateau region. A few tribals have yet to take to settled cultivation or are still dependent largely on food gathered from the forest to sustain themselves. Asur and Korwa communities are still very backward and deserve assistance through special programmes. Birjhia is a community akin to Asur. The Chick Baraik community engages itself in weaving cloth, the Lohara and Karmali are both blacksmiths who make agricultural implements, the Mahlis are mostly bamboo workers and blacksmiths, the Kisans are settled cultivators noted for their industrious agricultural activities and the Birjhias are settled cultivators and keep cattle. The largest chunk of the tribal population still lives in the rural areas.

     
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Last Updated on : 22 December 2014