World Tribal Day or the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on August 9 annually. The day aims at protecting the rights of the world’s tribal population. The day also recognises the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.
The day was first articulated by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in December 1994, to be glorified every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples from 1995-2004. In the year 2004, the council announced a Second International Decade, from 2005–2015, with the motive of “A Decade for Action and Dignity”.
The real picture of tribes in India
About 15 percent of land area in India is occupied by tribal communities, with a wide variety of geographical landscapes, ranging from forest areas to arid regions, mountainous regions to plains, and from islands and coastal areas to the interiors of landmasses.
Out of more than 500 tribal groups in India which can exist at various stages of socio-economic and educational development, it is estimated that there are around 75 Primitive Tribal Groups in India who can have a level of technical ability of the pre-agricultural level, low literacy, economically backward, and a stagnant or declining population. In looking at the vulnerabilities of Primitive Tribal Groups in India many parameters can be considered that may harm these groups. However, in looking at the possibilities for the extinction of some particularly threatened groups, the chief characteristic that can be considered is their extremely low and/or declining population.
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 cultural harmony – Ghoomar dance, Than Gair (a religious dance and drama) are Baneshwar Fair that is held in January or February are the major attractions.
Great Andamanese Tribe
The Great Andamanese Tribe, which includes the Onge, Jarawa, Jangil, and Sentinelese, are said to be the first inhabitants of the islands. But today a significant number is on its way to extinction. Nonetheless, the left overpopulation of the Great Andamanese are largely dependent on the vigorous campaign by Survival and Indian organizations.
The Santhals are largely dependent on agriculture and livestock. These 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 Garo Tribes are ideally known for their vivid lifestyle. They are mostly spotted in the hills of Meghalaya and 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.
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, Chattishgarh, Bihar, Odisha are also inhabited by the Munda Tribes.
The Kurumban tribe exhibits a simple lifestyle, depending largely on agricultural products in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Moreover, they are widely known for witchcraft and magical performances as well as traditional herbal medicines.
The Bodo tribes today are found in Udalguri and Kokrajhar of Assam and parts of West Bengal and Nagaland. Further, the Bodo tribes are meat-eating people.
With a population of approximately 3,00,000, the Irulas inhabits parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Moreover, the Irulas are the second largest tribe in Kerala and is mostly seen in the district of Palakkad.
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.