Tribal Problems in India

By Monalisa Parida 
         India is a vast country having a land area of nearly 33 lakhs square kilometres stretched from the mighty Himalayas in the north to the tropical rainforest in the south, from the Thar desert of the west to the chain of hills in the east. In this vast country live people of several communities, ethnic groups and religious beliefs. Tribals are scattered in various parts of India though largely found in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, parts of Jharkhand, Bihar and the eastern states. As the name suggests they belong to certain tribes-mainly nomadic gatherers and hunters, and other settlers around dense forests or water bodies.       These Tribes are self-sufficient, physically strong and have their own lifestyle. Those who live on the peripheries of forests depend mainly on forest products-fruits, roots, herbs and timber. They gather these things at great risk to their lives. They hunt wild animals for food. Some tribes, who have made their settlements around towns and cities, may do casual labour. Some of the Tribals of Rajasthan are quite skilful in making iron tools like sickles, knives, tongs, spades, etc.        They sell these things in the towns and cities where they often settle in slums on the roadside. Elsewhere, they also sell forest products like resin, honey, medicinal herbs, etc.     The Tribals are facing several serious problems. The major among these are……..1. The problem of Geographic separation 2. Cultural problems 3. Social problems4. Economic problems     i) Exploitation     ii) Unprofitable Agriculture     iii) Problem of land ownership     iv) Unemployment and underemployment     v) Non- availability of banking facilities 5. Educational problems     i) The problem of language     ii) The curriculum of education 6. Problem of health and sanitation 7. Problem of separatism    i) Tribal revolts and uprisings     ii) Smuggling, infiltration and drug addiction 8. Gender issues 9. Problems of health and nutrition       Because of economic backwardness and insecure livelihood, the Tribals face health problems, such as prevalence of disease, like malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and jaundice, problems associated with malnutrition like iron deficiency and anaemia, high infant mortality rates, low levels of life expectancy, etc.      Present day, problems faced by Adivasis are militarization, urbanisation, construction of dams, industrialisation which cause deforestation. Unlawful grabbing of tribal lands has been going on  these days.