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Day 21 – Q 2.India’s tribal diversity is a capital. Do you agree? Substantiate.

2. India’s tribal diversity is a capital. Do you agree? Substantiate. 

भारत की जनजातीय विविधता एक पूंजी है। क्या आप सहमत हैं? पुष्टी करें।


Home to the largest tribal population in the world, India has the privilege of hosting a variety of truly colourful, indigenous, equally  vibrant and culturally rich tribal people whose lifestyles, culture, religious beliefs, traditions, rituals, dressing, food, language are so diverse that they represent an anthropological wealth of heritage. 


India’s tribal diversity is definitely a capital. Fighting the lack of accessibility and neglect, various tribal hamlets in India have turned problems into opportunities:

Art and Culture:

  • Centuries-old music and dance: Dance and music are a way of expression, and for India’s tribal communities, it has become an aspect which defines their culture. Tribal India has also stepped out of its indigenous tradition to make waves in other folk forms as well, as in the case of Padma-winner Teejan Bai. A member of the Pardhi tribe, in Chhattisgarh, Teejan is a world-renowned Pandavani exponent. This art form involves singing, playing various traditional instruments, and enacting scenes from the Mahabharata, and Teejan has been invited to other countries to perform, which has put her tribe on the global map! Whether it is to express joy, entertain, or celebrate, the hundreds of folk dances that India’s tribes have given to the country have definitely added to India’s cultural repertoire.
  • The coveted handicrafts: Tribal handicrafts are coveted around the world, for the precision, and effort with which each piece is created. Their age-old traditions have cultivated a generation of artisans who have honed their craft to contribute not only to the domestic market but India’s exports as well. The tribes of the Kalahandi district in Orissa craft good quality products out of wood, which have been exported to other countries, while the Dhokra Damar tribes of West Bengal and Odisha are the creators of Dhokra technique, which has been used to create metal artefacts. Each year, handicrafts are exported to at least 100 countries around the world.

Economy and Entrepreneurships:

  • Their knowledge of ancient herbs, plants and other natural products is tantamount to that of an expert. These skills that were once a part of their tradition have now become a means for not only their livelihood but an active contribution to furthering India’s economic growth. Members of Kattunayakan, an ancient tribe in Kerala, have been collecting and selling wild honey for years. According to a report by Agriculture Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) 38, 177.08 metric tonnes of honey, worth 705.87 crores was exported in 2015-2016.
  • Mendha Lekha, a tribal village situated in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra, has a successful bamboo economy. The entire village, comprising 450 people belonging mainly to the Gond tribe, works together in cultivating bamboo as raw material for the paper industry. The villagers make profits in crores, and are using the money for several development and social welfare activities in the area.
  • A group of over 3,500 women from 127 tribal hamlets in Kandhamal, Sambalpur, Angul and Deogarh entered into a formal agreement with Leaf Democracy, a German company, to supply one lakh siali leaf plates every month. The plates, commonly known as pattals, are in high demand in European countries, and act as a biodegradable alternate to plastic and Styrofoam. These women, who earlier sold minor forest products such as siali leaves, Sal seed, mohua flowers and tamarind locally, are today working as a women’s self-help group and inspiring many other women to follow suit.

Sports in Domestic and International levels:

  • The tribes of India are known for their natural stamina and strength, which is a product of their lifestyle. As a result, many prominent sports figures hail from tribes across India. Mary Kom, a five-time world amateur boxing champion, and Olympic Medal winner hails from the Kom tribe in Manipur, and Baichung Bhutia, the first Indian to play professional football in England, comes from a tribe from Tinkitam in Sikkim.

Knowledge of medicinal plants:

  • Many of us living in the modern world have begun to admire traditional remedies, and it is a known fact that tribal people have been practising these remedies since the time of their ancestors. 
  • Tender bamboo shoots have been known to cure muscle pain. A plant known as “narinaranga” is used by the Kurichiar in a paste made to provide relief for sprains; and for the Sugali tribe of Andhra Pradesh, the garlic bulb is a remedy for fever. There are thousands of such natural remedies within.


The diverse tribal strength of India has lived off the land, and has given back just as much as they have taken. Whether it is their ability to innovate, adapt, and create, they continue to use their skills to thrive in an ever-evolving world, staying true to themselves, while also reaching new heights in novel fields.

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