India, with 67.8 million tribals, has the largest tribal population in the world.
Mynammar and Mexico have the second and third largest tribal populations with
14 and 10.9 million respectively. The tribal population in India is more than
the population of the United Kingdom or France. If all the tribals in India
had lived in the same state, it would have been the fifth most populous state
of the country through it constitutes only 8 per cent of India's population.
About 93% of the tribals live in rural, forest and mountain areas. Thus, they
are called vanvasi and girijan. Majority of the tribal men and
women are cultivators, agricultural labourers or are engaged in forstry and
livestock. A greater percentage of the tribals (52.6) were below the poverty
line than the total population (33.4) and even the Scheduled Castes (44.7) in
1987-88. The tribals also had lower per capital expenditure as compared to other
categories. Boodytrap of Development: Being deprived of their land and
forest, the tribals have been pushed to the urban aras to become daily wage
earners. Their culture and identity have been destroyed. AFter more than four
decades of Independence, the health, education and employment status of the
tribals is lower than all other social groups of the country.
Understanding the Tribal Culture: The modern civilisation can learn a
great deal from ancient tribal wisdom about herbal medicine, collective decision
making, and respect for environment.
All over the world, the balance of nature is the most important factor in forest
and wildlife conservation, but nowhere is it so urgently necessary as a means
of protection as it in India. The unplanned growth of industries withou taking
into account the effect on the natural envionment, pollutes the soil, air and
water, and we are heading for a time when the wide-open spaces, including lakes,
marshes, coasts, pasturelands, forests and other natural areas, will no longer
exist. The changes in physical enviornments have created, and will continue
to create, a disturbance in the balance of nature, often unintentionally but
no less effectively and will kill off wildlife which it will not be possible
to replace. An appropriate legislation and effective implementation which is
currently lacking, is the need of the hour. Whatacup