Tribals are the most vulnerable sections of the population in India. They are exploited by the most age-old social and cultural handicaps coupled with environmental factors. The age old exploitation and repression of the tribal’s have considerably cut them off from the main stream of socio-economic development of the country as a whole.
During the British rule in India by passing the “Crown’s Control Over Forests Act” in 1865 they took away the autonomy of tribal’s over the forests making them “encroachers” on land that had been theirs for ages. With one legislative change, they became trespassers in their own forests victimized by externally motivated systems of forest management that directly violated various facets of their economic and cultural survival. Their forests and other resources in their areas were increasingly seen as commodities, their lands expropriated as private property and their growing dependence on ruthless money lenders linked with powerful feudal landlords and local politicians led to massive land alienation, and permanent or seasonal migration. Added to this environmental transition was the imposition of an alien judicial system and “law and order” machinery that subjugated them further compounds their vulnerability and subservience. Their own, highly subtle and organically embedded systems of conflict resolution were undermined. As a result of all these changes the tribal’s lost their self-respect and dignity to a considerable amount, and are in an identity crisis at present.
Before independence the tribal areas were loosely administered with a very little or no accent on development. After independence the central and state governments have given adequate thrust on developing the living standards of Tribal’s in parity with that of other citizens. The constitution of India has made definite provisions for the welfare and uplift of the tribal people.
Constitutional Provisions for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes
The provisions in the Constitution make it incumbent on the State to “take care”of Scheduled Tribes. In articles 15 and 16 (which refer to fundamental rights of citizens) exceptions are made to ensure that what is needed for is Scheduled Tribes to be done. For example, though equality of opportunity is the policy of the State, an exception is made for reservations.
Article 244 enables the State to make special arrangements for development of Scheduled Tribes. Article 275-1 enables the State (the central government particularly) to set aside financial provisions to be used for tribal development. If there are some schemes from the state government and the central government approves it then the central government is bound to finance the scheme. So we get all ingredients for the State in terms of the legality and financial arrangements. The State cannot have any excuse that they are not empowered enough. The V schedule is a unique aspect of the Constitution – it empowers the governor of a state to suspend any act of parliament or state legislature if he thinks it is not in the interest of the Scheduled Tribes. This he can do even with retrospective effect. A similar aspect is not found anywhere else in the constitution. The VI schedule enables an autonomous district level body to be formed where there are a large percentage of tribal groups. This has been formulated especially for north eastern region, which is unique in many respects. Districts in the northeast can be mini-states – they have a lot of financial, legislative, executive, and judicial power.
Following are the provisions in the Indian constitution to safeguard the interests of the tribal’s:
Art.46 offers promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled tribes.
Art. 244 Provides special administrations of scheduled tribe areas
Art. 275 Provides for grants-in-aid from consolidated fund of India to states for
implementation of tribal development programmes.
Art. 330- Reservation of seats for scheduled tribes in the house of the people.
Art .332- Reservation of seats for scheduled tribes in the legislative assemblies of the states
Art. 334 – Reservation of seats further extended to thirty years
Art. 335 Allows special claims to scheduled tribes to services and posts under the union
or of a state.
Art. 338 direct the president to appoint a special officer for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes to investigate all matters relating to the safe guards provided under the constitution.
Art.339 gives control to the union over the administration of scheduled areas and the welfare of scheduled tribes. From the first Five-year plan onwards the central and state governments implemented various special Programmes for Tribal Development. During the second Five-year plan many multipurpose tribal projects were created in selected tribal areas. On the recommendation of the Varrier Elwin Committee tribal development block system had been implemented under the third Five year Plan. In the fourth Five-year Plan Period, land colonization schemes were established, co-operative societies for tribal development were introduced and a number of concessions were offered to the tribals by forest, excise, and revenue departments in their respective fields.
A Tribal sub plan (TSP), which emphasizes on area development for areas of tribal concentration and family oriented programmes for dispersed tribals was implemented during the fifth plan. During the sixth Five-year plan a definite target of assisting 50 percent of the Scheduled Tribe families in the country to cross poverty line was adopted. During this plan period 181, ITDP’s 245 MADA Pockets and 72 primitive tribe projects were put into operation in India. During the Seventh Five- year plan the tribal development strategy was a judicious mix of area-cum family development. Emphasis was laid in the Seventh Plan on the educational development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. For the economic development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, two national level institutions were set up:
Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation in 1987 as an apex body for
State Tribal Development Cooperative Corporations; and
National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation, primarily to act as a catalytic agent in developing schemes for employment generation and financing pilot projects.
The Special Central Assistance (SCA) to States/UTs, as an additive to SCP and TSP, was enhanced during the Eighth Plan so as to strengthen the efforts of States in filling up the gaps under the family-based income generation projects. The SCA to TSP was enhanced from Rs.756 crore in the Seventh Plan to Rs.1250 crore in the Eighth Plan, showing a rise by 65 per cent.
While both Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes lag behind the general population on most of the social and economic development indicators and in several areas the developmental needs are common, there are some important aspects in which the problems of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes differ.
For instance, the Scheduled Castes suffer not only from economic backwardness but also from social disabilities. The Scheduled Tribes’ problems arise from geographical isolation characterized by low level of techno-economic development and wide variation in the levels of living between different areas and different tribal groups but all the same assiduously retaining their distinct socio-cultural identity in a large measure. The programmes during the Eighth Plan were therefore, attuned to meet specific needs of these communities.
Efforts were being initiated to fill the critical gaps in providing the basic minimum services to those living below the poverty line. These special efforts are expected to ensure that every habitation with concentration of these Groups will have access to potable drinking water, nutrition supplements with both macro and micro nutrients, primary health care services, primary education facilities, sanitation and housing for the shelter less poor.
The programmes for the Scheduled Tribes in the Ninth Plan strived to ensure `People-Centered Development’ and `People’s Participation, with effective involvement of Panchayati Raj Institutions, in pursuance of the recent Constitutional (73rd and 74th) Amendments. Steps were taken for the devolution of financial as well as administrative powers to the local self-governments, so that the marginalized groups were also given the opportunity to participate not only in formulating the need-based programmes, but also in their effective implementation, supervision and monitoring. By this it was expected not only to go a long way in empowering these Groups but also the implementation of various developmental programmes carried out in the true sense of co-operative federalism.
District- Wise Distributions of Scheduled Tribes in Kerala
The Scheduled Tribe population Kerala is not evenly distributed. About 36 percent of the tribal population is living in the Wayanad district. The lowest percent of tribal population is in Alappuzha District.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Studies on tribal communities may be classified into various categories. One way of classification is as Studies on tribal economy and Studies on tribal society and culture. Studies on tribal economy are of two types, one is the economic anthropology and the other is the scientific study of the tribal economy. The earlier tribal studies where all anthropological in nature. The economic anthropology is found in all general studies on tribal society. Another classification can be made as studies on tribal societies of Kerala, and studies on tribal societies outside Kerala.
Studies on tribes of Kerala
Edgar Thurston, in his Castes and Tribes of Southern India 7 volumes (1909), and Ethnographic Notes on Southern India 1907 made a systematic and detailed survey of the whole of south India. In this monumental study he gives a detailed account of the changing pattern of life of the tribes of Kerala. The focus of attention in Thurstons study was on customs, religious beliefs way of life, manners, superstitions, physical features etc. Thurston gives somewhat a reasonable description of the Kadars of Kerala. In his study of Kadars he gives an account of their way of life, social culture physical features, material culture, occupational culture and economic anthropology. In this study Thurston points out that collection of minor forest produce was the major occupation of Kadars and according to him the total value of minor forest produce collected in 1897-98, in the South Coimbatore division which includes the Anamalai was Rs.7,886. So even though his study was not specifically on Kadar economy it gives some information on Kadar’s economic conditions also.
Anantha Krishna Iyer L.K. in 1909 under took an ethnographic survey of the hill and jungle tribes and low caste people of Cochin and published “The Cochin Tribes and Castes” in four volumes. This work was a general study on the socio-cultural milieu of the various tribes and castes of the Travancore – Cochin area. In this work Anantha Krishna Iyer describes in detail the life of the Kadars. Together with the way of life, culture, customs, religious beliefs and physical features of Kadars, he also gives some ideas of their economic life. According to him the major occupation of the Kadars was collection of forest produces. He assess that the total income derived from minor forest produce by Cochin Kadars is about Rs. 3,000 a year.
Luiz (1962) made a careful study of the 48 tribal communities of Kerala in his book Tribes of Kerala. He gives a fairly good account of life culture and changing pattern of their social life in the context of socio-economic changes to the general society. The author in this work gives a brief account of the Kadar settlements, the physical characters of the Kadars, their material culture, food gathering methods, deities, marriage and family life, taboos etc. The author gives only very brief information about the economic life of the Kadars. He says that the majority of Kadars subsists by collecting honey wax and other hill produces and the income they receive is extremely disappointing.
Ehranfels, made an extensive study of the Kadar tribe to publish his Kadar of Cochin in 1952 . He states that Kadars are one among the very few South Indian hill tribes still conforming to the pattern of pre-agricultural and pre pastoral food gathering. This ethnographical study of Kadars covered a wide range of their life and activities. The family, religion, sexual life, food habits, language, geographical environment, habitats, material culture, Social customs, economic anthropology etc. were examined and described in this work. The author estimated the annual income of a Kadar family as little over Rs.400 per annum (during 1947-48). The only source of income of the Kadar family is the money they receive from the exchange for the minor forest produce to the contractor.
The annual expenditure of a Kadar family was estimated as Rs.440/-. However the author admitted that he doubts about the validity of these information since forest produce contactors enumerated accounts to him. The contractors dictate the price of the forest produces and Kadars in fact were denied the deserving prices for their produces.
The Encyclopaedia of Dravidian Tribes Vol.II., published by the International school of Dravidian Linguistics (1996) gives a brief account of the present conditions of the Kadar tribe of Kerala. P.R.G. Mathur describes the changes, which took place in the last fifty years to the life style and culture of Kadar tribe very briefly. The author provides the details about the number of Kadar settlements, house holds etc as on March 1986 in this article. One of the observations of Mathur Contrary to the study of Ehrenfels is that, there are seven clans designated as Jati exists among the Kadars. Deepak Tyagi in the same volume of this book examines the studies of various anthropologists regarding the physical Anthropology, Anthropometry, Anthroposcopy, blood groups, Dermatoglyphics, Racial Strains etc of the Kadars. In this volume Zacharias Thundiyil gives a short account of the Kadar language also.
M Kunhaman undertook few studies on various aspects of the tribals of Kerala. One of his important studies was about the differences in socio-economic development among hill tribes of various regions of Kerala. This study analyses the land distribution among tribals, tribal agriculture, tribal farmers participation in the product market etc. on an inter district basis. He pointed out that in spite of the several welfare and developmental programmes adopted by both the central and the state governments for tribal welfare, they still remain the most backward section of the society. Kunhamans study reveals that, however their condition is not uniformly dismal along the entire eastern mountain belt where they are mostly found. He found that same tribal groups in the region have achieved reasonable socio-economic development compared to other tribals. The same author examined the changes in the pattern of tribal leadership among some selected tribal groups of different culture type in another work. However Kunhamans study does not cover Kadar tribes.
Mathur (1977), made an elaborate study of the tribal situation in Kerala. This study explains the socio-linguistic evolution and culture of the Kerala tribes. He has covered a wide range of issues confronted by the tribals of Kerala like land alienation, indebtedness, banded labor, stats of tribal women etc. Thus study provides a considerable amount of statistical information regarding the tribes. In this study the author provides information about the various aspect of the economic life of the tribals as well as about their family life, religious beliefs etc.
S.S.Sarkar and his four colleagues, Roy Chakravarthi, Banerjee and Bhattacharjee, Department of Anthropology, university of Calcutta under took a physical survey of the Kadar tribe during (1957-58).They surveyed four Kadar settlements namely Itttianai, Orukumbunkutti, Kuriarkutti and Parambikulam and collected data for anthropometric and somatological data. There were disputes among Anthropologists regarding the social background of the Kadar tribe since long time. The analysis of the anthropologic data by Ray, Bhattachargee and Banerjee and dermatoglyphics by Chakaravarti revealed that Kadar belong to the same vedid or Asteroid ethnic stock like paniyan, the Kanikar etc.
B.Ananda Banu (1989) made an ethnographic study of the Cholanaikans, a primitive tribe of Kerala. This study describes in detail their life style, material culture techniques of acquiring food etc. The author enumerates the different technique Cholanaikams uses for hunting fishing and collection of roots and tubers. This study gives an account of different forest produces collected by Cholanaikans. The expenditure pattern of the Cholonaikams are also described in this study.
Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development Studies of Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (KIRTADS) made a study of the present condition of the Kadar tribe of Kerala in 1999 and has made an action plan for the years 1999- 2000, 2000-01, and 2001-02.
Ayyapan (1948) ,Social Revolution in Kerala Village, is the first to make remarks on educational backwardness of tribal folk. The study focuses on tribes located at Malabar regions especially Kurichchan and Paniya groups. The research work, analyses from anthropological line, tries to bring out the problems existing in tribal communities. He addresses socio-cultural aspects and customs prevailed in Paniyans and Kurichchans as reasons for their educational backwardness. Social taboos among Kurichchans abstained girls from having education, and Paniyans by tradition, were reluctant to provide education. The researcher stressed the importance of education in socio-economic transformation of tribes.
R C Verma (1959-1960)in his book ‘Indian tribes through the ages’ has discussed the socio cultural organisations of sanria paharias, main-paharias and knmarbhag. He has examined various phases of the tribal life . preganancy and birth , puberty , widow re-marriage ,place of women in the society ,religion ,village council and political institutions. Publisher: publications division Ministry of informations and broadcasting, 1995.
Varghese (2002) studies socio – economic transformation of tribes and the role of development programmes. The study was conducted with special reference to Wayanad district using survey and observation method. Varghese used comparative analysis between kurichchans and paniya community in terms of living conditions, nature of family, landlessness, income and impact ofco –operative movement. The author criticizes the tribal welfare authorities in light of poor development progress of tribal groups and inefficiency in implementation of welfare schemes.
A study by centre for socio –economic and environmental studies suggest ‘paditha veedu ‘(study home), a new institution to be establishes in each ooru (habitation/settlement) to improve the quality of education among ST. It will provide a home like environment. But the study has no empirical support to prove the requirement of home like environment necessary for the ST students.
A review of earlier literature on Kadar tribe gives us valuable information about their traditional culture, social and economic life etc. The review reveals that Kadars social and economic life are inextricably linked with collection and exchange of hill produces or minor forest produces from very early years onwards.
IMPORTANCE OF STUDY
Scheduled tribe’s , who are marginalised sections in the past and the victim of cruel discrimination ,improved their socio-economic status .It is revealed through their active participation in all important spheres, that is political , social and economic spheres of life. Kadar tribe, small tribe of southern India residing along the hilly border between Cochin in the state of Kerala and Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu. Our understanding of the tribals of these areas is still far from completion. Some tribes in Kerala have come to the main stream while most of them are far from development and education. The present study attempts to portray the socio-economic condition of kadar in vazhachal colony. The significance of the study is really great. It is calculated to find out the social and economic conditions of Kadar in vazhachal colony. It intends to preserve the traditional culture and customs of Kadars. The unique characters of tribal identity can be found and preserve properly. The preservation of the rich culture of the tribals would be the most important responsibility of the government. The difference of their lifestyle is a matter of historical interest .Inorder to know their condition and to improve their condition , the project has been undertaken . The shortage of empirical study is the reason for us to take this topic . OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
To analyse the economic conditions of Kadars : employment , income, housing, etc .
To analyse the social condition of Kadars: education, general awareness, participation in public activities, access to public institution, demography etc.
This study is based on both primary and secondary data . Secondary data can be collected from Kerala economic reviews, journals and internet . Primary data can be collected from Vazhachal colony, Athirappilly.
For satisfying above said objective, we can rely on tabular analysis, especially bivariate analysis in which percentages and averages can be used.