Explain the Linguistic Classification by the tribes in India.
The languages spoken by the tribes in India can be classified into four major families of languages:
Tribal speaking the language:
The tribal speaking the language falling under Dravidian speech family inhabit the middle and Southern India. The main tribes are Gonds, Oraon of Chhotanagpur, Kondh of Orissa etc.
The Austric family of speeches has two branches:
- The Munda speech family is spoken mainly by the tribes of Chhotanagpur area.
- The Mon-Khmer branch languages of this branch is spoken by Khasi and Nicobari tribals.
Tibeto Chinese speeches are spoken mostly by the tribal’s of Mongol racial stock. The family is divided into two branches:
- Siamese Chinese.
The tribes of Assam, Meghalaya and other parts of North-East India speak one or other speech of this family.
Tribal languages such as Hajong and Bhili are included in this group. A demographic study of the tribes in India reveal a great variation in their population size. On one side are the tribes such as Todas of Nilgiri hills, Great Andamese in Andaman Islands whose population size is very small and facing the threat of extinction.
On the other side are tribes with very large population such as Gonds of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bhils. In the middle are tribes such as Dubla in Gujarat, the Chenchu, the hula in South. Since the larger tribal groups are spread over a number of states, the same tribe is subjected to different policies and programs. This affects their social structure.
For thousands of years primitive tribes persisted in forest and hills without having more than casual contact with the population of the open plains and the centers of civilization. However, the physical isolation of most of the aboriginal tribes drew to an end when the modern means of communication like railways and roads were introduced in the 19th. and 20th century coupled with the growth of the population.
However, it is contended that event the most isolated groups were part of a wider network of economic relation. The food and gathering tribes, Jenukuruba of Kamataka, who specialized in the art of catching and training elephants had contacts with the wider society.
They supplied elephants to temples, armies of different states. In exchange for food of their necessity, the tribe supplied some forest products to them. Another example of the Apa Tani of Arunachal Pradesh can be sought. This tribe is engaged in highly specialized terraced cultivation and makes swords, Knives, woven cloth. It had economic relation with the neighboring tribe, Dafla, who gave pigs, dogs, tobacco etc. in exchange of rice, swords, textiles from Apa Tani tribe. Thus, tribal population have been interacting within their region in numerous ways.