Read this comprehensive and fully researched essay about the geographical distribution of Tribes in India !
The tribes in India are spread over the length and breadth of the country. About 2/3 of the total tribal population of the country are found in the five states – Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The tribes live all over the country from the foot-hills of Himalayas to the land tip, of Lakshadweep and from plains of Gujarat to the hills of North-East. There are the tribals in chamba and Mahasu; and in Dehradun and Darjeeling.
The peninsular region has Bhils, Gonds, Santhals, Ho, Kols, Kondh, Kharia and Mundas among the prominent. In the North-Eastern region the prominent tribals are Nagas, the Mizos, Mikris and Kukis.
Dr. B. S. Guha has divided the county into three tribal Zones:
1. The North and North-Eastern Zone,
2. The central or the Middle Zone and
3. The Southern Zone
Eastern Kashmir, Eastern Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Northern Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam etc. constitute this zone. The Aka, the Mishmi, the Chulikata and the Naga are some of the tribes of this zone.
Bihar, Bengal, Southern U.P., Southern Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa come under this zone. The Kondh, the Santhal, the Bhil, the Gond, the Muria and the Baiga are only a few of the large number of tribes of this zone. The bulk of the tribal population lives in this zone. There is a very high concentration of tribal population in central India. Over 85 per cent of the total tribal population inhabits the eight States that constitute this zone.
The Southern zone is consisted of four Southern States – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The Toda, the Chenchu, the Kadar and the Koraga are some of the important tribes of this zone.
C. B. Mamoria has added to this list the fourth zone consisting of Andaman and Nicober Islands.
Besides these main zones, there is another isolated zone constituting the Andaman and Nicobar Island in the Bay of Bengal. The Jarawa, the Andamanese and the Nicobarese are the important tribes of this zone.
B. K. Roy Burman divides the tribal population of the country into five geographical regions taking territorial, ethnic and socio-cultural relations into account.
1. The North-East India comprising Assam, NEFA, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura. Some of the tribes of this area are: the Ahoms, Garos, Khasis, Mizos, Nagas, Kukis, etc.
2. The sub-Himalayan region of North and North West India -comprising Northern Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and as a whole. Some tribes of this area are: Gujjars, Bodh, Kinnours, Swanglia, etc.
3. Central and East India comprising West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madha Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Some tribes of this area: the Santals, Ho, Munda, Oraons, Gonds, Chenchu, Koya, Kolam, etc.
4. South India comprising Madras, Kerala and Karnataka. The tribes of this area are Irula, Kurumba, Kadar, Hakki Pakki, Jenu Kuruba, Kadu Kuruba, etc.
5. Western India comprising Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Some tribes of this area are: Mina, Bhils, Kumbis, Mario Gonds, Mahadev Kolis, Gonds, etc.