Transformation of Tribal Society Essay

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Transformation of Tribal Society
Integration vs Assimilation
K S Singh

This paper attempts to set the current changes that are taking place in tribal society in India in a wider perspective of social, economic and political changes. The paper is in four sections. Section I presents an ideological perspective of the changes that are taking place, and Sections II and III discuss the economic transformation of tribal society and its impact on the social stratification among the tribals. The final section discusses in detail how these social and economic changes have given rise to, and are reflected in, various ethnic based solidarity movements as well as sociocultuml movements revolving round the question of tribal religion, language and script, and political movements whose demands range from greater political, autonomy to independence and whose methods range from constitutional agitation to armed insurgency. This is the first part of the paper which is being published in two instalments.
SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY has moved assimilation viewpoint regarding tribals away from the stereotype of a tribe as in 1942, has recently not only reiteratan isolate, and has focused on inter- ed his views but has also questioned action and interdependence of tribes the related policy and programmes and and peasants.1 Speaking on a similar the social anthropologists' commitment theme, Transformation of Tribal Society to the concept of integration instead in Modem India, Surajit Sinha had deli- of assimilation of tribes into the larger neated the process of the assimilation oi society.6 What irks him is that the tribes into caste-peasant base of Indian American model of ethnic-cum-cultural civilisation through the adoption of pluralism has been unabashedly applied agricultural technology and linguistic to the Indian situation, even though it and cultural norms of the peasant has failed in relation to the American castes. The vama-jaU model of ab- Indians. Ghurye...

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