Tribal Societies

India has the largest population of tribal people in the world.

The tribal people constitutes around 8.6 percent i.e, 104 million people of the total population.

The tribal societies were present in our nation since a very long period of time.

Let’s Study about the Tribal Society during Ancient Times

During the ancient time, Indian society was divided according to the varna system.

The rules were made by the Brahmanas and were accepted by the rulers of the kingdoms.

This led to the increasing difference between the rich and the poor, the high and the low caste and others.

However, there were other societies who didn’t follow these rules and were not divided into classes.

The people living in these societies were grouped into different tribes.

Tribes used to follow their own traditions and made their own rules for the division of land.

The members of the tribe were united by family connections.

They were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.

Other activities included animal herding and hunting.

Some tribes were also nomads who moved from one place to another.

A tribal group controlled land and pastures jointly and divided these amongst the households.

Tribal groups lived in different parts of the country like in forests, hills, deserts and such others.

Sometimes there were conflicts among tribal groups with other caste-based societies.

However, the tribes retained their freedom and preserved their separate culture.

The caste-based and tribal societies were depended on each other for diverse needs.

This relationship of conflict and dependence gradually caused both societies to change.


In early period, tribal societies did not follow the social rules and divisions, prescribed by the Brahmanas.

For livelihood, the tribes were dependent on agriculture, hunting and animal herding.

Many tribes lived in forest, hills, deserts and places which were difficult to reach.

Members of tribal society were united by relationship bonds. They made their own rules of land-holding.

Tribal societies faced challenges from other societies. However, these societies were interdependent on each other.

The End