Indian tribes and British Sahibs - loss of tribal lands.

tribes of NE

The British now turned their attention to larger tribal population for their much  more needed cheap labor. Already they had taken over their productive lands and made them their bonded workers.

In the 19th century more and more tribes were used on the tea, coffee plantations, coal mines and cocoon rearing (silk). It was exploitation all the way from money lenders to contractors. There were restrictions on their tribal practices. They had to work  overtime and pay taxes. Caught between the devil and deep sea the tribes protested against them to free themselves off their claws.


They began to take away their additional  unexplored lands for highly profitable tea, coffee plantations to increase export processed tea and coffee overseas, in addition, they  badly needed wood - timber for railway coaches, sleepers, etc. To solve the labor problem the British devised an ingenious plan by which they  allowed the tribes to cultivate their crops – Jhum, fruits etc., and hunt in their  own  allotted areas in return for work with the forest department. One could understand peasants'

Naga tribes of Nagaland,

Mental agony, loss of their land and their pride from the following song:  

In the1930s Verrier Elwin visited the land of the Baigas – a tribal group in central India. He wanted to know about them – their customs and practices, their art and folklore. He recorded many songs that lamented the hard time the Baigas were having under British rule.

''In this land of the English how hard it is to live''
In the village sits the landlord
In the gate sits the Kotwal. In the garden sits the Patwari
In the field sits the government
In this land of the English how hard it is to live
To pay cattle tax we have to sell cow
To pay forest tax we have to sell buffalo'' 

Tit bits:

 .....Over 200 communities were identified by the British as "Criminal tribes" under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871. The Act was annulled after independence (August 1947) and the communities identified under this legislation were referred to as de-notified, nomadic and semi nomadic tribes ..........

Source: The Hindu