Vol. 3, Issue 10 (2016)
Socio-Economic status of the Baiga tribe of Chhattisgarh in India
Author(s): Ram Babu, Dr. AN Panda
Abstract: The Indian Constitution assigns special status to the Scheduled Tribes (STs). Traditionally referred to as advises, van basis, tribes, or tribals, STs constitute about 8% of the Indian population. There are 573 Scheduled Tribes living in different parts of the country, which are different from the mainstream people of the State where they live. Baiga tribe is a primitive tribe found in central provinces of the country such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand. The largest number of Baiga is found in Baiga-chuk in Mandla district and Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh. Baiga are connected to Indo–Aryan Dravidian tribes who have unique socio-economic status and life style. The major part of Baiga earning is spent on food and clothing. In Baiga community, the family is small, but the kinship structures are quite strong. They follow strict marriage rules, such as incest is a taboo, no marriage with outsiders is permitted, and monogamy is the general rule. The Baiga have expertise in medicine and the priests have their special importance. Baigas lived in the forests and carry out shifting, slash and burn cultivation for thousands of years without any influence or competition from other Indian residents. The second largest grouping of the Baigas lives in Bilaspur, Kabirdham and Surguja districts of Chhattisgarh which was formed on 1 November 2000, by partitioning 16 Chhattisgarhi districts of Madhya Pradesh. It is also the 10th largest state with an area of 135, 190 km.