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Tribal People of Andhra Pradesh

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Introduction

The Tribal People of Andhra Pradesh are economically and technologically better equipped than the tribes of other regions. Most of them have youth organizations.

The Government tries for the all-round development of the tribal people including malaria control, education, and better communications.

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The forest-clad mountainous tracts of the East Godavari and Visa­khapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh are the tribal areas of that State, with some twenty tribes speaking either Dravidian or Mundari dialects.

A brief account of some of the Tribal People of Andhra Pradesh is given below:

The Savara tribes

The Savara Tribes are mainly found in the districts of Visa­khapatnam and Odisha. The areas of Savara tribes are full of lofty hills, darting mountain streams and deep gaping valleys,the terraced rice fields, etc. The Savara tribe people are remarkable irrigation engineers. They have a primitive sense of village planning, for their houses are aligned in parallel rows which reflect orderliness. The Savara triabal people are believed to be the descendants of the Sabaras referred to in the Aita­reya Brahmana, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The Gadaba Tribe

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Linguistically, people of Gadaba tribe belong to the Mundari dialect. The Gadaba Tribal people are distributed in the Jey­pore, Malkangiri, Koraput and Pattangi taluks. They are, like the Savaras, farmers, but hunting and fishing make additional contributions to their food supply. The Gadaba women are good at weaving bark fiber cloth on miniature looms of their own manufacture and the woven fabric is dyed by them with various vegetable dyes. In fact no Gadaba girl is considered qualified for marriage until she has acquired the requisite skill on the loom. The enormous wire rings worn by Gadaba women as ear ornaments have also attracted considerable notice.

The village headmen have very little power, the influence of a person in the community depending on his ability and economic resources. The village council holds its meetings on stone seats under a tree. As these stone seats are associated with the spirits of the dead, the discussions are conducted in a sacred atmosphere and the decisions arrived at have added validity for that reason.

The Khonds Tribe

They are distribut­ed both in Orissa and the Visakhapatnam and are one of the largest of the Dravidian-speaking tribes. The sacrifice of human victims —always outsiders—which they practiced as part of their agricultural and war rites made them notorious. The British had to suppress this custom by strong military action.

The Koya Tribal People

These are the southernmost branch in the Godavari valley. The word `Koya’ means hill-dweller. The Koya tribe is divided into several occupational tribes such as blacksmiths, carpenters, brass workers and basket-makers. Their history is a long tale of suffering and oppression by the land­lords and more recently by money-lenders and other new types of exploiters from the plains. On the Hyderabad side of the Koya area, social workers have been active for some years in rehabilitating this tribe, but, on the whole, the economic distress of the Koyas is still most acute. During certain lean seasons of the year, food is so scarce that whole families, including children, live on tubers, tamarind seeds and palm juice.

The Konda Reddis Tribes

The Konda Reddis Tribes are the Telugu speaking tribal people . They share the hilly region with the Koya Tribe. A peep into history shows that the Konda Reddis were once a ruling tribe, but, worsted time and again, they became reconciled to the hills and valleys. They still retain some of the noble qualities of their aristocratic past. Their mode of life is almost the same as that of the Koya Tribe. They are, however, much better farmers than the Koyas and more self-reliant.

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