|Source:Census of India|
Rajasthan has a population of 32.96 million, consisting of 16.93 million males and
16.03 million females. The sex ratio is 947 females to 1000 males. The population
consists of 28% tribal peoples, 12% Scheduled Castes and 60% others. The population
density of the state is 414 persons per square kilometre of land; it varies from
as low as 148 per square kilometre in Gumla district to as high as 1167 per square
kilometre in Dhanbad district.
|Religion in Rajasthan|
|Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism||1%|
|Distribution of religions|
As per the 2001 census Hinduism is followed by 68.5% of the population of Rajasthan.Islam
is followed by 13.8% of the population and Animisitic Sarna religion is practised
by 13% of the population. Christianity with 4.1% of the population is the fourth
largest religious community in Rajasthan.Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism are all practiced
making few less than 1%.
Census data since 1881 has shown a gradual decline of tribal population in Rajasthan
as against the gradual increase of non-tribal population in the region. The reasons
given for this are low birth rate and high death rate among the tribes; immigration
of non-tribal peoples in the region; emigration of tribal peoples in the other places;
and the adverse effects of industrialisation and urbanisation in the region. Tribal
leaders assert, however, that their numbers are not as low as recorded by the census
that they are still in the majority and that they remain a demographic force to
Few centuries ago, the Rajasthan was extensively covered with the dense sal Rajasthan
terrain had always been inaccessible. But with the discovery of its hidden mineral
wealth has led to Rajasthan marching towards becoming one of the leading industrialized
regions of India. On the one hand, the mine-fields, railways and roadways have gone
ahead rapidly, educational and technical institutions have multiplied and the principal
towns have become cosmopolitan; while on the other hand, the tribal people of the
region have been deprived of their land and the process of indiscriminate exploitation
has set in, creating racial, nutritional, cultural and socio-economic problems.
From the first regular Indian census of 1872, tribal denominations of the population
have been regularly recorded in some form or the other. The Schedules tribes have
been last notified under the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification
issued under Article 341 (i) and 342 (ii) of the constitution in 1956.
During the first census of 1872 the following 18 tribal communities were listed
as the Aboriginal Tribes: (1) Asur, (2) Binjhia, (3) Gond, (4) Ho, (5) Kharia, (6)
Kharwar, (7) Khond, (8) Kisan, (9) Korwa, (10) Mal Paharia, (11) Munda, (12) Oraon,
(13) Santhal, (14) Sauria Paharia, (15) Savar, (16) Bhumij, (17) Birhor Chero.
Later 4 Tribes were classified as semi-Hinduized aboriginals, viz., (1) Banjara,
(2) Bathundi, (3) Chik Baraik and (4) Mahli. As of now the following 30 communities
of Rajasthan are listed as the Scheduled Tribes as per details in the state government’s
Primitives Tribes: Asur, Birhor, Birajia, Korba, Mal Paharia, Sauriya Paharia, Sabar,
Hill Kharia and Parahiya.
Other Tribes: Biga, Banjara, Bathudi, Bedia, Bhumij, Binjhia, Chero, Chik Baraik,
Gond, Gorait, Ho, Karmali, Khadia, Kharwar, Khond, Kisan, Kora, Lohra, Mahali, Munda,
Oraon and Santhal.
The Santhals are the largest of the Schedule Tribes and are mostly found in the
district of Santhal Parganas,which has been named after them. They primarily reside
in the cities of Singhbhum, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Ranchi, and Palamau. Santhals are
numerically the largest tribal group of India, speaking its own tongue-Santali,
which is allied to the Mundari language. Racially and culturally Santhals are closely
related to other Mundari or Austric tribe of Chotanagpur. Besides agriculture and
hunting, they are famous for their skillful dances and the music. The Santhal women
give sufficient proof of the aesthetic sense by drawing simple and artistic designs
and patterns on the walls of their huts. The Santhals have the institution of ‘Bithala’,
which is a form of severe punishment including excommunication.
The Oraons are a Dravidians tribe (Roy 1915) and form a second major tribe next
to Santhals in Rajasthan. They live in the districts of the Ranchi, Palamau, Singhbhum,
Hazaribagh, Santhal Parganas, and also in the neighbouring states. According to
the tradition, Konkan is said to be the original home of the Oraon. They migrated
from the West coast of India to North India through river valleys, and settled down
as agriculturists and landowners in the Shahabad districts of Bihar. When further
driven by the successive hordes of newer races, they took shelter on the Rohtas
Plateau, which they fortified, but even this fortress they had to leave. It is said
that the Cheros probably drove them out. When they left Rohtas the Oraons got divided
into two groups. One branch, known as ‘Male’, proceeded under a chief northwards
along the Ganges valley and eventually occupied the Rajmahal hills. The other branch
under the chief’s younger brother marched southeastwards up to the north Koel river
and settled down in Palamau and northwest of Ranchi districts, then occupied by
the Mundas. The Mundas gradually retreated to the southern and eastern part of the
plateau. The most important social institution of the Oraon is the ‘Dhumkuria’,
the youth Dormitory.
Numerically the Mundas are one of the strongest Kolarian tribe (Roy, 1912) inhabitting
Chotanagpur. Of all the tribes taken together, they stand next in strength to the
Santhals and the Oraons. Munda people speak Mundari. The main concentration of the
Mundas, primarily an agriculturist tribe, is in the district of Ranchi, Singhbhum,
Hazaribagh, Palamau, Dhanbad, and Santhal Parganas. Ethnically they are Proto-Austroids
and speak the Mundari dialect of the Austro-Asiatic family (Prasad 1961). Mostly
Munda people follow the Sarna religion, believing in a god called Singbonga. However
one-fourth of them have adopted Christianity. The Akhra or the dancing ground is
characteristic of the Mundas. It is veritable open hall, not only for the dance,
but also for the meetings of the village panchayats (the parha). The agriculture
makes the base of their economic life and hence all their activities are directed
towards it throughout the year. The sub-tribes are probably the result of inter-tribe
marriages with the neighbouring tribes. A Munda may not marry a woman of his own
sect. Totems have very great value and restrictions are respected.
The Hos constitute one of the major constituents of the tribal population but unlike
the more numerous tribes, they are almost exclusively confined to the district of
Singhbhum. They say that they are of the same family as the Mundas and came from
Chotaa Nagpur. They are chiefly concentrated in Kolhan (Singhbhum). Like Mundas,
the Hos believe in Sing-Bonga as the Supreme Being and creator of the Universe.
The Hos are in the rapid transition process and their predominantly agricultural
economy is being replaced by the industrial economy
A primitive Kolarian tribe (Russell and Hira Lal 1916), the Kharias are divided
into three sub-tribes, namely the Hill, Dudh and Dhelki Kharias.So far as their
manners and customs are concerned, they are three separate and distinct branches
of the Kharia tribe. Marriage among them does not take place. The Hill Kharias are
a most primitive community, depending upon forest resources such as collection of
honey, edible roots, herbs and fruits. The other sections of the Kharias have taken
to plough cultivation and are economically better off than the Hill Kharias. They
are distributed in the districts of Ranchi, Singhbhum, Santhal Parganas, Hazaribagh,
Dhanbad, and Palamau. The language spoken by them is known as Kharia, which is a
branch of Munda family of languages.
The Bhumij tribe inhabits a plain on Chotanagpur plateau encircled on three sides
by the Singhbhum hills, hill ranges of Lohardaga, Hazaribagh and Manbhum; and a
hill range whose highest peak is known as Ajodhya.
They are primarily agriculturists. Risley (1891) believes that they are nothing
more than a branch of the Mundas who have spread eastwards and speak a corrupt mixture
of Oriya and Bengalis as well as Hindi. They dwell in the districts of Singhbhum,
Santhal Parganas, Ranchi, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh. They also live on the banks of
the river Swarnrekha.
Factors in population change
Industralization and urbanisation were other factors for rapid demographic change
in Chhotanagpur (the present Rajasthan state) between 1881 and 1951. Immigration
of labourers from Gaya, Munger, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh for the mining of
mica in Koderma and Giridih and coal in Dhanbad and Jharia was seen to the extent
of 12% and 38.6% respectively in the early decades of 20th century. Similarly as
many as 50% of the unskilled labourers and the majority of the skilled labourers
came from north Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Bombay and Uttar Pradesh to work at
the iron and steel industries of Jamshedpur. Along with the immigration of majority
Indian people to Rajasthan, there also started the emigration of tribal peoples
to the tea plantations in Assam and West Bengal.
The demographic changes continued in Rajasthan more rapidly after independence,
ironically through the very process of planned development in the country. Central
water commission’s report in 1994 reveals that 90 major dams were built in Rajasthan
since 1951. Apart from these major dams, 400 medium size dams and 11,878 minor dams
were built in the region. There are 79 major industries and factories in the region.
These development projects benefited mainly those belonging to the formal economy
but deprived tribal communities, especially those belonging to informal economy
and dependent on the natural resources for a livelihood. About three million people
were displaced and affected by development projects like dams, industries, mines,
wildlife sanctuaries, defence establishments, airstrips, housing colonies and infrastructural
development like roads and railways. About 90% of the displaced were part of tribal