Saturday, 14 May 2016

Are India Tribals Hindus? - Part 2 The North



II. The Northern Heartland

The northern heartland consists of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This is the heartland of ancient India, the land of the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata, of the sacred Himalayas and the Ganga, and the birthplace not only of both Vedic and Puranic Hinduism, but also of Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.

The area of Punjab-Haryana (+ Delhi and Chandigarh) does not have any scheduled tribes at all: it is, in fact, the only part of India which does not. The scheduled tribes of this northern heartland are mainly the tribals of the Himalayan region, in Uttarakhand, spilling over into the adjacent Uttar Pradesh (since Uttarakhand till recently was a part of a larger Uttar Pradesh), and the tribals of neighbouring Jharkhand (likewise till recently a part of a larger Bihar) spilling into Bihar. As they represent two different sets of tribals, we will examine them separately:

The following are the only five tribal groups in the UP-UK region, again overwhelmingly “Hindu Category One”. Along with the Buddhists (typical of the Himalayan areas), the figures go above 97% in four of the five tribes, and remain below that in the fifth tribe only because the data for the religious affiliation of a small section of the tribe was apparently unavailable:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Buddhists
%age of Hin+Bud
Tharu
UP, UK
2,02,627
96.77
1.11
97.88
Jaunsari
UP, UK
1,07,989
99.73
0.03
99.76
Bhotia
UP, UK
56,437
96.46
1.88
98.34
Bhoksa/Buksa
UP, UK
50,467
99.21
0
99.21
Raji
UP, UK
2,960
92.97
0.15
93.12

Again, it will be clear that there are hardly any “Hindu Category Three” people in the UP-UK region. The percentage of Hindus in the total populations of the two states is as follows: Uttar Pradesh 80.61% and Uttarakhand 84.96%. But all the five tribes are well above 90% for “Hindu Category One” alone.

The following are the tribal groups in Bihar. We will see first the tribes having more than 97% declared Hindus, then those having between 90-97%, and finally those having below 90%:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
Oraon
B
1,07,183
97.21
Kharwar
B
1,00,649
99.02
Chero
B
10,156
99.72
Malto
B
10,581
97.33
Lohra
B
9,645
97.17
Bhumij
B
5,044
100.00
Mahli
B
3,263
98.38
Gorait
B
2,771
98.56
Kisan
B
2,743
99.82
Kui Khond
B
2,295
100.00
Birjia
B
2,291
100.00
Parhaiya
B
1,629
99.45
Chik Baraik
B
1,279
98.44
Sauria Pahadia
B
1,270
99.84
Asur
B
725
98.90
Bedia
B
720
99.86
Banjara
B
567
98.94
Binjhia
B
135
100.00
Bathudi
B
92
98.91
Saora
B
86
100.00


TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of Muslims  (if significant)
%age of H+C+M
Santal
B
4,04,246
96.45
2.93

99.38
Gond
B
83,732
95.81
0.89
2.63
99.33
Kharia
B
6,175
93.91
1.54
3.24
98.69
Korwa
B
1,039
95.28
2.79

98.07
Karmali
B
567
93.47
5.82

99.29
Birhor
B
74
95.95
4.05

100.00


TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age of Hindus
%age of Christians
%age of Muslims (if significant)
%age of H+C+M
Munda
B
29,160
83.35
5.15
10.28.
98.78
Ho
B
1,625
88.62
6.89

95.51
Baiga
B
188
89.36
9.57

98.96


In Bihar also, all the tribes, except three, have a percentage of Hindus above 90%. The lowest percentage in one tribe is 83.35, while the Hindu percentage for Bihar as a whole is 83.23. Clearly, the tribals of Bihar are also overwhelmingly “Hindu Category One”. The only tribe where the percentage of “Hindu Category Three” is of any significance is the small Ho tribe, where they number 3.08%, but the Hindus are 88.62%. [But note later the figures for all these same tribes in the state of Jharkhand].


III. The North

At this point, we can see the figures for the northern region, consisting of Jammu-Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh., which will obviously be different from the two regions already seen, since this represents the northernmost part of India lying close to the confluence of the Muslim West of Asia and the Buddhist North of Asia. Parts of the state of Jammu-Kashmir are occupied by (Muslim) Pakistan and (once-Buddhist) China, and even within the non-occupied areas, we have the three regions of Muslim-dominated Kashmir, Buddhist-dominated Ladakh, and Hindu-dominated Jammu. In these circumstances, we can naturally expect a three-fold division among the tribal populations also.

We thus have the Muslim-majority tribes, the Buddhist-majority tribes and the Hindu-majority tribes:

TRIBE
States
Total Population
%age  of Muslims
%age  of Buddhists
%age  of Hindus
Total %age of M+B+H
Gujjar
JK, HP
7,59,820
96.45
0
3.55
100.00
Purigpa
JK
39,866
100.00
0
0
100.00
Bakarwal
JK
18,209
100.00
0
0
100.00
Balti
JK
6,553
100.00
0
0
100.00







Bot/Mangrik
JK, HP
1,42,636
0.18
95.58
4.20
99.96
Brokpa
JK
12,094
12.50
87.50
0
100.00
Changpa
JK
11,465
0
100.00
0
100.00
Mon
JK
7,225
0
100.00
0
100.00
Jad
HP
1,626
5.84
67.16
26.08
99.08
Garra
JK
756
0
100.00
0
100.00







Gaddi
JK, HP
1,84,508
0.50
0.02
99.48
100.00
Kinnaura
HP
62,133
2.78
37.22
59.75
99.75
Pangwala
HP
18,109
0
1.13
98.85
99.98
Swangla
HP
9,437
0
10.42
89.45
99.87
Lahaula
HP
3,763
0.49
49.14
50.20
99.83


In spite of the mixed nature of the religious composition of the tribes in the northern region, it is clear that, here also, there are no “Hindu Category Three” tribals, and the tribals are either “Hindu Category One” or “Hindu Category Two” (Buddhist) or converted Muslims, obviously converted from the originally “Hindu Category One/Two” tribals of the area. [Figures for two very small tribes, the predominantly Buddhist Beda and the predominantly Hindu Sippi, do not seem to be available]


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