Rediscovering India by Dharampal

Warriors now Backwards

Integrating the Notified Tribes - The fifth report of the Bihar Backward Classes Commission 1976 (commonly known by the name of its chairman as, the Mungerilal commission) deals with the denotified groups in Bihar. But as the report does not provide any data on the number, or total population of these groups, it is different to judge the extent and seriousness of the question that their prolonged and administratively enforced condition poses to the rest of Bihar society. Probably, such data, as the names and the populations of the respective groups according to the areas they inhabit, is available with the state authorities, or with the Census Commission. The availability of such data is essential in formulating any relevant policies.

While the commission has shown much concern about the problem faced by these groups the most important part of the report seems to be its introduction. According to it, these groups are largely of such people whose ancestors were warriors and gave unceasing battle to the British till they got exhausted and succumbed to the overwhelming British power. Besides being warriors, their main occupations are said to have been of ironsmithy (Iuhar), hunting, jugglery and acrobatics, snake charming and acting. After their total subjugation, on the one hand, they were compulsorily excluded from the rest of society and put under constant police vigilance, and on the other hand, to somehow satisfy their pressing needs (and perhaps also as a symbol of rebellion) took to thieving, begging etc. Furthermore they used to be put to forced labor under statute, and in the later stages some of them put under the charge of the (British) Salvation Army Organization.

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