This is what you donot know about Baiga Tribe

Posted on July 5, 2017 by

India is a home to many tribes and Baiga is a tribe found Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh. With its population of about 250000, they live in thick woodland areas. In Madhya Pradesh, they are spread over in Mandla, Dindori, Shahadol, Balaghat and Umaria. we find tribal life quite interesting as their lives are free from the materialism that has been rotting this world. Baiga Tribe was a source of curiosity for me so we hunted down some information. Here are some interesting facts about Baiga Tribe:

Simple life: Baigas believe themselves to be heirs of the earth and rulers of woodlands. Yet still, they live a simple and straightforward life. Their homes are not adorned; they do not wear any ornaments. It is truly a simple way of living.

Tattooing: Tattoos make up a huge part of their culture. Baiga women have every body part tattooed with big elaborate figures. Upon asking, they revealed that this art has been passed down to Badi-Badanin group who do the tattoo work. They know the types of tattoos demanded by each tribe and have learnt the art from their mothers and would surely pass it down to further generations as well.

DSC_1684Shifting cultivation: The people of Baiga tribe never plough the field as they believe it would be similar to hurting the breast of their mother. They do not plant crops on the same patch again to give mother earth time to replenish the energy. Baigas practice ‘Swidden’ agriculture and it is known to be an effective device for conservation.

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Laborer: The hunters and woodsmen of Baiga tribe considered themselves as people of the forest who lived there, survived on the produce of the forest. As such, they refused to work for the government or any other person as it would reduce them to the level of a laborer.

Coarse food: Baiga eat food in coarse form like coarse grain. They also eat little flour and drink pej. Pej is made from grounding macca or water left after boiling rice. They also find food from the forests and eat Peepal, Gular leaves etc. Some fruits such asJamun, Tendu mangoes and delicacies like mushrooms also form part of their diet.

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Eviction: These tribes have suffered from threats and they have even been forcibly evicted by Indian authorities since 1960s. The main reason given is to protect the wildlife and tiger populations but as a result, these communities become a victim. They get displaced and we must understand the plight of these traditional tribes of our country.

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Hunting: They mostly hunt fish and small animals for food. Their impact on wildlife is not as troublesome as some people make it out to be.

Language: Though most Baigas interact with outsiders in Hindi and they have also picked up few local languages. Among them, they talk in a language called ‘Baigani’. It takes its style from Chattisgarhi and is also influenced by Gondi language and mostly the tribesmen from Mandla district have adopted it as a language.

These tribesmen and women of Baiga tribe practice semi-nomadic culture and we must pay attention towards preserving these cultures as they make an important part of our diverse country. Our country is a secular one as such everyone is allowed total freedom. It is not right to forcibly evict these tribes from their homelands. Even though, incentives are provided like that of money and alternate land, these often turn out to be lies and the tribes end up with nothing even after losing their territories.

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