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Research Article
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Importance of Plants in Subsistence of Bhil Tribe

Archana Sahare , Vinay Kumar, Bindu Sharma
Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2021, 9(7), 680-686. DOI: 10.12691/aees-9-7-6
Received June 02, 2021; Revised July 05, 2021; Accepted July 20, 2021

Abstract

Bhil are the largest ethnic group of India which are mainly found on Gujrat border, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. There are two sub categories of Bhil tribe Ujaliya / Kshatriya Bhil, which are basically considered Kshatriya who went in to the forests at the time of Mughal invasion. While second one is Langot Bhil, they are the original Bhil’s living in the forests, their customs are still old and mainly live in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. According to the census of India, the country had a tribal population of 3 crores in the year 1961 which increased to 10.42 crore in the 2011 census, and which has a decadal growth rate of 23.7%. Current report is based on various surveys of southern Rajasthan to explore their thrift on basis of, culture, customs and their dependency on plants for livelihood that if they are “van putra” then how forests and their products are important for their subsistence. Present investigation has been done during march 2018 to march 2020 and investigators have visited Southern Rajasthan tribal festivals and their local weekly market ‘haat’ to observe their economic securities through forest product as these tribes comes in local markets or in festivals with their unique products to sell them and get some financial security from urban, semi urban or village areas.

1. Introduction

Bhil tribe this name comes with a dark shadow, well muscular built up that shows their hard work, average height due to gene pool, with traditional ornaments formed with natural things including plants products, or other natural resources. Bhil traditionally meaning ‘Van putra’ or “bow” due to use of bow and arrow for their livelihood and forest habitat, other reason that comes anthropogenically is sharpen nose and grinded canines. Bhil are the largest ethnic group of India which mainly found in Gujrat border, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan 1. There are two sub categories of Bhil tribe Ujaliya / Kshatriya Bhil, which is basically the Kshatriya who went in to the forests at the time of Mughal invasion. While second one is Langot Bhil, they are the original Bhil’s living in the forests, their customsare still old and mainly lives in Madhya Pradesh, in Rajasthan, Bhil has collected to serve Maharana Pratap, ruler of Mewar. According to the census of India, the country had a tribal population of 3 crores in the year 1961 which increased to 10.42 crore in the 2011 census, which has a decadal growth rate of 23.7% 2, 3.

2. Showing the Scheduled Tribe Population of India and Rajasthan

Current report is based on various surveys of southern Rajasthan to explore their thrift on basis of, culture, customs and their dependency on plants for livelihood that if they are “van putra” then how forests and their products are important for their subsistence. Present investigation has been done during march 2018 to march 2020 and investigators have visited Southern Rajasthan tribal festivals and their local weekly market ‘haat’ to observe their economic securities through forest product as these tribes comes in local markets or in festivals with their unique products to sell them and get some financial security from urban, semi urban or village areas.

But now if peoples think that still Bhil tribe can be seen in that picture which they read or reading in books or in portfolios or in stories of freedom fighting when they were with Mewar Maharana’s and showing their patriotism for motherland has changed, still they lives near or in forests but form 15-16th century to 20th century they have evolved themselves according to anthropogenic development. Somehow, they are not much equipped like modern facilities and faraway from expansion of proper growth. Although government had made several policies for reaching them in conventional approach. But that is not much easy as we think. Human greed exploited their habitat and resources. They were the native of forests and now are they really? While forest right act 2006 4, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18th December 2006 act of forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling, scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but who right could not be recorded. Anyway, they have survived with minimal requirement and less development. In this report we are presenting their financial collateral arrangements which are based on forest product or on plants. As according to statistical profile of scheduled tribes in India 2013, in rural India, among males, the proportion of unemployed was nearly 1% in 2004-2005 for each of the ST with comparison with other categories. While the unemployment rate for males was nearly 1.7% in 2009-2010 and this percentage ratio was much higher in urban areas for each of the ST. As par NSS 66th round report (2009-10) under MGNREGA, 398 households per 1000 households got work which was highest among all other social group. So as report shows the economical statistical data and economic condition of ST and Bhil tribe many families migrated for jobs to fulfill their needs 5. In this context those who didn’t migrate in cities they have much dependent on forests or on plant products for their life span expenditure. However, RajasthanVanvasi Kalyan Parishad (Udaipur)and other insinuations like this, for welfare of tribes and other District headquarter government offices promotes tribal product and provide them financial security for their products and offer them job also 6. But not every tribe person is much aware about these procedures and they still used to go in local market with their products to sell out them as income source to full fill their family needs. Here the list of plants and plants products is expounding in few major categories with scientific names with local use, and this ethnic knowledge they obtained from their natives or with experimental practice from years between them.

Major categories of trading and vending articles of Bhil tribes can be classified in five brackets, popularly known as medicine, food & fodder, timber and non-timber products, cosmetics products, and other domestic articles.

1. Food and fodder - in Southern Rajasthan Bhil peoples used to come at urban or semi urban areas in weekend/ Sunday with their unique natural and organic food products and this is really important for urban area peoples that anyhow they are connected with their culture and getting pure food quality in this polluted era of chemicals. Major food variety including edible oil, pickle, condiments, grains, pulses, masticatories, fruits, vegetables.

2. Timber and non-timber products- Bhil tribe used to come sell out timber and non-timber products in local market which has content of furniture wood, fibers of plants for making cote and fencing for domestic animals beside it, in non-timber products, they make trade of various plant gum which is edible as medicinal or for other uses.

3. Cosmetic products- In this bracket they come with raw herbal products, about which they have traditional knowledge. Especially skin care and cooling agents.

4. Domestic articles-in this category they made various domestic articles from various plant stem and root. In these traditional equipment’s they give their full effort of handcraft and used to sell out them in local market (haat) or in local fair where gathering is good.

5. Herbal Medicine – In this class they prove themself as local medicinal healer with tremendous ancient medicinal knowledge especially related with stomach and skin diseases of domestic animals or about humans. By this knowledge they earn cash but in spite of getting money, indirectly they are serving human race and society by their regular local practice remedies. They (Bhil tribe) don’t have any idea about scientific knowledge of plants or their products economic value but they have ethnic mastery by which they are getting funds for their economic survival. So, for identification of plants or products we used various taxonomic literature and ethnobotanical books, followed by RUBL herbarium sheets. 6, 7, 8 Here authors tried to narrate their interviews and their knowledge in favor of common man society, grasping with basic scientific touch so that this report would make its easiness for nonscientific persons also and a bit effort to attract their attention towards Bhil tribe and for their welfare.

Usually they grow food articles for their daily uses and some part of it they come with market to sell out them for money. Major categories are cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits other wild plants and domestic articles made up by wood of leaves, which can be eat or sell in market. Though there is a good transport and communication facilities are developing in past years by government but still Bhil tribe are following the trend which they learned from their ancestors, sometimes they come with their unique edible food quality with wild fruits or with other things and local peoples of city have much interest in them, in last 2 years we observed and interrogate their policies of doing business with main stream. So, on the basis of experience, we have listed plants and their products list which is valuable subsistence for Bhil tribe in Southern Rajasthan 9, 11. List has given blow here.

During present investigation we found that there are so many things which are direct source of money flow in Bhil tribe, most of wood like Sagwan, Neem, Sisam, Chola, Khejari, Badi bordi, Aamare used to make kids toys, kitchen articles, agriculture articles. Tectonagrandis (Sagwan) wood of this plant is used for making durable furniture and it’s really precious in city markets. By the way it’s illegal trading of cutting these plants but some local merchants approach them to cut these trees for wood and offer them money as Bhil lives in forests area and it’s easy for them to cut these trees. However, this product never comes in market; it’s a black market of furniture merchant of Southern Rajasthan which they full fill by approaching needy tribe. While Chola, Timru, Badli leaves are used to make saucer and cups (Pattal -Dona) through which Bhil tribegets direct money from local peoples. Beside it, they collect edible gums from various plants e.g., Chola (Kamarkas), Khair, Neem, Babool, Katria gum, which is very precious in local market, one of them is ‘Kamarkas’ which obtained from Butea monosperma this is dark red in color and very valuable for pregnant ladies for strengthen of back bone . Kamarkas is used as in diluted form for making ladoos for specific ones. They sell it out in 50 to 70 rs for half kg while local vendor makes a lot much money from it. Other plants are also important as medicine in form of vegetable or herbal food or as direct medicine. Every plant has its own medicinal properties which come with ethnic knowledge of Bhil tribe e.g. Enicostemma littoralcommonly known as Naame or Kadwachirayta, good source for blood purifier cause of its bitterness but mainly used to cure common fever or malaria. Leaf sticks boiled in water accordance and particular amount has taken by patient to cure diseases. For this Bhil tribe get 10 or 15 rupees, per 100 gm. while again local market vendors purchase this article with very nominal price and sell out in higher markets. While tribes are almost dependent on their own local remedies in their society 10.

3. Conclusion

Ethnic knowledge cannot be compared with anything as this is the treasure which cannot be stolen by anyone and Bhil tribe is very rich in it, but they are still very far away from main stream. Government is trying their best for them but being person of altruism society, we are also equally responsible to provide them all resources which they really deserve.

References

[1]  Bhasinn, M.K, & Nag, S. (2017). Demography of the tribal groups of Rajasthan: Population structure. The anthropologist, 1(9), pp 1-37.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Mathur, U.B. (1969). Ethnographic atlas of Rajasthan. pp 1-138.
In article      
 
[3]  Census (2011). Census of India.
In article      
 
[4]  Zaidi, M. (2019). Tribal women’s empowerment through the forest rights act, 2006 in Southern Rajasthan. Asian journal of women’s studies, vol- 25(1) pp- 47-75.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Statistical profile of scheduled tribes in India. (2013). Ministry of tribal affairs statistics division, Government of India.
In article      
 
[6]  Joshi, P. (1995 a). Ethnobotany of primitive tribes in Rajasthan. Printwell, Jaipur.
In article      
 
[7]  Joshi, P. (1995b). Ethnomedicinal of tribe Rajasthan- an overview. In Pushpangadan, U.L.F Nyman and V. George (eds.). Glimpses of Indian Ethnopharmacology. Tropical botanic garden and research institute Trivandrum: 147-162.
In article      
 
[8]  Shetty B.V, and Singh, V. (1987) Flora of Rajasthan. Vol. 1-3. Botanical survey of India, Calcutta, India.
In article      
 
[9]  Sebastian, M.K, and Bhandari, M.M, (1990). Edible wild plants of the forest areas of Rajasthan. Jour. Econ.tax. bot. 14(3): 689-694.
In article      
 
[10]  Nagda, B.L, (2004). Tribal population and health in Rajasthan. Studies of tribes and tribals Vol-2(1), pp-1-8.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  Kapoor BBS, Arora V. International Journal of Ethnobiology &Ethnomedicine, (2014); 1(1), 1-6.
In article      
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2021 Archana Sahare, Vinay Kumar and Bindu Sharma

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Normal Style
Archana Sahare, Vinay Kumar, Bindu Sharma. Importance of Plants in Subsistence of Bhil Tribe. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Vol. 9, No. 7, 2021, pp 680-686. http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/9/7/6
MLA Style
Sahare, Archana, Vinay Kumar, and Bindu Sharma. "Importance of Plants in Subsistence of Bhil Tribe." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 9.7 (2021): 680-686.
APA Style
Sahare, A. , Kumar, V. , & Sharma, B. (2021). Importance of Plants in Subsistence of Bhil Tribe. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 9(7), 680-686.
Chicago Style
Sahare, Archana, Vinay Kumar, and Bindu Sharma. "Importance of Plants in Subsistence of Bhil Tribe." Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences 9, no. 7 (2021): 680-686.
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[1]  Bhasinn, M.K, & Nag, S. (2017). Demography of the tribal groups of Rajasthan: Population structure. The anthropologist, 1(9), pp 1-37.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Mathur, U.B. (1969). Ethnographic atlas of Rajasthan. pp 1-138.
In article      
 
[3]  Census (2011). Census of India.
In article      
 
[4]  Zaidi, M. (2019). Tribal women’s empowerment through the forest rights act, 2006 in Southern Rajasthan. Asian journal of women’s studies, vol- 25(1) pp- 47-75.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Statistical profile of scheduled tribes in India. (2013). Ministry of tribal affairs statistics division, Government of India.
In article      
 
[6]  Joshi, P. (1995 a). Ethnobotany of primitive tribes in Rajasthan. Printwell, Jaipur.
In article      
 
[7]  Joshi, P. (1995b). Ethnomedicinal of tribe Rajasthan- an overview. In Pushpangadan, U.L.F Nyman and V. George (eds.). Glimpses of Indian Ethnopharmacology. Tropical botanic garden and research institute Trivandrum: 147-162.
In article      
 
[8]  Shetty B.V, and Singh, V. (1987) Flora of Rajasthan. Vol. 1-3. Botanical survey of India, Calcutta, India.
In article      
 
[9]  Sebastian, M.K, and Bhandari, M.M, (1990). Edible wild plants of the forest areas of Rajasthan. Jour. Econ.tax. bot. 14(3): 689-694.
In article      
 
[10]  Nagda, B.L, (2004). Tribal population and health in Rajasthan. Studies of tribes and tribals Vol-2(1), pp-1-8.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  Kapoor BBS, Arora V. International Journal of Ethnobiology &Ethnomedicine, (2014); 1(1), 1-6.
In article