the collective term for the indigenous peoples of mainland South Asia. In India, Scheduled Tribes referred as Adivasi although the term indigenous and tribal have different meanings. Scheduled Tribes make up 8.6% of India's population, or 104 million people, according to the 2011 census,
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Adivasi can be categorised into three grouping i.e Austro-asiatic, Caucasoid and Sino-Tibetan. Each tribe has its own language and culture, i.e. festivals, cuisine, dance and music. Adivasi societies are particularly prominent in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and some north-eastern states, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Many smaller tribal groups are quite sensitive to ecological degradation caused by modernisation. Both commercial forestry and intensive agriculture have proved destructive to the forests that had endured swidden agriculture for many centuries. Adivasis in central part of India have been victims of the Salwa Judumcampaign by the Government against the Naxalite insurgency.Although terms such as atavika, vanavāsi("forest dwellers"), or girijan ("mountain people") are also used for the tribes of India, adivāsi carries the specific meaning of being the original and autochthonousinhabitants of a given region. It is a modern Sanskrit word specifically coined for that purpose in the 1930s, from ādi 'beginning, origin' and vāsin 'dweller' (itself from vas 'to dwell'), thus literally meaning ‘original inhabitant’. Over time, unlike the terms "aborigines" or "tribes", the word "adivasi" has developed a connotation of past autonomy disrupted during the British colonial period in India and not yet having been restored.
In India, opposition to usage of the term is varied. Critics argue that the "original inhabitant" contention is based on the fact that they have no land and are therefore asking for a land reform. The adivasis argue that they have been oppressed by the "superior group" and that they require and demand a reward, more specifically land reform. Adivasi issues are not related to land reforms but to the historical rights to the forests that were alienated during the colonial period and India finally made a law to "undo the historical injustice" committed to the Adivasis.[better source needed]
In Northeast India, the term adivāsi applies only to the Tea-tribes imported from Central India during colonial times.
A substantial list of Scheduled Tribes in Indiaare recognised as tribal under the Constitution of India. Tribal people constitute 8.6% of the nation's total population, over 104 million people according to the 2011 census. One concentration lives in a belt along the Himalayas stretching through Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhandin the west, to Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland in the northeast. In the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland, more than 90% of the population is tribal. However, in the remaining northeast states of Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Tripura, tribal peoples form between 20 and 30% of the population. Other tribal peoples, including the Santhals, Oraon, Munda, and Ho live in Jharkhand and West Bengal. Central Indian states have the country's largest tribes, and, taken as a whole, roughly 75% of the total tribal population live there, although the tribal population there accounts for only around 10% of the region's total population.
Smaller numbers of tribal people are found in Odisha in eastern India; Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala in southern India; in western India in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands. About one percent of the populations of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are tribal, whereas about six percent in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are members of tribes.
The term 'Scheduled Tribes'(ST's) first appeared in the Constitution of India. Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as "such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution". Article 342, which is reproduced below, prescribes procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.