9. THE MIKIR HILLS -
The partially excluded area of the Mikir Hills with anarea of about 4,400 square miles and a population of about150,000 persons is split up between two districts namelyNowgong and Silsagar. The Mikir Hills form an area ratherirregular in shape into which there projects an enclave of the Assam Valley. The western extremity of the partiallyexcluded area actually reaches a point in the Khasi Hillsand eastwards, it extends to a point not far from Dimapurwhile to the north it approaches Golaghat. It is clear thatthe irregular shape of this area makes the administrationfrom centres outside the area rather inconvenient whichapparently is the reason why the district has had to besplit up between two plains districts. Being a rathersparsely populated* area with rather less than 50 persons tothe square mile and containing no communications other thanthe railway passing through it, it has apparently not beenconsidered suitable for treatment as a separate district.The Provincial Government has at present under considerationa proposal for the making of the whole of the Mikir Hillsarea into a separate sub-division, perhaps on the analogy of the North Cachar Hills Sub-division. Divided between twodistricts as it is and consisting of inhospitable territoryin which jhuming is the only method of cultivation practisedwhile malaria takes its toll, it has been sadly neglected inmany ways and special steps are necessary for itsdevelopment. Very obviously the present state of affairswhere it is divided between two districts cannot continue ifthe area is to be developed and it should be made either adistrict or a sub-
* It may be noted however that the Lushai Hills arealso sparsely populated and there is no railway runningthrough it.
division with its headquarters somewhere in the middle of the bend so that it is accessible from both extremities. Thearea includes certain mouzas Barpathar and Sarupatharinhabited very largely by non-tribals which even at the timeof the constitution of the partially excluded areas wereconsidered doubtful areas for exclusion, and the ProvincialGovernment have since taken a decision that the areas shouldbe added to regularly administered portions as soon aspossible.
The Mikir are probably the most backward of all thetribes of the Assam Hills though this backwardness isprobably not their own fault. There are pockets of Mikir inthe North Cachar and the Khasi Hills. Like the Garo andKhasi the Mikir desire the consolidation of their owntribesmen under a single administration. Unlike the Lushaior the Khasi Hills, Christianity has made little progresshere.
While the special customs of the Mikir, their addictionto jhuming cultivation etc. necessitate that an arrangementmust be made by which they are able to maintain their ownsystem, the Mikir Hills at present find representation inthe provincial legislature although through the restrictedfranchise of the headman, and opinion generally is thatthere is no objection to the extension of adult franchise inthe area. The sparse population may give rise to certainpractical difficulties in organising elections there but itwould appear that these are not insurmountable.
The Mikir Hills are inhabited to some extent by Cachari(about 2,000) Rengma Naga and a few Kuki, but on the whole,the population may be regarded as uniform.
In view of the comparatively backward state of theMikir and the fact that there are no self-governinginstitutions of a statutory type locally, it is necessary inintroducing institutions of this kind to arrange for aperiod of supervision and guidance in other words, any localcouncil set up in the hills should at first be subject tothe control of the local District or Sub-divisional officer.
G. N. BARDOLOI (Chairman), J. J. M. NICHOLS-ROY, RUP NATH BRAHMA.
A. V. THAKKAR.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ASSAM SUB-COMMITTEE.
District Councils should be set up
in the HillDistricts (see Section *B of Appendix A) with powers oflegislation over occupation or use of land other than landcomprising reserved forest under the Assam Forest Regulationof 1891 or other law applicable. This is subject to theproviso that no payment would be required for the occupationof vacant land by the Provincial Government for publicpurposes and private land required for public purposes bythe Provincial Government will be acquired for it on paymentof compensation [Para. *9 Section C (1) Appendix A].
* References to paras., sections and appendices are toparas., sections and appendices in the original reports.
2. Reserved forest will be managed by the ProvincialGovernment. In questions of actual management including theappointment of forest staff and the granting of contractsand leases, the susceptibilities and the legitimate desiresand needs of the Hill people should be taken into account(Para. *10).
3. On account of its disastrous effects upon theforest, rainfall and other climatic features, jhuming shouldbe discouraged and stopped wherever possible but theinitiative for this should come from the tribes themselvesand the control of jhuming should be left to the localcouncils [Para. *11 and Section C. of Appendix A].
4. All social law and custom is left to be controlledor regulated by the tribes [Para. *12 and Section C (2) of appendix A]. All criminal offences except those punishablewith death, transportation or imprisonment for five yearsand upwards should be left to be dealt with in accordancewith local practice and the Code of Criminal Procedure willnot apply to such cases. As regards the serious offencespunishable with imprisonment of five years or more theyshould be tried henceforth regularly under the CriminalProcedure Code. To try such cases, powers should beconferred by the Provincial Government wherever suitableupon tribal councils or courts set up by the districtcouncils themselves.
All ordinary civil suits should be disposed of bytribal courts and local councils may have full powers todeal with them including appeal and revision.
Where non-tribals are involved, civil or criminal casesshould be tried under the regular law and the ProvincialGovernment should make suitable arrangements for theexpeditious disposal of such cases by employing circuitmagistrates or judges [Para. *12 Sections D & F of AppendixA].
5. The District Councils should have powers ofmanagement over primary schools, despensaries and otherinstitutions which normally come under the scope of localself-governing institutions in the plains. They should havefull control over primary education. As regards secondaryschool education, there should be some integration with thegeneral system of the province and it is left open to theProvincial Government to entrust local councils withresponsibility for secondary schools wherever they find thissuitable [Para. *13 and Section E of Appendix A].
For the Mikir and North Cachar Hills the District orSub Divisional Officer, as the case may be, should be ex-officio President of the local council with powers, subjectto the control of the Government of Assam, to modify orannual resolutions or decisions of the local councils and toissue such instructions as may be necessary [Para. *13 andSection B (5) of Appendix A].
6. Certain taxes and financial powers should beallocated to the councils. They should have all the powerswhich local bodies in regulation districts enjoy and inaddition they should have powers to impose house tax or polltax, land revenue and levies arising out of the powers ofmanagement of village forest [Section *H of Appendix A andPara. 14 (a)].
Statutory provision for a fixed proportion ofprovincial funds to be spent on the hill districts is notconsidered practicable. A separate financial statement foreach hill district showing the revenue derived from thedistrict and the expenditure proposed on it is recommended.The framing of a suitable programme of development should beenjoyed either by statute or by Instrument of Instructions[Section *M of
Appendix A and Para. 14 (b)].
* References to paras., sections and appendices are toparas., sections and appendices in the original reports.
It is quite clear that the urgent requirements of thehill districts by way of expenditure on development schemesare beyond the resources of the Provincial Government. Thedevelopment of the hill-districts should be as much theconcern of the Federal Government as the ProvincialGovernment. Financial assistance should be provided by theFederation to meet the deficit in the ordinaryadministration on the basis of the average deficit duringthe past three years and the cost of development schemesshould also be borne by the Central Exchequer [Section *N of appendix A and Para. 14 (c)].
The claim of the hill district councils for assistancefrom general provincial revenues to the extent that they areunable to raise the necessary finances within their ownpowers is recognised [Para. 14 (d)].
7. If local councils decide by a majority of three-fourths of their members to licence money lenders or tradersthey should have powers to require moneylenders andprofessional dealers from outside to take out licences[Para. *15 and Section J of Appendix A].
8. The management of mineral resources should becentralised in the hands of the Provincial Government butthe right of the district councils to a fair share of therevenues is recognised. No licence or lease shall be givenby the Provincial Government except in consultation with thelocal Council. If there is no agreement between theProvincial Government and the district Council regarding theshare of the revenue, the Governor will decide the matter inhis discretion [Para. *16 and Section 1 of Appendix A].
9. Provincial legislation which deals with the subjectsin which the hill councils have legislative powers will notapply to the hill districts. Legislation prohibiting theconsumption of non-distilled liquors like Zu will also notapply; the district council may however apply thelegislation [Para. *17 and Section L of Appendix A].
10. It is necessary to provide for the creation ofregional councils for the different tribes inhabiting anautonomous district if they so desire. Regional councilshave powers limited to their customary law and themanagement of lands and villages and courts. Regionalcouncils may delegate their powers to the district councils[Para. *18 and Section B (4) of Appendix A].
11. The Governor is empowered to set aside any act orresolution of the council if the safety of the country isprejudiced and to take such action as may be necessaryincluding dissolution of the local councils subject to theapproval of the legislature. The Governor is also givenpowers to dissolve the council if gross mismanagement isreported by a commission [Para. *19 and Sections Q and R of appendix A].
12. The Central Government should continue toadminister the Frontier Tracts and Tribal Area with theGovernment of Assam as its agent until administration hasbeen satisfactorily established over a sufficiently widearea. Areas over which administration has beensatisfactorily established may be taken over by theProvincial Government with the approval of the FederalGovernment [Section *P of Appendix A and Para. 20 (a)].
The pace of extending administration should be greatlyaccelerated and separate officers appointed for the LohitValley, the Siang Valley and the Naga Tribal Area [Para. *20(a)].
The Lakhimpur Frontier Tract should be attached to theregular administration of the district. The case of theportion of the Lakhimpur Frontier Tract recently included inthe Tirap Frontier Tract should be examined by theProvincial Government with a view to a decision whether itcould immediately be brought under provincialadministration. A similar examination of the
* References to paras., sections and appendices are toparas., sections and appendices in the original reports.
position in the plains portions of the Sadiya Frontier Tractis recommended. The portion of the Balipara Frontier Tractaround Charduar should
also be subject to a similarexamination [Para. *20 (b)].
Posa payment should be continued [Para. *20 (c)].
13. The excluded areas other than the Frontier Tractsshould be enfranchised immediately and restrictions on thefranchise in the Garo and Mikir Hills should be removed andadult franchise introduced [Para. *21 (a) and Section B (1)of Appendix A].
Weightage is not considered necessary but the hilldistricts should be represented in the provinciallegislature in proportion not less than what is due on theirpopulation even if this involves a certain weightage inrounding off. The total number of representatives for thehills thus arrived at [See para. 21 (b)] should not be takeninto account in determining the number of representatives tothe provincial legislature from the rest of Assam [Para. 21(b) and Section K of Appendix A].
The total population of the hill districts instifies aseat for the hill tribes in the Federal Legislature on thescale proposed in Section *13 (c) of the Draft UnionConstitution [Para. *21 (c)].
Joint electorate is recommended but constituencies areconfined to the autonomous districts. Reservation of seats,in view of this restriction, is not necessary [para. *21 (d)and Section K (3) of Appendix A].
Non-tribals should not be eligible for election fromhill constituencies except in the constituency whichincludes the Municipality and Cantonment of Shillong [Para.*21 (e) and Section K (8) of Appendix A].
14. Representation for the hills in the Ministry shouldbe guaranteed by statutory provision if possible or at leastby a suitable instruction in the instrument of Instructionsor corresponding provision [Para. *22 - See also Section O(3) of Appendix A].
15. Non-tribal officials should not be barred fromserving in the hills but they should be selected with careif posted to the hills. The appointment of a due proportionof hill people in the services should be particularly keptin mind and provided for in rules or executive instructionsof the Provincial Government [Para. *23].
16. A commission may be appointed at any time orpermanently to enable the Government to watch the progressof development plans or to examine any particular aspects of the administration [Para. *24 and Section O (i) of AppendixA].
17. Plains tribals number 1.6 million. Their case forspecial representation and safeguards should be consideredby the Minorities Sub-Committee [Para. *25].
18. The question of altering boundaries so as to bringthe people of the same tribe under a common administrationshould be considered by the Provincial Government. TheBarpathar and Sarupathar Mouzas included in the Mikir Hillsshould be included in the regularly administered areashenceforth [Para. *26].
19. Non-tribal residents may be provided withrepresentation in the local councils if they aresufficiently numerous. For this purpose non-tribalconstituencies may be formed if justified and if thepopulation is not below 500 [Para. *27 and Section B (2) of appendix A].
20. Provincial councils should be set up by theGovernor of Assam after consulting such local organisationsas exist. These provisional councils which will be for oneyear will have powers to frame their own constitution andrules for the future [Para. *29 and Transitional Provisionsof Appendix A also].
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA
EXCLUDED AND PARTIALLY EXCLUDED AREAS (OTHER THAN ASSAM) SUB-COMMITTEE [VOLUME I (REPORT)]
1. Shri A. V. Thakkar - Chairman.
2. Shri Jaipal Singh.
3. Shri Devendra Nath Samanta.
4. Shri Phul Bhanu Shah.
5. The Honourable Shri Jagjivan Ram.
6. The Honourable Dr. Profulla Chandra Ghosh.
7. Shri Raj Krushna Bose.
8. Shri Khetramani Panda (Phulbani Area).
Sadasiv Tripathi (Orissa P. E. Areas).
10. Shri Kodanda Ramiah (Madras P. E. Areas).
11. Shri Sneha Kumar Chakma (Chittagong Hill Tracts).
12. Shri Damber Singh Gurung (Darjeeling District).
13. Mr. R. K. Ramadhyani, I.C.S.
THE CHARIMAN, EXCLUDED & PARTIALLY EXCLUDED AREAS (OTHER THAN ASSAM) SUM-COMMITTEE.
THE CHAIRMAN, ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, ETC.
I have the honour to submit herewith the Report of mySub-Committee for the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areasof Provinces other than Assam. We have visited the Provincesof Madras, Bombay, Bengal, Central Provinces and Orissa, andin regard to these Provinces our recommendations may betaken as final. We have yet to visit Bihar and the UnitedProvinces and to examine certain witnesses from the Punjab.In respect of these Provinces, the Report may kindly betreated as provisional. Our final Report is expected to beready by the end of September.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
A. V. THAKKAR,
Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas
(other than Assam) Sub-Committee.
The 18the August 1947.
INTERIM REPORT OF THE EXCLUDED AND PARTIALLY EXCLUDED AREAS (OTHER THAN ASSAM) SUB-COMMITTEE OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA).
1. INTRODUCTORY -
Appendix A* shows the excluded and partially excludedareas for which we are required to submit a scheme of administration. Appendix B* contains certain statisticalinformation and the thirteenth schedule to the government ofIndia (provincial Legislative Assemblies) Order, 1936, whichshows the different tribes classed as backward, and amongthese tribes are to be found the inhabitants of the excludedand partially excluded areas. In determining the areas to beclassified as excluded or partially excluded, the Secretaryof State for India issued instructions that exclusion mustbe based upon strict necessity and must be as limited aspossible in scope consistently with the needs of theaboriginal population. As regards partial exclusion, heconsidered that prima facie any areas containing apreponderance of aborigines or very backward people whichwas of sufficient size to make possible the application toit of special legislation and which was susceptible, withoutinconvenience, of special administrative treatment should bepartially excluded. The Government of India in makingrecommendations for partial exclusion kept in view thepossibility of obtaining convenient blocks of territory withreadily recognisable boundaries susceptible of specialadministrative treatment without inconvenience. Thus, theexcluded and partially excluded areas are well defined areaspopulated either predominantly or to a considerable extentby aboriginals. The excluded and partially excluded areas,however, do not by any means cover the entire population oftribal origin, and in many cases represent only acomparatively small proportion of the aboriginal population,the rest of them being scattered over non-excluded areas. Asan example, in the C.P., out of 299 millions of tribals of all religions, only 8.3 lakhs live in the partially excludedareas. With the exception of the Mandla District, which is apartially excluded area and contains 60.5 per cent oftribals, Betul and Chhindwara districts which includepartially excluded areas and contain 38.4 and 38.3respectively of tribals, the tribals are scattered all overthe province and comprise almost a fifth of the populationin some districts. This kind of intermingling is prominentlynoticeable in Bombay and Bengal and to some extent in otherprovinces also. In Bengal notably, the tribal population of the excluded areas is but a small fraction of the totaltribal population of the province. A common feature of thepartially excluded areas is that they are generally locatedin the out of the way and hilly tracts, and it is in theseareas that concentrations of aboriginal population may befound. In the non-excluded areas
although small blocks of them can be distinguished, notably in the Madras Presidency,elsewhere, they are interspersed with the rest of thepopulation and are sometimes hardly distinguishable from thegeneral population. Although our terms of reference strictlyrequire us to report on the excluded areas, the totalpopulation of tribals in the non-excluded portions ofBritish India not including Assam comes to about 5.5millions, and we consider therefore that our recommendationsshould not altogether leave out of consideration such alarge population who in many
* Reference to Appendix is to Appendix in the originalreport.
respects are in a very backward condition. We have felt ittherefore necessary to recommend that the whole tribalpopulation should be treated as a minority community for thewelfare of whom certain special measures are necessary.Bearing this in mind, we proceed to discuss the generalfeatures of the tribal population in the differentprovinces.
2. THE EXCLUDED AREAS -
The excluded areas are few in number and consist of theislands of the Laccadive group on the West Coast of Madras,the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bengal and the Waziris ofSpiti and Lahoul in the Punjab. Of these tracts, the WestCoast Islands and the Waziris of the Punjab are isolatedfrom the rest of the province on account of theirgeographical position and the impossibility of communicatingwith them during a part of the year. The West Coast islandsare cut off from the mainland for several months during themonsoon. Similarly, the Punjab Waziris are isolated duringthe winter when snow blocks the passes. Inaccessibility of these areas is largely responsible for their exclusion aswell as for the backward condition of their inhabitants. Theposition in these areas is briefly given below: -
(a) Madras. - The islands may be considered to fall inthree divisions, the Amindivi islands opposite the SouthCanara coast, the Laccadives attached to Malabar andMinicoy, the southernmost of them, also attached to Malabar.The total area is about 10 square miles and the population,all Muslim, 18,355. The Minicoy islanders are of Sinhaleseorigin while the inhabitants of the others are akin to theMapillah of Malabar. The economy of the islands is based onthe coconut palm and the produce (coir production is a wholefamily job) is exchanged for rice and other necessities. Theadministration is carried on largely by customary laws andspecial regulations. An amin, or monegar (Amindivi) withpowers to try petty criminal and civil cases is the officialimmediately in contact with the islanders and the amin is infact selected from the islanders. In the Minicoy island,literacy is said to be cent per cent; in the others, it isnegligible. There is no appreciable intercourse between theislands of the three groups and their geographical positionnecessitates separate treatment. While they are located in astrategic position, we understand that the islands are notsuitable for naval stations as they are coral islands andthere is difficulty in getting fresh water. Hitherto, theyhave been administered practically in the manner in whichrelations were started with them in the days of JohnCompany. Rs. 2 lakhs are spent, partly by way of dolesincluding gifts of combs and mirrors, on the visits of theCollector or other official to the islands, but no attemptseems to have been made to increase intercourse between theislands and the mainland.
(b) Punjab. - The excluded area consists of Spiti andLahoul with an area of 2,931 and 1,764 square milesrespectively. Spiti has a population of only 3,700 andLahoul about 9,000 (1941). The people are of Tibetan originand Buddhists. The main difficulty about the areas is thedifficulty of communication as the passes leading to themare blocked by snow in the winter.
The Provincial Government have now come to theconclusion that Lahoul need no longer be considered asexcluded area and should be brought under the general systemof administration.
The cultivation of kuth has brought some economicprosperity to this area and many Lahoulis have
taken totrade also. Spiti is still economically in a backwardcondition and the schools there are not flourishing. Spitihas still very little of the contact with the plains whichLahoul has. Several agrarian laws have not been applied toSpiti particularly though the most important enactments arenow in force without modification.
(c) Bengal. - The Chittagong Hill Tracts on the otherhand, are not inhabited by a population of Burmese andtribal extraction. They cover an area of about 5,000 squaremiles and contain a total population of 247,053, mostlyBuddhists. In 1941, there were 9,395 literates including 622females among the tribes out of a population of 233,392.There are 154 schools and a High School at Rangamati. Thereis a good deal of contact with the plains people in thewestern portion of the tract, but the eastern portiontowards the Lushai Hills and the Burmese border is moreprimitive.
Jhuming cultivation is practised almost universally andit would appear that there are considerable difficulties inthe way of terraced or wet cultivation on account of thefriable nature of the hill sides and the difficulty ofirrigation. some settled cultivation also exists and it mayhappen that a family does both kinds of cultivation. Bothplough rent and jhum tax are levied. Pressure on the land isincreasing and the tribes are greatly apprehensive ofencroachment by outsiders.
Weaving and tapestry is a common household occupationbut cannot be said to be a cottage industry though it haspotentialities in that direction. The district is deficit tothe extent of about Rs. 2 lakhs.
The special feature of the Chittagong Hill Tracts arethe Chiefs, the Chakma Raja, the Bohmong and Mong Raja. Thetract is divided into three circles representing thejurisdiction of the Chief. The Chakma circle is the largestand is 2,409 square miles; the Bohmong and Mong circles are1,935 and 704 square miles respectively. The chief havecertain magisterial and appellate powers and out of the jhumtax of Rs. 6 per family. Rs. 2-8-0 goes to the Chief, Rs. 2-4-0 to the headman and Rs. 1-4-0 to the Government. On theground that they are really tributary powers, the Chiefs areclaiming the status of Indian States and desire that threeStates corresponding to the circles should be set up. It isclaimed that before the jhum tax was imposed there was acapitation or family tax and that the right to levy this taxwas a symbol of sovereignty. In 1928, a report on theposition of the chiefs was submitted by Mr. Mills whorecommended that the chiefs should be relieved of thecollection of jhum tax and should also be relieved of theirmagisterial duties, the powers of Honorary Magistrates beingconferred on them if they were proved fit. His idea was that"they were the leaders of their people and in that lay theirvalue" and they should therefore be consulted in allimportant matters of the administration. Their position andfuture is a matter of some importance and needs carefulexamination by the Provincial Government. We do not feelthat we can express a carefully considered opinion.
Now that Bengal is to be partitioned, the futureadministration of the Hill Tracts appears to lie with Assam.The Lushai Hills form in part the hinterland of thisdistrict and though communications to the east are not easy,they are not more difficult than with Chittagong. TheKarnafuli provides a waterway to Demagiri which is connectedwith Lungleh in the Lushai Hills. The Chakma, Magh and Mroof these Hills have probably their tribal origin in commonwith the Lushais and in any case the province of Assam isthe home of many different tribes. It is obvious that theHill Tracts should not go to East Bengal in view of itspredominantly non-Muslim population. The people themselvesare strongly averse to inclusion in Bengal. They desiredthat the area should be set up as an autonomous district.
3. PARTIALLY EXCLUDED AREAS -
The main feature of the Partially Excluded Areas isthat they are not altogether excluded from the scope of theProvincial Ministrieslike the excluded areas nor is the expenditure on themoutside
the scope of the legislature. In fact theadministration of the areas notably of the C. P. and Bombayhas not been appreciably different from the rest of theprovince and the Provincial Governments were in greater orless degree opposed to their exclusion. It is in the AgencyTracts of Madras and Orissa and in the Santal Parganas thata different system prevails. A brief account of the areas ofeach province follows: -
(a) Madras. - The partially excluded areas consist of the East Godavari Agency, the Polavaram taluq of WestGodavari Agency. The total area is 6,792 square miles andthe total population 493,006 of which about 278,000 aretribal, and 54,000 are classed as backward making a totalpercentage of 67.6. The tribes inhabiting these tracts areKoya, Koya Dora, Hill Reddy, Dombo, Kondh and others. Thetribes are pretty backward on the whole and do podu(shifting cultivation) largely. Except manual labour theyhave no non-agricultural occupations worth mentioning. Thereare special agency rules and save for certain sections theCivil Procedure Code does not apply. Crime is scarce and theaboriginals are simple and truthful. The mechanism ofjustice therefore needs to be a simple one.
There are no local self-governing bodies and tribalpanchayats do not goem to be fit for work other than thedecision of petty disputes. The toddy palm plays a largepart in the life of aboriginals. They have suffered in thepast through exploitation by moneylenders and landlords andincidents like the Rampa rebellion have occurred in theareas. Lisencing of moneylenders, as agreed by the Collectorof West Godavari, is probably a definite need of these partsin addition to the prevention of acquisition of land by non-aborigines.
Yaws and malaria are very common in these parts.
(b) Bombay. - The partially excluded areas which are to be found in the districts of West Khandesh, East Khandesh,Nasik, Thana, Broach and Panch Mahals cover an area of 6,697square miles and contain a population of 1,125,471 of which663,628 or 58.9 per cent are tribals. The tribes are largelyBhil, Varli, Kokna, Thakur and Katkari. In 1935, theGovernment of Bombay were not in favour of exclusion of anyarea except the Mewasi Chiefs Estates and the Akrani Mahalin the West Khandesh District on the ground that theadministration of these areas was all along carried on inthe same manner as the other tracts and that there werelocal self-governing institutions in the areas. The AkraniMahal in the Satpura Hills is an almost purely Bhil area andprobably the one with the least contact with the plains.
In 1937, the Government of Bombay appointed Mr. D.Symington to conduct a special enquiry into the conditionsprevailing in the aboriginal areas. Mr. Symington pointedout that the local boards were largely or even exclusivelyrun by non-Bhil elected members and opined that it was not amere question of providing seats for the hill tribes butthat these people were not sufficiently educated andadvanced either to use their votes sensibly or to producefrom among themselves enough representatives capable oflooking after their interests intelligently on local boards."They are not only illiterate but also ignorant ofeverything outside their daily run. They are contemptuous ofeducation which they regard as a degrading and senselesswaste of time. They have more faith in witchdoctors than inpharmacopoeia. They live near the border line of starvation.They are inveterate drunkards. It was not surprising thatthey take no interest in the local boards elections or localboard administra-tion." He also expressed the opinion that the salvation of the aboriginal lay in protecting him from exploitation bythe moneylenders who were gradually depriving him of hisland, and stopping the drink habit. Giving evidence beforeus, he reiterated the view that elections would becompletely useless so far as these people were concerned.
Among the Thadvi Bhils (Muslims) there is a Sub-Judge.Among the half dozen graduates from the Bhils there is Mr.Natwadkar, the M.L.A. from West Khandesh and there is a ladyfrom the Panch
Mahals. The demand for education is howeverbecoming very keen.
In the Warli areas of the Thana District visited by uspractically all the land had been taken up by non-tribalsand the tribals were reduced to the condition of landlessserfs. The Bombay Government have in fact now found itnecessary to pass special legislation to prevent alienationof land. On account of the acquisition of all the land by afew people, the land system in this tract has been virtuallytransformed from a ryotwari system to a system similar tothe malguzari system of the Central Provinces.
(c) Central Provinces & Berar. - The partially excludedareas, of which Mandla District is the largest unit, containonly 833,143 tribals out of a total tribal population ofnearly 3 millions. The Gond (including Maria and Pardhan) isthe main tribe in the C. P. and the Korku in the Melghat areprominent in Berar. Although backward and adhering largelyto their own customs and ways in the areas where they arestill most numerous, the tribes have in appreciable degreeassimilated the life of the rest of the population andtribal institutions are either weak or practically non-existent. Mostly the tribes have taken to settledcultivation and there is little bewar or dahia in theprovince. Of handicrafts and cottage industries, however,there is next to nothing and this is the great weakness of the aboriginal economy. The aboriginal is given to drink butopinion in favour of temperance or prohibition seems to begaining ground.
The partially excluded areas are, with hardly anyexception, administered in the same manner as the otherdistricts. The C. P. Land Alienation Act of 1916 is the onlynotable legislation enacted specially for the protection of the aboriginals and restricts the transfer of agriculturalland from aboriginal to non-aboriginal classes. In 1940,when the C. P. Tenancy Act was amended to confer rights of alienation on certain classes of tenants, the application of the amending Act to the partially excluded areas was madesubject to certain modifications designed to secure thatunscrupulous landlords would not manipulate to their ownadvantage the complicated provisions of the Act.
A special enquiry into the problems of the aboriginalswas ordered by the C. P. Government and a report wassubmitted by Mr. W. V. Grigson in 1942. Among the pointsmade by Mr. Grigson were the weakness of the tribalrepresentatives in the local boards and the need forprovisions to prevent the application of legislation toaboriginal areas except after special consideration. Mr.Grigson was also examined by us as a witness and expressedhimself in favour of a system of indirect election for theaboriginals. Opinion of a number of C.P. witnesses was notin favour of reserved representation for the aboriginals inproportion to their population. Some witnesses preferrednomination out of a panel submitted by the DistrictOfficers. At present there are three tribal members in theLegislature although only one seat is reserved.
The Provincial Government have now created a specialDepartment and inaugurated a scheme of development of theaboriginal areas in which multipurpose co-operativesocieties play a prominent part. Opinion in theC.P. (as in Bombay) was strongly in favour of boardingschools with free meals as the only way of making schoolingacceptable to the aboriginals.
(d) Orissa. - This province contains a partiallyexcluded area of nearly 20,000 sq. miles, i.e., almost two-thirds of the province is partially excluded. The partiallyexcluded area includes the portions of the Madras AgencyTracts transrerred to Orissa, the Khondmals of the formerAngul District and the Sambalpur District which was formerlyin the C. P. The total tribal population of the province is1,721,006 of which 1,560,104 are found in the partiallyexcluded areas. The tribes inhabiting this province areamong the most backward in the whole of India. The BondaPorja, Gadaba, Kondh and Savara are among the most importantof them. In 1939 the Orissa Government appointed a specialcommittee to make recommendations for the partially
excludedareas (Thakkar Committee) which found that some tracts weretoo backward to administer even local boards. Although theyhave representatives in the legislature, four of the fivereserved seats are filled in by nomination and some of thenominated members have to be non-tribals. The precentage oflitracy in the Agency Tracts is about one per cent. ABackward Classes Welfare Department has recently been setup. The Thakkar Committee made a number of importantrecommendations which could not be given effect to duringthe war and are now being taken up.
Apart from the Khondmals which are now attached to theGanjam Agency, the Angul Sub-division which is a partiallyexcluded area has only 13,308 tribals who form 8 per cent ofits population. The Thakkar Committee recommended theadministration of this area as a regular district andpointed out that the Angul Laws Regulation is no longersuited to the advanced condition of the people. Even in1935, it was stated by the Orissa Government that the areawas so advanced that it should be possible within a fewyears to place it on a level with the normal listricts(para. 49, Recommendations of Provincial Government and theGovernment of India, Indian Reprint).
The District of Sambalpur was made a partially excludedarea largely on account of the special system of thatdistrict, viz., the distinct system of revenue and villageadministration. The district was formerly part of the C. P.and the C. P. Revenue Laws and type of villageadministration were in force. The aboriginal population of the district is 252,095 and constitutes 19.6 per cent. butmost of these tribals seem to have assimilated the customsand culture of the surrounding Hindu population. Theadministration of the district though differing from therest of Orissa was not radically different from theadministration of the C. P. plains districts until 1921.Three of the Zamindaris of Sambalpur had been declaredscheduled districts under the Act of 1874, but with theexception of the Insolvency Act of 1920 all otherlegislation was applied to the district. The ThakkarCommittee recommended (para. 397) that the district shouldcease to be a partially excluded area and should be treatedas a normally administered area. The Committee howeverconsidered (para. 402) that some sort of protection wasstill needed for the aboriginals of that district andrecommended certain special measures for the protection of the land of the aboriginals (para. 403). The tribes in thisdistrict consist mainly of Gond (102,765), Kondh, Kharia andSavara. They are concentrated largely in the Sadar Sub-division of the district. Literacy among them is not up tothe level of the Scheduled Castes of the District andamounts to only about 2 per cent. They however take part inelections and in the Sambalpur Sadar constituency there is areserved seat for the backward tribes. This is the only oneof the five tribal seats in the province which is filled byelection.
The question of representation for the Orissa tribespresents somewhat of a problem. Local officials had seriousdoubts as to the possibility of finding suitablerepresentatives from among them, at any rate in proportionto their population. The Provincial Government have similarhesitations. In their factual memorandum (page. 28*) theyhave recommended that local bodies should be partly electedand partly nominated. For the Provincial Legislature, "aspecific number of seats should be reserved for aboriginalmembers in general constituencies; but the aboriginalmembers should be elected to these seats by a system ofindirect or group election."
(e) Bengal. - The partially excluded areas of Bengalconsist of the District of Darjeeling and certain policestation areas in the Mymensingh district which border on theGaro Hills of Assam.
The Darjeeling District is shown to contain 141,301tribes out of a total population of 376,369 in 1941. Thetribal population of the district seems to consist largelyof labour employed in the tea gardens and some Lepcha andBhotia. Actually, the latter are only about 20,000 innumber. The prominent community in
Darjeeling is the Gurkhaor Nepalese community which numbers about 2 1/2 lakhs. Agood many are employed in the tea gardens and the localpolice force also contains a high proportion of them. TheGurkha are not regarded as a backward tribe and thethirteenth schedule to the Govt. of India (LegislativeAssemblies) Order does not include Gurkha. They feel howeverneglected so far as other ranks of Government service areconcerned and in the trade and business of the place, theMarwari has the upper hand. On the other hand, the smallcommunity of Lepcha (12,000) finds itself dominated by theGurkha and one of the complaints is that their land (theLepcha claim to be the original inhabitants) has beengradually taken away from them by Nepalese immigrants.
The partial exclusion of Darjeeling was recommended bythe Govt. of Bengal not because it was considered as abackward area but because it was felt that safeguards werenecessary in the interests of the hill people. The fact thatDarjeeling was the summer capital of the Government ofBengal and the existence of European tea-planters may haveplayed some little part. The 1941 census shows that evenamong the tribals (mostly tea garden coolies) there was16,450 literates out of a total population of 141,301 and2,571 of these were women.
The local bodies (Municipality and District Board) arenot wholly elected bodies and the Deputy Commissioner is thePresident of the Municipality. Undoubtedly the land the hilltribes needs to be protected from the maw of money lendersbut there is little case otherwise for continuing partialexclusion or special administration.
The Gurkha League desires that there should be anelected Advisory Council in the District so that theinterests of the Gurkhas in representation in the services,in the land and industry of the district may be protected.They have also sponsored a movement for union with Assamwhere there is a strong Gurkha element.
As regards the partially excluded portion of theMymensingh District, there are about 49,000 Garo in all butaccording to the census, some of the thanas contain very fewtribes. The provincial Govt. were opposed to its partialexclusion in 1935. They pointed out that no special measureshad been hitherto necessary to protect the tribe and had noindication at any time that the existing administrativesystem had worked inequitably for them. It would appear thatthe partial exclusion of this area was consequential uponthe exclusion of the Garo Hills District in
* Reference to page is to page in the original report.
Assam. The Garo of this are keenly desirous of being unitedwith the Garo of Assam under a common administration, and inview of the division of Bengal there is a good case forrectification of the boundary, i.e. to include the Garo areain the Garo Hills Districts of Assam. The majority of thepopulation of the partially excluded area (5.94 lakhs)consists however of non-tribals and it will be necessarytherefore, to draw a fresh boundary.
(f) Bihar. - The Partially Excluded Areas of thisprovince extend over the enormous area of 32,458 sq. milescomprising the whole of Chota Nagpur division and theSanthal Parganas District. The total population of the areais 9,750,846 and nearly 4.5 millions of these are tribalpeople consisting of Santhal, Oraon, Munda, Ho, Bhumij andother lesser tribes of the Kolarian family. Although thegeneral level of literacy and development in this area islower than that of the non-aboriginal population, the tribespeople here are rapidly advancing and quite a number ofpeople in the learned professions may be found among theMunda and Oraon. Local self-governing institutions exist,and there is no question that the area would be able to takepart intelligently in the administration of the province.The main feature of this area may be summarized in the wordsof the Provincial Government in recommending partialexclusion: "The Special Tenancy Laws in Chota Nagpur, theSanthal Parganas, *Sambalpur and *Angul are the bulwark of the backward peoples. The legislatures of the future wouldhave the power to amend,
modify or even repeal those lawsand the only safeguard against legislative actiondetrimental to the interests of backward peoples is thepower of the Governor to refuse assent. ......The importanceof these special Tenancy Laws to the aboriginals cannot beover-stressed. The history of the Santhal Parganas and ChotaNagpur was one of continuous exploitation and dispossessionof the aboriginals punctuated by disorder and even rebellionuntil special and adequate protection was given. In thefringe areas, such as Manbhum, where the non-aboriginals arein a majority, the aboriginal element would probably havebeen driven from the land long ago but for the protectiongiven by tenancy laws. ........The fate of the aboriginalwhere he has been unprotected has usually been to lose hisland........" In the Santhal Parganas, legislation since1855 has been mainly by means of special regulations framedby the Governor-General-in-Council. The main function of these regulations was to regulate inter alia the agrarianlaw, the constitution of courts and their procedure, moneylending and the village police. Except in the most importantcases the jurisdiction of the High Court was excluded andjudicial procedure simplified. In the Kolhanpir of theSinghbhum District also, the Civil Procedure Code wasreplaced by simplified rules but generally speaking, thelaws of the rest of the province operate in Chota Nagpur.For a detailed account, the Factual Memorandum of theProvincial Government may be referred to (pages(?)97-98,Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas - I). Since 1937,section 92 (2) of the Government of India Act has been madeuse of to frame some special regulations notably for theSanthal Parganas.
The population of Chota Nagpur and the Santhal Pargnasis rather mixed and except in the Ranchi District, theSinghbhum District and the Santhal Parganas, the tribalpopulation are in 3 minority. In their Factual Memorandum,the Bihar Government have pointed out that a comparisonbetween the figures of 1941 and 1931 census shows that there
* Now in Orissa. (+)References to pages are to pagesin the original reports.
is room for doubting the accuracy of the figures of the 1941census. Recently an agitation has been started for theformation of a separate Chota Nagpur Province on the groundthat this land is the land of the aboriginal residents whoare distinct from the inhabitants of the plains in manyways. Taken as a whole, the tribals form only 45.6 per centof the total population of the Partially Excluded Areas andin Chota Nagpur they constitute 44.2 per cent of thepopulation. Only in Ranchi (70 per cent), Singhbhum (58.4per cent) and Santhal Parganas (50.6 per cent) are they inanything like a majority. The creation of a separateprovince is a matter outside the scope of our enquiry and wedo not find that this is in fact necessary for thesatisfactory administration of the tribals.
(g) United Provinces. - The partially excluded areas arethe Pargana inhabited by the Jaunsari tribes in the northand the portion of the Mirzapur District below the KaimurRange inhabited by mixed tribes of Chota Nagpur and CentralIndia. The area is 483 sq. miles in the Dehra Dun Districtand 1,766 sq. miles in the Mirzapur District. The totalpopulation of both areas is about 200,000.
The Jaunsar Bawar Pargana forms the watershed betweenthe Jumna and the Tons. The country is hilly and offerslittle land for cultivation. It appears that most of thecultivable land is held by Brahmins and Rajputs and that theKoltas (Scheduled Caste) are debarred from possession ofland according to the village Wazibul-arz and occupypractically the position of serfs. Though the great majorityof the people are Hindus, polyandry and special systems ofdivorce are in vogue since ancient times. Although the areais under the criminal jurisdiction of the High Court asimplified system of criminal, civil and revenueadministration is followed and except in ChakrataCantonment, regular police are not employed. For civil law,the Commissioner, Meerut, acts as a High Court.
The Exciseand Opium Acts have not been extended to the area and opiumcultivation) permitted. There is great illiteracy in thearea and the administration will have to be suited to thelift of the inhabitants. In Khat Haripur Bias at the foot of the hills however conditions are different and approximateto those in the plains. The Khat Haripur Bias TenantsProtection Regulation of 1940 has afforded some protectionto the tenants. The Provincial Government are of the viewthat this Khat should be included in the Dehra Dun Tahsil.Though the area is enfranchised and is included in the DehraDun rural constituency, it is considered incapable ofsending representatives to the legislature.
As regards the Mirzapur District, the excluded areaconsists of four parganas of which only the Agori andBijaigarh parganas have a concentration of aboriginals. Thepopulation consists of a number of tribes having affinitiesto the tribes in the neighbouring provinces from which theyhave come. There is no strong tribal life left among them.Their occupations are said to be those usually followed bythe Scheduled Castes and in their religious and socialcustoms they are similar to low-caste Hindus.
The land revenue system of this area is different fromthe rest of the Province and is based on a plough tax. Thenon-agricultural classes are gradually acquiring land fromthe aboriginal. The Tahsildars of the tract who exercisemagisterial functions are Munsifs also. Except inrelation to suits of succession and divorce, the court of the Commissioner is the highest court of appeal in civilsuits. The area is under the jurisdiction of the DistrictBoard of Mirzapur.
The Provincial Government are of the view that there isno justification for this area being treated differentlyfrom the rest of the province and that normal administrationshould be extended to it immediately.
4. POLITICAL EXPERIENCE -
The people of the excluded areas have no experience oflocal self-governing institutions of the modern or statutorytype and are of course not represented in the legislature.The management of a Local Board is perhaps likely to be amuch bigger undertaking for the people of these areas thanthe mere election of a representative to the legislature andthe establishment of such bodies needs perhaps a period ofofficial guidance and control, particularly in areas likethe Madras islands. The partially excluded areas on theother hand are all included in electoral constituencies of the provincial legislatures and with the exception of theAgency tracts of Madras and Orissa,* the Santhal Parganasand Jaunsar Bawar, are covered by local boards also. Thereare certain reserved constituencies, viz., Bihar 7, Orissa5, Madras 1, Bombay 1 and C. P. 1. In Orissa, four of thefive members are selected by nomination. Unlike Assam, noreservation of seats had been made for tribals of the plainsor non-excluded areas and these vote along with generalVoters. In Bombay, C. P. and Chota Nagpur, the tribalsthough reported to be apathetic and showed aside by non-tribals, have known, at least nominally, such bodies aslocal boards. Nevertheless it is likely to take some timebefore there is sufficient interest in these bodies andprobably interest in local self-government will have to bebuilt up from the village stage. Although as shown by Mr.Grigson in his report, the tribals cast their vote ascopiously as others, they have yet to learn to utilise itspowers to their own advantage.
5. EFFECTS OF EXCLUSION -
Although exclusion or partial exclusion has been inforce for a number of years now, the benefits which theareas have derived from it are not particularly noticeable.In the case of the excluded areas, the sole responsibilityfor the administration has lain upon the Governor and therevenues earmarked for these areas have been outside thevote of the provincial legislature. No definite programmefor the development of the excluded areas with a view toremoving the disability of exclusion has been followed. Theintroduction of kuthts cultivation in Lahaul has brought itsome economic prosperity but the
West Coast islands areprobably no better off than they were ten or twelve yearsago, and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts no great impetus toenlightenment is perceptible. On the other hand, in thepartially excluded areas also little improvement is as yetvisible although in Bombay an inquiry into the conditions of the aboriginals was started as early as 1937. A BackwardClass Department and Board have also been functioning inBombay. Other provinces have since taken the cue and welfarework now seems to be forging ahead but it is perhaps thegeneral interests in the backward classes which isresponsible rather than the system of partial exclusion assuch. The remarks of the Orissa Government are of interest:"The system of partial exclusion has also been a mostunsatisfactory constitutional device. In matters of administration of the partially excluded
* In the Koraput District there is a District Boardwith the Collector as President.
areas, the Ministers tender advice to the Governor, withwhom the ultimate responsibility for the good Government of these areas rests. He may accept or reject such advice. Thesystem suffers from a fundamental defect; the responsibilityis shared between the Governor, and the Ministry answerableto the people of this country or their electedrepresentatives." No less responsible is perhaps the factthat the representatives of the partially excluded areashave not been capable of bringing sufficient pressure andinfluence to bear on the Ministry. Further, some of thepartially excluded areas which constitute small pockets inlarge districts and constituencies could apparently be lostsight of and their interests subordinated to those of thelarger areas in which they were contained. Some of the C. P.excluded areas situated in the Chhindwara and Bilaspurdistricts may be particularly noticed in this connection.They constitute comparatively small islands of partialexclusion which have little voice in a large constituency.The greatest weakness of the scheme of partial exclusion isperhaps the fact that it left areas weakly or only nominallyrepresented in the legislature without any special financialprovisions. Whatever the reasons may be, the conclusion to be drawn from the state of affairs noticed by us is thatpartial exclusion or exclusion has been of very littlepractical value. There has been neither educational noreconomic development on any appreciable scale. The object ofspecial administration has thus not been achieved, and it isclear that if the hill tribes are to be brought up to thelevel of the rest of the population the strongest measuresare now necessary.
6. ATTITUDE OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC -
One thing which we noticed in the course of our visitsto the different Provinces was a considerable awakening of the public conscience in the matter of the welfare of thetribal people. The inquiries instituted in some of theProvinces have doubtless contributed to this quickening.Non-official organisations are beginning to take interest inthe welfare of the tribes and the work of the Servants ofIndia Society stands out prominently among these. The recentrising of the Warlis in Bombay Presidency has drawnattention in a rather forcible way perhaps, to theirproblems. Whatever the reasons, is seems now clear thatthere is a general tendency to take up the question ofdevelopment of the tribes people as a serious matter, butwhether this by itself is sufficient to ensure the futurewell-being of the tribes is more than questionable. Most of the Provinces are far from being happily placed in thematter of funds, and the development of areas inhabited bytribes which are situated generally in hilly country is amatter which calls for a good deal of expenditure for whichthere are many competitors. The emergence of educated peopleamong the tribes is as yet inadequate for the maintenance ofinterest in their problems.
7. POTENTIALITIES OF THE TRIBES -
The views of people of different points of viewregarding the future administration of the hill tracts andof the tribes people themselves was found
to be remarkablyuniform. To begin with, there was hardly anybody who did notbelieve that the tribals are capable of being brought to thelevel of that rest of the population by means of educationand contact. Wherever facilities for education and contacthave been available, the tribes people have showed thattheir intelligence can be developed and environmentaldifficulties overcome. It is true that as yet there is agreat deal of apathy in certain areas. Mr.Symington's report in particular points out that the Bhilstake little interest in the local boards or in education andtheir addiction to drink is likely to keep them in theirpresent backward state. In the partially excluded areas ofOrissa, we came across tribals who had not been any wherebeyond a few miles of their village or seen a motor car or arailway train. By and large however we found that there is aconsiderable demand for education and advancement among thetribal peoples and have no doubt that within a short timethey can be brought up to a satisfactory level, ifdevelopment plans are vigorously pursued.
8. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS -
To sum up: Both exclusion and partial exclusion havenot yielded much tangible result in taking the aboriginalareas towards removal of that condition or towards economicand educational betterment. Representation of partiallyexcluded areas in the legislature and in local bodies hasbeen weak and ineffective and is likely to continue to be sofor some time to come. Education shows definite signs ofbeing sought after more and more but the poor economiccondition of the aboriginal and the difficulty of findingsuitable teachers present problems which must be over-comebefore illiteracy can be properly tackled. The great need of the aboriginal is protection from expropriation from hisagricultural land and virtual serfdom under the money-lender.
There are certain tracts like Sambalpur and Angul inthe Orissa province which need no longer be treateddifferently from the regularly administered districts. Onthe other hand areas like the Madras and the Orissa Agencytracts still need a simplified type of administration whichdoes not expose them to the complicated machinery ofordinary law courts. Differences in social customs andpractices among the tribes also need to be kept in mind.
9. REPRESENTATION IN LEGISLATURES -
We have pointed out at the very outset that the tribalswho live in non-excluded areas form part of our problem andcannot be left out of account. In considering representationin the Legislatures we would urge that the tribes should betreated as a whole as a minority and not separately. In thisregard, we would refer to a certain difference of opinionwhich exists among the parties interested. In Bombay theview of the Ministers and others dealing with the problemwas unreservedly in favour of providing representation forthe tribes as a whole by reservation of seats in a jointelectorate. In Madras also a similar view found favour. Inthe Central Provinces, however, different views wereexpressed not only in respect of the method of election butalso about reservation, both by officials and by Ministers.Certain district officials suggested that there should benomination out of a panel submitted by district officials.Mr. Grigson favoured a scheme of indirect elections by meansof group panchayats. The general feeling among theseofficials was that election was not likely in the presentcircumstances to produce suitable representatives. Somepoint was given to this by the reply of Mr. Wadiwa, a Gondpleader, who gave evidence before us, that he could notstand for election on account of the expense involved. TheMinisters on the contrary seemed to have no objection toelections but were strongly opposed to reservation of seatsin proportion to their population. Mr. Grigson also did notappear to favour reservation though he was of the view thatif reservation was made for the scheduled castes there wasno justification for not protecting the aborigi-nal similarly: "But once we start with reservation there isthe possibility of it becoming permanent." The
Ministersconsidered that increased representation would be providedby their scheme of demarcating constituencies without theevil of creating a separatist mentality. "These tahsil areaswill be delimited so that particular communities inparticular areas will get an effective voice. Just asparticular wards in a municipality return only a particularclass or community of persons - some wards in NagpurMunicipality return only Muslim members - an Ahir ward ortahsil will return only an Ahir, a Gond tahsil will returnonly a Gond and so on. In this way we want to give all thesections of our people thorough and complete representationwithout whetting their communal appetite." As regards theother tribals who are not found in compact areas, it isasserted that they are generally dispersed in the provinceand not easily distinguishable from the other people. InOrissa reservation of "a specific number of seats" ingeneral constituencies is recommended but it is considerednecessary that aboriginal members should be elected to theseseats by a suitable system of indirect or group election.The remarks of the Orissa Government in connection with thesystem of partial exclusion are relevant: "The inadequacy ofrepresentation of the aboriginal people of these areas inthe legislature has also contributed to their neglect. Theyare not vocal nor have they any press for propaganda. Theyhave been represented in the Assembly by five members, fournominated by the Governor and one elected from Sambalpur. Asa result of this insufficient representation the problems of these areas do not receive the attention to which their sizeand importance entitle them." We have given serious thoughtto the question and come to the conclusion that the tribalsshould have reserved seats in a joint electorate based onadult franchise. We do not consider the scheme of the C. P.Government adequate as it provides no safeguards for thelarge numbers of tribals who live in the non-excluded areasand who without reservation would have no chance of beingrepresented in the Legislature. The case of the tribals isnot essentially different from that of the Scheduled Castesand they are in fact more backward in education and in theireconomic condition than the Scheduled Castes. Representationin proportion to their numbers in the legislatures, even ifsome of them are not vocal or able to argue their case willemphasize the importance and urgency of their problems. Andit is to the interest of the country to see that theseoriginal inhabitants of the Indian soil are brought up tothe level of the rest so that they can contribute in duemeasure to the progress of the country rather than be a dragon the rest. We do not consider that the method of indirectelection or nomination should be resorted to. Theaboriginals have to take part in direct election some timeand the sooner their training for this starts the better.
Having regard to the circumstances of the Madras islandand the Punjab Excluded Areas, we recommend specialrepresentation as follows: -
Laccadive Group 1
Lahaul and Spiti 1
Amindivi Group 1
It seems clear to us that these areas cannot beincluded in other constituencies, nor would they be suitablyrepresented if so included.
(a) Areas to be Scheduled. - The provisions forpartially excluded and excluded areas in the 1935Constitution are designed to prevent the application ofunsuitable legislation, to permit the making of specialrules and regulations required for any different system of administration needed in the aboriginal areas, and for theprovision of funds at the discretion of the Governor for thetotally excluded areas. Although in most of the Provinces,there has been a good deal of assimilation of the tribalpeople of the plains, yet the social system of the tribes isdifferent from that of the plains people in a number of thepartially excluded areas. In the excluded areas, of courseas already pointed out, there are people like Tibetans, theChakma, Miro and Mogh of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, theislanders of the Laccadive Islands and so
on. In thepartially excluded areas, the tribes of Orissa and ChhotaNagpur and even the Gonds of the C. P. and the Bhils ofBombay who have assimilated the life of the plains to agreater extent than others have different social customs.The law of inheritance and the systems of marriage anddivorce are different from those of other communities. It ispossible of course for the legislatures to bear thesefeatures in mind and pass different laws just as differentlaws have been passed for Hindus and Muslims but there areother subjects as well in which the tribes will have to betreated on a different footing. In places like the AgencyTracts, for example, the population is as yet too primitiveto be able to understand or make use of the complicatedprocedure and law of the civil, criminal and revenue courts.We have mentioned earlier the features peculiar to theSantal Parganas and the Jaunsar Bawar Pargana. Even in themore advanced tracts of the Central Provinces of Bombay, thetribal is at a serious disadvantage on account of hispoverty and ignorance and the procrastination of courts andofficials and is easily victimized. This is of course trueof all poor and simple rural folk, but it is clear that inthe case of the aboriginal, it applies to a community foundpredominantly in certain areas and not to individuals. Thusa simplified system of dispensation of justice will benecessary in certain areas. There is again the question ofland legislation. The land is the only thing left to theaboriginal, who does not follow non-agricultural professionsto any appreciable extent as yet. In the Chhota NagurDivision different kinds of tenure have been recognized forthe tribals and in any case, even where the tenure is simpleand common to other areas, grant of the power of alienationto the tribals is certain to result in his gradualexpropriation. We are thus led to the conclusion that it isnecessary to provide that in certain areas laws of theprovincial legislature which are likely to be based largelyon the needs of the majority of the populations should notapply automatically, if not generally, at least in certainspecified subjects. A general provision of this kind is ofcourse a matter of convenience and would eliminate the needfor the legislature to provide special clauses or savingclauses. It would also enable special consideration if thelegislation is to be applied to the area. This of courseinvolves notification of areas and we recommend provisionfor the purpose. We propose that the areas should be knownas "Scheduled Areas" in future.
(b) Application to Scheduled Areas. - The next questionwhich arises is whether any special mechanism is to beprovided or whether the matter should be left to thelegislature without any additional safeguard to applylegislation. The Government of Orissa have apparentlythought it sufficient if the laws are specially extended bythe ProvincialGovernment and other Governments may hold similar views. Thefact that non-tribals will be in a majority in all thelegislatures and the fears which the tribals entertain thattheir interests and special customs and circumstances may beignored must in this context be taken into account.Doubtless they would like to feel that they themselves havea voice in the decision and that a decision is not taken bypersons unacquinted or imperfectly acquitted with theirspecial circumstances and not genuinely interested in theirwelfare. The feeling which prevails in this matter has beenexpressed thus: "Speaking purely hypothetically, it shouldnot be possible for the member representing Chittagong to beable to oblige his constituents by getting some radicalchanges made to the detriment of the hill tribes, which isof local advantage to them." (Lt.-Col. Hyde, D. C.Chittagong Hill Tracts) and "Ministers may find that owingto political pressure from organised pressure groups, thatit is impossible for them to give the protection which theydesire to give". (Grigson, aboriginal Tribes EnquiryOfficer, C. P. & Berar.)
The present system under which the Governor in hisdiscretion applies the legislation
is not likely to appealas this principle will be regarded as undemocratic, eventhough the governor in future may be an elected functionary.An alternative mechanism is therefore necessary. We haveconsidered the question in all its aspects and come to theconclusion that in respect of certain subjects, laws passedby the Provincial Legislature should not be applied to theScheduled Areas if the Tribes Advisory Council does notconsider them suitable for those areas. We have alsoprovided that in other subjects the Provincial Governmentshould have the power to withhold or modify legislation onthe advice of the Tribes Advisory Council.(Para*. 15).
(c) Special Subjects. - It has been stated above that incertain subjects legislation should not apply if consideredunsuitable by the Tribes Advisory Council. We consider sucha definition desirable to prevent any unnecessarycomplication of legislative procedure or delaying oflegislation. In most of the areas ordinary legislation isapplicable and the policy has been and should be to applylegislation normals unless there is any special reason tothe contrary. As a matter of general concern restrictionseems necessary only in certain matters and we recommendthat all legislation relating to (1) social matters (2)occupation of land including tenancy laws, allotment of landand setting apart of land for village purposes, and (3)village management including the establishment of villagepanchayats should be dealt with in this manner.
13. CRIMINAL AND CIVIL COURTS -
We have noticed that there are areas where the regularmachinery for the disposal of criminal and civil cases isnot in operation and an "Agency" system is in force. Thecivil procedure has in particular been substituted by asimplified procedure. We have no doubt that simplifiedprocedure should be possible for the disposal of pettycriminal and civil cases and recommended accordingly thatexcept where the regular procedure is already in force, asimplified system should continue to be inforced. We are nothowever in a position to say whether the exact procedurefollowed at present needs modification or not.
* Reference to para. is to para. in the originalreport.
14. RESERVATION IN FEDERAL LEGISLATURE -
We have recommended reservation of seats in theProvincial Legislature. We recommend reservation in theFederal Legislature also on the basis of population in eachprovince. On the scale contemplated in the draft UnionConstitution, this would be 5 for Bihar, 3 for C. P., and 2each for Bombay and Orissa.
15. PROVINCIAL TRIBES ADVISORY COUNCIL -
Most of the Provincial Governments have found itnecessary to set up advisory bodies for the properadministration of the tribal areas. In our view, it isnecessary that there should be a body which will keep theProvincial Government constantly in touch with the needs of the aboriginal tracts (Scheduled Areas) in particular andthe tribal for such a council requires little explanation.Whatever legal machinery is set up, it is no fancy tosuggest that its actual translation into practice may not bein accord with its spirit, and besides the legal machineryitself may be found defective in practice. For a number ofyears clearly, the development of the aboriginals willrequire the most meticulous care. There are many ways inwhich the aboriginals' interests may be neglected, and it isknown that regardless of certain prohibitory rules they aresubjected to harassment at the hands of subordinategovernment officials and contractors. In spite of theabolition of beggar, for instance, there are still a goodmany cases of it in fairly serious form coming to noticefrom time to time. The working of provincial legislation orthe machinery of administration in whole or in not needsconstant scrutiny and regulation. The reclamation of thetribal is not likely to be an easy matter since it is seenfrom experience that even where provision for local bodiesexists the aboriginal requires special encouragement to takeactive part in it. We have also pointed out that therepresentation of the aboriginal in the legislature
islikely to be weak for some time to come. To exercise specialsupervisory functions therefore and to bring to theattention of the Provincial Government from time to time thefinancial and other needs of the aboriginal areas, theworking of development schemes, the suggestion of plans, orlegislative or administrative machinery, it is necessary toprovide by statute for the establishment of a TribesAdvisory Council in which the tribal element is stronglyrepresented. There may be no objection to the advisorycouncil being made use of for supervision of the interestsof other backward classes as well. We are of the view thatthe establishment of an Advisory Council for the next tenyears at least is necessary in the Provinces of Madras,Bombay, West Bengal, Bihar, C. P. & Berar and Orissa, and werecommend that statutory provision be made accordingly. Wehave referred earlier (Para. 11) to the part that the TribesAdvisory Council will play in respect of Legislation.
16. CENTRAL COMMISSION -
We have indicated above that unless the attention of the Government is concentrated with special emphasis on theproblems of the aboriginals and the needs of the ScheduledAreas, there is little likelihood of any development. We donot intend any reflections on Provincial Governments if weremark that they may fail to take adequate interest. Theprovincial finances may also need to be strengthened bysubventions from the Central fisc and we have in factrecommended that the Federation should come to the aid of the provinces to the extent necessary. We are of the viewtherefore that the Federal Government should take irectinterest in the development of the tribes. We consider thatit should be possible for the Federal Government toinstitute at any timea special Commission to enquire into the progress of plansof development and also into the conditions of the ScheduledAreas and tribals in general. In any case, such a commissionshould be instituted on the expiry of ten years from thecommencement of the new Constitution. We have no doubt thatthe provinces would welcome such a commission and werecommend that provision for its appointment should be madein the Union constitution.
17. CENTRAL SUBVENTIONS -
The development of the Scheduled Areas is likely toinvolve heavy expenditure on account of the nature of thecountry and other practical difficulties. It is obvious thatin the hilly tracts the construction and maintenance ofroads will require a good deal of money. Most of thesetracts are devoid of any attraction for officials who thusneed to be specially compensated. The provision of schools,medical facilities and water supply which are dire needswill doubtless make a heavy demand on the budget. While weare clearly of the view that to the maximum possible extentthe funds required for the welfare and development of theseareas should be found in the provinces themselves, we feelthat unless the Central Government provides the necessaryassistance, some of the Provincial Governments at any ratemay find it impossible to carry out schemes of improvement.We recommend therefore that for all schemes of developmentapproved by it the Central Government should contribute, inwhole or in part, funds for the implementation of thedevelopment schemes. The Central Government should also bein a position to require the Provincial Governments to drawup schemes for the Scheduled Areas. We have recommendedstatutory provision to this effect.
18. PROVINCIAL FUNDS -
The main anxiety of the Scheduled Areas will centreround the attitude of the legislature in the provision offunds. These areas as already pointed out will be weaklyrepresented and, being deficit areas, may be dealt with onthe principle of he who pays more gets more. In the absenceof a keen demand it is even possible that there is adiversion of revenues to the more vociferous areas. We haveremarked earlier that one of the weakness of the system ofpartial exclusion is the lack of financial safeguards. Thereis very clearly a necessity for making the requiredprovisions to remove this weakness. It has been
suggested tous that funds for the development of the Scheduled Areasshould be provided by the fixation of a statutory percentageof the provincial revenues. It may be easy to provide bystatute that such and such a proportion of the Provincialrevenues should be spent upon the Scheduled Areas, but thereis first of all the difficulty of determining the ratio. Theneeds of the Scheduled Areas are great in comparison withthe population and in some cases even with the extent of thetract. Secondly if a rigid statutory ration is fixed, it mayin practice be found that it is not possible to adhere toit. The framing of a budget has to take into account manyfactors and rigid statutory ratio is likely to causedifficulties to the Provincial Governments, apart from beingperhaps ineffective in providing the real needs of the hilltracts. If a low ratio is fixed it is practically certainthat the Provincial Governments will not exceed that. If ahigh ratio is fixed, the Provincial Government may be unableto meet it and in any case the working out of an acceptableratio itself seems impracticable in the circumstanceswithout a careful examination of the needs of all thedifferent tracts. We feel consequently that no directstatutory safeguard of this nature is possible. The otherpossibi-lity is that the Governor in his discretion should set apartfunds and that these funds should be outside the vote of thelegislature. We feel that such a provision is likely to berepugnant to the provincial legislature.
We recommend however that the revenues derived from andthe expenses incurred on the Scheduled Areas from theprovincial budget should be shown separately so as toprevent the needs of these areas being overlooked throughincorporation in the general items Such a separate statementwill of course afford a better opportunity for scrutiny andcriticism.
19. GOVERNOR'S RESPONSIBILITY -
In connection with financial safeguards the view wasexpressed that the formulation of a plan of improvementaffords sufficient guarantee for the expenditure of funds.We are of the view that in the provisions corresponding tothe Instrument of Instructions the Governor should berequired to see that a suitable scheme of development isdrawn up and implemented as far as possible (See Para. *17)
20. TRIBAL MINISTER -
Connected with the formulation of development schemesand the provision of adequate expenditure for the hilltracts is the need for the appointment of a separateMinister to give effect to the plans and to look after theinterests of the aboriginals. The tribal population in theC.P., Orissa and Bihar forms a considerable proportion of the total population and on this ground alone the tribalshave a case for representation in the Provincial Government.In the C.P., the tribal population is nearly 18 per cent. InOrissa, almost a fifth of the population is tribal, and inBihar there are over 5 millions of them constituting about14 per cent. Partly in order to provide representation forthe tribals and in any case to see that adequate attentionis paid to their administration we are of the view thatthere should be a separate Minister for the tribal areas andtribes in C.P., Orissa and Bihar and that this should beprovided by statute. The Minister should be a tribal himselfunless a suitable person cannot be found. We may add thatthe Government of Orissa have recognised that there shouldbe a separate portfolio for the welfare of the backwardclasses under the new constitution.
21. SERVICES -
It has been pointed out that the tribals constitute anappreciable proportion of the population particularly insome Provinces. On this account, the policy of recruitmentof a due proportion of aboriginals having regard toreasonable efficiency, into the Government services isjustified and necessary and must be followed. Apart fromthis, however, it is necessary that there should be anadequate number of tribals in the services so that theconstant complaints of mishandling by non-tribal Officials,particularly, of such servants as forest guards, constablesor excise peons and clerks can be
minimized. Moreover, it isonly by adequate representation in the Government and localbodies' services that the tribal can gain the necessaryconfidence and status.
We do not consider that a separate service of tribalpeople is necessary or desirable for the Scheduled Areas,and we recommend that they should be recruited to a generalcadre. This will enable them to come into contact with non-tribes people and we also consider that there is
* Reference to para. is to para. in the original report.
no objection to the posting of selected non-tribal officialsto the Scheduled Areas. In fact, in the evidence before us,opinion has been practically uniform that there is nonecessity for a special cadre of officials for the hilltracts and what is really required is selection ofsympathetic officials for working in the hills. We woulddraw attention here to the importance of providing suitableaccommodation and facilities for medical attention toofficials serving in the scheduled areas. Malaria and otherdiseases constitute the scourge of these hill tracts andunless special attention is paid to the health of the staffit is unlikely that development schemes will make muchheadway. The provision of facilities for recreation andadequate compensatory allowances for officials posted tothese areas should be kept in mind. Any tendency to treatthese posts as penal posts or posts for the safe deposit ofincompetents must be strongly deprecated.
22. TRIBAL PANCHAYATS -
We have recommended that simplified rules should becontinued where they are in force in the Scheduled Areas forthe trial of civil and criminal cases. Wherever trialinstitutions are still fairly vigorous, we would recommendthat they should be utilised to try petty civil disputes andcriminal cases. The establishment of the more advanced typeof village panchayat is recommended wherever possible.
23. SHIFTING CULTIVATION -
Shifting cultivation or podu is practised mostly in theKoraput and Ganjam agency tracts of Orissa and in thesimilar agency tracts of Madras. In the Central Provinces itis prohibited by law and is not practised to any appreciableextent except in the Baiga Chack where it is permitted andin the Zamindaris. We have nothing to add to therecommendations of the Orissa Partially Excluded AreasInquiry Committee. This method of cultivation should beeliminated, as soon as possible.
24. PROHIBITION -
We invite the attention of Provincial Governments tothe recommendations made by Mr. Symington (Bombay) and theOrissa Partially Excluded Areas Committee. Temperancepropaganda should be taken up as part of the welfare work. Afeeling has been growing among aboriginals, particularly inthe tracts of Bombay and the Central Provinces thatprohibition is to their advantage, and this feeling shouldbe fostered among all the tribals.
25. LAND -
The importance of protection for the land of thetribals has been emphasised earlier. All tenancy legislationwhich has been passed hitherto with a view to protecting theaboriginal has tended to prohibit the alienation of thetribals land to non-tribals. Alienation of any kind, even toother tribals, may have to be prohibited or severelyrestricted in different stages of advancement are concerned.We find however that Provincial Governments are generallyalive to this question and that protective laws exist. Weassume that these will continue to apply and as we have madespecial provision to see that land laws are not altered tothe disadvantage of the tribal in future, we do not consideradditional restrictions necessary. As regards the allotmentof new land for cultivation or residence however, we are of the view that the interestsof the tribal need to be safeguarded in view of theincreasing pressure on land everywhere. We have providedaccordingly that the allotment of vacant land, belonging tothe State in Scheduled Areas should not be made except inaccordance with special regulations made by the Governmenton the advice of the Tribes Advisory Council.
26. MONEY-LENDERS -
Connected with the protection of the land is the needfor
prevention of exploitation by money-lenders. We considerit necessary that in the Scheduled Areas money-lendersshould not be permitted at all and that at any rate theyshould be allowed to operate under licence and stringentcontrol only.
27. THE SCHEDULED AREAS -
It has been pointed out that areas like Sambalpur,Angul and Darjeeling need no longer be treated as partiallyexcluded areas. The U. P. Government are of the view thatthe Khat Haripur Bias should be detached from the Hill Sub-division. They have also recommended the removal of theDudhi Partially Excluded Areas. The population of thepartially excluded areas in the United Provinces is smalland the Jaunsar Bawar pargana is not inhabited by people whoare in an ethnic sense tribals. We have not recommended aTribes Advisory Council for U. P. and we do not consider itnecessary to schedule either of these areas. Similarly we donot consider it necessary to schedule the Spiti area of thePunjab. In all these tracts, it will be open to theProvincial Government to apply the provisions of part II of the law proposed by us. In Bombay, we consider thatcertain areas in the West Khandesh District and thepartially excluded areas of the Broach and Panch MahalsDistrict should henceforth be administered without anyspecial provisions. The C. P. areas are retained as they areand in Chhota Nagpur we are provisionally of the view thatonly the three districts which have a majority of tribalsshould be scheduled. The schedule proposed is shown asAppendix D*.
On the other hand, there may be other areas which theProvincial Governments may like to bring under specialadministration. This can be done by the ProvincialGovernment in their discretion. For the protection of theland of tribes line the Lepcha in Darjeeling the ProvincialGovernment could make the appropriate provision of thechapter relating to the Scheduled areas applicable to thearea concerned.
28. DRAFT PROVISIONS -
We enclose a draft of provisions contemplated by us inroughly legal form (Appendix C*).
A. V. THAKKAR Chairman. D. N. SAMANTA. THAKUR PHUL BHANU SHAH RAJ KRUSHNA BOSE JAIPAL SINGH P. C. GHOSH.
* Reference to appendices are to appendices in theoriginal reports.
Part I - Excluded Areas
The Laccadive Islands (including Minicoy) and theAmindivi Islands.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Spiti and Lahoul in the Kangra District.
Part II - Partially Excluded areas
The East Godavari Agency and so much of the VizagapatamAgency as is not transferred to Orissa under the provisionsof the Government of India (Constitution of Orissa) Order,1936.
In the West Khandesh District, the Shahada, Nandurbarand Taloda Taluks, the Navapur Petha and the Akrani Mahal,and the villages belonging to the following Mehwassi Chiefs'namely, (1) the Parvi of Kathi, (2) the Parvi of Nal, (3)the Parvi of Singpur, (4) the Walwi of Gaohali, (5) theWassawa of Chikhli, and (6) the Parvi of Navalpur.
The Satpura Hills reserved forest areas of the EastKhandesh District.
The Kalvan Taluk and Peint Peth of the Nasik District.
The Dhahanu and Shahapur Taluks and the Mokhada andUmbergaon Pethas of the Thana District.
The Dohad Taluk and the Jhalod Mahal of the Broach andPanch Mahalas District.
The Darjeeling District.
The Dewanganj, Sribardi, Nalitabori, Haluaghat,Durgapur and Kalmakanda police stations of the MymensinghDistrict.
THE UNITED PROVINCES
The Jaunsar-Bawar Pargana of the Dehra Dun District.
The portion of the Mirzapur District south of theKaimur Range.
The Chhota Nagpur Division.
The Santal Parganas District.
THE CENTRAL PROVINCES AND BERAR
In the Chanda District, the Ahiri Zamindari in theSironcha Tahsil, and the Dhanora, Dudmala, Gewardha,Jharapapra, Khutgaon, Kotgal, Muramgaon, Palasgarh, Rangi,Sirsundi, Sonsari, Chandala, Gilgaon, Pai-Muranda andPotegaon Zamindaris in the Garchiroli Tahsil.
The Harrai, Gorakghat, Gorpani, Batkagarh, Bardagarh,Partabgarh
(Pagara), Almod and Sonpur jagirs of theChhindwara District, and the portion of the Pachmarhi jagirin the Chhindwara District.
The Mandla District.
The Pendra, Kenda, Matin, Lapha, Uprora, Chhuri andKorba Zamindaris of the Bilaspur District.
The Aundhi, Koracha, Panabaras and Ambagarh ChaukiZamindaris of the Drug District.
The Baihar Tahsil of the Balaghat District.
The Melghat Taluk of the Amraoti District.
The Bhainsdehi Tahsil of the Betul District.
The District of Angul.
The District of Sambalpur.
The areas transferred from the Central Provinces underthe provisions of the Government of India (Constitution ofOrissa) Order, 1936.
The Ganjam Agency Tracts.
The areas transferred to Orissa under the provisions of the aforesaid Order from the Vizagapatam Agency in thePresidency of Madras.
- - - - -
Statement showing the total population and Tribal population of Provinces
Name of ProvinceTotal Population Tribal Population Percentage