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Identifying the cultural areas inhabited by the tribal’s in India

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Besides the tribal culture areas the rest of the country has also been classified into different culture areas. For instance, Iravati Karve has very elaborately worked on the classification of culture areas at the national level.

In her classical work, Kinship Organization in India, she has taken kinship, marriage, family and language as criteria for preparing a cultural map of India.

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According to her, the country con­sists of four distinct culture areas: (1) north, (2) south, (3) central, and (4) north-east. Her approach of enquiry was both historical and field- work.

Material from the Vedas, Upanishadas, epics and myths have been widely used by her as source material. She concludes that there are distinct characteristics for all the four culture areas.

The special traits of the southern culture area consist of matriar­chal system, sapind marriage and cross-cousin marriage. The distinctness of northern culture area is characterized by taboo on sapid marriage and cross-cousin marriage.

In north India, there is almost a general practice of village exogamy which is not rigidly adhered to in the south. Yet another difference between the two culture areas is that in the north there are different kinship terms for both blood and mari­tal kin, whereas in the south there is a single terminology for both the kin.

In the field of language also, the south Indian languages, viz., Ma- layali, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu belong to the Dravidian family, whereas the north Indian languages fall within the Indo-Aryan family. Similar differences are also found in the north-eastern and central cul­ture zones.

Besides Karve, a few other notable social anthropologists have also worked on the theme of culture areas. A.C. Mayer has identified central culture area on the criteria of caste and kin.

Kathleen Gough and Louis Dumont have also worked to generate culture area classifi­cation. On the strength of data, these anthropologists have also identified certain culture areas in central and southern India.

To conclude, it could be said that language and kinship have been used as the major criteria for culture area classification by social an­thropologists.

The geographers, however, have employed ecology and geography as the bases for such a classification. At this stage, it would also be pertinent to mention that in a single culture area, there also ex­ist sub-culture areas. We propose to write a small note on sub-culture areas.

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