Various sects of Adivasis, mainly of Bhil Tribe and Konkan origin reside in this region. Tribes such as the Siddhis, Rabari tribe, Padhar tribe, Mers and Bharwads live in the coastal Saurashtra districts of Junagadh, Jamnagar and Kutch. The Rabaris and the Mers seem to have come from the Mediterranean in early times.
Tribes of Gujarat have an interesting history. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata make several references to the hill tribes.
Demographics of Tribes of Gujarat
There are over 5 million Adivasis or tribal communities in Gujarat. Tribes with Bhil features account for more than 50% of the Gujarat’s Adivasi population. Most of the Adivasi sects claim descent from clans, such as, the Rathod, Solanki, Chauhan, Parmar and Makwana.
Culture of Tribes of Gujarat
The tribal people of Gujarat are religious and are animistic in religion. They worship animals, such as the tiger, crocodile and snake as Gods and also worship some plant Gods and a hill God (Thumbi Dev). The tribes also worship their dead ancestors.
Occupation of Tribes of Gujarat
The tribes of Gujarat are engaged in different occupations. In olden days the Bhils depended on the slash-and-burn cultivation system under which they cleared thick forests by cutting trees or burning them and cultivated crops in this land for a few years until the natural fertility of the soil was exhausted. They then moved on to new forests, leaving the land fallow for it to recover its fertility. They also lived by gathering forest produce and hunting wild beasts or fishing. Some tribes work as casual labourers, cattle breeders and find employment in the ports.
Even today the tribal groups, such as, the Koknas, Gamits, Dhodias, Vasawas, Garasias and some other Bhils generally lived on agriculture. Most of the Adivasis depend on agriculture either as landowners or as farm workers.
Indian Tribal People
West Indian Tribes
Districts of Gujarat