Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies


Edited by:
Marine Carrin (Editor-in-Chief), University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès, and Michel Boivin, Centre for South Asian Studies (CNRS-EHESS), Gérard Toffin, Centre d’Études Himalayennes, Paul Hockings, University of Illinois at Chicago, Raphaël Rousseleau, Université de Lausanne, Tanka Subba, North-Eastern Hill University, Harald Lambs-Tyche, University of de Picardie-Jules Verne (Section Editors)

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Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia strives to reflect the diversity of indigenous cultures of South Asia with its many language groups and religious traditions. Shaped by their own mythologies, these tribal religions differ in form and content from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity, though variants of the latter traditions have been adopted by some indigenous people. Religion is taken in a broad sense and includes aspects of morality, symbolism, identity formation, environmental concerns, and art. Far from being simple survivals of an earlier stage, these religions often show remarkable capacity for adaptation and change. The approach is contemporary rather than a reconstruction of an anterior state, though it does not overlook relevant historical processes.

More information: Brill.com

Indigenous People of Gujarat: Fact Sheet

(246 words)

Author(s): Lobo, Lancy
According to the 2011 census, 14.8% of Gujarat’s population belong to Scheduled Tribes. With some exceptions, such as the Rabari, who are noted as a Scheduled Tribe in Kachchh, or the Siddis, who have that status in Saurashtra, the indigenous peoples of Gujarat are concentrated in a “tribal belt” extending across the eastern part of the state, mostly in the hilly areas bordering on Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In south Gujarat, however, some groups such as the Chaudhari (or Chaudhri) and the Du…
Date: 2019-11-02

Indigenous People of Gujarat: Tribals of Gujarat on the Margins of Faith

(6,886 words)

Author(s): Lobo, Lancy
The tribal people in India, unlike those in America, Australia, and most of Africa, have long existed as part of an ancient Indian civilization; their religion has stood on the margins of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. This is also true for the tribals of Gujarat.In the anthropological literature, the big question related to the tribes has consistently been: are they Ādivāsī (“First Inhabitant,” aboriginal, indigenous) in their religion and culture or simply backward Hindus? The term “tribe” began to be used toward the end of the 18th c…
Date: 2019-11-02

Indigenous People of the Nilgiris: Fact Sheet

(543 words)

Author(s): Hockings, Paul
The Nilgiris district, in Tamil Nadu, is home to some 15 or more small ethnic groups, most found only in this area and having their own distinctive Dravidian languages. Its major population today consists of immigrant workers from the plains of South India, most of whom worship Hindu deities. The indigenous groups, totaling under 200,000, include the Todas, Kotas, Badagas, Nayakas, Paniyas, four tribes of Irulas, and six tribes of Kurumbas. Each group has always had a widely recognized and disti…
Date: 2019-11-02

Indigenous People of the Nilgiris: Religions of the Nilgiri Hills

(6,502 words)

Author(s): Hockings, Paul
Nilgiri PeopleThe Nilgiri Hills (Bad. Nīlagiri, “Blue Mountain”) form one small district of 2552.5 km2, the most northwesterly district in Tamil Nadu state, adjoining Karnataka and Kerala states. Two-thirds of the district is a high mountain plateau with rolling hills surrounded by steep escarpments, while one-third consists of the much lower Wayanad (Wainad) plateau. Elevation ranges from Doddabetta (“Great Mountain” in Badaga; 2633 m) down to a point in the Wayanad that is barely 300 m. Set apart geographic…
Date: 2019-11-02

Indigenous People of the North Bastar Plateau: Fact Sheet

(478 words)

Author(s): Gregory, Chris
The current population of Bastar includes migrants from all over India, but a distinction can be made between those who have been there for four generations or less and locals who have been living there for an unknown number of generations, but certainly greater than four. Genealogy, then, is one marker of indigeneity. Another is language. There are many local languages in Bastar, but the two dominant languages are Gondi, a Dravidian language that is spoken by about 30% of the local inhabitants,…
Date: 2019-11-02

Indigenous People of the North Bastar Plateau: Lachmi Jagar

(6,300 words)

Author(s): Gregory, Chris
The Indigenous Religious Traditions of BastarBastar is located at the center of a cultural crossroad that divides India into north and south in terms of language and kinship and into east and west in terms of ecology and staple food. Dravidian languages and cross-cousin marriages are found in the south, Indo-Aryan languages and hypergamous marriages in the north. This is bisected by a culture based on wet-rice cultivation in the east and a culture based on dry-grain cultivation of millet and wheat in…
Date: 2019-11-02