Overview for Tribal Religions
The Volumes of the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture [PHISPC] aim at discovering the main aspects of India's heritage and present them in an interrelated way. These volumes, in spite of their unitary look, recognize the difference between the areas of material civilization and those of ideational culture. The Project is not being executed by a single group of thinkers and writers who are methodologically uniform or ideologically identical in their commitments. In fact, contributions are made by different scholars with different ideological persuasions and methodological approaches. The Project is marked by what may be called 'methodological pluralism'. In spite of its primarily historical character, this Project, both in its conceptualization and execution has been shaped by many scholars drawn from different disciplines. It is for the first time that an endeavour of such a unique and comprehensive character has been undertaken to study critically a major world civilization. This Volume comprises twenty five papers on the traditional religious beliefs and ritualistic practices of various tribes of India, more particularly the tribes of North-Eastern India. Although tribal population constitutes eight percent of the total population of India, many Indians are ignorant of the tribal socio-cultural life and belief systems. Most of the tribes are still living in isolation from the Indian mainstream without much improvement in their socio-economic condition even after six decades of India becoming an independent republic. Moreover, the tribals are facing serious problems challenging their survival and cultural identity due to exploitation by the financially and politically privileged among the non-tribals. Their Indigenous religious faiths and practices have also been threatened by interference from some other communities, especially by the activities of the preachers and missionaries of other religions. The learned papers written by the experts in their own fields of specialization have thrown great light on the religion of various tribes and also addressed some of the pertinent problems that the tribal people have confronted.