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Integration of Tribes in Hindu Culture

Tribal groups those people outside of Hindu social organization have been incorporated into Hindu society throughout India's history as a result of a contact and assimilation. Most often tribes without significant sources of wealth and without political power were incorporated at the bottom of the traditional hierarchy. Those tribal groups who retained control of the land or other primary and productive sources of livelihood and those who maintained political control of significant regions were incorporated into the caste system with high rank. One of the famous instances is that of the Gonds a large and widely dispersed tribal group of Central India.Gonds were adopted within the Hindu social structure as untouchables but where they had held on the land they were dubbed as Raj Gonds and their status in the caste hierarchy was equivalent to that of the Kshatriya group esteemed and privileged.

In some tribal groups particular lineages especially the ruling lineages were called kshatriya and their members formally inducted as such while their fellow tribesmen of less powerful affinities were called low caste. In recent years many tribal groups have started following customs and traditions of Hindu culture, following the same religious divinities apart from their own.

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