A Sociological Study of the Livelihoods of the Baigas in the Baiga-Chak Belt of Dindori, India — Study Area

The text and photographs on this page are copyright by Manish Gangwar and Pradeep Bose. Manish Gangwar is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at Barkatulla University, Bhopal, India. Pradeep Bose is the Director of the Aaspur Rural Development Project, District of Dungarpur, PKP, Raj., India.

Study Area

The study area for this research paper is the BCB. The BCB, located in the then Ramgarh Tehsil of Mandla district (Ramgarh is now called Dindori and it was carved out as a separate district in 1998), consisted of 23,930 acres or 10,000 hectares and it was created as a Baiga special reserve (BSR) by the British in 1890. This area of 100 sq. km. had only eight villages in 1890. McEldowney (1980) states that 11,700 Baiga households settled in these initial eight villages of the BCB in 1890. The names of these villages are:

Ajgar, Dhaba, Dhurkuta, Kanda Vani, Rajni Sarai, Silpidi, Tantar and Lamotha. (Elwin, 1939; Samir Kumar, PRADAN (NGO), Dindori, personal communication, 2009.)

Over the next 80 years, between 1890 and 1970, 44 new villages came up in the BCB and the total number of Baiga-Chak villages rose to 52. Three development blocks of Dindori district, viz. Samnapur, Bajag and Karanjia are represented in the BCB. The BCB could be classified into two tiers, the outer tier and the inner tier. 28 villages of the outer tier are readily accessible and many masters and doctoral students visit these, from Cha(n)da. Eight villages of the inner tier, from the total of 24, are difficult to approach and could be reached only by walking. Most of the villages on the inner tier are approached from Gopalpur.

Block Name Number of Villages Number of Households Population of Baigas in Dindori District
Male Female Total
Dindori 34 801 1595 1674 3269
Shahpura 19 476 983 980 1963
Mehdwani 37 598 1376 1358 2734
Amarpur 38 532 1146 1074 2220
Samanapur 28 920 2133 2126 4259
Karanjiya 23 697 1696 1732 3428
Bajag 23 1154 2824 2746 5570
Totals 202 5178 11753 *11690 11690

Table 1. Population of Baigas and their villages in Dindori district. *Gender Ratio of the Baigas in Dindori is 995. (Source: Baiga Development Authority, Dindori, 2005.)

As per the 2001 census, the total population of 52 Baiga-Chak villages was about 9,000 Baigas. And Dindori district had about 23,500 Baigas, in its 202 villages. Hence, the BCB accounted for 36.7 percent of the total Baiga population in Dindori district.

Photography and text © 2012, Manish Gangwar and Pradeep Bose. All rights reserved.

Citation

Gangwar, M., and Bose, P. (2012), "A Sociological Study of the Livelihoods of the Baigas in Baiga-Chak Belt of Dindori, India." The Peoples of the World Foundation. Retrieved September 20, 2020, from The Peoples of the World Foundation.
<http://www.peoplesoftheworld.org/hosted/baigas/>

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