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

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.


Bewar/shifting or slash and burn cultivation that used to be the mainstay of nomadic Baigas' livelihood about 75 years ago has now stopped entirely by the Baiga residents of the Baiga-Chak Belt (BCB) and they have now become sedentary peasants. They are engaged in traditional cultivation of crops on privately owned lands. Almost all Baiga households in the BCB received titles to the land parcels that they had been cultivating for more than 100 years. However, most of the Baigas of BCB are disappointed, because each household was promised titles worth 7.5 acres of land but they ended up getting titles which averaged 4 acres. Meanwhile, the predominant forest produce-gathering-based Baigas' livelihood, which was ranked as their second best source of income, has been relegated to the fifth-best livelihood in recent years. Agriculture, wages earned from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and wages earned from forest department, agricultural labor and the sale of indigenously distilled mahua liquor are four top ranking livelihoods of the Baigas in the BCB of Dindori district in the year 2010-2011. Besides, Baigas who used to produce only small millets like kodo and kutki, as well as major cereals like paddy and maize during their old bewar/shifting cultivation days, have now diversified into growing new crops like wheat, niger, gram, rape seeds, lin-seeds and peas in recent years. Some Baiga households have also started growing crops like lentils, potatoes and a few vegetables.

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


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 May 20, 2024, from The Peoples of the World Foundation.

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