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

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.

Research Methodology

Our exploratory study in 2009-2010 confirmed that there were about 1,900 Baiga households in the BCB. We were supposed to make intensive study of 1,376 Baigas from 300 households from the BCB. These 300 households were arrived at through a four-stage stratified random sampling technique.

At the first stage, all 52 Baiga-Chak villages [8] which had at least ten Baiga households each were filtered. This brought down the number of villages to 40. The second stage envisaged identifying all Baiga inhabited BCB villages that had more than 30 Baiga households in 2001 [9]. This stage filtered out eight more villages. Hence there were now 32 villages from which we had to choose our sample households. The third stage of sampling entailed bi-pooling the 32 villages into peripheral/outpost/outer villages and core/remote/inner villages. The outer category had 14 villages and the inner category had 18 villages. The final stage of sampling encompassed randomly identifying six of the 14 outpost villages and nine of the 18 remote villages.

Once these 15 sample villages were identified we had to select the number of households we wanted to study from each village. We decided to randomly choose 20 households from each of the fifteen shortlisted villages. This is how the final list of 300 sample households and their members emerged. However we did not specifically focus on separately identifying women samples initially. It was decided that the study of women-headed households would serve the purpose of learning from women's perspective and experience and, in fact, in the course of the study 35 such (women-headed) households were studied. Meanwhile, a mid-course correction had to be conducted to bring in the views and experience of some more women. Hence an additional 25 women-headed households that had departed Baigas' surviving widows with minor children were selected randomly and interviewed. Therefore 300 respondents and their 1,376 household members from as many households were interviewed, as per the questionnaire. Hence the basis of sociological study of the Baiga livelihoods in the BCB was the sum total of responses received from 1,376 Baiga respondents and specifically from the heads of 300 households. Of these 300 household heads, as stated earlier, Table 2 gives the names of all sample villages that were studied.

Number of Respondents Number of Male Respondents Number of Female Respondents Names of the Villages Represented
300 240 60 *Ajgar, *Daldal Kapoti, *Dhaba, Dhurkuta, *Do Mohani, *Kanda Tola, *Kanda Vani, *Kindra Behra, Khari Dih, *Ladra Dadar, *Paundi, Sheetal Pani, Silpidi, Tantar and Thad Pathra

Table 2. Sample Villages and Target Respondents. *These were 9 remote villages from the 2nd tier of the BCB that were also studied.

Besides the aforesaid questionnaire-based survey of 300 Baiga households we conducted in-depth question-specific probing, as well. For example, the queries related to land-holding of the households were followed by looking at the legal documents possessed by the respondents' families. As per these documents the Baigas were identified as encroachers of government forest land until 2009. However with the introduction of the Tribals' Land Rights Bill, that Indian parliament approved in 2007, the status of land encroaching Baigas changed as patta/deed or title holders in 2010-11. Similarly if a household reported that it had a bicycle, a motorcycle or 50 gm. of silver ornaments, veracity of these household items was ascertained by physically examining these. The safely stocked precious herbs by many of the Baiga families studied showed that each of them had at least 10 to 15 kinds of such herbs.

Focus group discussions with eight different groups of men and women were conducted to discuss and understand four areas of Baiga life that may not have emerged in the course of instrument-based interviews. These were: (1) To identify changes that have occurred after the land titles were received by the Baigas. (2) To identify Baigas' sources of inspiration, role-models, ultimate ambitions and their desire to leave Baiga-Chak and relocate to cities. (3) Top livelihoods' ranking by the Baigas in both revenue villages and forest villages. (4) Indebtedness of Baiga households. There was however a fifth turf of Baigas' life that we wanted the focus group to address: the issue of Baigas' coping mechanism to various disasters like drought. This aspect was not amply covered because we found out that a separate team of management students from Bhopal was already exploring. Hence it was decided that we would access the findings of the other research group from Bhopal vis-a-vis coping mechanisms.

Meanwhile in order to build a baseline of Baigas from the district, from which the responses of the sample households were to be compared, 45 Baiga households from Shahpura and Amarpur blocks, two villages belonging to each of the blocks, were studied as control villages. These were, in fact, four large and mixed villages, that had communities from Baigas, Agarias, Gonds and at least five other communities that included many households from non-tribals. The same set of questions was administered to the control that was used for the Baiga households hailing from Baiga-Chak. Details are given in Table 3.

Block Name Village Name Number of Households in the Village Number of Households Sampled
Shahpura Mangela 37 12
Shahpura Surajpura 24 11
Amarpur Sidhouli 58 11
Amarpur Chandragarh 49 11

Table 3. Control Villages and Sample Size.


[8] The list of (A) 52 Baiga-Chak villages, (B) the depiction of Baiga concentrated places in India, (C) the top 40 Baiga villages in Dindori district and (D) the forest area in 3 blocks of Baiga Chak villages are given in Appendix 1.

[9] Households (Hoho) and families are co-terminus in this article.

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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