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Impact of Globalization on Tribal World of West Bengal | OMICS International
ISSN: 2151-6200
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Impact of Globalization on Tribal World of West Bengal

Prasasti Ghosh*

Birbhum Mahavidyalaya, Birbhum, West Bengal, India

*Corresponding Author:
Prasasti Ghosh
Associate Professor, BirbhumMahavidyalaya
Suri, Birbhum, West Bengal, India
Tel: +91 (03462) 255 653
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: May 25, 2015 Accepted Date: June 25, 2015 Published Date: June 29, 2015

Citation: Ghosh P (2015) Impact of Globalization on Tribal World of West Bengal. Arts Social Sci J 6:104. doi:10.4172/2151-6200.1000104

Copyright: © 2015 Ghosh P. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Globalization (or globalization) in literal sense is a process of transformation of regional or local phenomena into global ones. Globalization is making a considerable impact on all aspect of human life directly or indirectly in everywhere in the world and it is multidimensional. All the economic, technological, economic, socio-cultural, and political forces act combine in the process of transformation of lifestyle of any community in everywhere and at every level. Globalization process is also called modernization which include development of science and technology and, communication by which all the places are interconnected and people become more migratory. It also has tremendous impact on culture specially the indigenous culture of tribal society. The tribal, the original settler are mostly live in forest, hills and other naturally isolated regions which are rich in mineral resources. Their lifestyles are
conditioned by ecological setting they live. India is a land of diverse ethnic group (having 08.6% tribal population to total population in 2011) with diverse language, economy and socio-cultural system. Globalization also has negative impact as inequality, poverty, deprivation of land and forest area. The present study depicts how far the pattern and quality of living of socially disadvantaged people (the tribal people) have changed through globalization in West Bengal. The quality of life means the wellbeing of any society or individual. It also include physical, socio, and cultural sphere of life of people of West Bengal. In West Bengal the tribal people share 07.81 per cent to total population in 2011.


Globalization; Tribe; Transformation; Migration; Modernization; Society


Change is a natural process. Every person or society of any community has certain limit or capacity to build up their socio cultural life. With the emergence of some phenomena certain change have occur in every sphere of life of any community. Globalization is one of theseand it is a multidimensional phenomenon and its effects on political, economic, social and cultural sphere of any society of the world. The term quality of life means the wellbeing of any society or individual. The quality of life is not only including the wealth and employment it also include physical, social and cultural sphere of life. The indigenous or tribal people the original settler are mostly live in forest, hills and other naturally isolated regions which are rich in mineral resources. They are identified by different names based on ecological or economical or historical or cultural characteristics as adivasi, janjati, vanyajati etc. These tribal people are recognized as scheduled tribe in article 366 (25) and are deemed under article 342 to the scheduled tribes for the purpose of the constitution. The criteria to define them is based on certain characteristics as: i) isolation they live in remote and inhospitable areas which are rich in mineral resources and forest area and also geographically isolated; ii) backwardness their livelihood is based onprimitive agriculture, a low value close economy with poor technology, low levels of literacy which leads to their poverty and poor health; iii) distinctive culture, language and religion; iv) shyness of contact [1]. Because of simplicity and shyness they have marginal degree of contact with other people. In ancient time they have been lagging far behind the main stream and also the development programs. They could not take part in any decision making processes. They have been exploited by other Hindu people of higher caste of the society. After independence to ensure their progress and protection from exploitation adequate provision and safeguard have been kept in the constitution for the upliftment and welfare of tribal people. Some fundamental principal laid down by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the late Prime Minister become the guiding force in the development. He told that they should develop according to their own genius [2] We should try to encourage in every way to upgrade their living condition keepingintact their own traditional art and culture and we should also respect their right on land and forest. In spite of all these things they face problems of isolation and discrimination in any sphere of life. Tribe based organization is always differ from caste base organization. This differentiation and isolation whether imposed by them or imposed by other block their growth of material culture and transformation of their mode of living.

The tribal people in India and West Bengal at present living between two world: one is their own world which are in transition and the another is new social order created by globalization and modernization processes (through implementing some development programmes) which is started since late nineties.

Concept of globalization

Globalization is not a new concept. In its literal sense it is the process or transformation of regional or local phenomena into global one. The word is used first in 1930 in a publication ‘Towards New Education’ according to oxford dictionary. The economists used this term in 1880s but the social scientists used this term since 1960s [3]. But the concept appeared in new form in late nineties [1]. This process is usually recognized as a combination of economic, socio-cultural, political and technological aspects. Through globalizationcolonization and cultural transformation occur (through acculturation and cultural diffusion) at different degree in all society of the world. The people of the world areunified into a single family through Globalization by erasing the national boundary and the national economy become international economy through trade, investment of foreign capital spread of technology and migration [2]. A ‘global village’ and a ‘global market’ ‘have developed’ (Wikipedia). Globalization process is associated with poverty and inequality, environmental degradation and communication, research and development in technology, change in population, improvement of transport network and also on language and ethicalaspect of human life. All the sectors as factories, forest and field as bank govt., laboring and farming industrial activities are interconnected by globalization process [3,4].

Objective of the Study

The objective of this is to study i) how the standard of living or the quality of life of the tribal people in West Bengal have improved by globalization process through modernization, improvement ofcommunication and transport network, industrialization, and improvement of infrastructural facilities and implementation of different schemes help to improve to the literacy level and the reservation policy for education and job by which they can change their livelihood improve the quality of life; and ii) to examine how far the tribal people should develop or transformed their lifestyle in accordance with their ecological set up and genius.

Methodology of the Study

This study is mainly based on secondary data. The tribal people of West Bengal have taken for study. For this study secondary data for some decades have taken to give an idea how far the changes occurred in the quality of living among this community through globalization. These secondary data are analysisand explainedthrough statistical process and diagram.

Socio-cultural life of tribal people of West Bengal (changing trend)

In India tribal people share 8.2 per cent (21467179 in 2011) and in West Bengal 5.8 per cent (91347736 in 2011) of total population. There are 38 tribal communities in West Bengal. They are in different socio-cultural (preliterate, semiliterate, nomadic or settled) levels of development, in different activity as hunting, food gathering, settled agriculturist, in household and small industries and services. In spite of thesesomesimilarity still exist among these communities at individual, racial and cultural area level. The economic and socio-cultural life of these community people dependupon their physical environment or ecological condition, educational status. The tribal community in West Bengal passes through a phase of raw struggle for existence. They are originally a floating settler migrating from place to place for land and employment. At early period they (Lepcha, Bhutia, Toto, Garo, Mech, Rava)are migrated from north and northeastern states and settled in the forest and hill area of north and Santal, Kora, Bhumija, Mahali Oraon from eastern, central states and Chotanagpur region and settled all over the state. The tribal communities in north aremainly engaged in tea garden as labor and small percentage are engaged in agriculture and small industrial activities. In south they engaged in primary sector as agriculture, hunting, gathering etc. based on their ecological condition. Some of them engage in industrial sector as labor.

The occupational pattern has changed and migration for work increased when British Govt. entered into the tribal land and forest. They have started new type of cultivation and migrated to industrial town to work as labor. After that when the British Govt. start Indigo plantation they export labor from neighboring states at cheap wage rate. They also exploited by the Hindu Zaminder. They start to accustom themselves with the new ecological condition and start to interact with the Hindu people through which cultural transformation starts by acculturation [5]. But they remain isolated from other caste community. This isolation makes them underdeveloped and backward. But these situations have changed since independence due to some factors as modernization which includes industrialization and urbanization and implementation of some tribal welfare scheme regarding education, occupational activities. To make them advance and integrated with other people and to introduce themselves with modern world many development programs have taken. British anthropologist Edward B Tylor in his book Primitive Culture (1871) states in defining culture that culture include knowledge, beliefs, art law, morals, customs and habit [4] These can be possible through education and the transformation of the socio-cultural world become possible through education and improved communication network [6]. Exchange of idea, goods, customs, beliefs, technologies can be possible by education. To keep these things in mind several schemes have taken by govt. of west Bengal in several plan period. These are a) book grant; b) pre and post matric scholarship; c) merit scholarship forupgradation of meritorious student for entry into professional degree course; d)scholarship for graduate and post graduate student of general, technical, and vocational students. This scheme has introduced them with new and modern technology and would inspire to change their attitude of thinking through the improved the literacy level. These schemes increase their literacy rate as the data show in Table 1. This improved literacy rate especially among the female help to transform the quality of life (Figure 1).

Sex 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Male 11.2 11.49 21.16 32.34 57.4 59.0
Fem 01.76 03.09 05.01 12.04 29.2 41.0

Table 1: Trend in Literacy Rate (%) of Tribal People in West Bengal, 1961-2011.


Figure 1:Trend in Literacy Rate (%) of Tribal People in West Bengal, 1961- 2011.

About literacy most interesting fact is that Bhutia tribe who are popular for their progressive character have literacy with 72% among which among the male it is 80.2% and female 65.2% (in 2001).

For economic development some measures have taken by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Welfare, Govt. of India. These are: a) Income Generation Scheme which includes agriculture, horticulture, minor irrigation scheme, animal husbandry, social conservation of forest product, WADI etc., b) Job Oriented Scheme as manufacturing training, fashion sampling technology, tool room training and computer. By these programs the tribal boys and girls got opportunity to introduce themselves with the modern technologies and economic world. They started to engage in new job leaving their traditional activity. Some reservation scheme has taken for their education and job by govt. and some measures also taken for upgradation of tribal administration. As a result of this scheme occupational pattern have changed as the data shows (Table 2 and Figure 2). More than 40 percent got opportunity to engage in different types of job under govt. and non govt. Sector and in self-business. On the other side due to industrialization process they losetheir land which results decrease in percentage of cultivator and increase in the percentage of agricultural labor. No of families benefitted through income generation activity and job oriented training program is gradually increased. The achievement of these development and income generation programs has increased from 68.2 per cent in 2008-09 to 25.11 per cent in 2010- 2011 per cent.

Type of Activity 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Cultivator 48.74 31.18 31.04 31.01 23.71
Agricultural Labor 28.39 48.91 48.73 53.93 45.09
Household Industry, Manufacturing., ,Repairing 01.34 01.02 01.05 02.92 02.2
Other Services 21.53 18.89 19.18 12.14 29.01

Table 2: Male and Female in Different Activity (in%),W.B, 1961-2001.


Figure 2: Male and Female in Different Activity (in %), WB,1961-2001.

Impact of Globalization on Tribal Life

Globalization is not new but in present situation some features as space and time are shrinking boarders between countries, regions are gradually disappearing. So each country of the world is affected by it. Globalization is associated with modernization and industrialization, urbanization which result development of science and technology, modernization of transport and communication network and it have a considerable impact in every sphere of life. We think that the development processes through globalization make the people of the world happy and prosperous by eradicating illiteracy, poverty and removed inequality and all the people are integrated. But in real world the opposite things happened. The unequal and uneven process in the distribution of gains and losses globalization affects differently in different gradually decreasing, people become more migratory. Through globalization process together with some countries [7] creating a gap between developed and underdeveloped, between rich and poor, between have and have-nots. In India impact of globalization is not equal in each segment of the society specially the poor marginalized people. By these processes most of the villages are interconnected by roads. By this inter-regional disparity in all spheres is development processessome changes occur in their socio-economic and cultural life. male was 74.97 per cent and it decrease to 52.22 per cent. Per cent of female illiterate was 90.43 per cent it decrease to 75.72 per cent in 2001. Among the literate per cent of male and female in different level of education are given in Table 3.

   A B C D E F
Male(1961) 65.70 27.67 04.15 0.00 0.62 0.42
Fem.(1961) 61.57 34.16 02.75 0.31 0.56 0.66
Male(2001) 03.53 87.12 07.97 0.07 05.65 01.49
Fem.(2001) 04.10 89.82 05.15 0.03 01.89 0.89

Table 3: Male and Female in Different Education Level (%), West Bengal, 1961 and 2001.

The Table 3 and Figure 3 shows that percentage of literate male and female with education level is decreased from 60.7 per cent to 3.53 per cent for male and percentage of female as 61.57 in 1961 is decreased to 4.10 per cent which is more surprising. The percentage of male and female is more in primary and junior basic level is more than other education level than other education level. The impact of globalization is not enough in transformation of tribal world is not satisfactory because the effect of globalization did not reach equally in all segment of our society. Together with globalization there are some programmes which have impact on (i) quality and competition; and (ii) implementation of reservation policy in different levels of education and scholarship; (iii)implementation of development and welfare programmes after independence help them to change their occupation which have direct effect on mode oflivelihood. Participation of worker in secondary and tertiary sector increased as the data Table 2 shows. Method of cultivates changed (small percentage). The cultivator starts to sell their produce directly to the market. The youth who got higher and technical education and job start to think about the changing world. As result of this quality of living is improving. The standard of household has changed. 86.4 per cent have own house, 05.8 percent live in rented house and 07.8 per cent live in other. House pattern and materials use for building have changed. Use of G.I. Sheet have increased from 22.8% in 1961 to 41.7% in 2001. Percentage of other material used in house in 1961 have been decreased in 2001 as the data shows.


Figure 3:Male and Female In Different Education Level (%), W. Bengal, 1961 and 2001.

Table 4A and Figure 4A gives an idea about the type of well they use for drinking water and Table 4B and Figure 4B give an idea about latrine andsource of electricity they used. Use of kerosene is more than electricity.

Table 4C and Figure 4C give an idea about the type of well they use for drinking water and Table 4D and Figure 4D give an idea about latrine andsource of electricity they used. Use of kerosene is more than electricity.

  A  B  C  D  E
2001 42.38 27.28 22.80 0.56 06.98
2011 25.3 23.1 41.7 0.30 0.00

Table 4a: Types of Material Used in Roof (in %), 2001 and 2011.

  A B C  D E F  G
2001 17.41 60.38 1.76 17.14 0.46 0.39 2.46
2011 21.3 51.5 2.7 13.7 1.40 0.29 0.0

Table 4b: Type of Material Used in Walls (in %) 2001, 2011.

Tap From untreated source From treated Well Covered Well Uncovered Well Hand pump Tube well/Bore hole
18.1 12.3 05.8 17.0 0.8 16.2 44.4 15.7

Table 4c: Source of Drinking Water (in %) Used, West Bengal, 2011.

A1 A2 A3 A4 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5
31.7 66.2 01.1 0.7 24.4 08.1 14.2 09.3 06.73

Table 4d: Types of Latrine Used and Source of Electricity Used, W.B, 2011.


Figure 4a: Types of Material Used In Roof (in %), 2001 and 2011.


Figure 4b: Type of Material Used in Walls (in %) 2001, 2011.


Figure 4c: Source of Drinking Water (in %) USED, West Bengal, 2011.


Figure 4d: Types of Latrine used and Source of Electricity used, W.B, 2011.

24.4 percent houses have latrine within the premises. On the other hand in 66.2 per cent kerosene is used for lighting and 31.7 percent houses have electricity. In case ofcosmetic goods they used some changes occur. They use shampoo, talcum powder and other cosmetic leaving herbal and traditional cosmetic. Because of rising the price and diffusion of culture of other caste people (neighbor people) most of them leave to wear their own dresses and wear the modern dresses, flowered ornaments are replaced by metal ornament to decorate. Their culture and rituals are also starts to change. Some new system have introduce in their marriage. The young educated people do not want to wear the traditional dresses and play their traditional instrument and dance at their festivals. TV, movie, video, cinema have been introduce as entertainment element. They also avail banking facilities and modern amenities as the data Table 5 and Figure 5 shows. 33.19 per cent avail banking facilities which is an important indicator of the transformation of the patter of living and also the quality of life. According 0.60 (Table 5) per cent house has all assets. 33.09 per cent household has no asset and the remaining have few assets as the Table 5 and Figure 5 shows. Family structure have been disrupted, nuclear family system have developed. Age at marriageis also changed. Among the females of below 18 years of age 02.6 per cent is ever married and among males of 21 years of age it is 02.1 per cent. The secondary data (Table 6 and Figure 6) shows that percentage of currently married male is decreasing in 2001 than 1961 in each status except never married. But the changes are not so high. The changes occur due to the changes in their attitude. These changes occur through acculturation from other community. In many cases they become bilingual to adapt themselves with new situation. Among some tribes as Lepcha, Bhutiya. Ravas modernization in living pattern occur to a great extent because they are mostly living in hilly tract which is a tourist spot [8]. So diffusion of culture of alien people helps them in changing or transforming the quality of life.

Bank Service
TV Comput
With Net
Without Net
Land Ph. Mobile Land+
 Cycle Two
38.19 12.29 16.35 0.71 05.19 01.14 23.78 01.34 52.64 03.47 01.53

Table 5: Use of Luxury Items and Modern Amenities by Tribal People (in %), West Bengal, 2011.

  Never Married Currently Married Widowed Separated/ Divorced
Male (1961) 51.70 44.25 03.52 0.53
Female (1961) 40.48 47.22 11.38 0.92
Male (2001) 55.36 42.28 01.99 0.43
Female (2001) 45.84 44.04 08.93 01.19

Table 6: Marital Status of Tribal Population (in %) of West Bengal,1961 and 2001.


Figure 5: Use of Luxury Items and Modern Amenities by Tribal People (in %), West Bengal, 2011.


Figure 6: Marital Status of Tribal Population (in %) of West Bengal, 1961 and 2001.


Globalization in modern era is become a mantra to solve the human problem. Everyone think that through globalization the whole world will unify into a family as a global family or a global village. But in real world different things happened. In developing and underdeveloped country the fruit of this process did not reached equally in all the segment of the society specially the marginal classes the tribal community. Above all globalization as well as the development programs can’t transform the pattern and standard of life on a large scale in West Bengal. Because West Bengal is one of the states of India, a democratic country where the tribal community could not share the fruit of development programs equally like other caste people. It also increases discrimination among the rural and urban people, between have and have not family. Poor people become poorer. The tribal are exploited more. In the constitution there is some provision for education and for the development of their socio-economic condition [9]. In spite of this provision they are victimized by the industrialization and modernization process. Pattern and method of ownership have changed. Land and forest in some places which are the habitat of most of the tribe and also the source of income have exploited for industrialization and urbanization processes for which they have to loose tenancy. Family structure is also changed.

To improve and transform their living pattern govt. have to take some measures in i) land acquisition, ii) improvement in infrastructural and other facilities regarding education, iii) more opportunity in employment generation etc.


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