NCERT Solutions for Class 8 Social Science Chapter 4 : Tribals Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age

Students who are studying in class 8 can download NCERT Solutions for Class 8 Social Science Chapter 4 : Tribals Dikus and the Vision of a Golden Age for their exam preparation.

Chapter 4 Solution: Tribals Dikus and the Vision

Question 1: Fill in the blanks:

(a) The British described the tribal people as___.

(b) The method of sowing seeds in jhum cultivation is known as___.

(c) The tribal chiefs got___titles in central India under the British land settlements.

(d) Tribals went to work in the___of Assam and the___in Bihar.

Answer:

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(a) The British described the tribal people as wild and savage.

(b) The method of sowing seeds in jhum cultivation is known as broadcasting or scattering.

(c) The tribal chiefs got land titles in central India under the British land settlements.

(d)Tribals went to work in the tea plantations of Assam and the coal mines in Bihar.

Question 2: State whether true or false:

(a) Jhum cultivators plough the land and sow seeds.

(b) Cocoons were bought from the Santhals and sold by the traders at five times the purchase price.

(c) Birsa urged his followers to purify themselves, give up drinking liquor and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery.

(d) The British wanted to preserve the tribal way of life.

Answer:

(a) Jhum cultivators plough the land and sow seeds. False

(b) Cocoons were bought from the Santhals and sold by the traders at five times the purchase price. True

(c) Birsa urged his followers to purify themselves, give up drinking liquor and stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery. True

(d) The British wanted to preserve the tribal way of life. False

Question 3: What problems did shifting cultivators face under British rule?

Answer:

For administrative and economic reasons, the British government tried settling the jhum or shifting cultivators. However, settled plough cultivation did not prove to be helpful to these jhum cultivators. They often suffered because their fields did not produce good yields.

The new forest laws also affected the lives of the shifting cultivators. Shifting or jhum cultivation is usually done on small patches of land. Under the forest laws, the British extended their control over all forests and declared that forests were state property. Thus, the jhum cultivators were prevented from practising jhum cultivation freely. Many were forced to move to other areas in search of work and livelihood.

Question 4: How did the powers of tribal chiefs change under colonial rule?

Answer:

Under colonial rule, the functions and powers of the tribal chiefs changed considerably. Though they were allowed to keep their land titles over a cluster of villages and rent out lands, the administrative, judicial and economic powers they enjoyed before the arrival of the British were no longer in force. They were required to follow the British laws, pay tribute to the British and discipline the tribal groups on behalf of the colonial masters.

As a result, they lost the authority they had earlier enjoyed among their people, and were unable to fulfil their traditional functions.

Question 5: What accounts for the anger of the tribals against the dikus?

Answer:

The word “dikus” means outsiders. Dikus were the people who made the tribal people dependent upon them, thereby causing them a lot of misery and suffering. These outsiders were composed of traders and moneylenders who would come into the forests to sell the goods not produced within the forest, buy forest produce and offer cash loans. Often these loans came at the price of very high rates of interest.

These loans ultimately forced the tribals into a vicious cycle of debt and poverty. The traders would buy goods from the tribals at very low rates and sell the same products at high prices, thereby making huge profits.

For these reasons, the tribals considered the trader and the moneylender figures to be their main enemies; hence, they referred to them as the evil outsiders.

The colonial government too was looked upon as an external evil force that sought to destroy their livelihoods and their familiar ways of life.

The British alienated the tribals by forcing shifting cultivators to practise settled cultivation; implementing forest laws to prevent their access to the forest land and the forest produce; demeaning the power and authority of tribal chiefs, and demanding tributes. As a result, there was considerable anger towards the British as well.

Question 6: What was Birsa’s vision of a golden age? Why do you think such a vision appealed to the people of the region?

Answer:

Birsa talked about a golden age, a satyug, an age of truth in which, like in the past, the tribal people would live a good life, construct embankments, tap natural springs, plant trees and orchards and practise cultivation to earn their living.

He talked of an age in which the tribals would not kill one another and would live an honest life. His golden age consisted of a reformed tribal society in which there was no place for vices like liquor, uncleanliness, witchcraft and sorcery, and outside forces like the missionaries, Hindu landlords, moneylenders, traders and the Europeans.

This vision was appealing to the tribal people as all the vices and outside forces that Birsa talked about were indeed thought of by everyone as the root causes of their misery and suffering.

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