Author: K S Singh
Editor(s): K S Singh, S G Morab & Ramji Gupta
Publisher: Affiliated East-West
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8185938989
The Anthropological Survey of India launched the people of India Project on October 2, 1985 to generate and anthropological profile of all communities of India, the impact on them of change an the development process, and the links that bring them together. As part of this all-India project, the ethnographic survey Karnataka (300) was taken up in collaboration with local scholars. The results of the survey were discussed at the workshops held in Mysore in May 1987 and later.
The identity of Karnataka is derived from its ecology marked by highland and black soil. The earliest reference to Karnataka a distinct territory goes back to the 5th Century A D. The identity of the Karnataka which has evolved through its history, is now defined inter alia by language, territory including four distinct regions, dress, cuisine, local forms of religion, elements of life cycle ceremonies and vibrant folk art and oral traditions. Migrations have occurred both from across the seas and by land from adjoining areas. The ecology explains the presence of the tribes, peasants, pastoralists, nomads, fisherfolk and others, adding upto 300 communities studied in the State. While Kannada is the dominant language and the marker of identity, there are as many as 25 other languages, mostly belonging to Dravidian language family, such as Tulu and Kodagu, and to the languages of the Indo-Aryan family, spoken by small groups of immigrants. A high level of bilingualism is observed.
The ethnographic traits that stand out in the State are heterogeneity in terms of social divisions, consanguineous forms of marriages, particularly FSD, MBD and uncle-niece marriages, junior sororate, relatively equal status of women in some groups, matrilineal descent among a few communities, bride price in cash, child labour, extended family, non-vegetarianism, and a larger sharing and participation of its communities in one another's festivals and festivities, and in maintaining traditional linkages and fostering modern linkages etc. A resource-rich and progressive State, Karnataka has been a pioneer in Panchayat raj, watershed development, conservation of the environment, social justice and empowerment of women. Karnataka has been recognized as a middle income state which ranks seventh in terms of per capita income. It has a high level of literacy, a fair birth rate and declining infant mortality. However, it has a little above 37 per cent of its people living below the poverty line. Its economic progress in some areas goes with its rich culture, which has witnessed an efflorescence of literature and the recreation and readaptation of folk culture and oral traditions.
K S SINGH is the former Director General of the Anthropological Survey of India.
THE LATE B G HALBAR retired as Professor and Head of Department of Anthropology, Karnataka University, Dharwad.
S G MORAB retired as Superintending Anthropologist ( c) of the Anthropological Survey of India, Southern Regional Centre, Mysore.
SURESH PATIL is Anthropologist ( c) in the Anthropological Survey of India, Southern Regional Centre, Mysore.
RAMJI GUPTA is Human Ecologist in the Anthropological Survey of India, Southern Regional Centre, Mysore.