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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

Anthropology Optional Paper II Section B by Sourabh Mishra

  • Category
  • Test Date
    2022-06-16 07:00:00
  • Evaluated


  • Attempt both questions
  • The test carries 30 marks.
  • Write Each answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. Write short note on  Islam and Matriliny

Question #2. What are the special problems of the PVTGs? How far have the developmental programmes of the government able to address these?

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1. Write short note on  Islam and Matriliny


The coexistence of Islam and matriliny has been viewed as a ‘paradox’ because of strict patriliny that Islam prescribes.

The most well-known examples of the coexistence of matriliny and Islam are the Minangkabau in West Sumatra in Indonesia and Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia, Muslim communities in Kerala and in the Lakshadweep Islands in India and, to a lesser extent, in coastal northern Mozambique in southeastern Africa.

In India, this combination has been studied by Leela Dube and Abdul Rahman Kutty.

The central theme examined in Leela Dube’s study is that of the accommodations reached between elements of social organization derived from one social system and a pervasive religious tradition usually associated with a very different pattern of social organization.

Dube’s study is based on ethnographic materials collected by Abdul Rahman Kutty in Kalpeni, a tiny island in the Laccadive group off the southwestern coast of India.

  • The 2620 inhabitants are descendants of Kerala Hindus, probably converted to Islam in the fourteenth century, long after their migration to the islands. The economy is based on coconuts, coconut products, and fish; most property is owned by matrilineal groups, which are also production units.
  • The structural unit of society is the Turuuad, a matrilineal exogamous unit consisting of one or more production and consumption units.
  • The islanders of Kalpeni are Muslims of the Shafi school, who worship in twenty-two mosques, follow Islamic prescriptions for prayers, fasting, and-when possible pilgrimage to Mecca. Life crises, such as circumcision, are defined and regulated by Islam, and marriage ceremonies follow Islamic forms. But Islam, both implicitly and explicitly, assumes a specific relationship between the sexes in which the male is the source of authority

Her specific central problem in Kalpeni is this: what has happened to the system of matriliny as a result of the strongly maleoriented religion, and how have religious prescriptions been modified through their persistent contact with a female-centered system of social organization?

Leela Dube’s findings:

  • Dube’s answers suggest that matriliny wins, again and again, particularly where the system of social organization is also congruent with the demands of economic survival.
  • While religion appears to be strongly entrenched, it has succeeded in only marginal transformations of the male role in matrilineal society.
  • The father in Kalpeni does have an important role in his children’s lives, even when he does not live with them: there is a strong affective tie, and he is expected to pay the costs of his children’s entry into life as well as of some life crisis ceremonies, although not of their exit. But the closest kinship ties are between the mother and her children, while the authority for punishment of children is the grandmother.
  • The oldest woman in a Taravad enjoys special status, although a male member of the matrilineal group is usually the head of the household.
  • Matrilineal rules of inheritance, coexisting with Islamic prescriptions, govern the really important property, such as ninety percent of the island’s coconut trees, which are held in common by groups. Only personal property, earned outside the prevalent system, is covered by Islamic rules and can pass along in the male line.
  • Purdah (segregation of women) is absent in Kalpeni
  • Polygyny is permitted in Islam, under specific circumstances, although not always under civil law, but is almost entirely missing in Kalpeni.
  • In most Muslim countries, divorce is still extremely difficult for women to initiate, but in Kalpeni both men and women can use informal conventions to initiate divorce.

Islamisation did not annihilate the pre-existing matriliny, and matrilineal kinship continued to be at the base of social relations so that families and lineages associated with them, inheritance, succession and residence patterns were constituted through mothers, and their daughters and sons. Thus, this hybrid social organization shows the resilience of little traditions in the face of a great tradition.


Question #2. What are the special problems of the PVTGs? How far have the developmental programmes of the government able to address these?


PVTGs are tribal communities often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness. Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having 

  • pre-agriculture level of technology,
  • Zero or negative growth of population
  • extremely low level of literacy. 

There are currently 75 PVTGs in India.

Example: Asurs, Cholanaikayan, Kattu Nayakans, Kotas, Kurumbas, Irulas Paniyans, Todas

Problems: All the problems mentioned in chapter 6.2,6.3- Land alienation, loss of livelihood, displacement due to different factors (industrialization, dams, environmental conservation, mining etc), poor social indicators- health, education, industrial nomadism

Steps taken by Government:

The Scheme for Development of Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), came into effect from April 1,2008. The Scheme defines PVTGs as the most vulnerable among the Scheduled Tribes and the Scheme therefore seeks to prioritise their protection and development.

  • The Scheme seeks to adopt a holistic approach to the socio-economic development of PVTGs and gives state governments flexibility in planning initiatives that are geared towards the specific socio-cultural imperatives of the specific groups at hand.
  • Activities supported under the scheme include housing, land distribution, land development, agricultural development, cattle development, construction of link roads, installation of non conventional sources of energy, social security, etc.
  • Funds are made available only for activities essential for the survival, protection and development of PVTGs and not already funded by any other Scheme of the central/state governments.
  • Each state and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ administration, is required to prepare a long term Conservation-cum-Development (CCD) plan, valid for a period of five years for each PVTG within its territory, outlining the initiatives it will undertake, financial planning for the same and the agencies charged with the responsibility of undertaking the same.
  • The CCD Plan is approved by an Expert Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The Scheme is then funded entirely by the Central government.

The government provides various scholarships for the education of PVTGs namely National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST student, pre matric and post matric scholarships, National Overseas Scholarships for Scheduled Tribe candidates

Priority is also assigned to PVTGs under the schemes of Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Tribal Sub-Scheme(TSS), Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, Grants-in-aid to Voluntary Organisations working for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes and Strengthening of Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts.

  • The government provides various scholarships for the education of PVTGs namely National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST student, pre matric and post matric scholarships, National Overseas Scholarships for Scheduled Tribe candidates Other general measures:

Government has opened Eklavya Model Residential Schools

Support to Tribal Research Institute (TRIs): Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs) have been set up by various State Governments. The basic objective of the scheme is to strengthen the Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs) in their infrastructural needs, Research & Documentation activities and Training & Capacity Building programmes, etc. It is envisaged that TRIs should work as body of knowledge & research more or less as a think tank for tribal development, preservation of tribal cultural heritage, providing inputs to States for evidence based planning and appropriate legislations, capacity building of tribals and persons / institutions associated with tribal affairs, dissemination of information and creation of awareness.

Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP)and Development of Value Chain for MFP: Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produce scheme ) MSP for MFP Scheme), started by Ministry of Tribal Affairs in the year 2013-14, was the first step in the direction of providing fair price to tribals

National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC), under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, extends financial assistance at concessional rates of interest to Scheduled Tribes for undertaking income generation activities.

Adoption of a habitat development approach for socio-economic development along with preserving culture

FRA, 2006- preserving habitat rights

Way forward:

  • Commissioning micro and localized projects for targeted development.
  • Purging the administration of ethnocentric prejudices
  • Provide an enabling environment for communities to choose a path of development
  • Working on the lines of Tribal panchsheel.
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