The present volume is the proceedings of the seminar "Anthropology of Small Populations" organized at the Anthropological Survey of India, Calcutta in March 1985. Small populations in general are determined by their numbers. Through time, small, dispersed groups, went through the process. of fusion and got amalgamated or were engulfed by larger dominant groups. Through the process of fission, groups broke away from larger groups to form small groups, also migration of section/s of populations to other parts gave rise to small populations. The small populations are presumably minorities in relation to their neighbours and the relation with the latter is not free from constraint. At one level, there is a perpetual threat of ceding cultural and social boundaries, either to become more marginalized or to become engulfed by the dominant group. The tribal minorities that had withstood such threat and maintained relation with the larger populations, have in course of time. overcome their disadvatage of being small in numbers and have shown a steady growth in their population, e.g.. the Santals, the Gonds, the Bhils, the Mundas and the Oraons. Others such as the Saurias of Rajmahal Hills. Bihar, the Jarawas and the Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands, have tried to withdraw themselves with the consequences of declining numbers and marginalization.
The Anthropological Survey of India initiated a research project on Small Population and Genetical Demography in the later part of 1970s with a view to studying micro-evolutionary changes among the numerically small and biologically isolated populations. Some data were generated out of initial seven or eight such small population groups spread over West Bengal, Orissa. Bihar, Karnataka and Andaman Islands. After a lapse of about seven years it was decided to take a stock of comparing the similar information available on other small groups researched by the scientists of this survey on other occasions. A seminar was organised from March 12-14, 1985 at Calcutta office entitled. 'Anthropology of Small Populations'. The present volume contains in all 26 papers which include mostly the scheduled tribes, a few scheduled castes and some backward communities, representing almost all parts of Indian sub-continent.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages