Jharkhand is an important State from the viewpoint of tribal population in India. As per 2001 census, their total population in the state is 70,87,068 (35,65,960 male and 35,21,108 female). It is about 26.3% of the total population of the state.
There live thirty types of There live thirty types of Scheduled Tribes in Jharkhand, viz:
- Primitives Tribes: Asur, Birhor, Birajia, Korba, Mal Paharia, Sauriya Paharia, Sabar, or Hill Kharia and Parahiya.
- Other Tribes: Biga, Banjara, Bathudi, Bedia, Bhumij, Binjhia, Chero, Chik Baraik, Gond, Gorait, Ho, Karmali, Khadia, Kharwar, Khond, Kisan, Kora, Lohra, Mahali, Munda, Oraon and Santhal.
Santhal is not only the main tribe of Jharkhand but also of India. One of the divisions in the state has been aptly named as Santhal Pargana. From the viewpoint of population, Oraon and Munda are placed at 2nd and 3rd position. Tribal population of Jharkhand is concentrated mainly in Chhotanagpur plateau (Ranchi, Hazaribag, Giridih, Palamau, Dhanbad, Bokaro, and Singhbhum, districts) and Santhal Parganas.
From the racial point of view the tribal people of Jharkhand are known as the Proto - Austroid. They have generally short stature, long caphlic, broad flat nose and black skin as physical characteristics. Their main language is Austrick language group, e.g. Mundari, Santhali, Ho, Khaira etc.
Most of the tribal population lives in villages, which are divided in tolas. Their houses are mostly made of mud and kuchha roofs, are together and devoid of windows. Many tribes decorate the outer walls of their houses with beautiful paintings. Rice, animal and bird flesh, fruits are the main food of tribes. Haria is their beer, which is prepared from rice.
Songs, stories and proverbs have important place in the folk literature of tribal people. They reflect vivid influence of nature in them. Sohari, Sarhul, Karma, Tusu, Mange, Fagu etc. are the important and fascinating festivals of tribal people which are celebrated with gaiety and merry - making. It is the rich music of the folk songs that adds spice to Jharkhand. Mandar, Nagara, Dhol, Singa, Dhak, Dhamsa, Tasa, Gupi, Jantra etc. are their important musical instruments.