NCERT Class 8 Social Science Chapter 4 Tribals, Dikus and The Vision of a Golden Age

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NCERT Class 8 Social Science Chapter 4 Tribals, Dikus and The Vision of a Golden Age

Also, you can read the NCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Book guidelines. CBSE Class 8 Social Science Solutions are part of All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NCERT Class 8 Social Science Chapter 4 Tribals, Dikus and The Vision of a Golden Age, NCERT Class 8 Social Science Textbook of Our Pasts – III: History, Social and Political Life – III: Civics, Resources, and Development: Geography. for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

Tribals, Dikus and The Vision of a Golden Age

Chapter: 4




Q.1. Fill in the blanks:

(a) The British described the tribal people as ___________.

Ans. Wild nomads, shifting cultivators.

(b) The method of sowing seeds in Jhum cultivation in India is known as ____________.

Ans. Shifting cultivation.

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

Ans. Sirdars.

(d) Tribals went to work in the __________ of Assam and the __________ in Bihar.

Ans. Tea gardens, indigo plantations.

Q.2. State whether true or false:

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

Ans. True.

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

Ans. True.

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

Ans. True.

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

Ans. False.


Q.3. What problems did shifting cultivators face under British rule? 

Ans. The problems faced by shifting cultivators under British rule were:

(a) They had to give up their traditional way of life.

(b) They had to practise settled plough cultivation which was not easy.

(c) They had to face the scarcity of water and dry soil. Their land was measured, the rights of each individual to that land were defined.

(d) The revenue demand for the state was fixed.

Q.4. How did the powers of the tribal chiefs change under colonial rule?

Ans. Following were the changes in the powers of tribal chiefs under colonial rule:

(i) Tribal chiefs were allowed to keep their land titles over a cluster of villages and rent out lands, but they lost much of their administrative power and were forced to follow laws made by British officials in India.

(ii) Tribal chiefs also had to pay tribute to the British.

(iii) They had to discipline the tribal groups on behalf of the British. 

(iv) They were unable to fulfil their traditional functions.

Q.5. What accounts for the anger of tribals against the dikus?

Ans. The forest law, introduced by the Britishers accounted the anger of the tribals. The tribals disobeyed these new forest laws/rules, and continued with the practices that were declared illegal and at times rose in open rebellion.

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

Ans. Birsa’s vision of a golden age was:

1. To free the Mundas from the oppression of Dikus.

2. To restore the ancestral rights of the community.

3. To see themselves as the descendants of the original settlers of the region, fighting for their land, reminding people of the need to win back their region.

I think such a vision appealed to the people of the region because it reminded them of a golden age in the past when Mundas lived a good life, constructed embankment, tapped natural spring, planted trees and orchards, practiced cultivations to earn their living.


Q.7. Find out from your parents, friends or teachers, the names of some heroes of other tribal revolt of the 20th century. Write their story in your own word.

Ans. Try it yourself.

Guidelines: Explore internet to know any tribal revolt which occurred in the 20th century. Find out the cause, main leaders and events leading to the revolt. At the end collect the data in brief and write it on your notebook.

Q.8. Choose any tribal group living in India today. Find out about their customs and way of life and how their lives have changed in the last 50 years.

Ans. Among the tribal groups the Santhals have well organized social structure. 

Some of the customs and ways of life of tribal people were the following:

● Most of the tribals are ignorant about the outside world and are happy with their own customs, beliefs and culture.

● They live in small cluster or hubs and have a strong sense of community.

● The tribal women are fond of wearing jewellery which is made of animal or forest products.

● Tribals are fond of diverse forms of dance and music.

● The tribals are engaged in various activities:

(i) Some of them practised shifting cultivation.

(ii) Some are hunter-gatherers. 

(iii) Some reared animals.

● They worshipped the force of nature. The life tribals changed significantly after independence. They have now become an integral part of the society. Some have taken many measures for the upliftment.


Imagine you are a Jhum cultivator living in a forest village in the nineteenth century. You have just been told that the land you were born on no longer belongs to you. In a meeting with British officials you try to explain the kinds of problems you face. What would you say?

Ans. We will try to explain the British officials the following kinds of problems: 

1. We are lovers of the nature and natural surroundings.

2. We subsist on forest and on the local resources. If you will take away our natural right on the forest, water and the land we will be unable to procure our basic needs. Our economic activities like hunting, food gathering, fishing, cattle breeding, axes cultivation and plough cultivation will be disturbed.



Q.1. Who were tribals?

Ans. Tribal may be defined as a group of people bounded together by a similar language, culture and customs.

Q.2. Name the tribal groups living on herding and rearing of animals. 

Ans. Tribal groups living on herding and rearing of animals were: 

(a) The Van Gujjars of Punjab hills.

(b) The Labadis of Andhra Pradesh.

(c) The Gaddis of Kulu. 

(d) The Bakarwals of Kashmir.

Q.3. Name the term that was often used by the tribals in India for outsiders.

Ans. Dikus.

Q.4. Define the term Bewar.

Ans. The term Bewar used in Madhya Pradesh for shifting cultivation. 

Q.5. Why did the British reserved the forests of India?

Ans. The Britishers reserved the forests of India to procure timber.

Q.6. Who were Mundas? 

Ans. Mundas were the tribal group that lived in Chotanagpur region. 

Q.7. Who was Birsa Munda?

Ans. Birsa Munda was the son of a poor peasant who belonged to Munda tribe and later became the leader of Munda movement.

Q.8. Who were Khonds?

Ans. The Khonds were the community living in forest of Odisha. 

Q.9. Why were the land settlements introduced by the British?

Ans. The British wanted a regular revenue source for the state. So they introduced land settlements.

Q.10. How did tribal people react against the colonial forest laws? 

Ans. Tribal people reacted in the following manner:

(a) They disobeyed the new rules.

(b) They continued with practices that were declared illegal. 

(c) They rose in open rebellion. For e.g. the revolt of Songram Sangma (in 1906) in Assam and the forest Satyagraha of the 1930s in the Central Provinces.

Q.11. In which area the Santhals reared cocoons?

Ans. Santhals reared cocoons in Hazaribagh, in present day a district of Jharkhand.

Q.12. What are the odd jobs done by the villagers to earn their livelihood by tribals?

Ans. The odd jobs done by the villagers to earn their livelihood by tribals are: 

1. Carrying loads. 

2. Building roads.

Q.13. Name any two tribal revolts.

Ans. (a) Songram Sangram in 1906 in Assam.

(b) The Forest Satyagraha of the 1930s in the Central Provinces. 

Q. 14. How did the forest tribes used to extract oil?

Ans. The forest tribes used to extract oil from the seeds of Sal and Mahua.

Q.15. Who were Mundas? 

Ans. They were the tribal community of Chotanagpur.


Q.1. What led to the dependence of tribals on the traders and moneylenders? 


How did the traders and moneylenders became important in the tribal society during the 18th century?

Ans. Tribal groups often needed to buy and sell in order to be able to get the goods that were not produced within locality. It led to their dependence on traders and moneylenders.

Q.2. What were the miraculous powers of Birsa Munda?

Ans. Birsa Munda was the leader of Munda tribal uprising. 

Given below are miraculous powers of Birsa:

1. People believed that they could cure all diseases and multiply grain.

2. He declared that God had appointed him to save his people from trouble, free them for the slavery of Dikus.

3. People believed that God had sent him to solve their problems. 

Q.3. What problems did the tribals face under the British rule? 

Ans. The tribals under the British rule faced the following problems:

(a) The tribals were unhappy with the changes under the British rule. They were displaced from their homes, alienated from their lands and deprived of their resources.

(b) Their culture was also in danger. 

(c) As a result they were constantly in conflict with the British. 

Q.4. What are reserved forests?

Ans. Reserved forests produced timber which British wanted. In these forests people were not allowed to move freely, practise Jhum cultivation, collect fruits or hunt animals.

Q.5. What was the political aim of the Birsa movement?

Ans. The political aim of the Birsa Movement was that, it wanted to drive out missionaries, moneylenders, hinder landlords and the government and set up a Munda Raj with Birsa at its head. 

Q.6. What actions were taken by the followers of the Birsa movement against the British? How did the British officials reacted to this? 

Ans. 1. Birsa followers began targeting the symbols of the Dikus and the European powers.

2. They attacked police stations and churches.

3. They raided the property of moneylenders and zamindars. 

4. They raised the white flag as a symbol of Birsa Raj.

Q.7. What was the trading relationship between the Santhals and the silk traders?

Ans. The traders dealing in silk sent in their agents who gave loans to the tribal people called Santhals and collected the cottons. The growers were paid  3 or 4 for a thousand cocoons. These were then exported to Burdwan or Gaya where they were sold at five times of the price. Many tribal groups saw the market and then traders as their main enemies.

Q.8. Write a short note on the Forest Laws introduced by the Britishers in the 18th century.

Ans. The Forest Laws introduced by the Britishers had the following features: 

(a) The British extended their control over all forests and declared that forests were state property. 

(b) Some forests were classified as reserved forests. In these forests people were not allowed to move freely, practise jhum cultivation, collect fruits or hunt animals. 

Q.9. What problem did the shifting cultivators face due to the enactment of colonial forest laws?

Ans. The British declared that forests were state property. This forced many tribals to move to other areas in search of work and livelihood. 

Q.10. Which tribal group was reluctant to work for others and why?

Ans. The Baigas of Central India were reluctant to do work for others as they saw themselves as people of the forest, who could only live on the produce of the forest. It was below the dignity of a Baiga to become a labourer.


Q.1. Describe main characteristics of tribals.

Ans. Characteristics of tribals: 

(a) Most tribes had customs and rituals that were very different from those laid down by Brahmans.

(b) Tribals did not have sharp social divisions that were characteristic of caste societies.

(c) All those who belonged to the same tribe thought of themselves as sharing common ties of kinship.

Q.2. What were the causes of the tribal unrest?

Ans. Causes of the tribal unrest were: 

(a) Tribals were forced to take loan from moneylenders at higher rate of interest.

(b) Crafting and dishonest moneylenders not only exploited them but also cheated them by acquiring their lands. Thus their grievance was against the British rulers and moneylenders also. 

(c) Under colonial rule their familiar ways of life started disappearing. 

(d) Their religion also faced danger because of the interference of the Christian missionaries.

(e) Tribal laws also put restrictions on their freedom.

Q.3. How did the tribal groups live in the 19th century?

Ans. 1. Some were Jhum cultivators: 

(a) Jhum cultivation was done on small patches of land, mostly in forests. They burnt the vegetation in the land to clear it for cultivation.

(b) They spread the ash of burnt vegetation, which contained potash, to fertilise the soil. They cultivated on that soil and once the crop was ready and harvested, they moved to another field.

2. Some were hunters and gatherers: Some tribal groups for example, the Khonds lived by hunting animals and gathering forest produce. The local weavers and leather workers turned to the Khonds when they needed supplies of Kusum and Palash flowers to colour their clothes and leathers.

3. Some took to settled cultivations: Many tribal groups had begun settling down even before the nineteenth century and cultivating their fields in one place year after year, instead to moving from place to place.

4. Some herd animals: Many tribal groups like pastoralists lived by herding and rearing animals. When the grass in one place was exhausted, they moved to another area.

Q.4. What changes did the colonial rule bring to the tribal forest dwelling people of India? 

Ans. Colonial rule brought drastic changes in the tribal society. 

(a) Before the arrival of the British, tribal chiefs were important people and enjoyed certain amount of economic power and the right to administer their limited territory. British made the tribal chiefs bereft of their administrative powers. They had to follow the laws made by the British officials. They also had to pay tribute to the British and discipline the tribal groups on behalf of the British.

(b) Shifting cultivation was done away with, since the British prefered settled peasants, as they were easier to control and administer.

(c) Many forests were declared state property and given the status of reserved forests. Tribals were not allowed to move freely in these reserved forest areas.


Q.1. Why did the tribals agitate under the British rule? 

Ans. A Number of reasons were responsible to arouse the tribal leaders to mobilise the tribals and start agitations: 

(a) Harsh and unfriendly forest laws and regulations.

(b) Change in the functions and powers of the tribal chiefs. They lost the authority, they had earlier enjoyed amongst their people.

(c) Lack of credit facilities and exploitation by traders and moneylenders. 

(d) Ineffective government measures to rehabilitate tribal population. 

Q.2. What were the steps taken by Birsa to reform tribal society?

Ans. Movement led by Birsa Munda aimed at reforming the society. 

Some of the steps taken by Birsa to reform the tribal society were: 

1. He urged the Mundas to gave up drinking liquor.

2. He asked them to clean their village.

3. He asked them to stop believing in witchcraft and sorcery.

4. He also turned against missionaries and Hindu landlords. He saw them as outside forces that were ruining the Mundas way of life.

Q.3. Write a short not on the Mundas of Chota Nagpur. 

Ans. For the Mundas of the Chotanagpur:

(a) The land belonged to the clan as a whole. 

(b) All members of the clan were regarded as descendants of the original settlers, who had first cleared the land. Therefore all of them had rights on the land.

(c) Very often some people within the clan acquired more power than others, some became chiefs and others followers.


Q.1. What was the impact of the achievements of Birsa Movement on the tribal communities after his death? 

Ans. The Birsa movement was significant in two ways:

(a) Firstly, it forced the colonial government to introduce laws so that the land of the tribals could not be easily taken over by dikus.

(b) Secondly, it showed once again that the tribal people had the capacity to protest against injustice and express their anger against colonial rule.

Q.2. From where did the forest people got their supplies of rice and other grains?

Ans. The following were the ways in which the forest people got their supplies of rice and other grains:

1. They exchanged goods-getting what they needed in return for their valuable forest produces.

2. Sometimes they bought goods with the small amount of earning they had. 

3. Some of them did odd jobs in the villages, carrying loads or building roads.

4. Some other laboured in the fields of peasants and farmers. 

5. When supplies of forest produce shrank, tribal people had to increasingly wander around in search of work as labourers.

Q. 3. What were the intentions of traders and moneylenders during the 19th century?

Ans. During the 19th century, tribal groups found that traders and money lenders were coming into the forests more often, wanting to buy forest produce, offering cash loans and asking them to work for wages.

Q.4. Write the characteristics of Khonds of Orissa.

Ans. The Khonds were a tribal community of Orissa. They had the following features:

(a) They regularly went out on collective hunts and then divided the meat amongst themselves.

(b) They ate fruits and roots collected from the forests and cooked food with the oil extracted from the seeds of the Sal and Mahua.

(c) They used many forest shrubs and herbs for medicinal purposes and sold forest produce in local markets.

(d) The local weavers and leather workers turned to the Khonds when they needed supplies of Kusum and Palash flowers to colour their clothes and leather.


A. Multiple Choice Questions 

Tick (✔) the correct of option:

1. Who was Birsa Munda?

(a) Leader of the tribe.

(b) Leader of the Chera tribe.

(c) Leader of the Munda tribe.

(d) Leader of Garo tribe.

Ans. (c) Leader of the Munda tribe.

2. When was Birsa born?

(a) Mid 1870’s.

(b) Mid 1880’s.

(c) Mid 1860’s. 

(d) Mid 1890’s.

Ans. (a) Mid 1870’s.

3. What was family tribe of Birsa?

(a) Santhal. 

(b) Ho.

(c) Munda. 

(d) Gharo.

Ans. (c) Munda. 

4. ‘Jhum’ cultivation is also known as ____________.

(a) Multiple cropping.

(b) Shifting cultivation.

(c) Herding. 

(d) None of these.

Ans. (b) Shifting cultivation.

5. Tribal society lives away from civilization in valleys and mountains.

(a) Villages.

(b) Cities.

(c) Towns.

(d) Forests.

Ans. (d) Forests.

6. Who used to do (or practised) shifting cultivation?

(a) Tribals.

(b) Dikus.

(c) Forest dwellers.

(d) Urban people.

Ans. (a) Tribals.

B. Match the following:

Column A Column B 
(a) Bir Tikendrajit(i) Bihar
(b) Birsa Munda(ii) Munda Rebellion
(c) Santhal (iii) Manipur
(d) Khasis(iv) North East
(e) Ho-tribes(v) Bengal


Column A Column B 
(a) Bir Tikendrajit(iii) Manipur 
(b) Birsa Munda(ii) Munda Rebellion
(c) Santhal (v) Bengal
(d) Khasis(iv) North East
(e) Ho-tribes(i) Bihar

C. State true or false:


(i) Munda rebellion was led by Tikendrajit.

Ans. False.

(ii) Birsa Munda was the leader of Munda rebellion.

Ans. True.

(iii) Tirut Singh was Khasi chief. 

Ans. True.

(iv) There are around 50 tribes in India.

Ans. False.

(v) Members of tribe have certain traditional restrictions.

Ans. True.


Q.1. Look at the picture given below and answer the questions that follow:

1. Who are cultivating in a forest in Gujarat?

Ans. In the given picture Bhil women are cultivating in a forest.

2. Why are the trees cut and land cleared?

Ans. The trees are cut and the land is cleared for shifting agriculture.

Q.2. Look at the picture given below and answer the questions that follows:

1. To which tribal group did the girl belong?

Ans. She belonged to Santhal tribe.

2. What is she doing? 

Ans. She is carrying firewood from the forest and return home.

3. In which state this tribe resides? 

Ans. This tribe resides in Bihar and Jharkhand.

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