Institute of Tribal Studies & Research


The Tribal Studies and Research at Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla has always been the priority. Though modest yet a formal effort began with the setting up of Institute of Tribal Studies (ITS) at the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla vide University’s Executive Council’s Resolution No. 10, dated January 31, 1994. The aims, objectives andTribal Attire the structure of the ITS were approved by the Executive Council in its meeting held on 12 April 1994 vide item no. 41. Its actual functioning started from the academic session 1995-96.

With the meager financial resources at its disposal, the ITS has been actively involved in teaching (offering PG Diploma in Tribal Studies) and research (conducted 14 research studies). It also organized a national seminar, exhibition on Tribal Society and Culture, and brought out a book entitled Tribal Development in Himachal Pradesh: Appraisal and Alternatives (For details see Appendix-I).

With the changing needs of the Tribal people and society, the proposed Institute of Tribal Studies and Research (ITSR) continues with its following mission.

The Mission

To pursue scientific and independent research for the creation of data base and evolving strategies for research, monitoring and evaluation of the development policies and programmes. To train people for capacity building and human resource development, carry on action research with field outreach and extension services for the overall social, economic, political and cultural development in the Scheduled Tribes Areas of Himachal Pradesh. 

Aims and Objectives

I. Promotion of Research for Data Base

  1.    To plan and conduct Bench Mark Surveys right from the village level to build up a strong baseline primary data bank about the social (including education and health with special reference to women and children), demographic, economic, political and cultural profile of the Scheduled Tribes areas and Scheduled Tribes. 
  2.    To identify and study social, cultural, economic, political, demographic, ecological and environmental related problems, needs of the people and emerging tribal issues in inter-disciplinary perspective.
  3.     Identification of physical resource base (both renewable and non-renewable), agriculture and horticulture potential and human resources, up-dating of knowledge through periodic surveys for the formulation of policies, programmes and strategies for sustainable agriculture, horticulture and overall economic development of the tribal areas
  4.    To explore and develop market networks for the tribal areas for the marketing of agriculture, horticulture and other cash crops for boosting tribal economy.
  5.    To identify the existing employment avenues and human resource potentials in the tribal areas for the formulation of employment generating policies and programmes for the optimum utilization of existing skills and promotion of new skills and talents through training programmes.
  6.    To explore in to the emerging issues like tribal rights over land, forests and their management; educational and health infra-structure development with the participation of the State well as people for the promotion of social harmony, development with sustainability. 

II. Human Resource Development and Promotion of Extension Work

1. To strengthen the teaching program through organization of orientation and training programmes in the use of modern technology for the production and reproduction of social and economic life of the tribal people.

    2.  To develop literature based on the traditional as well as modern knowledge for the benefit of the officials working at different levels in the tribal areas. 

    3.   Involving tribal people and leaders at different levels to understand the existing ground realities by making available to them research findings. 

    4.   Providing research based latest information, knowledge, strategies to the government machinery, top executives, middle level managers and various other functionaries involved in the formulation of policies and programmes for tribal development. 

    5.   To educate and sensitize the youth about the available opportunities, the new avenues of employment, the areas of knowledge to pursue and so on for their growth and develoment.

    III. Consultation and Collaboration

    1.To develop partnership with national and international funding agencies for carrying out joint research projects for the development and growth of the tribal areas. 

    2.To hold seminars, conferences, symposia and public lectures for the dissemination and sharing of knowledge accrued through research projects the ITSR proposes. 

    3.The ITSR also proposes to bring out publications in the form of reports, monographs, news bulletin and journal. 

    4.To act as a nodal agency to provide consultative services in research and development activities to the various stakeholders. 

    5.Last, but not least, there are a large number of agencies working in the tribal areas in an independent manner and huge resources of the government and other funding agencies are spent. The ITSR would try to involve all such agencies and coordinate development activities on sharing basis for the optimum utilization of the resources. 

    The Activities and Performance of ITDS

    The Institute of Tribal Development Studies at the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla has been in operation since 1995-96 and heading towards the realization of its goals. The source of its funding has been State government that provided a very small amount of annual grant-in-aid under the Plan Budget “Part II, Development” of the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla till 2002-03. However, from the year 2003-04 the State government has clubbed the budgetary provision with the Non-Plan budget of the Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla without the provision of any extra/additional grant-in-aid for the ITdS’ research and teaching programme. Due to which the activities of the Institute of Tribal Studies have been severely affected. Despite having very meager funding, the ITDS has been able to accomplish, as per the details below, more than what it could be expected.

    I. Teaching Programme and Course of Study         

    The ITS offers One year Post-graduate Diploma in Tribal Studies that covers tribal History, Society, Economy and Culture with a focus on the Tribes and Tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh (since 1997-98). Under this programme every year 10 students are admitted. Every student besides appearing in the Theory paper also works on the Field Project dealing with some aspects of the life and society of the Tribes.

    II.             Research Program

    1. (A)              Consultative Research undertaken by the Institute:

    The Institute was associated with the World Bank’s DPEP Programme and conducted a study “Social Assessment Study of DPEP Districts of Himachal Pradesh”. These districts included: I) Lahaul-spiti; ii) Chamba including Pangi & Brahmaur iii) Kullu including outer Seraj; & Sirmaur and backward regions like Shilai and areas touching Jaunsar Babar.

                Four Reports based on the above study were submitted to the World Bank and the Ministry of HRD, New Delhi as well as Government of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla.

                Conducted another study on Standard of Living & Quality of Life of     Scheduled Tribes of Himachal Pradesh. (UGC funded project). 

    (B) Research Studies Funded by the Institute and Completed

    i)                    Impact of tribal Development on tribal Economy of Pradesh: An          Appraisal.

    ii)                  Development and Marketing of Handicrafts of Tribal Areas of Himachal Pradesh: A Case Study of Kinnaur.

    iii)                Impact of formal & Non-formal Education on Life and Culture of Tribal People of Himachal Pradesh.

    iv)                A Study of the patterns of Customary Legal Systems With Special Reference to the Eco-educational Levels in Tribes: A Case Study of Lahaul & Spiti Tribes.

    v)                  Social Development, Reproductive Health and Fertility Behaviour: A Case study of Kinnauri Women.

    vi)                A Comparative Study of Folk-Literature of the Tribal people of Brahmaur, Kullu and Kangra.

    vii)              Tribal Family Structure and its Dynamics: A Case Study of Kinnauras of Himachal Pradesh.

    viii)            Impact of Modern Political Developmental processes on Traditional Social Structure of Swangla Tribe.

    ix)                A Critical Study of Folk Music of Gaddis. 

    (C)             National Seminar: Organized National Seminar on the theme “Tribal

    Development in Himachal Pradesh: Appraisal and Alternatives” 29-29 June 1996. Professor B.K. Roy Burman presented the Keynote address. The participants included eminent personalities from the Tribal Areas of Himachal Pradesh like late Shri T.S. Negi, former Speaker of Himachal Pradesh State Assembly & Member of different Tribal Commissions and Committees. There were 37 presentations by academicians, NGOs and bureaucrats.  

    1. (D)             Exhibition on Tribal Society and Culture: An Exhibition on “Tribal

    Society, Art & Culture” was organized that included display of sketches, paintings, and other works of art and architecture, pertaining to the tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh. 

     (E)            Publication

                A Book entitled Tribal Development in Himachal Pradesh: Appraisal and Alternatives edited by S. K. Gupta and others, New Delhi: Indus Publications, 1998

  Last Reviewed/Updated: 10 August, 2010