Hattis of Himachal Pradesh
- 30 Apr 2022
- 4 min read
Why in News?
Centre is considering the Himachal Pradesh’ government’s request for inclusion of the Hatti community in the list of Scheduled Tribes in the state.
- The community has been making the demand since 1967, when tribal status was accorded to people living in the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand, which shares a border with Sirmaur district.
- Their demand for tribal status gained strength because of resolutions passed at various maha Khumblis over the years.
Who are the Hattis?
- The Hattis are a close-knit community who got their name from their tradition of selling homegrown vegetables, crops, meat and wool etc. at small markets called ‘haat’ in towns.
- The Hatti community, whose men generally don a distinctive white headgear during ceremonies, is cut off from Sirmaur by two rivers called Giri and Tons.
- Tons divides it from the Jaunsar Bawar area of Uttarakhand.
- The Hattis who live in the trans-Giri area and Jaunsar Bawar in Uttarakhand were once part of the royal estate of Sirmaur until Jaunsar Bawar’s separation in 1815.
- The two clans have similar traditions, and inter-marriages are commonplace.
- There is a rigid caste system among the Hattis — the Bhat and Khash are the upper castes, while the Badhois are below them.
- Inter-caste marriages have traditionally remained a strict no-no.
- Due to topographical disadvantages, the Hattis living in the Kamrau, Sangrah, and Shilliai areas lag in education and employment.
- The Hattis are governed by a traditional council called Khumbli, which like the khaps of Haryana, decide community matters.
- The Khumbli’s power has remained unchallenged despite the establishment of the Panchayati Raj System.
What is a Scheduled Tribe?
- Article 366 (25) of the Constitution refers to Scheduled Tribes as those communities, who are scheduled in accordance with Article 342 of the Constitution.
- Article 342 says that only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification or through a subsequent amending Act of Parliament will be Scheduled Tribes.
- The list of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific, and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in one State need not be so in another State.
- The Constitution is silent about the criteria for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe.
- Primitiveness, geographical isolation, shyness and social, educational & economic backwardness are the traits that distinguish Scheduled Tribe communities from other communities.
- There are certain Scheduled Tribes, 75 in number known as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), who are characterized by:
- Pre-agriculture level of technology.
- Stagnant or declining population.
- Extremely low literacy.
- Subsistence level of economy.
- Government Initiatives for STs:
- The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA).
- The Provision of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
- Minor Forest Produce Act 2005.
- SC And ST (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act.
- Tribal Sub-Plan Strategy are focused on the socio-economic empowerment of STs.