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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:

Source: IE

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