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Tribe Caste Continuum

Tribe-caste continuum means transformation of a tribal group into a caste group. In the ancient society caste originated on the basis of division of labor. The tribe evolved on the basis of community feeling of communities inhabiting a definite geographical area.

Several differences between tribe and caste are known but there is trend in a gradual change from tribe to caste. A tribe can enter the Hindu society by adopting the clan and name of a caste.

In the Toda tribe in Nilgiri Hills there is a certain amount of specialization of functions as in the caste system. Some tribes manage to settle down at the peripheries of villages accept menial jobs from caste Hindus and eventually get into the Hindu fold. Members of the tribal groups may adopt the surname or gotra of a caste and also marry into the caste. Some rich tribal people mange to enroll themselves in high caste with the help of caste priests. Tribes when enter the caste fold lose their identity.