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What were the main arguments on either side of the debate about how to relate to tribal communities?
The main arguments, on either side of the debate about how to relate tribal communities, were started by the British administrator-anthropologists and the nationalists.
The British believed
• The people of Indian tribes were primitive and their culture was different than that of the Hindus.
• The simple tribal people would be exploited and there could be cultural degradation at the hands of Hindu people who wanted to assimilate the tribal people with them.
• They need to be protected by the state so as to safeguard their interests.
On the other hand, the nationalists argued
• The tribes of India were not backward, but had always been interacting with the rest of Hindu society over a long period of time.
• All other communities had experienced the process of assimilation except Indian tribes.
• The reason behind the backwardness of Tribes was the attempt to preserve tribal culture.
• The tribal societies needed as much reform as Hindu society.
Thus, the main difference in the viewpoints of British and Nationalists was the perception about the impact that the mainstream culture could have on the tribes.
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