Katkari Tribe


Van Dhan for Jaan and Jahaan

      WHY IN NEWS:

HOT from PIB !

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Tribal Affairs
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:3:Tribes :PVTG: Minor forest Produce


For PRELIMS understand the social life , exclusivity and important facts related to this Tribe . Each Year there is at-least one question in the Prelims with respect to Tribe !

For MAINS how to bind such tribe into our social fabric ? Design some unique comments and let us know ! We will shower our ideas too 🙂



Katkari Tribe upscPhoto credits: Center for Social Action Database


The name Katkari is reported to have been derived from their profession of making “Kath” or catechu from the Khair tree (Acacia catechu). Katkaris are known for their physical strength, endurance and hunting-gathering skills.


  The Katkari tribes are located primarily in Raigad and in parts of Palghar, Ratnagiri and Thane districts as well and in some places of Gujarat.

  • The Katkari are an Indian Tribe mostly belonging to the state of Maharashtra. They have been categorised as a Scheduled tribe.
  • Other names and spellings include Kathkari, Kathodi and Kathodia. 


  • They are bilingual, speaking the Katkari language, a dialect of the Marathi-Konkani languages, with each other; they speak Marathi with the Marathi speakers, who are a majority in the populace where they live.
  • In Maharashtra the Katkari have been designated a Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), along with two other groups included in this sub-category: the Madia Gond and the Kolam.


In the case of the Katkari this vulnerability derives from their history as a nomadic, forest-dwelling people listed by the British Raj under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, a stigma that continues to this day. #HABITUAL OFFENDERS.


  • Traditionally, they have been rice cultivators and continue to do so in their small patches of lands, or in land leased from others.
  • Post the agricultural season, commencing right after Diwali, able-bodied Katkaris would migrate to work as daily wage labourers in brick kilns or construction sites, only to return back at Holi (March).


Katkaris continue to be hunter-gatherers when they are not working as bonded labour on brick kilns.

  • They have tremendous knowledge about uncultivated foods like fish, crabs, animals, birds, tubers/rhizomes, wild vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc.
  • They are expert fishermen, swimmers, divers, archers and marksmen too.
  • A majority of the Katkari families are landless.
  • Those who own land generally do not have any paddy fields.
  • As a result Katkaris have not turned towards agriculture for their livelihood.
  • However, some of them have been cultivating crops on forest land.


  • The food habits of the Katkari are a reason for their social exclusion.
  • The Katkari are one of only a few tribal groups in India that eat rodents, including the Little Indian Field Mouse, the Black Rat and the Greater or Indian Bandicoot.
  • They believe that their strength and long life comes from eating the meat of rodents.


  They have even created a cultural festival, the Undir Navmi, dedicated to the rodent.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • Education is another challenge and migration is one of the main reasons for the same.
  • Every year when the tribal families migrate, the education of their children gets affected as they drop out.
  • They grow up uneducated and end up with the same vocations as their forefathers and this has turned into a vicious cycle over years.
  • Apart from migration, child-marriage is also one of the chief reasons for lack of education.
  • It is not uncommon to see children esp. girls dropping out of school after getting married in their teenage years.

DISCOVER MORE : Important UPSC Tribes


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