The Bhumij inhabits a plain on Chotanagpur plateau encircled on three sides by the Singhbhum hills, hill ranges of Lohardaga, Hazaribagh and Manbhum; and a hill range whose highest peak is known as Ajodhya.
They are primarily agriculturists. Risley (1891) believes that they are nothing more than a branch of the Mundas who have spread eastwards and speak a corrupt mixture of Oriya and Bengalis as well as Hindi. They dwell in the districts of Singhbhum, Santhal Paragnas, Ranchi, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh. They also live on the banks of the river Swarnrekha.
The Binjhias are considered to be an ‘Aristrocratic sub-division of the Baigas.’ Russel and Hira Lal (1916) consider them as an offshoot of the primitive Dravidian tribe-Baiga. They call themselves Vindhya–Niwasi and they say that their ancestors migrated from Binjhakop to Lampa in Balaghat.The name Binjhia has been given to them by others when they settled in Chotanagpur-Binjhia’ is probably derived from the Vindhyan range, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit ‘Vindhya’ a hunter. They are a small community of industrious farmers spread over a contiguous and inaccessible area of Ranchi district in Simdega Subdivision.
Birhor in Mundari language means a woodman or a chop cutter. The Birhors are largely nomadic with no fixed habitation. They used to roam about in small bands from forest to forest snaring monkeys, tracking hare, deer, and other game, or collecting rope fibres for making ropes for sale, also for collecting honey and beewax. They used to make wooden bowls (Kathauts), mortars and pestles, hunting nets, strings and sikas for carrying goods; which were sold or bartered for grains. Traditionally, they and Kharwars are said to be of the same group descending from the sun. They are divided into two classes – the Uthlus-Bhuliyas (the wandered) and the Jarghis or Thanias (the settlers). They are distributed in the districts of Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Singhbhum,and Palamau. Ethnically, they belong to Austroid race (Roy, 1925), speaking a dialect of Kolarian language.
The Birjia leads a forest life. They make their houses on the spurs of the highest hills, where two or three families will be found living together. They practiced slash and burn cultivation. They are confined to the districts of Ranchi, Palamau,and Santhal Parganas. Confusion still persists as regards their racial affiliation.
Chero are a well-known tribe of the Munda or Kolarian family (Russel and Hira Lal 1916).They are also known as Cherus or Cherwas and are distributed inthe districts of Palamau, Ranchi,and Hazaribagh. The Cheros of Palamau are primarily agriculturists and are divided into two sub-divisions Barabazar or Barahajaria and Terehazar or Birbandhia.
11. Chik Baraik:
The Chik Baraiks used to support themselves by weaving which constituted their main occupation. They are generally concentrated in the districts of Ranchi, Palamau, Singhbhum, Hazaribagh and Dhanbad. They are in constant contact with other tribes like the Mundas and the Oraons and other inhabitants of the Jharkhand region to sell their finished goods. As a result of their extensive contact, they speak Sadari, Mundari and Hindi.
The Gonds are linguistically a Dravidian tribe (Russell and Hiralal,1916) belonging to Madhya Pradesh and some of the Gonds are also found in bordering districts, namely Singhbhum, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Palamau, Dhanbad, and Santhal Parganas, where they have terrace cultivation.
The Goraits are an Austric (Munda) group. They are a minor scheduled tribe scattered throughout the state in these districts, Ranchi, Singhbhum, Santhal Pargans,Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, and Palamau. They support themselves by agriculture, forest products, and occasional labour for wages and as a drum-player.
The Hos constitute one of the major constituents of the tribal population but unlike the more numerous tribes, they are almost exclusively confined to the district of Singhbhum. They say that they are of the same family as the Mundas and came from Chutia Nagpur. They are chiefly concentrated in Kolhan Singhbhum. Like Mundas, the Hos believe in Sing-Bonga as the Supreme Being and creator of the Universe.The Hos are in the rapid transition process and their predominantly agricultural economy is being replaced by the industrial economy.
The Karmalis are a minor scheduled tribe and they depend mostly by assisting their neighbour in making and repairing their plough shares, sickles and such other agricultural and hunting implements. They inhabit the districts of Hazaribagh, Santhal Parganas, Ranchi, Singhbhum, Dhanbad, and Palamau.The Karmalis are believed to be a branch of the Santhal Tribe who split off and began a separate existence on account of their profession of black smithy (Prasad 1965).