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Ethnic and Cultural Groups Indias population is rich with diverse ethnic and cultural groups Ethnic groups are based on a sense of common ancestry while cultural groups can be either made up of people of different ethnic groups who share a common language or of ethnic groups with some customs and beliefs in common The various ethnic and cultural groups of the people on India are shared by the other peoples of the Indian subcontinent including the peoples of Pakistan Bangladesh Nepal Bhutan and Sri Lanka The majority of Indias population share the same physical characteristics There is no evidence of racial differences within this majority although there are ethnic and cultural differences such as language and religion In physical appearance Indians have brown skin of many shades mainly straight black hair and mostly brown eyes Other physical characteristics such as nose shape in most cases do not tell apart one group from another People of different regions are different from others in skin shade and height but the extend beyond is great There are also groups of people in India that have been identified by the government as tribal meaning they belong to one of the more than 300 scheduled tribes The tribal people are sometimes called hill tribes or adivasis original inhabitants and in 1991 made up about 8 more than 65 million people of Indias population Members of Indias various hill tribes are thought to be indigenous and tend to be ethnically distinctive These groups typically marry within their community and often live in large bordering areas which are preserved by government policies restricting the sale of land to tribe members Major tribes include the Gond and the Bhil Most other tribes are much smaller with tens of thousands of members Very few tribal communities now support themselves with traditional methods of hunting and gathering because of government restrictions meant at protecting the environment Instead they generally practice advanced agriculture Tribal
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