Paper Title :
Tea Tribes are lagging behind in the Process of Urbanization :
A Study on Selected Tea Gardens of Jorhat District, Assam
Tea is a popular beverage around the world. People consume tea irrespective of ages or classes. Tea industry is the crucial part of Indian economy and among the tea producing states of India, Assam is well known internationally since long back. It is a labour intensive industry and highly dependent on a large workforce. It is the only sector where majority of the workers are female.
About two million labourers are dependent on Assam’s Tea industry and almost all of whom are the descendents of those who were brought to Assam as slaves by East India Company mostly from Jharkhand and Orissa. The descendents of those slaves are now called tea tribes. The sacrifice, toil and hard work of these labourers gave shape to the tea industry of Assam. However, the story behind the tea cultivation, plucking and processing of tea leaves in the plantations is one of exploitation and untold hardships for the tea labourers. These labourers are still living with the basic facilities provided by the Tea Planters or Companies. Poor standard of living and lack of education, health facilities etc. are main problems of tea labourers. This paper will highlight how tea tribes or tea labourers are far away from the fruits of urbanization and living their lives in vulnerable conditions. Here attempt is made to measure urbanization among labourers based on their standard of living. Though urbanization has a vast dimension, the study attempts to limit it within health status, education, family planning, women empowerment etc.
The study uses both primary and secondary data. Primary data are collected from the field with the help of questionnaire. Books, journals and websites are source of secondary data. The study has focused on the life of tea garden workers. Their standard of living is traced with some selected parameters. Observing field data and secondary data the study reveals that tea garden workers are still in very deprive condition. They are far away from the urbanized society and living an isolated life.