Association for Rural Planning and Action

Van Raut or Raji Tribe of Uttarakhand

The Raji is also referred as Van Rawat, Van Raji or Van Manus. The basic meaning of the name of the tribe, “Van Raji” means the ‘Ruler of the forest.” The community prefer being addressed As “Raji” or “Rajwar”. Raji has been given the status of PVTG – Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.

The Raji community is a small tribal group who have settled in small pockets in the Central Himalayan belt. In India, Raji tribe is only found in the State of Uttarakhand.  They are spread in small pockets in 11 villages across three districts namely - Pithoragarh, Udham Singh Nagar and Champawat.  In Pithoragarh there are nine villages namely, Kulekh, Kantoli, Aultari, Bhaktirwa, Chifaltara, Ganagaon, Kuta Chorani, Madanpuri and Kimkhola. Apart from these settlements in Pithoragarh district, one settlement is in Chakkarpur village in Udham Singh Nagar district and another in Khirdwari village in Champawat district.

ARPAN has been working with and among the tribal community since past a decade in the nine villages of District Pithoragarh  .  In Dec. 2022 an action oriented study was carried out in all the eleven villages across the three districts of the state . The study was supported by Rosa Luxumberg Stiftung . It gives a holistic overview, briefly of the past and in details of their present status, which is a transition stage, from primitive to assimilation into mainstream society and culture. The findings reflect on their dilemma, fear and anxiety for a brighter future for the coming generation. These needs were shared by the Tribal community during a State level consultancy  in 2023 , for support and solidarity of all stakeholders.

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