About the Department


The tribal people(s) constitute a substantially important part in the rich and diverse conglomeration of Indian population. They have their unique socio-cultural mechanism and ordered behaviour pattern for the maintenance of equilibrium, social order, tranquility and peace. These mechanisms are taboos, social sanctions, ritualistic faiths, obeyance to super-natural powers, public opinion, good sense and ethics. These practices constitute the 'customary laws' of tribal society.

However, non-recognition of these customary laws, discrimination and plundering of their culture, customs and values; are some of the grave crimes being done against them by the so-called modern civilized society. Apart from this, exclusion and forceful implementation of policy decisions without keeping in mind the tribal sentiments has further aggravated their anguish. Therefore, there is an imperative need to develop the understanding of tribal, culture, customs, philosophy, laws and issues affecting them.

Until recently, there hadn’t been any formal education in this field in India. Against this backdrop and to fill-up this much needed gap, the Central University of Jharkhand, under the visionary leadership of the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. D.T. Khathing, in the month of August 2012, established the Centre for Tribal and Customary Law. It holds the prestige of being the first Centre in India dedicated exclusively for research and teaching concerning customary laws, legal and governance aspects of tribal people of India.

Genesis of the Department

The Centre marked its inception by joining of Dr. Walter Beck, Shamsher Alam and Rashwet Shrinkhal, as its founding faculty members. Thereafter Prof. Jeuti Barooah and Dr. Debendra Kumar Biswal joined in the succeeding year for establishing it as a distinguished seat of tribal studies in India. Prof. Barooah (Retired Director of Law Rsearch Institute, Gauhati High Court) mentored the Centre for a couple of years and provided the much needed kick-start required during its formative years. She parted from the Centre in March 2015. Since then, the remaining four faculty members acted as the four corner-stones of the Centre. However on 8th May 2021, the Department was deeply grieved by the untimely demise of Dr. Walter Beck.

The academic programmes started in the Centre from 2013, comprising of M.A., LL.M. and Ph.D. programmes.

On 20th April 2018, the Centre for Tribal and Customary Law was renamed as the Department of Contemporary and Tribal Customary Law. [Notification]

The Department in the year 2020, initiated M.S.W. (Master in Social Work) programme.

The Department, on 20 September 2022, was merged to the Department of Tribal Studies, and was subsequently renamed as Department of Anthropology and Tribal Studies.

Mission and Vision

  • To provide intricacies and insight about the culture of tribal people(s), their philosophy of life and prevailing customary practices.

  • To instruct about laws and regulation concerning and impacting tribal peoples, either directly or indirectly.

  • To foster critical analytical skills for understanding and representation of tribal people(s), both in India and well as outside the nation.

  • To develop an inter-disciplinary perspective on the study of tribal people(s) by introducing concepts and debates on their governance, development and administration within the national and global framework, emanating from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, political science, public administration, economics and law.

  • To train students for multifaceted research in issues concerning tribal people(s).

Our Mentors

Smt. Droupadi Murmu

(Hon'ble President of India and Visitor, Central University of Jharkhand)

Justice Visheshwar Nath Khare

(Former Hon'ble Chief Justice of India and Chancellor, Central University of Jharkhand)

Prof. Kshiti Bhusan Das

(Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Jharkhand)

Dr. Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri

(Dean, School for the Study of Culture, Central University of Jharkhand)