Next come the mercantile castes, mostly belonging to the Jain sect; these are followed by the powerful cultivating tribes, such as the Jats and Gujars, and then come the so-called aboriginal tribes, chief of whom are the Minas, Bhils and Meos.
Some light has been thrown on the connexion between the Tibetan race and certain tribes of central India, the Bhils and Kols; and it seems more probable that these tribes are the remnants of a Mongolian race which first displaced a yet earlier Negroid population, and was then itself shouldered out by a Caucasian irruption, than that they entered India by any of the northern passages within historic times.
The oldest of these religions is Animism, which represents the beginnings of religion in India, and is still professed by the more primitive tribes, such as Santals, Bhils and Gonds.
14 aboriginal races such as Bhils, Sonthals, Gonds, &c., whose costume is chiefly noticeable from its absence.
The actual proportion of the total population of India (294 millions) included under the name of "Hindus" has been computed in the census report for 1901 at something like 70% (206 millions); the remaining 30% being made up partly of the followers of foreign creeds, such as Mahommedans, Parsees, Christians and Jews, partly of the votaries of indigenous forms of belief which have at various times separated from the main stock, and developed into independent systems, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; and partly of isolated hill and jungle tribes, such as the Santals, Bhils (Bhilla) and Kols, whose crude animistic tendencies have hitherto kept them, either wholly or for the most part, outside the pale of the Brahmanical community.
Hindus (Sikhs, Gurkhas, Rajputs, Jats, Dogras, Mahrattas, Tamils, Brahmans, Bhils, Garhwalis, &c.), 727 companies, 79 squadrons (6 3.3%).