Category Archives: Democracy

“Our languages have survived tenaciously. We are truly a linguistic democracy. To keep our democracy alive, we have to keep our languages alive.” – Ganesh Devy (co-founder, People’s Linguistic Survey of India) quoted by Soutik Biswas in “The man who ‘discovered’ 780 Indian languages” (BBC News 27 (October 2017)
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-41718082
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=24320

“He who does not lead his life under the direction of others, who sets his own goal of life according to his own reasoning and decides for himself as to how and in what way life should be lead, is a free man.” – Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (who was more than the “drafter of the Constitution”), quoted in “Contested Freedom” (Journal of People’s Studies Volume 1, Issue 4 June 2016, Page iii)
https://www.academia.edu/28587897/JOURNAL_OF_PEOPLE_S_STUDIES_-_Volume_1_Issue_4
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=20996

“The highest court of judgement regarding social customs was the general hunt council to which the Santal tribes of a particular region gather together. [A]nybody could lodge a complaint against a decision of a village council or Pargana council, either disagreeing with or thinking that the decision made there was malafide. […] It was an exemplary institution of a direct democracy where for one night the final authority was the people themselves.” – Timotheas Hembrom in The Santal and the Biblical Creation Traditions: Anthropological & Theological Reflections (Ch. “Introduction to the Santals”, pp. 26-27)
https://adivaani.org/tag/santal/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=13041

“All subjects will thus be equal in the eyes of the law. But every single individual will be free to pursue his own religion without hindrance, so long as it does not transgress the common law. The question of the ‘protection of minorities’ is not good for me; it rests upon the recognition of religious groupings between citizens of the same state. What I wish India to do is to assure liberty of religious profession to every single individual. Then only India can be great, for it was perhaps the one nation in the ancient world which had recognized cultural democracy, whereby it is held that the roads to God are many, but the goal is one, because God is one and the same. In fact the roads are as many as there are individuals in the world.” – Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA) in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” (2 October 2020)
https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/gandhi-secularism-and-cultural-democracy/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=20996

“The first report on minority rights, made public in late August 1947, provided for reservation for Untouchables only. [O]ne member of the Assembly regretted that ‘the most needy, the most deserving group of adibasis [tribals] has been completely left out of the picture.’ The member was Jaipal Singh, himself an adivasi. […] To the tribals of Chotanagpur, he was their marang gomke, or ‘great leader’. In the Constituent Assembly he came to represent the tribals not just of his native plateau, but of all India. […] His first speech was made on 19 December 1946 when, in welcoming the Objectives Resolution, he provided a masterly summary of the adivasi case.” – India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (p. 115)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=15375

“As a democracy, India has languished. Human rights advocates and political activists, even those whose adherence to nonviolence has been exemplary, have been hauled into jail on fraudulent charges. Various stratagems, including colonial-era pieces of legislation, have been deployed with intensity to harass, silence, and liquidate journalists and intellectuals who speak in the language of dissent. […] On the Democracy Index’s global ranking, India dropped 10 places to 51: that it maintains even something of a place as a ‘flawed democracy’ has to do with the relatively smooth functioning of the election machinery, though the data shows the severe erosion of ‘civil liberties’”. – “Emergency in India, Faux and Real” by Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA), 26 June 2020
https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/emergency-in-india-faux-and-real/

“In May [2020], the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah saying it was alarmed by the ‘intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders’ by the authorities.” – Analysis by Soutik Biswas in “Outrage as jailed Indian poet contracts Covid” (BBC News, 17 July 2020)
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-53441846

“You can’t keep quiet on everything. At some point, if you disagree – it’s better to say it then rather than piling it up.” – Former IAS Officer Kannan Gopinathan (who resigned from service over ‘lack of freedom of expression’) in a special lecture on “Democracy: Institutions and Individuals” (Asian College of Journalism – ACJ, 2 September 2020)
http://acjnewsline.org/special-lecture-by-kannan-gopinathan-ex-ias-officer-and-activist-on-democracy-institutions-and-individuals/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11721

“Populist leaders often polarise society and delegitimise the political opposition, often presenting them as enemies of the state or people. […] Electoral autocracies, according to V-Dem, are now present in 87 states that are home to 68% of the global population. Liberal democracies, the group says, are diminishing, and are home to only 14% of the people.” –  Report on democracy by Sweden-based V-Dem Institute noting India’s diminishing of freedom of expression, the media, and civil society; quoted by Soutik Biswas in “‘Electoral autocracy’: The downgrading of India’s democracy” (BBC News, 16 March 2021)
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-56393944
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11721

Trust India’s “village republics” to bring in some good news from time to time – Kerala, Rajasthan & Tamil Nadu

75 per cent of the population did not make news. […] We need peoples’ movements around Health Justice, Food Justice, and more – some inspiring ones already exist, but are marginalised in corporate media coverage. Source: “We Didn’t Bleed Him … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Childhood and children, Commentary, Community facilities, Cultural heritage, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Eco tourism, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Gandhian social movement, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Networking, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Regions of India, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Success story, Tribal identity, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Western region –  Western Zonal Council, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Trust India’s “village republics” to bring in some good news from time to time – Kerala, Rajasthan & Tamil Nadu

A constitution which guarantees: “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen” – The Sovereign Republic of India

Ambedkar had been the champion of freedom, free thinking and liberty whose words are important to be remembered. […] ‘The caste system has recognised slavery in inverse order of status and maintained inequality in every sphere of human activity social, … Continue reading

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eBook | The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Human Rights Day (10 December): “India must ratify the International Convention against Torture”

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adverse inclusion, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Democracy, eBook & eJournal, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, Networking, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tagore and rural culture, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on eBook | The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Human Rights Day (10 December): “India must ratify the International Convention against Torture”

An experiment in intercultural communication: “Learning from the people in the villages, value their way of life” – West Bengal

Since the beginning of my work with people of the Santal villages, Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati, close to Santiniketan, it has been important to me that it is not a one-way street. Giving and receiving should be equally important. This means … Continue reading

Posted in Community facilities, Customs, Democracy, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Education and literacy, Modernity, Names and communities, Organizations, Press snippets, Success story, Tagore and rural culture, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Video resources - external | Tagged | Comments Off on An experiment in intercultural communication: “Learning from the people in the villages, value their way of life” – West Bengal

Bhimayana, an award winning graphic novel on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar illustrated by Gond artists: Storytelling at its very best

Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability. Graphic novelon Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar with art by award winning Gond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhas Vyam; story by Srividya Natarajan and S. Anand. Navayana Publishing. Critically acclaimed as “a magnificent work of breathtaking art that symbolises the soul-stirring biography of an … Continue reading

Posted in Constitution and Supreme Court, Crafts and visual arts, Democracy, Education and literacy, History, Literature and bibliographies, Modernity, Names and communities, Networking, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Storytelling, Tips | Tagged | Comments Off on Bhimayana, an award winning graphic novel on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar illustrated by Gond artists: Storytelling at its very best