Category Archives: Misconceptions

“Emerging globalized world is partly responsible for undervaluing the philosophy and traditions of the traditional community. This process led them to undergo cultural crisis and philosophical stigma. The outcome is the polarisation of human society and civilization into culture and uncultured, democratic and undemocratic, civilized and uncivilized, and so forth. It functions within the calculate strategy of the dominant ideologies so as to perpetuate hegemonic domination.” – “Tribal Philosophy and Culture: Mao Naga of North-East” by Athikho Kaisii (Publisher’s discription, accessed 23 June 2022)

“We are so much more than that. We follow a tradition rich in music, dance and love.” – Swarnalatha, who now runs an NGO that works for the upliftment for people of her tribal Irula community (known for their snake-catching skills), quoted in “Irulas much more than a community of snake catchers” (Times of India, 23 February 2018)

“Though Narayan wrote several novels and almost a hundred short stories, his most famous work is his first novel, Kocharethi, the writing of which was an overtly political act to counter the offensive misrepresentations of his community, the Mala Araya tribe [resulting in] a hugely readable, and well-crafted text that exudes the vigour of felt experience.” – Translator Catherine Thankamma in “‘A dignified son of the Western Ghats’: A tribute to Narayan, India’s first Adivasi writer” (, 27 August 2022)

“If Adivasis were to start writing their own Discovery Of India, it would be something like this: There are those who talk of India’s ‘5000 year-old culture,’ there are those who talk of its ‘timeless traditions.’ If India has a timeless tradition, it is ours.”– Gail Omvedt in “Call us adivasis, please”, ADIVASI, Special issue, The Hindu, 16 July 2000

“[T]he writing of South Asian as well as colonial scholars caricatured tribal communities by misrepresenting or fetishising their existence, and sometimes overcompensating for earlier misunderstandings—all of which further pushed tribes into obscurity. [They] are made to believe that they must give up their value systems, culture, religion, customs and aspirations, and that they must embrace the new order of the nation state to repay the favours done to them until they become self-sufficient through economic upliftment.” – Richard Kamei in “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2021)

“Rural India’s diversity is well known. Yet the fact that more than 833 million people live in India’s villages, speak over 780 languages, and use 86 different scripts should make us pause to consider the cultural vastness of an India we urbanites know so little about.” – Jael Silliman in “Voices from the countryside” (The Telegraph, 12 November 2016)

“Though the Indian constitution envisaged the abolition of ‘untouchability’ and an end to discrimination, prejudice is rampant among the affluent sections of society and those entrusted with upholding the constitution have tended to treat Dalits and Adivasis with utter insensitivity.” – Anurag Bhaskar (Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat and Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School) in “When It Comes to Dalit and Tribal Rights, the Judiciary in India Just Does Not Get It” (The Wire, 3 May 2020)

“The adivasi has always been described as a figure of pity by mainstream writers. But there is a group of tribal writers, who, through their literature, are giving an answer to the questions raised on their identity.” – Jitendra Vasava, a lecturer at Adivasi Academy, Tejgadh (Indian Express, 28 February 2010)

“It is wrong and does not help the tribal cause either to reduce the image of the Indian tribal society to that of destitute remnants, on the verge of dying out.” – Georg Pfeffer in Voices from the Periphery: Subalternity and Empowerment in India (Routledge India 2012)

“[T]he research suggested that the Harappan civilisation was not some mysterious forgotten society. It was part of a larger cultural milieu that survived its demise.” – Nayanjot Lahiri quoted in “The Dig” by Sowmiya Ashok (, 2 April 2021)

“Indian local communities shape their identity around their status of caste and/or tribe, and while some anthropologists have considered the boundaries between these presumably discrete identities to be porous, it is striking how tribal people perceive their identity as immutable, regardless of social dynamics. While not denying that discontinuity and innovation have affected the formation of identities in South Asia, they should not be treated as arbitrary constructions, as has been the trend in these postmodern times.” – Marine Carrin, General Introduction to Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 2 South Asia, Volume: 36, 2021)

“Many people—including those we might see as good and kind people—could be casteist, meaning invested in keeping the hierarchy as it is or content to do nothing to change it, but not racist in the classical sense, not active and openly hateful of this or that group.” – Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents reviewed by Dilip Mandal in The Print, 23 August 2020)

“The theoretical debate on caste among social scientists has receded into the background in recent years. [C]aste is in no sense disappearing: indeed, the present wave of neo-liberal policies in India, with privatisation of enterprises and education, has strengthened the importance of caste ties, as selection to posts and educational institutions is less based on merit through examinations, and increasingly on social contact as also on corruption.” – Harald Tambs-Lyche (Professor Emeritus, Université de Picardie, Amiens) in “Caste: History and the Present” (Academia Letters, Article 1311, 2021)

“There are myths indicating that Asuras were made slaves by Aryans. These slave races are still struggling for annihilation of caste system. They live in abject poverty. Their latest names are ‘Scheduled Castes’, ‘Scheduled Tribes’, and ‘Other Backward Castes’. They are yet to know about ‘human rights’. The fact is that aboriginals were enslaved and subjected to inhuman treatment through centuries. […] Students of history and anthropology have found numerous instances recorded in all prehistoric and established history of India, of a glowing past of this ancient tribe [known as Kolis, Koris and Kols] and more is being uncovered as research continues.” – “Koli, Kori, Kol – Aboriginal tribes of India” (based on three publications written in Gujarati) by Bhushan (MEGHnet, 1 January 2011)

“The nation-state’s changing definition of the ‘tribal’ is informed by certain stereotypes or prejudices, by preserving the tribal identity, in an implicit manner, as being ‘barbaric’ and ‘uncivilised’. The tribal worldview has never been taken cognisance of, while working out the definition of ‘tribe’ and, instead, there is imposition of certain state-sanctioned identity whereby the tribal’s identity-crisis is magnified.” – Shreya Jessica Dhan in “Defining the ‘Tribe’ in State Discourse: From Adivasi and Scheduled Tribe to Indigenous Peoples”, National Conference “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (2017)

“[S]ince national histories have become suspect to enlightened liberals, more particularly as they generally degenerate into becoming nationalist histories, scholars have had to search for new ways to write national histories without succumbing to the nationalist malady.” – Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA) reviewing India: A Story Through 100 Objects by Vidya Dehejia

“There was once perhaps an assumption that education and urbanisation would automatically drive change towards more liberal values in India. But it no longer seems as if these transformations are inevitable. The education level or wealth of respondents had little impact on the likelihood of experiencing social bias according to a recent survey.” – Rukmini S., book excerpt from Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India in “Liberals are really India’s fringe: What a new book on data says” (The News Minute, 5 January 2022)

Going by the Summary on the fact that Aranyer Din Ratri (“Days and Nights in the Forest”) came to be regarded as “one of Ray’s most successful films” may, in part, be explainable by its portrayal of young men “full of the over-confidence of the big city and scant respect for the villagers” indulging in “drunken sprees and adventures with servants” who (spoiler alert) “depart again for the city, each with a better appreciation of life.”

“Many modern Hindus revere their Sanskritic Vedas as the fountainhead of their religion, but the Harappan substrate that lives on today its both older and arguably more pervasive, especially in what we might call ‘folk Hinduism’, with its mother goddesses, guardian deities, reverence for certain trees and animals and perhaps even spiritual meditative practices.” – Namit Arora in Indians: A Brief History of a Civilization (Gurgaon: Penguin/Viking, 2021), p. 38

“Aparna Vaidik’s [book] My Son’s Inheritance goes deeper into Indian history and culture, and shows that instead of being a recent phenomenon, violence, physical and psychic, has been endemic to the Indian socio-polity since ages. […] Vaidik locates this violence in communal enmities between the Hindus and the minorities, particularly Muslims, which often validates itself as retributive justice. Deep psychic violence also operated, the author reminds us, among Hindus themselves. Many Indian Muslims and Christians, we are asked to remember, were Hindus of the lower castes, or ‘non-Aryan’ tribals, who converted out of Hinduism because of the torture of untouchability and ostracisation.” – Suparna Banerjee reviewing My Son’s Inheritance (The Hindu, 1 August 2020)

“The civilization of India alone has progressed for countless millenniums without being prematurely choked out of existence by the desiccation of the soil or the drying up of the nobler springs of human action, by the spread of malaria or the moral decadence of the people. It is true that the progress of culture in India, though continuous, was not uniform. It did not proceed in a straight line, but in undulations like the waves of the sea.” – P.T. Srinivasa Ayyangar in The Stone Age in India (Introduction, S. Subrahmanya Ayyar Lecture, 10 December 1925), Government Press Madras, 1926

“It’s time for our nations to have a voice”: A place for young leaders to share their stories and to show that they are contemporary citizens – United States of America

by Rae Paoletta 8/25/2015 There are 5.1 million Native Americans living in the United States right now, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite this, when you Google “Native Americans,” here’s what comes up: There are barely any photos of … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Literature - fiction, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Storytelling, Success story, Tribal culture worldwide, Video resources - external, Websites by tribal communities | Comments Off on “It’s time for our nations to have a voice”: A place for young leaders to share their stories and to show that they are contemporary citizens – United States of America

Audio | The Muskoka Summit on the Environment – Canada

Restoring our relationship with nature from lake beds to treetops Indigenous peoples have all around the world have principles and values that we can learn from, that will help us to understand what our responsibility is here. (9:33) What’s emerging … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Biodiversity, Colonial policies, Commentary, Community facilities, Customs, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Education and literacy, Globalization, Health and nutrition, Misconceptions, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Success story, Tips, Trees, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Women | Comments Off on Audio | The Muskoka Summit on the Environment – Canada

Tribal voices worth listening to: On culture, land rights, employment, education and indigenous languages – Andaman, Kerala & Odisha

“Unless we affirm our culture and right and language, we won’t live. Our colour is good, our language is good, our art is good, our way of living is good. If we can respect your religion and your practices, why … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Childhood, Commentary, Community facilities, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Organizations, Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG), Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Regions of India – Tribal heritage & indigenous knowledge, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Success story, Tribal identity, Wayanad, Western Ghats – Tribal heritage and ecology, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Tribal voices worth listening to: On culture, land rights, employment, education and indigenous languages – Andaman, Kerala & Odisha

Poetry on the beauty of nature and its close association with mankind: “Tribal literature is as rich as any other literature in the world”

Mizo writer Darchhawna, who was awarded the Padmashree recently, praised tribal literature at a conference here today. He spoke on the concluding day of the Tribal Literary Conference and said tribal literature is as rich as any other literature in … Continue reading

Posted in Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Education and literacy, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature - fiction, Misconceptions, Music and dance, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Poetry, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Social conventions, Storytelling, Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Poetry on the beauty of nature and its close association with mankind: “Tribal literature is as rich as any other literature in the world”

Cultural values of “the world’s largest tribal population”: Focus on crafts, linguistic diversity and the missing link in India’s development story – Akshara

India is a colourful country comprising a staggering variety of cultures and communities. Each section has its own needs and requirements and among all, we tend to forget the most sidelined community – the tribals. […] India has the world’s … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Crafts and visual arts, Education and literacy, Gandhian social movement, Globalization, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on Cultural values of “the world’s largest tribal population”: Focus on crafts, linguistic diversity and the missing link in India’s development story – Akshara