Category Archives: Misconceptions

“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” timesofindia.indiatimes.com, 23 February 2018
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/irulas-much-more-than-a-community-of-snake-catchers/articleshow/63035204.cms
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=1753

“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)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11961

“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” by Bhushan on MEGHnet (1 January 2011), based on three publications written in Gujarati
https://www.meghnet.in/2011/01/kolikori-of-india-we-call-them.html
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=2918

“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 cognizance 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” (conference paper summary)
Report for the ICSSR-sponsored Two-Day National Conference Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative organised by The Department of English & Outreach Programme Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi, 27-28 February 2017)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23073

“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, July 16, 2000)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=26645

“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.” – Book review by Suparna Banerjee (The Hindu, 1 August 2020)
https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/my-sons-inheritance-review-a-culture-of-violence/article32237271.ece
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?page_id=7592

“Indigenous people are at the forefront of the struggle to save the planet”: Defending the guardians of nature

On a very small scale compared to the widely promoted homogenising mega-schools, [alternative schools] respect diversity and are sensitive to the socio-cultural and political context of the children. […] The National Education Policy of 2020 is silent on the crucial … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Commentary, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Globalization, Misconceptions, Modernity, Networking, Press snippets, Quotes, Resources, Revival of traditions, Rural poverty, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on “Indigenous people are at the forefront of the struggle to save the planet”: Defending the guardians of nature

Understanding the challenges faced by Adivasi Society: “We will follow our beliefs, customs, deities, rituals, culture, in our own way”

Bandhu Tirkey, a tribal lawmaker of the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD alliance has spoken out against the government’s move to introduce a “Sarna/Adivasi” code, as opposed to only a “Sarna” code, in the special Assembly session on November 11, stating that any … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Democracy, Government of India, History, Misconceptions, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Understanding the challenges faced by Adivasi Society: “We will follow our beliefs, customs, deities, rituals, culture, in our own way”

Adivasi profound influence on modern Indian art – The Triumph of Modernism by Partha Mitter

Primitivism in modern Indian art] drew on adibasis. […] At Santiniketan, art was to be an integral part of an all-rounded education; Tagore had long considered Abanindranath’s pupil Nandalal [Bose] the best person to give this shape. The triumph of modernism: India’s artists … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Crafts and visual arts, Dress and ornaments, History, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Tagore and rural culture, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Adivasi profound influence on modern Indian art – The Triumph of Modernism by Partha Mitter

“Kocharethi calls upon us to ethically engage with it, to question our complicity” – First novel by an adivasi in Kerala

To read the full book review by Pramod K. Nayar, click here >> Narayan, Kerala’s first tribal novelist, avoids romanticising his milieu. Kocharethi is about the hidden poetry of marginal lives… The temptation to exoticise cultures that have not been … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Customs, Health and nutrition, History, Literature - fiction, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Press snippets, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Tribal elders, Tribal identity, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on “Kocharethi calls upon us to ethically engage with it, to question our complicity” – First novel by an adivasi in Kerala

Video | Representing tribal peasants with grace and dignity: Ramkinkar Baij’s sculpture “Santhal Family” – West Bengal

One of India’s foremost modernist sculptors, Ramkinkar Baij is remembered as the ‘eccentric genius’ from Bankura who was ahead of his times. The pioneering artist experimented both with material and subjects to create works in multiple mediums and give India … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Crafts and visual arts, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Museum collections - India, Names and communities, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Tagore and rural culture, Video resources - external | Tagged | Comments Off on Video | Representing tribal peasants with grace and dignity: Ramkinkar Baij’s sculpture “Santhal Family” – West Bengal