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

“[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 (Fiftytwo.in, 2 April 2021)
https://fiftytwo.in/story/the-dig/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23774

“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

“[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), book review for India: A Story Through 100 Objects by Vidya Dehejia
https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2021/07/17/objects-and-their-objective-the-story-of-india/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=6335

“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

“[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)
https://caravanmagazine.in/books/anthropologists-tribes-india
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=24902

eBook | Adivasi languages – Ganesh Devy on changing languages and the question of legislation

There are two things. One is the state of Indian languages— the bhashas. Prof. Ananthamurthy has often argued that the bhashas have been drawing conditionally from many other bhasha systems, the subsets of bhashas. I’m only reporting what he has said—there’s … Continue reading

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Admirable demographic regime of India’s tribes thanks to living in tune with the natural resources of their environment

By Arup Maharatna, Mainstream […] Thus, the relatively low infant and child mortality (vis-à-vis adults) in the tribal population, if true, could provide a clue simultaneously to their relatively high CWR on the one hand and a stability of their relative … Continue reading

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“We are so much more than that”: Book by S. Swarnalatha documenting the lives her own community, the Irula, who are known for their knowledge of nature and medicinal herbs – Tamil Nadu & Kerala

“My grandmother told me if someone ever pointed out our dance movements are peculiar, we should tell them these are the feline steps of a hunter” | To read the full story, click here >> Swarnalatha belongs to the tribal … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Childhood and children, Customs, Ecology and environment, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Ethnobotany, Games and leisure time, Languages and linguistic heritage, Misconceptions, Music and dance, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on “We are so much more than that”: Book by S. Swarnalatha documenting the lives her own community, the Irula, who are known for their knowledge of nature and medicinal herbs – Tamil Nadu & Kerala

The term ‘Adivasi’: Neither an equivalent to ‘Tribe’ nor used in the Indian Constitution – Mainstream Weekly

By J.J. Roy Burman, Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 32, July 25, 2009 In India the term ‘Adivasi’ has gained immense popularity in the last few decades to identify the tribes. This term is more commonly brought to use by the NGO … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, History, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council | Comments Off on The term ‘Adivasi’: Neither an equivalent to ‘Tribe’ nor used in the Indian Constitution – Mainstream Weekly

Video | Health and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets: “The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious”

Excerpt from “Rage Of A Silent, Invisible Killer Called Malnutrition – Why Shining India Is In Grip Of An Epic Calamity” by Damayanti Datta | Read the full article >>Despite designing the world’s earliest and largest schemes on hunger and … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Biodiversity, Commentary, Customs, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, Misconceptions, Modernity, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Tips, Video resources - external | Comments Off on Video | Health and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets: “The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious”