Category Archives: Health and nutrition

“The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious, including maize, minor millets like kodo and kutki, oil seeds like ramtila, along with fruits, leaves, ­rhizomes, mushrooms, meat and fish […] We have pushed them out of their complementary relationship with ecology, way of life and time-tested nutrition.” – Nutrition expert Bal quoted in “Rage Of A Silent, Invisible Killer Called Malnutrition – Why Shining India Is In Grip Of An Epic Calamity” (Outlook Magazine, 14 August 2019)

“About 40 per cent of under five tribal children in India are stunted, and 16 per cent of them are severely stunted.” – Programme report on Tribal nutrition: “UNICEF’s efforts to support the tribal population, especially children who suffer from malnourishment”

“[W]e don’t die like we used to before” and “we are not afraid like we used to be before.” – Dr Shylaja Devi quoting members of Gudalur’s Adivasi communities on the biggest difference Ashwini has made to their lives in “The wealth of wellness” (Tata Trusts, 3 June 2012)

“Adivasis are extremely knowledgeable about the tubers, berries, leafy greens and mushrooms which they collect. […] They would also fish and hunt small animals for food throughout the year. Most homes would have some meat drying above the cooking fires for a rainy day.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara quoted by Priti David in “In the Nilgiris, an inheritance of malnutrition” (People’s Archive of Rural India, 1 May 2020)

“India’s healthcare spending, including both private and public, has been around 3.6% of GDP for the past six years [with] fewer than 10 doctors per 10,000 people, and in some states the figure is less than five.” – Vikas Pandey in “Coronavirus: How India descended into Covid-19 chaos” (BBC News. 5 May 2021)

“It was assumed that tribal people have same health problems, similar needs and hence the uniform national pattern of rural health care would be applicable to them as well, albeit with some alteration in population: provider ratio. The different terrain and environment in which they live, different social systems, different culture and hence different health care needs were not addressed. Not surprisingly health and healthcare in tribal areas remained unsolved problems.” – Preface by Abhay Bang, Chairman, Expert Committee on Tribal health “Tribal Health in India: Bridging the Gap and a Roadmap for the Future” (Report of the Expert Committee on Tribal Health, undated)

“The adivasis pity the Dilliwallahs. They find us under-nourished, anorexic and weak. They think it is an urban disease to believe that money can buy everything. They also pity us for being addicted to our computers and mobile phones.” – Nandan Saxena (co-director of National Award-winning documentary “I Cannot Give You My Forest”) quoted by S. Ravi (The Hindu, April 24, 2015)

“Adivasi communities traditionally depended on the forest for all their nutritional needs. They subsisted mainly on fruits, vegetables, tubers, fish, small game as well as the occasional crop they grew, predominantly coarse grains. However, as time passed and the nature of, as well as their access to, forests changed, their diet started becoming deficient. Certain tribes, such as Paniyas, forced into bonded labour saw a paradigm shift in their dietary practices due to their dependence on their exploiters for their sustenance needs. This deficiency started manifesting in the form of rampant malnutrition, among adults and children alike, underweight babies as well as high maternal mortality. Another consequence was increased susceptibility to Tuberculosis among the Adivasis.” – Blog post “Gardening their way to Good Health” by ACCORD – Action for Community Organisation, Rehabilitation and Development

“As more people migrate to cities and towns in search of better employment and education opportunities, one tends to take up food habits that are convenient and less time-consuming. […] Sadly, this is the story of most villages in India that have bid adieu to not just its people but its age-old regional cuisines that were high on nutritional values too.” – S Lekshmi Priya on a campaign by two women – illustrator Tanya Kotnala and nutritionist Tanya Singh – to revive the local art and culture of Uttarakhand in “With Art and Science, Two Women Are Reviving Uttarakhand’s Nutritional Delicacies (7 September 2017)

“Dams, irrigation and factory farms are linked to 25% of infectious diseases in humans. Travel, transport and food supply chains have erased borders and distances. Climate change has contributed to the spread of pathogens. […] To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment.” – Inger Andersen (Under-secretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Programme) quoted in “Coronavirus: Fear over rise in animal-to-human diseases” (BBC News, 6 July 2020)

“The eco fragile region calls for a more sustainable path. Unfortunately, most of the large dams don’t have disaster management plans in place. According to the Central Water Commission, there are 5,334 large dams in India besides 411 under construction. A report of the Auditor General in 2017 found that only 349 of these dams had disaster management plans in place. Indeed a matter of grave concern!” – Charanjit Ahuja in “Was the Uttarakhand tragedy waiting to happen?” (Tehelka, 15 February 2021)

“The nation’s ‘primary conservers’ – often tribal farmers – are now seen as ‘guardians of biological diversity’ and therefore entitled to protection under the law known as Biodiversity Act.” – Video message by scientist M.S. Swaminathan whose research foundation (MSSRF) was founded with proceeds from the First World Food Prize (1987) and remains committed to the livelihoods of rural communities.

“Farmers on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border have been sending organic produce to Bengaluru even during the lockdown [2020].” – Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh (Pune-based NGO)

“Traditional farming systems in India have received a major boost at a time when Indian agriculture is struggling to come to terms with modern technologies. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has accorded the status of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) to the traditional agricultural system being practiced in Koraput region of Odisha.” – “Jyotika Sood in “UN heritage status for Odisha’s Koraput farming system” (Down To Earth, 4 January 2012)–35627

“Who, if anyone, is excluded—or adversely included—from equitable access to public goods […] resulting in intense dispossession, sexual and economic exploitation, alarming health and nutrition declines as well as precarious survival. […] The picture that emerges from the report is in many ways grim and troubling.” – “The India Exclusion Report 2015: A comprehensive, annually updated analysis on the exclusion of disadvantaged groups in India” (First Edition, New Delhi 2016,, supported by UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women)

“The current regime in India in its health plans has been trying by and large to copy the American system of subsidised private insurance. Health spending by the Indian government as percentage of GDP has long been one of the lowest for any major country, and the public health system is chronically dismal. […] The dysfunctionalities in the two largest democracies are not inherent to the process of democracy as such. In fact, some of the problems those two countries are facing are partly because they had enfeebled some institutions of democratic responsibility and accountability.” – Pranab Bardhan in “The two largest democracies in the world are the sickest now” (, 24 August 2020)

“The per capita consumption of alcohol for India is 4 litres […] A study conducted by the Alcohol & Drug Information Centre (ADIC) – India revealed that around 40 per cent of road accidents occurred because the driver was under the influence of alcohol. In the case of accidents on national highways, more than 72 per cent were related to drunken driving. Domestic violence is also on the increase due to high alcohol consumption. Alcohol related diseases are growing leading to high occupancy of hospital beds in hospitals.” – Human Development Report 2005 Kerala, Government of Kerala (2006), pp. 57-61

Women are more affected from poverty: Tackling the “feminisation of poverty” – Jharkhand

For a US student, working among tribal populations, Naxalites and wild elephants in India was unthinkable, but Ryan Ballard wants it all and is back in the country working with Magic Bus, a non governmental organisation. The 25-year-old studied anthropology … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Elephant, Globalization, Government of India, Health and nutrition, Organizations, Press snippets, Rural poverty, Women | Comments Off on Women are more affected from poverty: Tackling the “feminisation of poverty” – Jharkhand

Traditional social structures of Adivasis and the constitutional right to food

Legally entitled to a full stomach Fifty percent of the world’s hungry live in India. But India is a democracy, which gives her citizens a lot of rights – for instance, the constitutional right to food. Based on this right, … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Community facilities, Constitution and Supreme Court, Democracy, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, Misconceptions, Modernity, Nilgiri, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Resources, Rural poverty | Comments Off on Traditional social structures of Adivasis and the constitutional right to food

A tribal martial art valued for helping actors and patients to “make connections between the body and mind”: Seraikela Chhau – West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand & Manipur

Photo Essay | Behind the maskPrachi Jawadekar Wagh,, 23 August 2013 Though popular in Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand, Chhau is yet to be embraced and acknowledged in the rest of the country | To view more photos and … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural heritage, De- and re-tribalisation, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Education and literacy, Health and nutrition, History, Modernity, Organizations, Performing arts, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Storytelling, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on A tribal martial art valued for helping actors and patients to “make connections between the body and mind”: Seraikela Chhau – West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand & Manipur

Building tribal students’ self-confidence: Karate training for self-protection

The State police have awarded V. Krishnankutty, Sub-inspector of Police, Agali, Attappady, a “commendation certificate for excellent service rendered” for giving karate training to hundreds of tribal students. […] He has been giving regular karate training for more than a … Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Games and leisure time, Government of India, Health and nutrition, Organizations, Press snippets | Comments Off on Building tribal students’ self-confidence: Karate training for self-protection

Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) & The Fourth World Journal (FWJ)

We are a global community of activist scholars advancing the rights of indigenous peoples through the application of traditional knowledge. Our mission: Activist scholars advancing the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. The Fourth World Journal (FWJ) is the world’s leading … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Ethnobotany, Globalization, Health and nutrition, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Video resources - external | Comments Off on Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) & The Fourth World Journal (FWJ)