Category Archives: Assimilation

“The world depends on farming. […] The school leaves them half ignorant. They’re forgetting our values, farming, song and dances. Our vital traditions are being lost. They are bing ‘modernized’”. – A tribal mother’s concerns (interviewed by Survival International)
https://www.survivalinternational.org/about/factoryschools
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=34514

“[I]t is some of the basic values and ideology imbibed in the traditional tribal socio-cultural milieus that should have been emulated and promoted amongst the non-tribal mainstream, not, as has been going on, the other way round.” – Arup Maharatna (Professor, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune) in “Who Is Civilised?: In Praise of Tribal Traditions, Society, and Culture in India” (Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 40, September 25, 2010)
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2337.html
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=34387

“In contemporary practice, the tribal memory is greatly undermined. There is general insistence that tribal children attend schools where non-tribal children attend schools, that they use medicines manufactured for others and that they adopt common agricultural practices. All because the world has very little time to listen patiently to the tribals, with their immense knowledge and creativity.” – Ganesh Devy in Painted Words: An Anthology of Tribal Literature, quoted by Ivy Hansdak in “Is tribal identity relevant in today’s world?”, Inaugural Speech for the National Conference “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (New Delhi, 27 February 2017)
https://www.indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23032

“Literacy has prime value today. The question is: how to impart it without erasing Adivasi knowledge and value systems? […]
Although Thakkar [Thakkar Bapa, who set up the influential ashramshala model] was a follower of Gandhi, there is little that is Gandhian about the ashramshala pedagogy. The most recent government committee on tribal affairs, headed by Virginius Xaxa, refers to an ‘ashramisation’ of tribal education. Many ashram schools covertly became Hindu nationalist, yet followed patterns set by Christian mission schools, with uniforms, strict (often brutal) discipline, a deeply hierarchical structure, alien ‘knowledge’ learnt by rote, short haircuts, and Adivasi names replaced with Hindu ones. A 1941 lecture by Thakkar in Pune highlighted negative stereotypes about tribal ‘laziness’, ‘promiscuity’, ‘illiteracy’, and ‘addiction to shifting cultivation’. The cultural racism in such stereotypes forms the backdrop to the continuing discrimination and humiliation of Adivasis. […]
Thakkar’s 1941 lecture advocated using tribal tongues as a ‘bridge’, but in practice, even this did not happen.” – Felix Padel & Malvika Gupta in “Are mega residential schools wiping out India’s Adivasi culture?” (The Hindu, 13 February 2021)
https://www.thehindu.com/society/children-from-tribal-communities-are-being-corralled-into-mass-schools-that-are-wiping-out-cultures/article33818793.ece
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=21733

“[T]he process of homogenisation and assimilation has neglected the differences in the identity of various tribes [and] the structures thus imposed to understand tribal identities marginalise a large section of the populace that do not fit in the identity matrix.” – Pradyumna Bag in “Denial of Differences: Examining the Marginalisation of Tribal Cultures and Languages” (“Tribes In Transition” conference 2017)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23073

“At the bottom of all this bottomless/ enterprise to keep simple the heart’s given beat,/ the only risk is heartlessness.” – The final lines of an early poem by AK Ramanujan titled “The Hindoo: The Only Risk”, quoted by Nakul Krishna in “RK Narayan’s second opinions” (The Caravan, 1 October 2018)
https://caravanmagazine.in/literature/rk-narayan-second-opinions
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23039

Jawaharlal Nehru formulated the following five principles for the policy to be pursued vis-a-vis the tribals:
(1) People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the imposition of alien values should be avoided.
(2) Tribal rights in land and forest should be respected
(3) Teams of tribals should be trained in the work of administration and development.
(4) Tribal areas should not be over administered or overwhelmed with a multiplicity of schemes.
(5) results should be judged not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the human character that is evolved.
Jawaharlal Nehru [1889–1964, first Prime Minister of India] quoted by Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf in “India and Ceylon: Unity and Diversity. A Symposium”, Institute of Race Relations (Oxford University Press, 1967).
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=17554

“Contingent and regionally nuanced concepts emerged [for regions inhabited predominantly by Adivasis], such as ‘racial’ minorities, Adivasi rights, and social solidarity that refocused public and administrative attention on Adivasi history and heritage. These concepts are easily forgotten in polarized debates on the workings of assimilationist vs. protectionist ideologies in respect of Adivasi peoples and lands. Yet such shifts prompted a revision of wider temporal and cultural relations between majority (mainstream) and minority (tribal) communities.” – Abstract for “Anthropological Archives and ‘Chiasmic’ Time in Modern India” by Daniel Rycroft (Irish Journal of Anthropology 2016: Volume 19(2) Special issue: Emerging Adivasi and Indigenous Studies II)
https://anthropologyireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/IJA_19_2_2016.pdf
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=31269

Narmada: “The lifeline of Central India” – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Gujarat

Narmada Parikrama is the circumambulation around holy river Narmada undertaken by its pilgrims. Narmada river is considered to be the lifeline of Central India and is worshipped as Narmada maiyyaor Ma Rewa. The journey covers the route passing from the … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Central region, Customs, Government of India, Modernity, Narmada, Quotes, Seasons and festivals, Western region, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Narmada: “The lifeline of Central India” – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Gujarat

Old seed festival “a wonderful example of community and NGOs participation” – Andhra Pradesh

Old seed festival, being organised by Sajeevani in association with Samata and CRYNET, is a wonderful example of community and NGOs participation which ensures that farmers get quality seed, said Principal Scientist of National Bureau of Plant Gentic Resource’s Regional … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Customs, Economy and development, Health and nutrition, Modernity, Organizations, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Southern region, Tribal elders | Comments Off on Old seed festival “a wonderful example of community and NGOs participation” – Andhra Pradesh

A historical plea to ‘secure the advancement of the tribals without disturbing the essential harmony of their life and secure their integration without imposition’: Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission – Government of India

Indians are truly rooted in an ethos of living in harmony with their land. There was a time when the Indian subcontinent was carpeted in green… watered by glacial rivers, blessed by rolling hills and productive grasslands, lush rainforests and … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Constitution and Supreme Court, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, History, Literature and bibliographies, Modernity, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Quotes, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Tribal identity | Comments Off on A historical plea to ‘secure the advancement of the tribals without disturbing the essential harmony of their life and secure their integration without imposition’: Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission – Government of India

Teaching Santal children by Boro Baski

Though India is hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, our small cluster of two Adivasi villages in West Bengal has not suffered infections yet. We do feel the economic impacts of course. […] Farm work has continued quietly. To many … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Community facilities, Constitution and Supreme Court, Customs, Eastern region, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Globalization, Government of India, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Modernity, Multi-lingual education, Museum collections - India, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Social conventions, Success story, Tagore and rural culture, Tribal elders, Video contents, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on Teaching Santal children by Boro Baski

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 and children, 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 group, Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Regions of India, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Southern region, Storytelling, Success story, Tribal identity, Wayanad, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & 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