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 for Survival International) in “Factory Schools: Destroying Indigenous People in the Name of Education” (accessed 28 March 2021)
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 Imogene 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

“AV Thakkar, a Gandhian nationalist and the one-time head of of the Harijan Sevak Sangh […] advocated for bringing tribes into the Hindu fold.” – Richard Kamei (doctoral candidate at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai) 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=3203

“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

“A section of intelligentsia trained in typical colonial mould takes ‘ethnicity’ and isolation of vanvasis to paint a negative picture about the Indian State and mainstream society.” – M Nageswara Rao (IPS officer) in “Scheduled Tribes: Who are they? How to mainstream them?” (Times of India, 16 May 2020)
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/scheduled-tribes-who-are-they-how-to-mainstream-them/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11544

Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy – People’s Linguistic Survey of India

The census of India says the country is losing languages at an alarming rate. But the People’s Linguistic Survey of India seems to say there’s more to it than meets the eye. Wherever the colonial power was played the local … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Cultural heritage, Democracy, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, Globalization, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Modernity, Multi-lingual education, Northern region – Northern Zonal Council, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Regions of India, Resources, Revival of traditions, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Success story, Tribal identity, Video resources - external, Western region –  Western Zonal Council | Comments Off on Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy – People’s Linguistic Survey of India

Toda cultural heritage and education: Nilgiri mountains – Tamil Nadu

A visit to the Toda hamlet known as Taranadmund near Ooty makes it clear that for the Toda community, cultural heritage is part of everyday life and worship. The local economy continues to involve buffalo rearing. As the Tamil Nadu … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Crafts and visual arts, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Education and literacy, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, Homes and utensils, Modernity, Names and communities, Nilgiri, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Tourism, Tribal elders, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Toda cultural heritage and education: Nilgiri mountains – Tamil Nadu

Video | Ekalavya discussed in an interview with noted Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Writers Talk Politics | Ngugi wa Thiong’o in conversation with Sudhanva Deshpande Commenting on Ekalavya “who ends up being disabled despite that Dhrona never really taught him – he taught himself – but even with that he is disabled so … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, Economy and development, Ekalavya (Eklavya, Eklabya), EMR & Factory schools, Endangered language, Globalization, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature - fiction, Modernity, Organizations, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Storytelling, Topics and issues, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Video resources - external | Comments Off on Video | Ekalavya discussed in an interview with noted Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Preserving and protecting cultural heritage – Zonal Cultural Centers

The idea for Zonal Cultural Centers germinated in the mind of our late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. At his instance, several centers were set up. They represent the effort on the part of the Government and the people to preserve … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Government of India, History, Misconceptions, Networking, Organizations, Performing arts, Quotes, Revival of traditions | Comments Off on Preserving and protecting cultural heritage – Zonal Cultural Centers

India’s tribal cultural heritage: An alphabetical journey – Bihar

Posted in Anthropology, Archaeology, Assimilation, Central region – Central Zonal Council, Constitution and Supreme Court, Cultural heritage, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Modernity, Museum collections - India, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Northern region – Northern Zonal Council, Organizations, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Regions of India, Success story, Tips, Tourism, Tribal identity | Comments Off on India’s tribal cultural heritage: An alphabetical journey – Bihar