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

“Gandharva-Sangīta was also associated with pūjā, a form of worship with non-Aryan or indigenous roots that eventually replaced the yajña [fire sacrifice] as the cornerstone of Hindu religious life. Instead of oblations into a fire, pūjā involves offerings of flowers, incense, food, water, lamps, and conches directly to deities or symbols on an altar. In pūjā, singing and playing instruments are conceived as offerings that are integrated with the other elements.” – Historian of religions and musicologist Guy L. Beck in “Hinduism and Music” (2014, Oxford Handbooks Online)
https://www.academia.edu/37849233
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=3488

“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 [G.N.] 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://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.” – 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

“KISS [Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, a boarding or ‘factory school’ for about 30,000 Adivasi children from Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Assam and other states] is a means to detribalize the Adivasi people and fill them with ideas and concepts that suits the current format of mainstream societal norms and ruling class.” – Virginius Xaxa quoted by Goldy M. George in “Adivasis Protest Awarding of World Congress of Anthropology 2023 to KISS” (Forward Press, 23 July 2020), p. 2
https://www.academia.edu/43929808/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=20406

“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 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

eJournal | The New Institutionalized Religion of the Tangsa Community – Assam & Arunachal Pradesh

Abstract In recent years, elites in many small ethnic communities in northeast India have made attempts to revive, reform and institutionalize their traditional religious practices in order to stem the tide of conversion to world religions and also to use … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Customs, eBook eJournal ePaper, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Quotes, Seasons and festivals, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on eJournal | The New Institutionalized Religion of the Tangsa Community – Assam & Arunachal Pradesh

Cultural invisibility – India’s 600 potentially endangered languages

Literacy level among women in India being alarmingly low, it will be necessary to expand our school education system so as to introduce and include as many languages as possible, so that the girl children are educated in their own … Continue reading

Posted in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Community facilities, Constitution and Supreme Court, Democracy, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature - fiction, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Multi-lingual education, Names and communities, Organizations, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Storytelling, Tribal identity, Women | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Cultural invisibility – India’s 600 potentially endangered languages

Absence of a dowry-system, divorce by mutual consent, and widow-re-marriage: On the high status of women in Badaga communities (Nilgiri) – Tamil Nadu

The Badagas are a unique community living mainly in the Nilgiris District in Tamil nadu in South India. They are also the single largest community of the Nilgiris. Though classified backward, a significant factor is the high status of their … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Economy and development, Fashion and design, Government of India, History, Homes and utensils, Languages and linguistic heritage, Misconceptions, Modernity, Museum collections - India, Names and communities, Nilgiri, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Seasons and festivals, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Websites by tribal communities, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on Absence of a dowry-system, divorce by mutual consent, and widow-re-marriage: On the high status of women in Badaga communities (Nilgiri) – Tamil Nadu

Egalitarian culture leaves Adivasi youth unprepared for competition: On the challenge of balancing tradition and modernity

Santal worriesBy Boro Baski, D+C 13/05/2013, Print Edition no. 6 2013 The young generation of India’s tribal communities is struggling with different problems than the college-educated urban youth that is presented in the media. Our author is from a Santal … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Commentary, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on Egalitarian culture leaves Adivasi youth unprepared for competition: On the challenge of balancing tradition and modernity

“Democracy and caste system can’t go hand in hand”: Paying attention to the enforcement of India’s 1989 act to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against members of SCs and STs (Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes)

Hardly anyone seems to have paid attention to India’s dismal showing at the UN Human Rights Council’s universal periodical review when the latter alleged that India is “all words, no action” on working against caste and related discrimination. The allegations … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Customs, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Press snippets, Quotes, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on “Democracy and caste system can’t go hand in hand”: Paying attention to the enforcement of India’s 1989 act to prevent the commission of offences of atrocities against members of SCs and STs (Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes)