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://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 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

In support of language diversity and cultural diversity – Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Today, our world is experiencing a rapid decline in cultural diversity and the eradication of indigenous peoples and their lifeway. One in five people in the world speak the same language: Mandarin Chinese. Spoken by the largest single ethnic group … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Cultural heritage, Customs, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Globalization, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Tribal culture worldwide, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , | Comments Off on In support of language diversity and cultural diversity – Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Two novels on West Ghat tribal cultural heritage: Changing perceptions of land and its ownership – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

Two novels that capture local history in English translationEach novel is written from a different angle, yet both chronicle the lives of people attached to their land and customs while facing the pressures imposed by mainstream society: one by male Malayalam writer ‘Narayan’ who … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Customs, Economy and development, Education and literacy, History, Literature - fiction, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Quotes, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Social conventions, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Tips, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Two novels on West Ghat tribal cultural heritage: Changing perceptions of land and its ownership – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

“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, Modernity, Press snippets, 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)

“Assimilating the tribal richness”: Five-day National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur – Chhattisgarh

The three-day National Tribal Dance festival organised in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, was an occasion for the tribal community from across the world to showcase their rich tribal heritage. Speaking at the valedictory function, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said that there … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Central region – Central Zonal Council, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Economy and development, Government of India, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Performing arts, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity | Comments Off on “Assimilating the tribal richness”: Five-day National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur – Chhattisgarh

Bhasha Van (“forest of languages”) – the importance of the mother tongue in education

The forest of languages and hopeAntara Dev Sen | Wednesday, March 10, 2010 I have just planted a sapling with nice long leaves. […]. As they all grow up, they will make up the Bhasha Van — the forest of … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Assimilation, Cultural heritage, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Modernity, Multi-lingual education, Organizations, Press snippets | Comments Off on Bhasha Van (“forest of languages”) – the importance of the mother tongue in education