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

Research on populations of different social rank: “The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists”

The word “tribe” itself, in fact, has always been a contentious term. Due to the lack of an adequate term, indigenous people chose to adopt it to identify their place in the world. The narrative is changing today. […] Tribes … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Customs, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Names and communities, Quotes, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Research on populations of different social rank: “The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists”

Learn more about India’s Himalayan tribal communities

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Eco tourism, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Ethnobotany, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Music and dance, Nature and wildlife, Northern region – Northern Zonal Council, Organizations, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Tips, Tourism, Trees, Tribal elders, Tribal identity, Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Learn more about India’s Himalayan tribal communities

eJournal | Irish Journal of Anthropology: Special issue on Adivasi identity

TABLE OF CONTENTS GUEST EDITORIAL GENERAL EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS 11 HARALD TAMBS-LYCHE COMMENT ONWILL INDIA HAVE TO LIVE WITH CASTE FOR ALL TIME TO COME? ARTICLES 14 HARALD TAMBS-LYCHEDOMINATION BY HEGEMONY, OR FORCE COUNTERED BY RESISTANCE? THE INDIAN … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Cultural heritage, Customs, De- and re-tribalisation, eBook & eJournal, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Museum collections - general, Museum collections - India, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Regions of India, Resources, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Social conventions, Success story, Tips, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on eJournal | Irish Journal of Anthropology: Special issue on Adivasi identity

Tribal Politics – adivasi culture, language, and religion in Encyclopedia of India

Tribal Politics The “tribal” peoples or adivasis of India, according to the 2001 census, constitute roughly 8.1 percent of the country’s population, some 83,6 million people, classified under 461 different communities. They occupy a belt stretching from the Bhil regions … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, De- and re-tribalisation, Ecology and environment, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nilgiri, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rural poverty, Sacred grove, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tribal Politics – adivasi culture, language, and religion in Encyclopedia of India

The Bhils, a proud and ancient ethnic group: On the descendants of some of the original inhabitants of India – Madhya Pradesh

The Bhil tribe is a proud and ancient ethnic group inhabiting the Western part of Central India with the highest concentration in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh State. | Read more >> The western region is home to a wide … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Archaeology, Assimilation, Central region – Central Zonal Council, Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Dress and ornaments, Economy and development, Fashion and design, Figures, census and other statistics, Globalization, History, Literature and bibliographies, Names and communities, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Western region –  Western Zonal Council | Tagged | Comments Off on The Bhils, a proud and ancient ethnic group: On the descendants of some of the original inhabitants of India – Madhya Pradesh