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 2020)
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

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, 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

eBook & eJournal | Learn more about tribal communities on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The ancient tribal communities that lived here in the Andaman Islands […] have lived and flourished here for at least 40,000 years., but the end could well be round the corner. […] It definitely began with the British and their … Continue reading

Posted in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Customs, eBook & eJournal, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature - fiction, Literature and bibliographies, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Press snippets, Quotes, Tips, Tourism, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on eBook & eJournal | Learn more about tribal communities on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Articles on Adivasi culture in Folio Special issue

Ever since the Portuguese travel writers and missionaries decided to describe the vast variety of ethnic and occupational groups and sects of the Indian subcontinent in terms of “caste” and “tribe”, the terms have stuck to society as long-worn masks … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Archaeology, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Commentary, Community facilities, Constitution and Supreme Court, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, eBook & eJournal, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Nilgiri, Organizations, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Press snippets, Quotes, Regions of India, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Social conventions, Tips, Tribal elders, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Articles on Adivasi culture in Folio Special issue

eBook & eJournal | Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative: Conference report – New Delhi

Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through NarrativeReport for the ICSSR-sponsored Two-Day National Conference organised by The Department of English & Outreach Programme Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi on 27-28 February 2017 Read or download the full report (printfriendly PDF, … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Community facilities, Cultural heritage, eBook & eJournal, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Film, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Resources, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Storytelling, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Wayanad | Comments Off on eBook & eJournal | Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative: Conference report – New Delhi

Dealing with challenges for Adivasis in states having widely different human development indicators – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha & West Bengal

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed how rooted structural imbalances are between rural and urban, male and female, rich and poor, even in the digital world. | Read the full report in Scroll.in >> […] While 66% of India’s population lives … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Commentary, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Film, Government of India, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Press snippets, Quotes, Regions of India, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Social conventions | Comments Off on Dealing with challenges for Adivasis in states having widely different human development indicators – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha & West Bengal