Category Archives: Modernity

“The tribal peoples access to forests has almost gone. Their life-style is changing rapidly. They have already mingled with the non-tribals and imbibed their culture and life-styles. The fact of the matter is they can no longer live like their ancestors, no longer depend on the vanishing forests for their sustenance. It will be to their advantage if they are equipped to meet these changes with a balanced approach; otherwise they will just be swept over. We hope they will retain the tribal values that have relevance even today and accept the good brought in by modernization. It is a question of survival.” – Rama Sastry & B. Ramdas in “Work and Wisdom of Vernacular” (Supported by UNESCO)

“There is no other way but to redefine “modernity” and the goals of development, not to narrow it to “environment” but to widen it to a sustainable equitable just society based on harmonious non exploitative relationship between human being to human being, and human being to nature. We cannot be either politically naive or apathetic or playing the unseen hand of free economy.” – Medha Patkar and Baba Amte, Acceptance speech on behalf of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Right Livelihood Award, 31 December 1991)

“[T]hey face the challenge of facing the modern world on a daily basis and feeling the need to belong to.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara, writer and Co-founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris quoted in The Hindu (27 January 2017)

“Only a few [tribals] are genuinely proud of their own culture, understand its roots and want to bring about some rapprochement between its traditions and the requirements of modernity.” – Guest Column by Provocateur titled “Hands off tribal culture” (India Today, 9 January 2014)

“Scheduling was the act of committing certain areas to a written list or inventory of ‘special administrative regimes’; here, normal laws and regulations prevalent in the rest of British India would not be applicable. […] The underlying belief behind this categorization was that modern representative democracy with electoral politics and law courts was highly unsuited to tribal communities.” – Saagar Tewari, quoted by Richard Kamei in “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2021)

“Despite the modern obsession with factories, mines and airlines in a newly independent India, [Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay] pointed out that for millions of villagers […] handicrafts were a source of income and pride.” – Feminist writer Gloria Steinem reviewing “A Passionate Life: Writings by and on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay” by Ellen Carol Dubois and Vinay Lal Openmagazine (7 April 2017)

“A group of women recall their bygone days: In our big village we girls and boys were together in pairs. But the pairs of our friendships are no more. Some of us have shut ourselves up indoors.” – Synopsis by Boro Baski for “Rasi Nato (Big Village)”, a song composed and performed by staff and students of the Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram (Non-formal Santal school, Ghosaldanga village, Dist.-Birbhum, West Bengal), included in the Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village)

“The recent trend is to use exotic species for manicured lawns and gardens. This means indigenous species are losing even more space, and our local species decline with them. New lifestyle patterns are also changing things. For example, India’s urban sparrow population has dipped. Even growing up, sparrows were as common as a crow or a pigeon. But now they’ve almost disappeared. Why?” – Rashneh Pardiwala in “Why It’s Hard to ‘Change Mindsets’ on Environmental Protection Among India’s Elites”; interview on environmental education at her Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE) in Mumbai (Asia Blog, 27 July 2015)

“India lives in its villages, but it has been forced to go to its cities to work. We have created a nation where nearly half of the wealth is generated by the labour of these unseen and unheard men, women and children. We call them migrant labour. For all the wealth generated by the cities, the migrants live in poverty, working in jobs that profit others but bring them very little.” – Chitvan Gill in “The lives of the unseen, unheard men and women who build the cities we inhabit” (, 31 May 2020)

“Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi had distinguished the modern university from its medieval forerunners by envisaging for it an autonomous sphere in relation to the emerging nation-state.” – Suranjan Das, Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University Kolkata (The Telegraph, 30 September 2020)

“[T]he primary identity of every citizen of India, over and above all other identities of religion, caste, language, race and suchlike, is that of an Indian.” – Romila Thapar (Emeritus Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University) quoted in “Nationalism does not allow the Hindu in India to claim primacy” by Ziya Us Salam (The Hindu, 2 March 2016)

“In Nehru’s view, the process of modernization must not be taken as forcing a sudden break with the tribals past but help them build upon it and grow by a natural process of evolution.” – Chittaranjan Mishra in “Tribal Philosophy and Pandit Nehru” (Odisha Review, November 2017)

“[N]o good purpose can be served by turning a blind eye to corrupt practices and the resulting failures of policies, thereby distorting the picture of the true conditions of tribal populations. […] The tribals were dislodged from their traditional sources of livelihood and places of habitation.” – Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf in Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982 [observations among Indian tribal populations spanning the period from 1940 to 1980]

National Crafts Museum – New Delhi

The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, popularly known as the National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy, celebrates the rich, diverse, and practising craft traditions of India. Situated in a large campus at the corner of Pragati Maidan, opposite the majestic … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Dress and ornaments, Economy and development, Games and leisure time, Government of India, History, Homes and utensils, Libraries, Modernity, Museum collections - India, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Social conventions, Stamps, Tiger, Tourism, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on National Crafts Museum – New Delhi

Search tip | Follow a guided tour of this website

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Education and literacy, History, Misconceptions, Modernity, Tagore and rural culture, Tips, Tribal identity | Comments Off on Search tip | Follow a guided tour of this website

In search of best practice: How to protect society’s most vulnerable persons from human trafficking – United Nations & Walk Free Foundation

What is trafficking in persons? | Read the full article here >> Broadly, trafficking is the exploitation of people, most often for sexual exploitation or forced labour. The different elements are captured within the UN ‘Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and … Continue reading

Posted in Activities, Figures, census and other statistics, Misconceptions, Modernity, Organizations, Quotes, Rural poverty | Comments Off on In search of best practice: How to protect society’s most vulnerable persons from human trafficking – United Nations & Walk Free Foundation

Adivasis’ world view: A truly sustainable lifestyle – Comment

Adivasi people: proud not primitive | Read the full article >> […] Defining what’s special about India’s adivasi or indigenous people is complicated. People, mostly anthropologists and human rights defenders, who know adivasis and have worked closely with them, also tend … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Assimilation, Commentary, Community facilities, Customs, Ecology and environment, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Organizations, Poetry, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Topics and issues, Tourism, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Adivasis’ world view: A truly sustainable lifestyle – Comment

Research and Indigenous Peoples: A counter-story to Western ideas about the benefits of the pursuit of knowledge

Decolonizing MethodologiesResearch and Indigenous PeoplesLinda Tuhiwai Smith To the colonized, the term ‘research’ is conflated with European colonialism; the ways in which academic research has been implicated in the throes of imperialism remains a painful memory. This essential volume explores … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Bees and honey, Colonial policies, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, History, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on Research and Indigenous Peoples: A counter-story to Western ideas about the benefits of the pursuit of knowledge