Category Archives: Worship and rituals

“There is no idol worship” – Poovadevi explaining her tradition in “Toda community forays into reviving traditional art” (Deccan Herald, 15 July 2011)

“All the tribals in the country have been following many different religions like Gondi, Koya Punem, Adi, Sarna, etc. However, none of them have been recognised. The government should provide a separate code for tribal religion so that their identity can be preserved. […] No matter which community we belong to, we will follow our beliefs, customs, deities, rituals, culture, in our own way.” – Satyanarayan Singh, Tribal activist from Bihar, quoted by Santoshi Markam in (2 April 2019)

“Adivasi concerns caste while Sarna is about religious affinity. Tribals across the country for decades have been fighting for religious identity in the form of a separate code in the census.” – Jharkhand tribal lawmaker Bandhu Tirkey on his opposition to a so-called “Sarna/Adivasi” code during a Jharkhand special Assembly session, reported in “It’s Sarna, not adivasi, code for tribals” (Telegraph Ranchi, 8 November 2020)

“Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Dalits and Adivasis are all equal citizens [as guaranteed by the Indian constitution]. All citizens have the right to debate and discuss their duties towards the state and also the obligations of the state to ensure that the claims to human rights of all citizens are met by the state to an equal degree.” – 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)

“To relieve themselves from poverty, illiteracy, shamans, exorcisers, witch-hunting, to impart modern education to their children, many Santals have voluntarily converted to Christianity.” – Santal educationist Boro Baski in “Discussion is the Need of the Hour, Not Banning”

“The religion [Tagore] preached was the religion of man, the renunciation he extolled was not of this world but of the base passions of cupidity and hatred, the freedom he fought for was not of one people to exploit another but the freedom of the human personality from all that strangles it, whether it be the tyranny of an external organization or the worse tyranny of man’s own blind ego and lust for power.” – Krishna Kripalani in Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography (Oxford University Press 1962, reprint Santiniketan 1980)—A-Biography_djvu.txt

“Whether it is Koya Punem, Adi, Sarna, or any other, they all believe in aboriginal philosophy.” – Aakash Poyam, Researcher and founder editor of Adivasi Resurgence, quoted by Santoshi Markam in (2 April 2019)

“Indian culture does not represent one particular religion or cultural trait. It is an assimilation of various cultural traits; it is syncretic in nature.” – Suranjan Das, Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University Kolkata (The Telegraph, 30 September 2020)

“[T]he approach to understand ‘tribe/tribal’ within the social structure of Hinduism is doomed to fail because the religion is itself a conglomeration of various schools of thought, often contradictory to each other.” – Pradyumna Bag in “Denial of Differences: Examining the Marginalisation of Tribal Cultures and Languages” (“Tribes In Transition” conference 2017)

“The Bhils of the area [remote tribal villages in northern Maharashtra] practiced their own unique religion, a form of animism and ancestor worship with a heavy dose of magic. But it was clear even at that time that their ancient religious tradition would soon disappear: many Bhils in the area had become devotees of wandering Hindu sadhus and Christian missionaries. Soon, their religious tradition would be looked down by others as ‘primitive’.” – Yoginder Sikand in “Simple ways of life” (Deccan Herald, 23 December 2012)
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“Interventions intending to impose religion onto tribes have attempted to assimilate them into mainstream society by diluting their uniqueness. For tribes, the links between culture and religion are integral to shaping their ways of life.” – 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)

“The Santals are non-idol worshipping theist people. They have no temples, nor images to worship and no fixed place to worship in; no holy mountains and no sacred drivers for pilgrimages and yet they hold an unassailable religious faith which can be traced through the tradition of the creation narrative, through their festivals, their cleansing ceremonies performed during their birth, wedding, and death, and through their belief in the continuation of life after death.” – Writer, editor, singer-musician, and songwriter Timotheas Hembrom in The Santal and the Biblical Creation Traditions: Anthropological & Theological Reflections – a work “on a group of people, whose faith declaration of creator-creation relationship, as expressed through their ancestral creation narrative, is compared and discussed with that of the Biblical one” (Adivaani, Kolkata 2013)

“All subjects will thus be equal in the eyes of the law. But every single individual will be free to pursue his own religion without hindrance, so long as it does not transgress the common law. The question of the ‘protection of minorities’ is not good for me; it rests upon the recognition of religious groupings between citizens of the same state. What I wish India to do is to assure liberty of religious profession to every single individual. Then only India can be great, for it was perhaps the one nation in the ancient world which had recognized cultural democracy, whereby it is held that the roads to God are many, but the goal is one, because God is one and the same. In fact the roads are as many as there are individuals in the world.” – Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi in Harijan (31 August 1947); quoted by Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA) in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” (2 October 2020)

“If the tribal gods are comfortable on the trees, let them be…why make them a Hindu?” – Niranjan Mahawar, author of a book titled Bastar Bronze, interviewed by Suvojit Bagchi (The Hindu, 24 October 2012)

The unique narrative of shawls worn among 16 major tribes: Reflecting one’s social standing and the younger generation’s changing tastes – Nagaland

ANTHONY KURIAKOSE narrates how each Naga shawl is a thing of beauty, mystery, history and eternal appeal. And how each shawl wraps in its folds, a unique narrative. In the textile history of  India, the warrior shawls of  Nagaland have … Continue reading

Posted in Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Dress and ornaments, Fashion and design, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Modernity, Names and communities, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Storytelling, Tribal elders, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The unique narrative of shawls worn among 16 major tribes: Reflecting one’s social standing and the younger generation’s changing tastes – Nagaland

Toda cultural heritage and education: Nilgiri mountains – Tamil Nadu

A visit to the Toda hamlet known as Taranadmund near Ooty makes it clear that for the Toda community, cultural heritage is part of everyday life and worship. The local economy continues to involve buffalo rearing. As the Tamil Nadu … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Crafts and visual arts, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Education and literacy, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, Homes and utensils, Modernity, Names and communities, Nilgiri, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Tourism, Tribal elders, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Toda cultural heritage and education: Nilgiri mountains – Tamil Nadu

eJournal | Impact of public presentations of Adivasi (Santal) music – West Bengal

Adivasi music and the public stageBy Jayasri Banerjee These days, no festival or utsav is considered complete without some sort of folk music or dance. The idea of presenting the music and dance traditions of the Adivasis in a public forum is generally … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Commentary, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, eBook & eJournal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Music and dance, Musicology, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Performing arts, Quotes, Seasons and festivals, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on eJournal | Impact of public presentations of Adivasi (Santal) music – West Bengal

Adivasi art “A Disappearing World” – Gandhi Foundation (London)

The exhibition, “A Disappearing World: Ancient Traditions Under Threat in Tribal India”, opened at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS on April 13 and will run until June 25. Seminars are also being held to discuss the suffering of the tribals. … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Globalization, Health and nutrition, Misconceptions, Modernity, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Social conventions, Tribal culture worldwide, Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Adivasi art “A Disappearing World” – Gandhi Foundation (London)

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”