Category Archives: Worship and rituals

“[R]eligious conversion is frequently perceived as an act of expediency undertaken by converts for purely temporal gains [wrongly assuming that] conversions take place only among deprived lower caste or tribal groups, which are considered more susceptible to allurement or coercion.” – Ivy Imogene Hansdak in “Pandita Ramabai Saraswati: the convert as ‘heretic’”; in Conversion and coercion: the politics of sincerity and authenticity (Groningen studies in cultural change, 2006)
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/63171256
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23050

“There is no idol worship” – Poovadevi explaining her tradition in “Toda community forays into reviving traditional art” (Deccan Herald, 15 July 2011)
https://www.deccanherald.com/content/176591/toda-community-forays-reviving-traditional.html
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=4855

“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 TheWire.in (2 April 2019)
https://thewire.in/rights/adivasi-religion-recognition-census
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11009

“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)
https://www.telegraphindia.com/jharkhand/its-sarna-not-adivasi-code-for-tribals-bandhu-tirkey/cid/1796860
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11009

“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)
https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/historian-romila-thapar-says-nationalism-does-not-allow-the-hindu-in-india-to-claim-primacy/article8300752.ece
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=20996

“The structural violence of slavery or untouchability doesn’t need intentionality precisely because the intent is encoded in the collective memory of the tremendous violence that, in the distant past, accomplished the subjugation of a community. It is this memory, passed on through generations, that enforces a violent act of ritual humiliation so very ‘non-violently’.” – G. Sampath on Ritual humiliation in “The Violence in Our Bones: Mapping the Deadly Fault Lines Within Indian Society’ review: An ideology of hatred” (The Hindu, 6 November 2021)
https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/the-violence-in-our-bones-mapping-the-deadly-fault-lines-within-indian-society-review-an-ideology-of-hatred/article37337087.ece
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=6771

“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”
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=22844

“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)
https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.39366/2015.39366.Rabindranath-Tagore—A-Biography_djvu.txt
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=4348

“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 TheWire.in (2 April 2019)
https://thewire.in/rights/adivasi-religion-recognition-census
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11009

“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)
https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/calcutta/the-relevance-of-vidyasagar/cid/1793177
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=35639

“[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)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23073

“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)
Address : https://www.deccanherald.com/content/300193/simple-ways-life.html
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=10420

“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. […] It is well-known that tribal communities in the northeast exist outside of Hindu society, even if there is a fluidity in the boundary between tribes and Hindu society in other parts of India. […] Then there are the tribes in the northeastern hill areas—Konyak, Abor, Dana and many others—who, because of their location on the frontier of more than one civilization, were better able to withstand the pressure to become castes, although the Ahom, now regarded as a caste, were once clearly a tribe, and the Khasi, still regarded as a tribe, were developing a state with unmistakably Hindu features.” – 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=22844

“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)
https://adivaani.org/2013/10/07/timotheas-hembroms-new-book-is-out/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=13041

“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)
https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/gandhi-secularism-and-cultural-democracy/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=20996

“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)
https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/i-have-a-problem-with-the-makeover-of-tribal-culture/article4026265.ece
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=16409

“Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Ethics” – The Kaani of Tamil Nadu and Kerala

By Davidson Sargunam Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups native to a land or region. Usually they have a close relation to the land and live in consonance with nature. They believe that land and people are inseparable and interdependent. It is this aspect of their lifestyle-the intertwining of their … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Community facilities, Customs, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Education and literacy, Government of India, Health and nutrition, Homes and utensils, Modernity, Music and dance, Nature and wildlife, Photos and slideshows, Quotes, Success story, Tribal elders, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on “Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Ethics” – The Kaani of Tamil Nadu and Kerala

“We are so much more than that”: Book by S. Swarnalatha documenting the lives her own community, the Irula, who are known for their knowledge of nature and medicinal herbs – Tamil Nadu & Kerala

“My grandmother told me if someone ever pointed out our dance movements are peculiar, we should tell them these are the feline steps of a hunter” | To read the full story, click here >> Swarnalatha belongs to the tribal … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Childhood and children, Customs, Ecology and environment, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Ethnobotany, Games and leisure time, Languages and linguistic heritage, Misconceptions, Music and dance, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on “We are so much more than that”: Book by S. Swarnalatha documenting the lives her own community, the Irula, who are known for their knowledge of nature and medicinal herbs – Tamil Nadu & Kerala

eBook | Research on tribal communities, their customs, languages and rights facilitated by Indian universities: PhD theses published on Shodhganga (public access)

To focus on PhD theses, make sure you include “shodhganga” in your search About Shodhganga The Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre provides a platform for research students to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access. … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Biodiversity, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Constitution and Supreme Court, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, eBook eJournal PDF, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Ethnobotany, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Hyderabad biodiversity pledge, Languages and linguistic heritage, Modernity, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Organizations, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Press snippets, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Social conventions, Tips, Topics and issues, Tribal identity, Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on eBook | Research on tribal communities, their customs, languages and rights facilitated by Indian universities: PhD theses published on Shodhganga (public access)

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 Anthropology, Assimilation, Crafts and visual arts, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, Homes and utensils, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, 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

Tribal communities recognized by the government: Census figures & changes in the lists of Scheduled Tribes (ST)

Scheduled Tribes in India: As revealed in Census 2011 This report highlights the data and demographics of scheduled tribes (ST) in 30 states and union territories of India, as documented in Census 2011. The report makes comparisons from 1961 by … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Customs, De- and re-tribalisation, eBook eJournal PDF, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Misconceptions, Organizations, Quotes, Resources, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Social conventions, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Tribal communities recognized by the government: Census figures & changes in the lists of Scheduled Tribes (ST)