Category Archives: Adivasi / Adibasi

“Adivasi [Adibasi] – which is derived from Sanskrit – is applied to the dark-skinned or Austro-Asiatic indigenous groups of India (usually those from Eastern India). It is a commonly-used term in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. It is also used by the local Mongoloid tribes of North Eastern India for the migrant workers who were brought in as indentured labourers to work in tea plantations during the colonial period. ‘Tribal’ is a very broad term in the English language, as we all know, and includes all the different indigenous groups of India.” – Santal scholar Ivy Imogene Hansdak (email dated 27 March 2020)

“The three terms, ‘tribal,’ ‘Ādivāsī,’ and ‘indigenous peoples’ are related, but have their own trajectories; they have come into use at different times and for different motives. The definition of tribe has changed since the colonial period and varies among the different South Asian countries.” – Marine Carrin, General Introduction to Brill’s Encyclopedia of the Religions of the Indigenous People of South Asia (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 2 South Asia, Volume: 36, 2021)

“In India tribal people are often called ‘Adivasis’ and the government recognizes them as scheduled tribes (STs). Scheduled Tribes (STs) and also Scheduled Castes (SCs) are the disadvantaged sections of the society due to socio-economic exploitation and isolation since times immemorial. According to the Census of 2011, the ST population in India was 104.5 million, accounting for 8.63 percent of the total population of the country.” – S. Parasuraman (Foreword) in “Tribal Sub-Plan in Maharashtra: A Diagnostic Study” (TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai supported by Unicef Maharashtra, December 2015)

One member of the Constituent Assembly of India, Jaipal Singh, regretted that “the most needy, the most deserving group of adibasis [tribals] has been completely left out of the picture”: the first report on minority rights, made public in late August 1947, which “provided for reservation for Untouchables only”. – Ramachandra Guha in India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy (New Delhi: Picador India), p. 115

“Since the Indian Constitution uses the term ‘Scheduled Tribes’ or ‘tribals’ to refer to indigenous communities in India and the colloquial reference used by several indigenous communities themselves is ‘adivasis’ these two terms shall be used interchangeably.” – Rebecca S . David in “An analysis of the impact of the Forest Rights Act (2006) in three states of India” (MPhil University of Cambridge, UK, 2014), p. 1

“[A] large section of different tribal bodies off late have also started demanding for an Adivasi code. Claiming that all tribals can’t be forced to accept their identities as nature worshippers, they have announced to launch a protest. This in turn has forced the state government to take a middle path by naming the draft as Sarna/Adivasi code.” – Report titled “It’s Sarna, not adivasi, code for tribals: Bandhu Tirkey”, on a move by the Jharkhand government to introduce a “Sarna/Adivasi” code in a special Assembly session (Telegraph Ranchi, 8 November 2020)

“Adivasis do not form a homogenous community. Achievements related to socio-economic well-being were found to vary across groups and places among the members of the same community. […] Instead of seeing the Adivasis as ‘problems,’ the entire country can benefit massively by perceiving the Adivasis as co-citizens and sharing their historically constructed cultural values which often manifest the best forms of democracy and uphold the notions of higher levels of justice, fairness and equality than those which prevail in the seemingly mainstream societies. By ensuring their rights to live their own lives, the country can in fact guarantee itself a flourishing democracy.” – Brochure for the report titled “Living World of the Adivasis of West Bengal: An Ethnographic Exploration”, issued on the occasion of the Kolkata International Book Fair 2020

“Adivasi people have an alternative world view, which has rarely been acknowledged or recognized. Their existence was never based on accumulation or consumerism. […] All of us can learn from them.”– Mari Marcel Thekaekara (“Adivasi people: proud not primitive”, New Internationalist 15 July 2013)

“Adivasis is the collective name used for the many indigenous peoples of India. The term Adivasi derives from the Hindi word ‘adi’ which means of earliest times or from the beginning and ‘vasi’ meaning inhabitant or resident, and it was coined in the 1930s, largely a consequence of a political movement to forge a sense of identity among the various indigenous peoples of India.” – Minority Rights Group International (World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – India: Adivasis 2008)

“The Adivasis, who have made sacrifices during our freedom struggle were not given their due respect and recognition. The Tribal museum aims at showcasing the involvement of Adivasis in our freedom struggle.” – Prime Minister of India in “English rendering of PM’s speech at inauguration of new Civil, Cancer & Eye Hospitals in Ahmedabad” (Prime Minister’s Office Posted On: 04 MAR 2019)

eBook | Creation of Night and Day (Rathwi) – A story from Gujarat

Long, long ago there was a time when the sun would shine all along in the sky and there would always be light on earth …

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Cultural heritage, eBook eJournal ePaper, Languages and linguistic heritage, Multi-lingual education, Names and communities, Organizations, Resources, Storytelling, Tips, Tribal identity, Western region –  Western Zonal Council, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on eBook | Creation of Night and Day (Rathwi) – A story from Gujarat

Adivasi music – bibliography

Audio-resource-link: The Muria and Maria Gonds of Madhya Pradesh – audio examples and information >> Babiracki, C.M., ‘Tribal music in the study of great and little traditions of Indian music’. In: B. Nettl (ed.), Comparative musicology and anthropology of music. … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Audio resources - external, Bastar, Central region – Central Zonal Council, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Literature and bibliographies, Musicology, Nilgiri, Northern region – Northern Zonal Council, Quotes, Regions of India, Resources, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Western region –  Western Zonal Council | Comments Off on Adivasi music – bibliography

The Adivasi way of life: Utopian or worth emulating by ‘mainstream’ society? – An ongoing debate

Anyone who has had some meaningful interaction with India’s indigenous or adivasi people, cannot fail to be touched by the encounter. There is a directness in them, an absence of artifice or guile, an almost childlike innocence, born of simplicity … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Bees and honey, Childhood and children, Commentary, Community facilities, Customs, De- and re-tribalisation, FAQ, Fashion and design, Health and nutrition, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Press snippets, Quotes, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal elders, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on The Adivasi way of life: Utopian or worth emulating by ‘mainstream’ society? – An ongoing debate

A constitution which guarantees: “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen” – The Sovereign Republic of India

Did the Constitution of India borrow ideas and many of its stand out features from the constitutions of other countries? Yes, after intense scrutiny, it turns out that our founding fathers liberally chose what features to embed into our Constitution … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Commentary, Constitution and Supreme Court, Customs, Democracy, Economy and development, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, History, Misconceptions, Modernity, Nature and wildlife, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Success story, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on A constitution which guarantees: “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen” – The Sovereign Republic of India

“Is tribal identity relevant in today’s world?” Inaugural Speech for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference 2017) – New Delhi

Dr. Ivy Hansdak – Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi (27th February 2017) Dear and respected Vice-Chancellor of Jamia, Prof Talat Ahmad, respected Guest of Honour, Prof. T.K. Oommen, respected Keynote Speaker, Prof. Virginius Xaxa, respected … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Commentary, Community facilities, Cultural heritage, Customs, Education and literacy, FAQ, Modernity, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Seasons and festivals, Storytelling, Tribal identity, Women | Comments Off on “Is tribal identity relevant in today’s world?” Inaugural Speech for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference 2017) – New Delhi