Category Archives: Ekalavya (Eklavya, Eklabya), EMR & Factory schools

1. Ekalavya (Eklavya, Eklabya): the name of a legendary archer prodigy “who, being a Nishada [Sanskrit Niṣāda, “tribal, hunter, mountaineer, degraded person, outcast”], had to give his thumb as a fee to the brahmin guru thus terminating his skill as an archer.” – Romila Thapar (Emeritus Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University) in “The epic of the Bharatas” (India Seminar 2010)
2. “Ekalavya Residential School Scheme”: a network of boarding schools where tribal children are to be educated in accordance with rules and syllabi provided by the government; such schools are being designated as “Eklavya Model Residential School (EMR)” with the objective of empowering students “to be change agent, beginning in their school, in their homes, in their village and finally in a large context.”
3. In some regions there are similar “Residential Schools” and “Ashram Schools” for tribal children, as in Tripura where they are managed by a society called “Tripura Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TTWREIS)”
4. Factory schools “exist to turn tribal and indigenous children – who have their own language and culture – into compliant workers-of-the-future. The world’s largest Factory School stated that it turns ‘Tax consumers into tax payers, liabilities into assets’.” – Survival International

“Their parents sent these children, belonging to the most marginalised segment of Indian society, to these schools in the hope that education would liberate them from poverty and want. […] There are no easy answers to how and how fast tribal communities join the mainstream. Taking their brightest children out of their homes and away from their culture, only to maim or kill them, is certainly not one of them.” – The Economic Times (Commentary, 19 April 2016)

“If Adivasis were to start writing their own Discovery Of India, it would be something like this: [T]hey could not destroy us. They knew us as Nishada and Naga; they called us Rakshasa, they burned the forests to destroy us and free the land to fashion their agrarian society stamped with the hierarchy of caste. They were the ones who remembered us as their enemies. Ekalavya was one of our great archers, so skillful that the hero of the Aryans, Arjun, could not stand before him. But they assaulted him, cutting his thumb, destroying his ability to fight – and then fashioned a story in which he accepted Drona as his Guru and agreed to surrender his thumb!” – Gail Omvedt in “Call us adivasis, please” (ADIVASI Special issue, The Hindu, 16 July 2000)

Video | “The Vibrant Bhils”: Tradition and change in one of India’s most ancient tribal communities – Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan & Maharashtra

A film directed by Raj Bendre and sponsored by the Madhya Pradesh State Planning Commission | Published on Feb 14, 2014 The Bhils mainly inhabit the western region of Madhya Pradesh besides the adjoining states Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. They are perhaps the … Continue reading

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