Finding solutions, “the primitive way”: Aadivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan & Campaign by

Times of India, Jaipur, Jan 18, 2017  | To read the full article, click here >>

“Mother Earth is pregnant with problems and only the tribal way of life can save it from decay. Global warming, unpredictable climatic changes, melting of glaciers, tsunamis, famines and floods are the consequences of man’s unthinking mindful interference with nature and if one has to escape them, the only way is to take to the primitive way.”

This was the gist of conclusions reached by delegates at the end of the two-day 24th Aadivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan on Sunday here at Dakan Kotda village, close to Udaipur city.

The event, organized by Aadivasi Ekta Parishad, was attended by more than 60,000 tribal people from various states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Dadar& Nagar Haveli. The mega event focused on issues related to tribal communities in India.

“This is an annual event held by the organization in various places to spread awareness among the community and to inform them about prevalent tribal customs in other states. Contrary to the popular notion, tribals are not conservative at all. Women are held in high esteem, child marriages are not prevalent while widow remarriage has always been encouraged by tribes,” said Mahaveer Kharadi, secretary of the organizing committee. During the two days, participants were seen in the colourful tribal attires and traditional head gear. […]

Some of them played musical instruments like drums, pipes, brass plates and bugles. “The delegates attracted everyone with their dressing, simplicity and cheerful spirit,” said Hemendra Chandalia, an activist.

Young participants carried placards which had slogans against exploitation of natural resources, suppression of the Adivasis, environmental degradation and appropriation of tribal land by corporates. […]

Source: ‘Save earth, adopt primitive way of life’ – Times of India
Date Visited: Wed Apr 05 2017 15:48:19 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Great news – The Hindu has pledged to no longer describe tribal peoples as ‘primitive’.

Following our complaint about an article which used the word ‘primitive’ twice to describe a Chenchu tribal man, The Hindu issued a correction and advised all reporters not to use ‘primitive’ while referring to tribal people. The Office of the Readers’ Editor recommended an ‘exercise of caution’ in this regard.

This is the second major success of the Proud Not Primitive campaign. Following complaints by supporters of the campaign, the editor of India’s Business Standard apologised for the use of the term ‘primitive’ in an article about the Dongria Kondh in July, 2013, which has since been corrected.

Several journalists from renowned Indian publications have also endorsed the movement, including Kumkum Dasgupta of the Hindustan Times, Nikhil Agarwal of the Press Trust of India, and V Raghunathan of the Times of India.

However, there is still a long way to go. Many Indian papers are still using this language:

‘Junior tarzans are children of the Birhor community, a primitive tribe, which has been residing in the jungles for years. […] It took a while but they slowly started understanding the ways of the civilized world and started behaving decently.’

Times of India, May 20th 2013
Together we can stop this prejudice. Please write to the editor of the Times of India and call for it to pledge not to use the term ‘primitive’ too.
Please write a letter to the editor of The Times of India (or a paper of your choice) calling for it to pledge not to use derogatory language to describe tribal peoples. Please click on this link or copy and paste the email below to

Dear Editor,

I am writing to draw your attention to the way that tribal peoples are often described in your paper. They are regularly called by the offensive and derogatory terms ‘primitive’ and ‘backwards’. These words are not only offensive, they are also dangerous; they are used to imply that the way that tribal peoples choose to live their lives is not ‘modern’. This idea in turn justifies the theft of tribal peoples’ land and efforts to force them into the mainstream in the name of ‘development’.

The Hindu has recently pledged to no longer describe tribal people as primitive. I urge you to ensure that The Times of India takes the same stand. Please amend your paper’s editorial guidelines to ensure that such pejorative language is not used in the future.

May I also remind you that, as well as being offensive, the term ‘primitive tribal group’ is out-dated. The government has replaced the term with ‘particularly vulnerable tribal groups.’

Yours faithfully,

Source: Newsletter 26-11-2013


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