Community development involving Bhil women: A synthesis of traditional small community cooperation with the systems of a democratic state – Madhya Pradesh

Adivasi Millennium

The Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra is engaged in mobilisation for rights and community development among the Bhil Adivasis or indigenous people since 1982 in Alirajpur district in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. […]

All this has been achieved by adhering to the prevailing legal system and also by networking with other organisations to bring new legislation in the form of the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act (Forest Rights Act) to formalise these communitarian and conservationist efforts on a larger nationwide scale. The uniqueness of this mobilisation is increased by the whole hearted participation of women in these efforts thus doubling the social energy involved in them. Women have also succeeded in reducing the patriarchal oppression that was traditionally a part of the Bhil tribal society through their greater participation in social, economic and political activities. This mobilisation effort thus synthesises the traditional small community cooperation of the Bhils with the legal, political and economic systems of a modern democratic state to evolve a liberating framework of action and conservation that is both equitable and sustainable. The organisation is committed to establishing a modern Adivasi Millennium that can offer a sustainable alternative to the whole of humanity. […]

The strategies adopted to achieve this are –

  • Problem analysis workshops in which the people participate in open discussions to pinpoint the problems they face and the ways in which they can be overcome through cooperation and mobilisation.
  • Legal and rights training workshops in which the people are taught the basics of the liberal democratic constitutional framework including its scope and limitations.
  • Collective Action for rights through public demonstrations, sit-ins and legal and media advocacy.
  • Revival of traditional labour and resource pooling customs.
  • Special women’s meetings to get them involved in resource conservation work, public demonstrations, tackle reproductive health problems and engage with men to reduce patriarchy.
  • Advocacy to change the laws and rules in favour of the Adivasis.

Source: Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra « Bhil Tribal Mobilisation for Rights and Natural Resource Conservation
Date Visited: Fri Jul 14 2017 18:48:04 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

The most important achievement was the implementation of the Bhoomishilp Yojana in Baldala village for the bunding of farm plots. Over 500 hectares of land in the village have been bunded improving the soil conservation scenario there. The picture below shows women at work in Baldala. This achievement, which is a first for Alirajpur district, was widely covered in the local press.

Source: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) « Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra
Date Visited: Fri Jul 14 2017 19:02:23 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“Society as such has no ulterior purpose. It is an end in itself. It is a spontaneous self- expression of man as a social being. It is natural regulation of human relationships, so that men can develop ideals of life in cooperation with one another.” – Rabindranath Tagore quoted in Santiniketan: Birth of Another Cultural Space by Pulak Dutta (Santiniketan, 2015) p. 42 [from The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Vol. II, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2004, p. 421]


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Demographic Status of Scheduled Tribe Population of India (Census figures 2011)

Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes – Report and Recommendations (Technical Advisory Group)

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“What are the Rights of Scheduled Tribes? – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)

“What is the Forest Rights Act about?” – Campaign for Survival and Dignity

“Who are Scheduled Tribes?” – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)

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