Recovering tribal culture from the misrepresentation of mainstream media: Papers presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference)

Parallel session 1: Tribal Identity and Resistance Narratives (28th February 2017)
Chaired by: Prof. Shreya Bhattacharji, CUJ, Ranchi
Paper Presenters: Violina Borah (JNU, New Delhi), Moumita Roy (Delhi University, New Delhi), Juhi R.V. Minz (JNU, New Delhi), Shabeena Kuttay (Govt. Degree College, Bemina-Srinagar).
Violina Borah presented a paper titled “R/establishing Identity: Reading Violence through Mahasweta Devi’s The Hunt.” The paper explored the endemic nature of violence as depicted in the story and how colonial repressive structures come to be replicated by the colonized. Through the character of Mary, Borah’s paper sought to expose the multiple layers of marginalization that can operate even in a tribal community.
Moumita Roy presented a paper titled “A Comparative Study of Mahasweta Devi’s Aranyer Adhikar and African AmericanTexts.” She sought to highlight the resonances between the narratives of tribes in India and African American narratives. The primary point of reference was the location of bodies, tribal and black at the site of incarceration.
Juhi R V Minz presented a paper titled “Reaffirming the Identity of the Tribal Woman: An Exploration of Mahasweta Devi’s Imaginary Maps” which highlighted how the author exposed the nuances of oppression that tribal women are subject to. The presentation also sought to recover tribal culture from the misrepresentation of mainstream media.
Shabeena Kuttay presented a paper titled “Existence and Identity: The Intellectual Discourse of Arundhati Roy on Tribal Resistance.” The paper pointed to the irony of an independent India which supposedly granted constitutional rights to all its subjects alike, yet threatened the existence of tribal communities in the pursuit of flawed model of growth. It stressed the importance of intellectual interventions to curb the Indian State’s replication of the imperial model of development, leading to the rampant denial of tribal resources which, in turn, translated into a denial of their identity and their very existence.
(Student Rapporteur: Ms. Aateka Khan)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Dr. Ivy Hansdak

Source: Report for the ICSSR-sponsored Two-Day National Conference Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative organised by The Department of English & Outreach Programme Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi, 27-28 February 2017)

Courtesy Dr. Ivy Hansdak, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi (email 4 October 2017)

“The tribal world and the tribal way is complete in itself.” – Mahasweta Devi quoted by Gopalkrishna Gandhi in “Swearing by Mahasweta” (The Hindu, 6 August 2016)

“Tribals are subject to oppression and cruelty even after independence and still picked up by the investigating officers to cover up shoddy investigations.” – D.Y. Chandrachud (Chief Justice of India since 9 November 2022) quoted in “Members of De-Notified Tribes Picked Up to Cover Up Shoddy Investigations” | Learn more >>

Brought up in a system in which all communications are by word of mouth, and hence used to trusting verbal statements, tribal populations get confused by constant reference to documents and written rules, which increasingly determine all aspects of rural life.

Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival >>

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