Tribal Literature: Santhals and their Cultural Anxiety –”Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

Abstract 34: Tribal Literature: Santhals and their Cultural Anxiety

Paper presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

TERESA TUDU

Department of English, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

KEYWORDS: ANTHROPOLOGY, IDENTITY, EXPRESSION, CIVILIZATION, SANTHAL

Tribal life has become one of the popular discourses in contemporary academia. There have been intense and detailed research works on tribals carried out by the anthropologists and sociologists. The information embedded in their works supply the basis to differentiate these tribals from the so-called civilization. This differentiation which portrays them as naïve and ignorant individuals makes them vulnerable to the suppression of the ruling class. Since old times, there had been voices against the discrimination inflicted to them. But it is in more recent times, with the advent of education that the tribals have been able to give expression to their experiences and to articulate their demands to acquire their legal rights.

The alien and fascinating indigeneity of Santhals has been always appealing to the non-tribals and attracts researchers and writers to dig into their territory. Mostly, these tribals have been portrayed as the objects of analysis, hunger-stricken and uncivilized. Consequently, the socio-political mainstream that is unaccustomed to accept them as civilized human beings, tries to subjugate them. They agree to accept them as their ally only at the cost of their betrayal to their identity. The available literature of Santhals is the demonstration of the voices of the people struggling to liberate themselves from the clutches of varied suppressions that problematize the very essence of their identity. Taking characters from every stratum, Santhali writers are enriching Tribal literature and foregrounding the unmapped realm of Santhal community.

The present paper intends to analyze some literary works that deal with the cultural and political ascendency of Hindu culture and religion over the naive Santhals living in the non-tribal vicinity and their despair on the segregation from their community and culture.

BIONOTE: Teresa Tudu is currently pursuing her PhD at the Department of English, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. She may be contacted at the email ID: teresa.tudu@gmail.com

Source: Book of Abstracts 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)

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