Resources for the classroom: Learning from and about India’s tribal communities, their culture and knowledge systems

We realise that the only way a culture gets conserved is when it is promoted. […] We have decided that as and when such information is gathered we would immediately introduce them into the curriculum at the various levels.Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust © all images seen above
Posts | Adivasi Munnetra | Kaathadi >>
Kaathadi: Vidyodaya Maths and Science Resource Centre YouTube channel
(lessons for Tamil and English medium education)
To support educational projects please contact vbvtgudalur@gmail.com

“We have to write our own stories, about our issues, from our own perspectives” Abhay Xaxa >>

“[I]t is some of the basic values and ideology imbibed in the traditional tribal socio-cultural milieus that should have been emulated and promoted amongst the non-tribal mainstream, not, as has been going on, the other way round.”

Source: ’Who Is Civilised?’: In Praise of Tribal Traditions, Society, and Culture in India by Arup Maharatna (Professor, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune), Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 40 (September 25, 2010)
URL: http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article2337.html
Date visited: 18 January 2021

Learn more about Jamini Roy >>
View this slideshow and more: National Gallery >>

Multimedia and online tools

“We shall first have to give up this hubris of considering tribes backward. Every tribe has a rich and living cultural tradition and we must respect them.”

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on India’s Constitutional obligation to respect their cultural traditions
Gandhiji at Prayer Time, Parnakuti, Poona (1944) by Chittaprosad, the great advocate of the rights of workers and revolutionary artists. | Learn more in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” by Vinay Lal >>
Gandhian social movement | Constitution >>

Topics

If contemporary India is finding it so difficult and even offensive to swallow the idea of secularism, supposing it to be a foreign import from the West that colonized the country and still colonizes our imagination, might it find some succour in the idea of ‘cultural democracy’? It is perhaps time that we started thinking about how the language of “cultural democracy” [envisaged by Gandhi] could be harnessed to furnish all Indians, and especially aggrieved Hindus, with the assurance there is another way of forging a nation without shedding the past.”

Source: Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA) in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” (2 October 2020)
URL: https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/gandhi-secularism-and-cultural-democracy/
Date visited: 4 October 2020

The Santals are one of the largest homogenous indigenous peoples group in India […] They have no temples, nor images to worship and no fixed place to worship in; no holy mountains and no sacred drivers for pilgrimages and yet they hold an unassailable religious faith which can be traced through the tradition of the creation narrative, through their festivals, their cleansing ceremonies performed during their birth, wedding, and death, and through their belief in the continuation of life after death >>

Video | Safe contents for educational use on many topics (music, visual arts and more)

Learn from M S Swaminathan – a world renowned scientist – how biological diversity contributes to public health, people’s livelihood and environmental security in addition to food security: his call on fellow citizens to use and share resources in a more sustainable and equitable manner; outlining the long journey from the 1992 Earth Summit to a commitment to foster inherited knowledge through India’s Biodiversity Act and Genome Saviour Award; an award intended to reward those who are “primary conservers” – guardians of biological diversity!

More about the work of his foundation which “aims to accelerate use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development to improve lives and livelihoods of communities.” – www.mssrf.org | Regarding the issues of food security raised above, and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets, read an in-depth report that concludes that “the tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious” >>

The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of “International Days” to mark important aspects of human life and history.
List of all days celebrated by the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies: International Days >>
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ADIVASI Download the complete Folio issue as a single file (PDF, 969 KB) >>

Find recent press reports on India’s tribal cultural heritage on this page or click here for viewing the search window along with a list of the periodicals included in your search. To search Indian magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here >>


West Ghats near Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border region
Photo © Davidson Sargunam >>

“The hermitage [asrama] is set so deep in the forest that it is almost another world, enveloped in a translucent green of sun and trees. […] The asrama is at one level an intrusion into the forest by the people of the grama [village], an intrusion sought to be stemmed by those living in the forest. […] Was the threat to forest dwellers a way of preventing the illegal clearing of forests and of curbing shifting cultivation?” – Romila Thapar (Emeritus Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University) in “Perceiving the Forest: Early India Studies” >>

“Every society had narratives about its past and some regarded them as history as time went on […] So your fantasy runs wild, you can concoct a utopia exactly as you want.” – Romila Thapar, during an interactive workshop on 22 August 2013 responding to a participant’s question: “Is there also the risk of creating fake history through the invention of tradition?” >>

Uravu | More about tribal education and customs in Wayanad >>

Book cover: Disaibon Hul – Adivaani.org >>
Kocharethi the Arya Woman
by Narayan >>

The slow erosion of cultural identity, the absence of agency for some sections of society, the increasing erasure of various communities from the supposed democratic space of citizenship, the questionable route ‘modernity’ and ‘development’ take, and the effects they have on men and, differently, on women are all woven into Narayan’s novel. Kocharethi calls upon us to ethically engage with it, to question our complicity in the systemic conditions that produce these lives, to reflect on our own reactions to the tale, to our expectations of the form and genre and to unlearn our frames of understanding. | Learn more >>

“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)

More resources

Godna” typeface © Typecraft Initiative
More about tattoo, fashion and design >>

“It is no coincidence that where healthy Fourth World [Indigenous] nations live and prosper based on their freely chosen political, cultural, economic and social way of life the living Earth also thrives. Thus, it is no surprise that Fourth World nations occupy 80% of the world’s remaining biodiverse rainforests, plains, tundra, mountain regions, estuaries, rivers and streams, and deserts.” – Rudolph C. Rÿser (Founder, Center for World Indigenous Studies) in Biodiversity Wars: Coexistence or Biocultural Collapse in the 21st Century (2020), Chapter 1 “Original Peoples”

Decolonization of the “recolonized” and the “still colonized” must now give way to the exercise of “peoples’” rights to determine their own social, economic, political, and cultural future in accord with the international principle. | Chapter-1, Biodiversity-Wars
https://www.cwis.org/books/biodiversity-wars/
“A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.” – Rabindranath Tagore, poet, social reformer and composer of India’s national anthem who founded Santiniketan amidst Santal communities >>

Up-to-date coverage by renowned Indian journalists and citizen reporters
Type the name of any tribal community, region or state in the search field seen below
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List of Indian magazines and web portals covered by the present Custom search engine | To search other sources safely, click here >>

  1. www.indiatoday.in
  2. www.india-seminar.com
  3. www.livemint.com
  4. www.outlookindia.com
  5. www.ruralindiaonline.org
  6. scroll.in
  7. www.sanctuaryasia.com
  8. www.tehelka.com
  9. www.thebetterindia.com
  10. www.theweek.in

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