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

“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 | Constitution >>

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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 | Constitution >>

“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

Photos © Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust | Posts | Adivasi Munnetra
Kaathadi – Vidyodaya Maths and Science Resource Centre YouTube channel
To support educational projects please contact vbvtgudalur@gmail.com

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Book cover: Disaibon Hul – Adivaani.org >>

West Ghats near Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border region
Photo © Davidson Sargunam >>
Uravu | More about tribal education and customs in Wayanad >>

Up-to-date reports in the Indian press | More search options >>

For a list of websites included in a single search, see below. To find publishing details for Shodhganga’s PhD search results, click here. To search Indian magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here >>

Technical support | No Google Custom Search window or media contents visible on this page? Then try these steps: (1) switch from “Reader” to regular viewing; (2) in your browser’s Security settings select “Enable JavaScript”; (3) check Google support for browsers and devices. More tips >>

List of websites covered by this Google custom search engine

  1. Academia.edu (platform for academics to share research papers) – www.academia.edu
  2. Archive.org – https://archive.org
  3. Asia Society – https://asiasociety.org
  4. Down To Earth (India) – www.downtoearth.org.in
  5. Harnessing Nature (IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management South Asia Regional Network) – https://harnessingnatureblog.wordpress.com
  6. International Institute for Asian Studies – www.iias.nl
  7. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation – www.mssrf.org
  8. Navdanya (protecting India’s biodiversity based food heritage) – https://navdanya.org
  9. Third World Network (Penang, Malaysia) – https://twn.my
  10. The Shola Trust (nature conservation in the Nilgiri region) – www.thesholatrust.org

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

More resources

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

View this slideshow and more on the website of the National Gallery >>

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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 >>

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