Countering urban perspective on tribal issues: community and children’s participation in short film making

Photo of Tangru Mijhi © The Telegraph online >>

Tangru Mijhi of Arunachal Pradesh, a member of the indigenous tribe and a hunter-turned-forest guard, led a team that brought back 800sqkm of Pakke Tiger Reserve from the brink of devastation. | Learn more about the documentary series “Heroes of the Wild Frontiers” by award-winning film maker Krishnendu Bose >>

“The documentary [Heroes of the Wild Frontiers] has been filmed over a year across six of India’s most environmentally important and stunning regions — Marine National Park in the Andamans, Kaziranga in Assam, Hemis National Park in Ladakh, the Sunderbans in Bengal, Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal and across human-dominated elephant habitats in North Bengal,” Bose, who is based in Delhi, told Metro.

He had received the CMS Prithvi Ratna Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. His film The Tiger Who Crossed the Line received the national award for being the best environment film in 2017.

“Each episode (of Heroes of the…) focuses on one forest guard who has gone far beyond his or her designated duty to serve nature and wildlife,” said Calcutta-based Ashwika, who got Green Oscar in 2014 for her film Sirocco — How a Dud Became a Stud. […]

Source: “Forest guards in conservation focus” by Jayanta Basu (The Telegraph, 15 September 2019)
Date visited: 1 November 2020

PUNE: Documentary filmmaker Krishnendu Bose on Monday said that the concept of conservation through community and children’s participation can be far more effective if efforts were made to preserve tribal culture and heritage. […]

“Entire knowledge banks on the tribal way of life are being gradually wiped out due to ineffective policies and an unsuitable pedagogic approach that force an urban perspective on tribal issues.”

Bose has made award-winning documentaries like ‘Tiger – The Death Chronicles’ – on the crisis of tiger deaths – ‘Harvesting Hunger’- a film on the politics of food in India – and ‘Jardhar Diary’ – on community conservation in a village in Garhwal Himalayas – among others. All these films have been the result of a partnership with communities and tribals in different parts of the country. “We are using some participatory tools for school children and helping them learn and make short films on different environmental issues. We began a non-profit trust, ECO Trust, under which such a pilot project was implemented with 200 underprivileged school children in Delhi last year. They made 10 short films of one or two minutes each, on different themes like water and trees, chosen and scripted by them. It was an effective experiment because the films were entirely from the children’s perspective,” Bose said.

The next such project will be done at a tribal school, Adharsheela, in Madhya Pradesh, later this year. “My focus has entirely shifted to involving children in the film-making process and to let them bring about their self-awareness into the films they will be making.”

He feels innovative teaching techniques are needed to educate children on tribal people and environment. “Making a subject like environmental science compulsory in schools is a great beginning, but the teaching approach to this subject has been wrong because here experiential learning is largely missing. The same approach is being applied in schools for tribals too. An urbanisation of education is happening.”

For the last 30 years, he has been making socially relevant films to get important messages out to the larger world with the hope of initiating some sort of change. The tribal communities remain close to his heart. “Sadly, all these years, we have not been able to give value to tribal identity, or preserve the whole tribal information and knowledge system as well as culture. Demarcations between tribals and urbanites are blurring because markets are encroaching upon tribal societies. Besides, the tribals too want to reside in cities. There’s nothing wrong in that. But the tribals have been pushed to homogenise themselves with urban society. We have also been telling the government to rehabilitate them, because they are supposedly “primitive.” So the tribal people are made to feel they are inferior,” Bose said. […]

Sadly, middle-class urban sensibilities are also being used to understand tribal way of life,” he said.

Source: Innovate to teach tribal culture to urban children: Filmmaker – Times of India, Feb 21, 2012
Address :
Date Visited: Mon Mar 05 2012 20:10:18 GMT+0100 (CET)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Reports in the Indian press | List of periodicals included in this search >>

Search tips

Combine the name of any particular state, language or region with that of any tribal (Adivasi) community.

Add keywords of special interest (health, nutrition endangered language, illegal mining, sacred grove); learn about the rights of Scheduled Tribes such as the “Forest Rights Act” (FRA); and the United Nations “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, “women’s rights”, or “children’s right to education”.

Specify any other issue or news item you want to learn more about (biodiversity, bonded labour and human trafficking, climate change, ecology, economic development, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, global warming, Himalayan tribe, hunter-gatherers in a particular region or state, prevention of rural poverty, water access).

For official figures include “scheduled tribe ST” along with a union state or region: e.g. “Chhattisgarh ST community”, “Scheduled tribe Tamil Nadu census”, “ST Kerala census”, “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group Jharkhand”, “PVTG Rajasthan”, “Adivasi ST Kerala”, “Adibasi ST West Bengal” etc.

In case the Google Custom Search window is not displayed here try the following: (1) toggle between “Reader” and regular viewing; (2) in your browser’s Security settings select “Enable JavaScript” | More tips >>

Watch “The Good Ancestor – The Legacies We Leave” (3 min.): An animation that explores the legacies we might leave for future generations >>

Links to some of the most important organisations, thinkers and doers that are leading the way and that have inspired the book The Good Ancestor by Roman Krznaric >>

See also

CBC Unreserved (Canada) radio space for indigenous community, culture, and conversation

Eco tourism | Tourism

eJournals, eBooks & reports

eLearning: Center for World Indigenous Studies

Gandhian social movement

Indigenous people are at the forefront of the struggle to save the planet

Internet Archive |

Journalism | Media portrayal

NGO | Organizations

People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) |

Storytelling | Success stories

Tribal/indigenous culture worldwide

Video resources – external


Tips for using interactive maps

Toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser

For details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)

Scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest

Explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>