Steps to protect the dignity and self-respect of the Bonda tribes – Odisha (Orissa)

Santosh Patnaik, The Hindu, ONUKUDELLI, February 25, 2012

[…] A `human safari’ controversy over semi-nude dances by members of one of the most primitive tribal groups in Odisha’s Malkangiri district had recently led to an undeclared ban being imposed on the entry of outsiders into the tribal hamlets.

The Odisha government had acted after advertisements on the Internet by certain travel operators offering to display Bonda tribal people had come to the attention of the authorities. The offer involved entertainment for the tourists provided by tribals, scantily-clad and sporting heavily beaded and thick silver necklace bands.

Following a local media furore in December 2011, Additional Secretary, Panchayati Raj, Usha Padhee, IAS, had been asked by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to conduct an enquiry. Her report is believed to have recommended steps to protect the dignity and self-respect of the Bonda tribes; it has not been made public. Highly placed officials, however, told The Hindu that there were instructions from the Chief Minister’s office not to allow tourist groups into tribal villages.

It was only recently that a public outcry was caused by video footage on a nude dance by Jarawa tribes in the Andamans archipelago. […]

“I was very disturbed at the sight of the primitive tribespeople being made into beggars. This is not a good trend,” said Dr. Susan Horsewood. She said she was shocked at the news of alleged human safari of Bondas.

Malkangiri Collector Balwant Singh said the administration had taken several initiatives to protect the culture of Bondas and bring about improvement in their socio-economic conditions. Most of them live in sub-human conditions on hilltops.

According to Census 2011, the Bonda tribe has a population of less than 12,000, and they are not a dwindling tribe.

Source: The Hindu : States / Other States : Voyeuristic tribal tourism continues in Odisha
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Date Visited: Tue Mar 20 2012 19:28:44 GMT+0100 (CET)


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