eLearning | “Conserving Tradition and Practices of Adivasi Communities in India”: National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and the Tribal Academy of Bhasha Research – Gujarat

Adivasis or as the name translates in the Sanskrit language, “natural inhabitants” of India, have a co-existential relationship with nature. We know forests are sacred to the Adivasis community. They associate their existence with land. This is not only because agriculture is their primary profession, but also they think of nature as their “mother” i.e. a divine entity. The land is their pride. Adivasis have mostly resided within or around the periphery of jungles. This can be seen by their dominance in forest-covered areas of Central India. Adivasis do not live a resource- intensive life, hence they do not depend on mining for their needs. Adivasi people are unfortunately referred to as primitive beings. But they are one of the few communities who have lived during every stage of Indian history. […]

Speakers: Madan Meenaji (Honorary Director, Tribal Academy of Bhasa Research & Publication Centre (Tejgadh – Gujarat) & Vasant Rathwa (Academic Coordinator, Tribal Academy of Bhasa Research & Publication Centre (Tejgadh – Gujarat)

Key Takeaways:

  • Culture and tradition play a big role in the development of any community. This is especially true of marginalized rural communities such as India’s Adivasi tribes.
  • The farming practices of tribal people are truly sustainable in many ways. Their subsistence life style, local diet habits and dependence on rainfed irrigation have influenced them to cultivate and conserve the traditional cultivars or land races. The tribal communities practice a unique method of farming, known as the mixed cropping system in limited areas depending on monsoon rain.
  • Cultural diversity in terms of ethnic groups gives us knowledge on the value of plant resources. The knowledge of ethnic groups on the cultural, spiritual, social and economic values of plants can be of immense use to the entire humankind. It can provide many valuable genes for developing the crop plants that are extensively cultivated today. It can equip the humankind with several new chemicals for combating many human ailments.
  • Tribal areas located deep inside the forest areas were selected to ensure less contact with the so called civilized society. Reconnaissance surveys were done to select tribal communities and hamlets in order to work with people who still practice forest depended lifestyles, living in rich forests.
  • Medicinal properties of plants have been recognized and practiced by tribal communities as a tradition for thousands of years. Knowledge on some common medicinal plants of their locality is available with all the members of the community. However, the elderly members possess a great deal of knowledge of medicinal plants as well as on medicines for curing certain life threatening diseases. Tribal people use plants solely or in combination.

Source: Online Webinar Programme on “Conserving Tradition and Practices of Adivasi Communities in India” jointly organized by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) and the Tribal Academy of Bhasha Research on 14 October 2021,
URL: https://nidm.gov.in/pdf/trgReports/2021/October/Report_14October2021sg.pdf
Date Visited: 5 March 2023

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See also

Adverse inclusion | Casteism | Rural poverty


Crafts and visual arts

Demographic Status of Scheduled Tribe Population of India (Census figures 2011)

Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes – Report and Recommendations (Technical Advisory Group)

Fact checking | Figures, census and other statistics

Human Rights Commission (posts) | www.nhrc.nic.in (Government of India)

Imprisonment & rehabilitation

Search tips | Names of tribal communities, regions and states of India

State wise population of Scheduled Tribes (ST) and their percentage to the total population in the respective states and to the total STs population

“What are the Rights of Scheduled Tribes? – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)

“What is the Forest Rights Act about?” – Campaign for Survival and Dignity

“Who are Scheduled Tribes?” – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)

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