Elwin’s ‘tribal’ world – 28 poems in English inspired by tribal India

Learn more about Verrier Elwin: Author and educator known for his work with the tribes of India >>

Verrier Elwin, the anthropologist and Indologist who lived in Shillong, wrote a collection of 28 poems which was recently unearthed, and published by North East Zonal Cultural Centre (NEZCC), Government of India.

The anthropologist, who was not trained, was also an innate poet. Having majored in English literature, Elwin perhaps rediscovered poetry in the hills and plains of rural, tribal India. His cosmology was the tribal world, which he could translate into lyrical, rhymed poetry.

If you are looking for cerebral poetry, you will not get it here, but if you are looking for a de-personalised myth and the world of tribal folk, then Elwin gives us more than an insight into the deeply-felt sensitive world of the common man or woman, in deep intimacy with nature, his/her tramped world and a divine cosmos. […]

Elwin’s poetry merges with his prose, his life with his times, his sensitivities with the people he worked for, the people for whom he lived his life; whether be it in Bustar, or in the hilly terrain of northeastern India.

Reading these poems was not only an electrifying experience but identification of self with the spirit.

Publisher: North East Zonal Cultural Centre
Price: Rs 150

Source: Elwin’s ‘tribal’ world by ANANYA S. GUHA, The Telegraph, 2 March 2012
URL: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1120302/jsp/northeast/story_15193224.jsp#.T8somL81Efm
Date Visited: 20 April 2020

To find publications released by Indian publishers and government institutions, type “tribal cultural” in the search field seen below; or combine the name of a person, tribal community (e.g. “Gond”, “Santal”, “Santhal”, “Warli”) with that of an Indian State or Union Territory (e.g. “Andaman”, “Tripura”, “Telangana tribal”, “Kerala Adivasi children nutrition”). Likewise, search for a particular region (e.g. “Bastar”, “Northeast India tribe”) in combination with any subject of special interest (e.g. “Warli painting”, “Gond music”, “Bhil language”).

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