ePub | Supreme Court – India a country of old immigrants, tribals’ higher level of ethics

India, largely a country of immigrants

Excerpts from the Supreme Court judgment –  the full text is available at www.thehindu.com >>

Photo © The Hindu

A Supreme Court judgment projects the historical thesis that India is largely a country of old immigrants and that pre-Dravidian aborigines, ancestors of the present Adivasis, rather than Dravidians, were the original inhabitants of India.

If North America is predominantly made up of new immigrants, India is largely a country of old immigrants, which explains its tremendous diversity. It follows that tolerance and equal respect for all communities and sects are an absolute imperative if we wish to keep India united. If it was believed at one time that Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India, that view has since been considerably modified. Now the generally accepted belief is that the pre-Dravidian aborigines, that is, the ancestors of the present tribals or Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), were the original inhabitants. This is the thesis put forward in a judgment delivered on January 5, 2011 by a Supreme Court of India Bench comprising Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra. This historical disquisition came in Criminal Appeal No. 11 of 2011, arising out of Special Leave Petition No. 10367 of 2010 in Kailas & Others versus State of Maharashtra TR. Taluka P.S

The appeal was filed against a judgment and order passed by the Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court Bench saw in the appeal a typical instance of how many Indians treat the Scheduled Tribes, or Adivasis. The case related to Nandabai, 25, belonging to the Bhil tribe, a Scheduled Tribe in Maharashtra. […]

The Bhils are probably the descendants of some of the original inhabitants of India known as the ‘aborigines’ or Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis), who now comprise only about eight per cent of the population of India. The rest, 92 per cent, consists of descendants of immigrants. Thus India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America.

While North America (USA and Canada) has new immigrants who came mainly from Europe over the last four or five centuries, India is a country of old immigrants in which people have been coming in over the last ten thousand years or so. Probably about 92 per cent of the people living in India today are descendants of immigrants, who came mainly from the North-West, and to a lesser extent from the North-East. Since this is a point of great importance for the understanding of our country, it is necessary to go into it in some detail.

People migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas. This is natural because everyone wants to live in comfort. Before the coming of modern industry there were agricultural societies everywhere, and India was a paradise for these because agriculture requires level land, fertile soil, plenty of water for irrigation and so on, which were in abundance in India. […]

India was a veritable paradise for pastoral and agricultural societies because it has level and fertile land, with hundreds of rivers, forests, etc., and is rich in natural resources. Hence for thousands of years people kept pouring into India because they found a comfortable life here in a country which was gifted by nature. […]

Who were the original inhabitants of India? At one time it was believed that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants. However, this view has been considerably modified subsequently, and now the generally accepted belief is that the original inhabitants of India were the pre-Dravidian aborigines, that is, the ancestors of the present tribals or Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes).

The Cambridge History of India (Volume I), Ancient India, says:

“It must be remembered, however, that, when the term ‘Dravidian’ is thus used ethnographically, it is nothing more than a convenient label. It must not be assumed that the speakers of the Dravidian languages are aborigines. In Southern India, as in the North, the same general distinction exists between the more primitive tribes of the hills and jungles and the civilised inhabitants of the fertile tracts; and some ethnologists hold that the difference is racial and not merely the result of culture. […]

“The theory that the Dravidian element is the most ancient which we can discover in the population of Northern India, must also be modified by what we now know of the Munda languages, the Indian representatives of the Austric family of speech, and the mixed languages in which their influence has been traced. Here, according to the evidence now available, it would seem that the Austric element is the oldest, and that it has been overlaid in different regions by successive waves of Dravidian and Indo-European on the one hand, and by Tibeto-Chinese on the other…

“At the same time, there can be little doubt that Dravidian languages were actually flourishing in the western regions of Northern India at the period when languages of the Indo-European type were introduced by the Aryan invasions from the north-west. Dravidian characteristics have been traced alike in Vedic and Classical Sanskrit, in the Prakrits, or early popular dialects, and in the modern vernaculars derived from them. The linguistic strata would thus appear to be arranged in the order-Austric, Dravidian, Indo-European.

“There is good ground, then, for supposing that, before the coming of the Indo-Aryans speakers the Dravidian languages predominated both in Northern and in Southern India; but, as we have seen, older elements are discoverable in the populations of both regions, and therefore the assumption that the Dravidians are aboriginal is no longer tenable. Is there any evidence to show whence they came into India?

“No theory of their origin can be maintained which does not account for the existence of Brahui, the large island of Dravidian speech in the mountainous regions of distant Baluchistan which lie near the western routes into India. […]

Thus the generally accepted view now is that the original inhabitants of India were not the Dravidians but the pre-Dravidian Munda aborigines whose descendants now live in parts of Chotanagpur (Jharkhand), Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, etc., the Todas of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, the tribals in the Andaman Islands, the Adivasis in various parts of India (especially in the forests and hills), for example the Gonds, Santhals, Bhils, etc.

These facts lend support to the view that about 92 per cent of the people living in India are descendants of immigrants (though more research is required).

It is for this reason that there is such tremendous diversity in India. This diversity is a significant feature of our country, and the only way to explain it is to accept that India is largely a country of immigrants.

There are a large number of religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, cultures etc., in our country, which is due to the fact that India is a country of immigrants. Somebody is tall, somebody is short, some are dark, some are fair complexioned, with all kinds of shades in between, someone has Caucasian features, someone has Mongoloid features, someone has Negroid features, etc. There are differences in dress, food habits and various other matters. […]

Since India is a country of great diversity, it is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and equal respect for all communities and sects. It was due to the wisdom of our founding fathers that we have a Constitution which is secular in character, and which caters to the tremendous diversity in our country.

Thus it is the Constitution of India which is keeping us together despite all our tremendous diversity, because the Constitution gives equal respect to all communities, sects, lingual and ethnic groups, etc. The Constitution guarantees to all citizens freedom of speech (Article 19), freedom of religion (Article 25), equality (Articles 14 to 17), liberty (Article 21), etc.

However, giving formal equality to all groups or communities in India would not result in genuine equality. The historically disadvantaged groups must be given special protection and help so that they can be uplifted from their poverty and low social status. It is for this reason that special provisions have been made in our Constitution in Articles 15(4), 15(5), 16(4), 16(4A), 46, etc., for the uplift of these groups. Among these disadvantaged groups, the most disadvantaged and marginalised in India are the Adivasis (STs), who, as already mentioned, are the descendants of the original inhabitants of India, and are the most marginalised and living in terrible poverty with high rates of illiteracy, disease, early mortality etc. Their plight has been described by this Court in Samatha vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. (AIR 1997 SC 3297, Para 12 to 15). Hence, it is the duty of all people who love our country to see that no harm is done to the Scheduled Tribes and that they are given all help to bring them up in their economic and social status, since they have been victimised for thousands of years by terrible oppression and atrocities. The mentality of our countrymen towards these tribals must change, and they must be given the respect they deserve as the original inhabitants of India.

The bravery of the Bhils was accepted by that great Indian warrior Rana Pratap, who held a high opinion of Bhils as part of his army.

The injustice done to the tribal people of India is a shameful chapter in our country’s history. The tribals were called ‘rakshas’ (demons), ‘asuras’, and what not. They were slaughtered in large numbers, and the survivors and their descendants were degraded, humiliated, and all kinds of atrocities inflicted on them for centuries. They were deprived of their lands, and pushed into forests and hills where they eke out a miserable existence of poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. And now efforts are being made by some people to deprive them even of their forest and hill land where they are living, and the forest produce on which they survive. […]

Despite this horrible oppression on them, the tribals of India have generally (though not invariably) retained a higher level of ethics than the non-tribals. They normally do not cheat or tell lies, or commit other misdeeds, which many non-tribals do. They are generally superior in character to non-tribals.

It is time now to undo the historical injustice to them. […]

Source: Supreme Court judgment quoted in “India, largely a country of immigrants”, The Hindu (Comment), January 12, 2011
Address : https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article1081343.ece
Date Visited: 11 July 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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In 1871, the British passed the “Criminal Tribes Act.” It notified about 150 tribes around India as criminal, giving the police wide powers to arrest them and monitor their movements. The effect of this law was simple: just being born into one of those 150 tribes made you a criminal. –  Vicious cycle by Dilip D’Souza | Read the full article in the Folio special issue of the Hindu “Adivasi >>


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Posted in Accountability, Adivasi, Assimilation, Constitution and Supreme Court, De- and re-tribalisation, ePub, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Names and communities, PDF printfriendly, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Resources, Rural poverty, Tribal culture worldwide | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on ePub | Supreme Court – India a country of old immigrants, tribals’ higher level of ethics

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

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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 >>

Posted in Audio resources - external, Bastar, Central region, Colonial policies, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, Eastern region, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, ePub, Ethnobotany, Fashion and design, Film, Gadchiroli, Games and leisure time, Health and nutrition, History, Homes and utensils, Languages and linguistic heritage, Maps, Misconceptions, Multi-lingual education, Museum collections - India, Names and communities, Narmada, Nature and wildlife, Northern region, PDF printfriendly, Performing arts, Photos and slideshows, Puppetry, Resources, Sacred grove, Seasons and festivals, Seven Sister States, Southern region, Storytelling, Success story, Tips, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Video contents, Video resources - external, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Western region, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Resources for the classroom: Learning from and about India’s tribal communities, their culture and knowledge systems

“Tribal communities are a standing example” – National workshop highlights the role of tribal women in the preservation of eco historic cultural heritage in India

A. Shrikumar, The Hindu, Madurai, January 27, 2017 | To read the full article, click here >>

Mari Marcel Thekaekara, writer and Co-founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris says the tribal communities are a standing example of how women play a major role in preservation of eco historic cultural heritage in India

“Once, I was walking with this young tribal girl through the forest and we stumbled upon a tuber. She plucked it, cut the eye of the tuber and buried it in the mud before taking it to be cooked. I asked her why she did so and she replied ‘If I don’t put it back, how will it grow again?’ and that moment made me realise how sensitive tribals are towards environment and nature. For them, putting back what they take is inherent in their culture and lifestyle,” says Mari Marcel Thekaekara, who has been running ACCORD (Action for Community Organisation, Rehabilitation and Development), an NGO that works for the Adivasis in the Nilgiris for the past three decades.
Mari believes that the hunter gatherer tribal communities have big lessons for the modern society. “Hills and forests are considered the gods and there’s no better demonstration of ecological sensitivity. They have lots to offer to the modern society.” Tribals have always had a great deal of dignity, observes Mari. “They have never been subjected to casteism and hence dignity is something important for them. But they face the challenge of facing the modern world on a daily basis and feeling the need to belong to,” she adds.

Through ACCORD, Mari and her husband Stan along with few like-minded friends have been working on the education and health aspects of the tribal communities. “We started off helping them get social justice as we felt that there were various kinds of exploitation on them. We persuaded them to retain the land as a lot of their culture and practices are wrapped up with the land, thus making them wear the tribal identity with pride.” That’s how Adivasi Munnetra Sangams were formed in tribal villages, facilitating a platform for them to address issues concerning the community.

Tribals exhibit an unbelievable level of understanding of a debatable subject like man-animal conflict especially with regards to elephants in the Nilgiris, observes Mari. “People have been killed by elephants and yet tribals do believe that the land belongs to the animals as well. They understand this much more than anybody else and this is no romanticising the issue.” She recalls how an elephant once strayed into the tribal hospital and one of the Irula Youths cut his banana plants and took them to the forest in order to give some food to the elephant and thus leading the animal away from the hospital. “So gracefully he parted some of his share with the jumbo. Such kind of a deeper empathy is rare to come by from non-tribals.” […]

Women carry the wisdom, recipes and beliefs of grannies. They carry the knowledge of what’s health and the starting point of a family’s health is the kitchen.” […]

“Unequal burden of environmental degradation is placed on women. They are the ones who fetch the water and firewood, sow the seeds and saplings. They bear the cost of it but still excluded from the benefits of development. M.S. Swaminathan once said that if it were the men who carried water from far away to the houses, then every house would have had water by now.” As a human rights activist, Mari has written a book titled Endless Filth on the community that cleans toilets. […]

“Women have profound traditional and contemporary knowledge about the natural world around them and hence there’s a necessity to make policies mindful of the connection between environment and gender,” she says. “And that’s why it’s largely in the hands of women to sensitise our children towards the ecological heritage. Big changes always begin with small steps and the right place is always the home.”
Mari Marcel Thakarkara addressed the students of Lady Doak College, Madurai, as part of a two-day national workshop on Networking on Ecohistoric and Cultural Heritage of India.

Source: Writer Mari Marcel Thekaekara says the tribal communities are a standing example of how women play a major role in preservation of eco historic cultural heritage in India – The Hindu
Address: https://www.thehindu.com/society/A-messenger-from-the-mountains/article17102329.ece
Date Visited: 13 July 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“The country can learn much from the beauty of Adivasi social practices, their culture of sharing and respect for all” –  M S Swaminathan

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” >>

adivasi_folio2000_index_screen
ADIVASI Download the complete Folio issue as a single file (PDF, 969 KB) >>

Articles and authors

  1. Rethinking tribals by GN Devy
  2. Call us adivasis, please by Gail Omvedt
  3. A society in transition by Suresh Sharma
  4. To be governed or to self-govern by Smitu Kothari
  5. Strong sense of self and place by Amita Baviskar
  6. Dishonoured by history by Meena Radhakrishna
  7. Curators of biodiversity by KK Chakravarthy
  8. Treading lightly on earth by Ashish Kothari
  9. A symbiotic bond by Mari Thekaekara and Stan Thekaekara
  10. Vicious cycle by Dilip D’Souza
  11. A better quality of life? by Roopa Devadasan and N Devadasan
  12. A history of alienation by Pankaj Sekhsaria
  13. Cultural expressions by Jaya Jaitly
  14. Through Adivasi eyes by Mari Thekaekara and Stan Thekaekara
  15. A Toda friend by S Anandalakshmy

Source: Folio (Special issue with the Sunday Magazine): ADIVASI: JULY 16, 2000 from the publishers of THE HINDU
Address: http://www.hindu.com/folio/fo0007/fo000700.htm
Date Visited: 15 March 2018 (discontinued since)

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

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Posted in Adivasi, Childhood and children, Commentary, Community facilities, Cultural heritage, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Elephant, History, Maps, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Organizations, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Seasons and festivals, Southern region, Storytelling, Success story, Tribal elders, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on “Tribal communities are a standing example” – National workshop highlights the role of tribal women in the preservation of eco historic cultural heritage in India

Santal volunteers’ Corona awareness programme: Following guidelines recommended by the WHO – West Bengal

Volunteers prepare Santal communities in Bishnubati and Ghosaldanga for the Corona pandemic in accordance with guidelines recommended by the WHO – report and photos courtesy Dr. Boro Baski
Village youth are distributing soap to the families and sanitizing the village roads and tube well areas with bleaching powder.
Our organization is working to curb the threat of Corona among the villagers by explaining the importance of social distancing and sanitization.
The villagers are getting conscious about the danger of the virus and all are supporting the awareness drive.

World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public >>

Listen to Song of Corona II | Boro Baski
This is an attempt to connect the community in these difficult times of so-called “social distancing” through a Santali song in traditional tune. We believe that celebrating our collective memory of love, pain, despair and struggles in life will act as a remedy in any crisis situation, even in the present one. Let’s march on this journey with solidarity and brotherhood. Johar! | Learn more >>

More posts contributed by Dr. Boro Baski >>

For inquiries on Santal cultural and educational programs, please contact
Dr. Boro Baski
email: borobaski@gmail.com 
M: 094323 57160

Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust
Registration under Trust Registration Act 1982
P.O. Sattore, Dist. Birbhum
West Bengal-731 236
India

Photo and video recommendation: a voice from rural India worth being heard

Whether you plan a visit or seek to learn more about India’s rural life – perhaps inspired by the Gandhian social movement or Rabindranath Tagore – explore “a living journal, a breathing archive” in the Adivasi category of PARI: the People’s Archive of Rural India initiated by distinguished photo journalist-turned-activist P. Sainath, continually enriched by stories from all over India.

More posts about his work are also found on this website including this one:

“Cover Your Country” by PARI: Rural people speak about their lives through photos, narratives, film, and audio materials >>

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“We are nothing without the forest, and the forest is nothing without us”: Kattunayakans in the Nilgiris, one of the last few remaining honey gathering communities of the world – Tamil Nadu

Courtesy story and images Priyashri Mani © Accord Gudalur 2013
Read the full story >>

Living in the Nilgiris, the Kattunayakans are one of the last few remaining honey gathering communities of the world. Over many generations they have mastered the skills required to tap honey and they take great pride in their knowledge and expertise. For the tribal community, honey gathering is of social, cultural, economic and spiritual relevance. […] 

In 2006, the Indian State passed the Forest Rights Act, which for the first time recognised the rights of forest dwelling people on their own land. The Act makes concrete provisions to allow adivasis to enter the forest and continue using forest produce, on which they have depended for generations. However despite this, even today, adivasis are terrorized and harassed by forest officials.

Pictures from a shadow puppet show about the Forest Rights Act, performed in Gudalur by young adivasis

The Tribal communities have been warned of having a legal case slapped against them, apart from being beaten, if they try to venture into the forest in search of honey. Moreover, the authorities have installed wireless surveillance cameras in the forest (originally to track animal movement in the reserve area), which they are using to victimise tribals that wander into the forest in search of bamboo, fire wood, honey and other forest produce.

The conflict is most clearly visible in the language used by officials. Officers and forest guards constantly make references to ‘our beat, our range, and our forest’. As one adivasi poignantly puts it, ‘You ask the Forest Ranger where his house is, he will answer “Palakkad or Madras”, you ask any of us where our home is and we will reply “the forest”’. […]

Pictures from a shadow puppet show about the Forest Rights Act, performed in Gudalur by young adivasis

The Tribal communities have been warned of having a legal case slapped against them, apart from being beaten, if they try to venture into the forest in search of honey. Moreover, the authorities have installed wireless surveillance cameras in the forest (originally to track animal movement in the reserve area), which they are using to victimise tribals that wander into the forest in search of bamboo, fire wood, honey and other forest produce.

The conflict is most clearly visible in the language used by officials. Officers and forest guards constantly make references to ‘our beat, our range, and our forest’. As one adivasi poignantly puts it, ‘You ask the Forest Ranger where his house is, he will answer “Palakkad or Madras”, you ask any of us where our home is and we will reply “the forest”’. […]

The performance in three adivasi languages Paniya, Bettakurumba and Kattunayakan roused discussion about the Forest Rights Act within the community

With access into the forest increasingly becoming a tussle with the authorities, livelihoods and lifestyles are slowly but permanently being altered. For instance, the basket that was once woven in bamboo that was collected from the forest is now being replaced by plastic ones bought from the market. Communities that till recently depended only minimally on money, are now gradually being sucked into the global economy in more ways than one. […]

With their lives in the forest being steadily pulled away from under their feet, communities like the Kattunayakans are losing their sense of culture and meaning. Without the ritual of tapping honey, a rich history of song and dance associated with the practice will have no place in their lives. Perhaps it is okay for some traditions to be left behind, but surely this is a decision that must consciously be taken by the Kattunayakans themselves, rather than by the Forest department official. Will the authorities ever understand Bommi from Chembakolli village when she says “We are nothing without the forest, and the forest is nothing without us”….

Priya, along with three young adivasi girls, works on a cultural revival project for indigenous communities in the Gudalur valley of the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

Source: Home is where the forest is….. | At the Edge of Existence
Address : https://cultureandconservation.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/home-is-where-the-forest-is/
12 July 2020

The Food Book of four communities in the Nilgiri mountains >>

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

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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 >>

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  4. explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>
Posted in Adivasi, Assimilation, Bees and honey, Childhood and children, Customs, De- and re-tribalisation, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Globalization, Government of India, Health and nutrition, Homes and utensils, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Puppetry, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Southern region, Storytelling, Tribal elders, Tribal identity, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , | Comments Off on “We are nothing without the forest, and the forest is nothing without us”: Kattunayakans in the Nilgiris, one of the last few remaining honey gathering communities of the world – Tamil Nadu

Video | Ancestors, social values and clan practices: Cultural identity transmitted through the weaves of the North-East – Seven Sister States

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Folklore, myths and handloom

Hidden within the colour, weave and design of tribal textiles are many legends

If you were to look beyond the visible landscape of a weave, you would find myriad stories hidden in the colours and designs—tales about human creation, magical deities and kindred forest spirits. These patterns offer tangible evidence of legends that have been passed down orally in each tribe over centuries. It makes them truly significant in the study of the region’s sociocultural fabric. […]

Today, the dual onslaught of commercialization and urbanization, means that weavers are being forced to churn out designs which cater to the demands of the market, rather than those which focus on their folk traditions. “However, there is now a growing movement to preserve indigenous identity, and some serious attempts are being made to revive age-old customs, rites and stories by a conscious few within society,” says Ramona Sangma, a professor of English at the North-Eastern Hill University who has presented papers on the link between folklore and weaving in the Garo tribe. Today, folklorists, anthropologists and sociocultural experts have intensified efforts to trace the imprints of myths, legends, ballads, songs and folk narratives in the weaves of the North-East.

Each pattern is a little capsule of information—containing tales of ancestors, social values, clan practices, and more. Sangma cites the example of the dakmanda, a modern Garo wrap. […]

It has also been observed that the one thing common to most weaves and motifs is the role of women as creators. “When I was the co-chairperson of the working group in handloom sector for the 12th Five-Year Plan, our research revealed that 80% of the weaving was done by women,” says textile historian Jasleen Dhamija. It is their hand that shapes the folk narrative in each weave—from the birthing garments to the shrouds of death. “When women from the household would work at the loom, their designs would emerge from their world view, understanding of oral traditions, folktales, the surrounding sacred groves, and more,” says Meeta Deka, professor and former head, department of history, at Gauhati University, Assam. […]

Within some communities, designs are also markers of age and marital status. For instance, Wekoweu Tsuhah, programme manager of the North East Network, a women’s rights organization, cites the example of the mahapulu, meant only for unmarried girls. “Married women wear a different pattern. This style features a different colour for women of different ages—young married girls, middle-aged women, old ladies, widows, et cetera,” says Tsuhah, who is based in Chizami village, Nagaland, and works with the weavers there. Many of the Chizami weave designs are abstracts and inspired by symbols, signs and everyday lives. […]

Source: Avantika Bhuyan, Livemint, 1 December 2017 | Read the full report here >>
URL: https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/FR23TDZqwz1hDYOlB5mRSN/Folklore-myths-and-handloom.html
Date Accessed: 11 July 2020

Photo © Indian Express >>

Kallol Dey, Indian Express, January 7, 2018 | To read the full report and view more photos, click here >>

“Guide me through the day, show me the way as I begin another day”. Yose Chaya begins his day with this simple prayer. “God is watching over us and knows everything. We do not have to say lengthy prayers, like the Christians,” he quips. 73-year-old Chaya, the muscular physique belying his age, is one of the elders of Viswema, a southern Angami village 22 kilometres south of Kohima, bound on the west by the pristine and famed Dzukoü Valley. Contrary to popular belief that all Angami Nagas are Christians, Chaya is one of the few in Viswema who has not converted to Christianity. […]

Dr. Easterine Kire, who is a fifth generation Angami Naga Christian says that “Nagas, particularly Angamis do not see Christianity as an alien religion as Christianity is now in the fifth generation.” Naga Christianity is highly nativised, Kire categorically states, “in the sense that it has adapted to the Naga way of understanding things and applying them.”

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/nagaland/in-christian-nagaland-indigenous-religion-of-pre-christian-nagas-withstand-test-of-time-5010777/ |

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Related posts

  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Assam
  3. Manipur
  4. Meghalaya
  5. Mizoram
  6. Nagaland
  7. Tripura
  8. Sikkim
Posted in Anthropology, Community facilities, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Customs, Dress and ornaments, Economy and development, Fashion and design, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Maps, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Sacred grove, Seven Sister States, Social conventions, Storytelling, Success story, Tribal elders, Tribal identity, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Video | Ancestors, social values and clan practices: Cultural identity transmitted through the weaves of the North-East – Seven Sister States

Khasi, Garo and Jaintia communities are “models for sustainability in the future”: Report and recommendations on ways to counter deforestation – Meghalaya

Deforestation in Garo Hills and its impactRead the full article here >>

Abstract

The state was declared a full-fledged state of the Indian Union on January 21, 1972. The state of Meghalaya comprises Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills. The scheduled tribe populations (mainly belonging to khasi, Jaintia and Garo tribes) constitute 85.53% of the total population. The Garos inhabit western Meghalaya, the Khasis central Meghalaya and the Jaintias eastern Meghalaya. This topic will be confirmed to the issue of deforestation which is considering as the major cause of degradation of environment in Meghalaya especially in East Garo Hills district. For our study we will consider both primary as well as secondary data. This research topic will deal with the objectives like, causes of deforestation, its impact on eco-system, effect on socio-economic condition, implementation of Government policies etc. […]

It has been observed that,the area under forest has been decreasing at a faster rate in the Garo Hills due to many special reasons. The shifting cultivation is one behind it, for which there is a decrease in primary productivity of natural, agro-ecosystems, loss in fertility, soil etc. […]

The previous cool weather is now transforming to hotter and hotter day by day, mainly due to deforestation and it is carrying some disease to the people. […]

According to Garos tradition they came originally from Tibet and after wandering long time in North Bengal and Brahmaputra valley they finally settled down in Garo Hills. They entered to the Garo Hills under the leadership of Abong-Naga and his wife Silme-Doka and first settled at Nokrek peak, after which, they scattered to the different parts of Garo Hills to earn their livelihood from agriculture and its allied activities. Now at present there are five Garo clans, namely, Sangma, Shira, Momin, Marak and Arengh; where each clan having anumber of sub-clans. The Garo people have been practicing matrilineal form of society. […]

Economic base

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Meghalaya. The Garos practice shifting (jhum) cultivation. They are also good fishermen but indifferent hunters. The Hajongs however, do not practice ‘shifting’ cultivation. The Khasi have fourmain types of land uses.(1) the forest land for jhum cultivation (2) wet paddy land (3) high grass land and (4) homestead land which is situated close to their courtyard. […]

The cash crop economy: The cash crop economy is an integral part of Third World “Development and a major cause of deforestation. The best land is taken to earn export income, which is very often used to pay the foreign debt. Farmers are forced onto marginal lands, resulting in deforestation, land degradation and poverty. In Garo hills this condition is occurring for rubber plantation, orange garden, battle nut garden etc. […]

Education is one of the most effective catalysts for change. Society should undertake to educate the people of today to change their ways and the younger generations to have respect for nature. In forest regions, the young people should receive knowledge about the biological, social and economic values of forests. Workers should be taught to use technology to enhance forest ecosystems instead of destroying them and for reforestation and afforestation projects. If humans are able to see themselves as part of nature, they will also respect forests as living communities, not just resources to be exploited. There are indigenous people who have lived in the forests for a long time. They have managed to use the forests sustainably while practicing shifting cultivation or hunting and gathering. Some of them still live in relative isolation in the forests. Human kind should protect their rights and preserve their cultures. They should be models for sustainability in the future. Indigenous people can show us what forest products to use and how to use them properly. They deserve to continue theirways of life.

Source: Manoj Kumar Hazarika in “Deforestation in Garo Hills and its impact” The Echo (An Online Journal of Humanities & Social Science), Volume I, Issue IV, April 2013, Dept. of Bengali, Karimganj College, Karimganj, Assam
URL : https://www.thecho.in/files/Deforestation-in-Garo-Hills-and-its-impact.pdf
Date Visited: 11 July 2020

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Posted in Accountability, Anthropology, Community facilities, Customs, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Literature and bibliographies, Maps, Modernity, Names and communities, PDF printfriendly, Quotes, Seven Sister States, Topics and issues | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Khasi, Garo and Jaintia communities are “models for sustainability in the future”: Report and recommendations on ways to counter deforestation – Meghalaya