“They do so not just for themselves but for the larger good of the country and the ecological health of the world”: In support of a syllabus reflecting Adivasi knowledge systems and ways of life

KISS is a boarding school exclusively for Adivasi children based in Bhubaneswar. Founder Achyuta Samanta is the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Lok Sabha MP from Kandhamal, Odisha. KISS houses about 30,000 girls and boys of different Adivasi communities from Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Assam and other states. […]

KISS calls itself the “first ever tribal university” of the world, without a faculty to speak of. Former director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati campus Virginius Xaxa, who headed a high-level committee on Tribals setup by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2014, says “it is a means to detribalize the Adivasi people and fill them with ideas and concepts that suits the current format of mainstream societal norms and ruling class”. The first and most important step in this direction is to uproot them from their villages and destabilize their cultural origins.” […]

Challenging the idea of KISS hosting the IUAES’s World Congress of Anthropology 2023, Adivasi leader Soni Sori from Bastar, Chhattisgarh, says: “Adivasis do not need an education to understand the rights over one’s own lands, forests and territories, which they imbibe growing up in their community itself. But when factory schools like KISS take children away from their homes and ecologies, they are consciously displacing children from their everyday realities, with a curriculum that teaches children to be ashamed of their community, its knowledge systems and ways of life. This makes Adivasi children unwilling to stand in defence of their lands and homes from all kinds of occupation, right from corporate takeovers to settler colonialism. I believe that when the Adivasis defend their homes and lands they do so not just for themselves but for the larger good of the country and the ecological health of the world.”

Source: “Adivasis Protest Awarding of World Congress of Anthropology 2023 to KISS (Forward Press, 23 July 2020)
URL: https://www.academia.edu/43929808/Adivasis_protest_awarding_of_World_Congress_of_Anthropology_2023_to_KISS_by_Goldy_George_Forward_Press
Date Visited: 28 November 2020

[T]he Kalinga Institute of Social Scien­ces (KISS), runs a school for tribal children, many of them from PVTG (parti­cularly vulnerable tribal groups), from across Orissa and beyond. “We provide them free education, besides food, lodging, clothes, medicine, study material, from KG to PG,” says KISS spokesperson Shradhanjali Nayak. […]

“I could not speak any language other than Bonda, my mother tongue, when I came here in 2006,” says Hadi Dhangdamajhi, a plus-two student of humanities at the school. “Today, I can speak, read and write in Oriya, Hindi and English.”

When Outlook reached the sprawling KISS campus in Bhubaneswar, it was lunch time. Thousands of children, some as young as five, stood neatly in queues, shining steel plates in hand, awaiting their turn to get into the giant dining hall that can accommodate 10,000 at a time. […]

Source: “A Kiss Of Life For Kalinga Kids” by Sandeep Sahu, Outlook Magazine, 14 December 2015
Address: http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/a-kiss-of-life-for-kalinga-kids/296022
Date Visited: 28 November 2020

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Backgrounder & image © Economic Times >>
  • Ekalavya* Residential School Scheme (EMR): a network of boarding schools where tribal children are to be educated in accordance with rules and syllabi provided by the government; such schools are being designated as “Eklavya Model Residential School (EMR)” with the objective of empowering students “to be change agent, beginning in their school, in their homes, in their village and finally in a large context.”
    https://tribal.gov.in/DivisionsFiles/sg/EMRSguidlines.pdf
  • Residential School and Ashram School
    In some regions there are similar “Residential Schools” and “Ashram Schools” for tribal children, as in Tripura where they are managed by a society called “Tripura Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TTWREIS)”
    https://twd.tripura.gov.in/tripura-tribal-welfare-residential-educational-institutions-society
  • Factory schools “exist to turn tribal and indigenous children – who have their own language and culture – into compliant workers-of-the-future. The world’s largest Factory School stated that it turns ‘Tax consumers into tax payers, liabilities into assets’.”– survivalinternational.org/factoryschools | Research this subject with the help of a Safe custom search engine >>

* Ekalavya (Eklavya, Eklabya): the name of a legendary archer prodigy “who, being a Nishada [Sanskrit Niṣāda, “tribal, hunter, mountaineer, degraded person, outcast”], had to give his thumb as a fee to the brahmin guru thus terminating his skill as an archer.” – Romila Thapar (“The epic of the Bharatas”) | Read the full paper here | Backup download link (pdf) >>

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Mahatma Gandhi interested in promoting the Adivasi culture – Adivasi Sanskriti Sangam in New Delhi

Gandhiji at Prayer Time, Parnakuti, Poona (1944) by Chittaprosad, the great advocate of the rights of workers and revolutionary artists. | Learn more in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” by Vinay Lal >>
Gandhian social movement | Constitution >>

The slogan today is no longer merely ‘Asia for the Asians’ or ‘Africa for the Africans’ but the unity of all the oppressed races of the earth.” – Mahatma Gandhi addressing two stalwarts of the struggle struggle in South Africa against apartheid), quoted by Vinay Lal in The Solidarity of Oppressed Peoples: A Tribute to E S Reddy, Anti-Apartheid Activist >>

The Hindu, New Delhi, November 22, 2011

To foster a better understanding of the unique lifestyle of tribal communities, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti is hosting a three-day cultural event of Adivasi communities at Gandhi Darshan opposite Raj Ghat here beginning this Wednesday.

To be attended by social activists, intelligentsia and tribals hailing from 18 States, “Adivasi Sanskriti Sangam” seeks to emphasis the point that Mahatma Gandhi was interested in promoting the Adivasi culture. And the event will also point out the fact that the simplicity that characterised Gandhiji’s life and his love for nature was similar to the Adivasi’s lifestyle. Besides a two-day cultural programme, the event features an exhibition of Adivasi crafts, “Jan Sansad” and an Adivasi march from Raj Ghat to GSDS. […]

“Close to the Gandhian world view, the event presents an alternative to the current consumerist culture. It will be an important opportunity to pay attention on present strife in tribal areas and listen to the Adivasi perspectives,” said GSDS Director Manimala at a press conference here on Monday.

Pointing out that the tribal areas of the country are passing through a difficult phase, Ms. Manimala said unbridled exploitation of natural resources and dispossession of the Adivasi communities from their natural assets and habitat has led to a long drawn strife and violence in these green and mountainous regions. “It is threatening the self-reliant and dignified lifestyle of the Adivasi communities whose co-habitation with nature has been unique all along.”

“During his life span, the Father of the Nation was aggrieved by the exploitation of tribal communities and tried his best to serve them. Sending Takkar Bappa, a social worker, to work for uplift of tribal people was a case in point,” said a senior representative from GSDS.

Since Independence, the lot of Adivasi has been exacerbating and it has now come to the stage when their identity is in danger. “So the event will give the voiceless tribal folks an opportunity to make their voice heard. […]

Source: The Hindu : NATIONAL / NEW DELHI : Bid to give voiceless tribals a chance to have themselves heard 22 November 2011
Address : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/article2648640.ece
Date Visited: 28 November 2020

More about Takkar Bappa and the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti >>

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Learn more about Jawaharlal Nehru’s “five principles” for the policy to be pursued vis-a-vis the tribals >>
Photo © Indian Express

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Revival of interest in aboriginal history: The “Khoe”, descendants of herders who introduced pottery 2000 years ago – Southern Africa

The name ‘Hottentot’, or its Afrikaans shortening ‘Hotnot’, became a disparaging term for people of colour at the Cape. Today we refer to the aboriginal herders of the Cape by the name they would have called themselves: Khoekhoen =’people people’ or ‘real people’ (non-gender specific plural). […]

In archaeological terms, the earliest herders in Southern Africa introduced sheep and pottery. […]

By 2000 years ago this early spouted pottery , known as Bambata, was widespread across Southern Africa from Northern Namibia to Limpopo Province of South Africa. Pottery and sheep moved rapidly southwards into the Vaal/Orange drainage, from whence they dispersed to the Western and Southern Cape, where the Khoekhoen were found historically by the first European travellers in the 15th century AD. Hunters, who were already living at the Cape speaking a /Xam language, lived alongside the herders who spoke a mutually unintelligible Khoe language (Nama, etc). The most prominent herder site is Kasteelberg which was occupied from about 1600-800 years ago. These people had large flocks of sheep, although a few cattle bones have also been found in levels dating to around 1000 years ago.

Small numbers of sheep bones have been found in earlier hunter sites, such as Die Kelders and Blombos (on the south coast), Witklip (near Vredenberg) and Spoegrivier (Namaqualand) as early as 2000 years ago. The assumption is that there were herders around at this time from whom the sheep came.

This model of pastoral expansion recognises that people who move camp frequently leave few material remains behind, often making them ‘invisible’ in the archaeological record. A good example of this is the historical information we have on the Khoekhoen at the Cape. […]

Khoekhoen quickly realised that the Dutch were not like previous visitors, and were setting a more permanent presence when they started building the Fort in 1652. The Khoekhoen fought two wars with the Dutch, and, had they persisted, they probably would have pushed them back into the sea. Unfortunately, they treated the Dutch like other Khoekhoen, and just stole their cattle, thinking that this would undermine their economy. They had no way of knowing the power behind the mercantile capital backing the Dutch up in Holland.

The Khoekhoen in the Southwestern Cape lost their grazing lands and slowly their herds were stolen by colonists and brigands taking advantage of instability. In 1713 a smallpox epidemic massively affected the Khoe at a time when the herds were taking strain from drought conditions and stock diseases. The Khoe around Table Bay never recovered from this. There were other instances of Khoe resistance to colonial repression in the 18th and 19th centuries, and attempts to maintain their cultural separation from the colony, but ultimately these also proved ineffectual. Many fled the colony to become refugees up-country, others became farm workers for the colonists, and intermarried with slaves.

This is the basis for the ‘Cape Coloured’ population, as the people were known under apartheid. Khoe descendants were unwilling to admit their lineage, as Khoekhoen were considered ‘primitive’ or ‘uncivilised’. A revival of interest in their own history was sparked in the 1980s and 90s among the people of Namaqualand who won a court case to prevent their common lands being broken up and falling into individual hands. They were also successful in negotiating grazing rights with Parks Board when the Richtersveld National Park was proposed. This new-found power and identity resulted in ‘Nama’ (both language and culture) having a cachet that was previously downplayed. Equally, the Griqua National Council has been pushing for Khoe recognition by the ANC-controlled government. No click language has been given status as an official language in South Africa (although Nama is recognised in Namibia). In land claims and restitution most Khoe descendants have been left behind because loss of land occurred before the cut-off date of 1913. This, however, has not stopped the people of the Richtersveld pushing their claim for compensation from the government-owned Alexcor Diamond mine (similar to what they receive from TransHex mining on the Orange River). So far the government has won the court battle, but the Khoe descendants may yet be able to establish their aboriginal title (as native people have done in Canada, Australia and NewZealand). […]

Professor Andrew B Smith, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa

Source: Where Have All The Hottentots Gone? The Archaeology And History Of The Khoekhoen
Address: http://realhistoryww.com/world_history/ancient/Misc/Data/khoi.htm
Date Visited: 28 November 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

The slogan today is no longer merely ‘Asia for the Asians’ or ‘Africa for the Africans’ but the unity of all the oppressed races of the earth.” – Mahatma Gandhi addressing two stalwarts of the struggle struggle in South Africa against apartheid), quoted by Vinay Lal in The Solidarity of Oppressed Peoples: A Tribute to E S Reddy, Anti-Apartheid Activist >>

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Tribal culture a living example of the Gandhian concept of trusteeship – Human Ecology by Lachman Khubchandani

Download this and related books on http://bhashaebooks.org >>

Tribal heritage needs to be respected on its own terms. It will be disastrous to aim at absorbing tribal communities into the ‘mainstream’. Nehru had forewarned us against following such ‘interventionist’ policies, ‘There is no point to make them a second-rate copy of ourselves’ […]

The tribal culture at its best provides a living example of the Gandhian concept of trusteeship […] In cross-cultural settings, individual and group relations among tribals are valued on trust rather than on dominance.

Source: Lachman Khubchandani in Indigenous Peoples: Responding to Human Ecology (pp. 14-15)

Indigenous Peoples: Responding to Human Ecology
Author : Lachman Khubchandani
Language : English
Publisher : Bhasha Centre and CIIL, 2009
Price : Rs 130/-
Pages : 130

Indigenous Peoples reflects on the current development crises in a framework of human ecology and discusses how Adivasis have responded. Indigenous Peoples explores the rubric of indigenous knowledge systems and discusses the issue of language endangerment in the context of politico-economic and technological patterns of modern societies. The book argues for re-assessment of development plans and strategies in the context of adivasi worldview.

Source: Bhasha Research and Publication Center : www.bhasharesearch.org.in
Address : http://bhashaebooks.org/Downloadbook.aspx?name=6
Date Visited: 27 November 2020

The slogan today is no longer merely ‘Asia for the Asians’ or ‘Africa for the Africans’ but the unity of all the oppressed races of the earth.” – Mahatma Gandhi addressing two stalwarts of the struggle struggle in South Africa against apartheid), quoted by Vinay Lal in The Solidarity of Oppressed Peoples: A Tribute to E S Reddy, Anti-Apartheid Activist >>

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India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

Source: States and Union Territories – About India
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Date visited: 16 April 2020

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“Health spending by the Indian government as percentage of GDP has long been one of the lowest for any major country, and the public health system is chronically dismal.” – Pranab Bardhan in “The two largest democracies in the world are the sickest now” | Learn more: Scroll.in, 24 August 2020 >>

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