Video | Environmentalism of the poor: “Ecological issues are not a matter of luxury, but a matter of survival” – Centre for Science and Environment – Delhi

D+C Development and Cooperation e-Paper >>
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Environmentalism of the poor

By Sunita Narain

For many disadvantaged communities in developing countries, ecological issues are not a matter of luxury, but a matter of survival. In India, protests and social movements are expressing these worries.

All over India today, protests are staged against infrastructure projects and what is generally considered “development”. […]

It would be a bit far fetched to call the Naxalite insurgency in central Indian forest regions an environmental conflict. But it does have a strong environmental dimension since the Maoist militias mostly rely on taking advantage of rural people and forest dwellers whose traditional livelihoods are under threat by what state governments and the national government plan and allow in the name of development: mining and other changes of land use.

Today, protests are happening in many places. In fact, it would be correct to say that practically all infrastructure projects and new industrial schemes are under attack from communities who fear loss of livelihoods. These communities are at the forefront of India’s environmental movement. They are its most determined activists. […]

The truth is that development projects are using local resources – minerals, water, land. But they do not provide employment to compensate for the losses suffered by the people displaced. Misconceived “progress” is destroying more livelihoods than it creates. Therefore, India is resonating with cries of people who are fighting development itself.

Where do we go from here? I believe we must listen to the protesting voices, not dismiss or stifle them in the name of anti-growth dissent or Naxalism. This can be done by strengthening the processes of democracy that ensure people have a say in development.

For instance, the Forest Rights Act demands that the village assemblies in tribal areas must give their written consent to a project before it is cleared. Public hearings held during the environmental impact assessment are meant to provide the platform for people to voice their concerns. In most cases, however, the authorities rig and undermine these processes. Public hearings and even video recordings of the events are faked. In most cases one will find that the concerns people raise are brushed aside as projects are rammed through in the name of industrial development. This must stop. […]

It is evident that the need for new and vital industrial and infrastructure projects will have to be balanced with the growing dissent against it. I believe we will learn that we cannot build against the will of our people.

In the rich nations, some – not all – people practice a different environmental ethic. They find solutions within the current economic growth model – buy organic food and fair-trade clothes, drive hybrid cars and install solar panels on their roofs. The Indian middle-class is following this model. No doubt, all mean well. But what they are doing is but a drop in the ocean.

The challenges humankind faces are much more daunting than just choosing less destructive modes of consumption. In fact, the environmental movements of the poor teach us that techno-fix solutions, of cleaning up pollution even as we continue to emit more, are not good enough.

The rich world has failed to reduce its greenhouse emissions in spite of all its investments in efficiency. Yes, cars have become more fuel efficient, but people just drive longer and have more cars. Emissions continue to grow. […]

For practical purposes, the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol remain worthless, and the impact of climate change is most painful for the poor in developing nations.

It is obvious that our planet cannot sustain the current energy-intensive growth models. Earth’s resources are limited, and the risks that go along with energy production are enormous. […]

In India, it will be the sweetest fruit of democracy if it can provide us the opportunity to reinvent the way we develop. The fact is that growth, from now on, requires doing much more with much less. Frugality and innovation will have to be our way to growth. Our challenge is to provide the gains of development to vast numbers of people. This requires inventing growth that is both affordable and sustainable.

The only driver for change is democracy and more democracy. It is only when the most powerful nations in the world will accept the limits on their growth that the world will choose that new pathway to progress. It can be done. It must be done.

The question is if the vast numbers of urban and middle-class people in India and the world will learn this lesson quickly. We cannot afford this environmentalism of costly solutions that wants to put band-aids on what is so badly broken. We must understand that our future lies in being part of the environmentalism of the poor, as this movement will force us to seek new answers to old problems.

Sunita Narain is the director general of the Centre for Science and Environment, a non-governmental body based in Delhi. She is also the editor of the Centre’s fortnightly magazine Down to Earth.


»» https://www.cseindia.org/ Centre for Science and Environment
»» https://www.downtoearth.org.in/

Source: “Environmentalism of the poor”, Development and Cooperation, D+C 2011/09, 1 August 2011
Address : https://www.dandc.eu/en/search?s=Sunita+Narain
Date Visited: 22 January 2022

There is a silent transformation happening across the country. Slow and steady changes which are spreading across cities, towns and municipalities. […] These cities are a learning laboratory and their success story needs to be heard, witnessed and showcased to reach the people. This docu-series showcases 9 cities with 9 separate themes. These models need to be replicated to help other cities give a new direction to their waste management future.

Cleanest Cities of India | Trailer | How cities resolved their garbage problem?
Down To Earth
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiGFB7gFd5g&t=135s

The tribal households traditionally had a backyard garden that had multiple, multilayered and multipurpose indigenous trees, plants, herbs, and shrubs. […] The produce from this small garden was sufficient to meet the dietary and nutrition needs of a family for an entire year.

Learn more about food crops that are resistant to pests, grow on poor soils, flourish under changed climatic conditions and offer high nutritive value | Food distribution >>

“The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious, including maize, minor millets like kodo and kutki, oil seeds like ramtila, along with fruits, leaves, ­rhizomes, mushrooms, meat and fish. […] We have pushed them out of their complementary relationship with ecology, way of life and time-tested nutrition.” | Learn more >>

Every Adivasi society was/is governed by its own social organization and institutions. These institutions, linked to biological resource management, were governed by religious myth and socio-cultural belief system (Ramakrishnan 2001:114). Sometimes, it is assumed that during early ages the forest and the landscape were untouched and unmanipulated, and so the forests remained pristine. The Adivasi life, at that time, was intermingled with the Nature (Roy 1912:58).5 This stereotype is however contested by recent scholarship (Damodaran: 2006: 53).6 Challenging ecological romanticism, Shepard Krech comments ‘Many native peoples themselves draw on a tradition of texts promulgating noble imagery that has generally had deeper roots in European self- criticism than in indigenous realities’ (Krech 2000: 216) . However, the truth is even more complicated than it appears. The Adivasis of Manbhum settled villages in the forests after clearing a forest patch adjacent to nearby water resource. Sometimes, they created some artificial water resource also within their village landscape (Roy 1915: 131; Bodding 1984:100-101).7 Thus, they did change and manipulate their surrounding landscape. However, because of low population pressure and less per capita consumption, they did not generally cause large-scale ecological damage. The rate at which they exploited their surrounding resource at local scale, could keep pace with the regeneration and restoration rate of natural and ecological process.

Source: “Adivasi (Indigenous people) Perception of Landscape: The Case of Manbhum” by Nirmal Mahato (University of Gour Banga), Journal of Adivasi and Indigenous Studies (JAIS), Vol. II, No.1, February 2015, pp. 52-53
URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315799935
URL: http://forest.jharkhand.gov.in/fresearch/admin/file/research_352.pdf
Date Visited: 22 January 2022

“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.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara (writer and Co-Founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris) | Learn more >>

The natural wealth with which much of tribal India is endowed is also its bane. […] The Adivasi is wedged between the state programme for development, meaning mines, dams, steel plants and roads, and a private agenda for quick money, which is currently termed ‘real estate’.

Woodsmoke and Leafcups by Madhu Ramnath >>

See also

ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION

The roots of contemporary globalization lie deeply embedded in the rise of industrialization, particularly in the United Kingdom and the subsequent world-wide spread of the British economic model through colonization. Commercial links were forged between the colonized and the colonizing power. The former were distinct territorial entities whose sovereignty had been abolished by the so-called right of conquest.This occurred in the context of the voyages of ‘discovery’. When sovereignty was regained either through decolonization or war of independence economic links survived. At that time, the bond between territoriality and sovereignty was strong in such a way that the respective sovereigns could credibly exercise sovereignty over economic activity within their territory. They were thus in a position to regulate economic activity within in a manner that impinged upon their external economic relations with other sovereign states. In this way the cohesion between sovereignty and the nation-state assured the sovereign the position of a major player in the sphere of international economic relations. There was, however, a price to be paid for this, namely, democratic accountability and responsiveness to the exigencies of social justice.

This situation changed when money (currency) acquired the ability to move on a 24-hour basis at the speed of light in relation to all other economic commodities. This was facilitated by the electronic revolution in particular. This new form of colonialism, supported by the unrelenting search for cheap labour, ushered in both the dislocation and the fragmentation of the productive activity from one centre to multiple peripheries. Network became the new operative and regulative concept guiding the production of goods. […]

Even human labour, available from the labour market, will fetch a price only if it is deemed profitable. In the final analysis, the marketability of everything means the commoditization of everything for the sake of maximum profit. If souls exist at all, even they are marketable because they can be exchanged for money and over-abundant luxury. Thus, all forms of corruption are consistent and compatible with the logic of unrestricted financial power. […]

“The issue is not whether the world’s economy is governable toward ambitious goals like promoting social justice, equality between countries and greater democratic control for the bulk of the world’s people, but whether it is governable at all.” [Hirst, P. and Thompson, G in Globalization in question]

Source: “Globalization and ubuntu” by Mogobe B. Ramose, The African Philosophy Reader, pp. 732-6 p. 750
URL: https://www.academia.edu/36236714
Date visited: 8 September 2021

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Watch “The Good Ancestor – The Legacies We Leave” (3 min.): An animation that explores the legacies we might leave for future generations >>

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Adverse inclusion, Biodiversity, Colonial policies, Commentary, Customs, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Globalization, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Organizations, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Video resources - external, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Video | Environmentalism of the poor: “Ecological issues are not a matter of luxury, but a matter of survival” – Centre for Science and Environment – Delhi

“Give life to the constitutional ideals”: How to combat oppression and cruelty faced tribes – B R Ambedkar Memorial Lecture by Supreme Court Judge

Tribals are subject to oppression and cruelty even after independence and still picked up by the investigating officers to cover up shoddy investigations, Supreme Court Judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said on Monday.

Justice Chandrachud was speaking at the 13th B R Ambedkar Memorial Lecture on the topic of ‘Conceptualising Marginalisation: Agency, Assertion & Personhood’ by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, (IIDS) Delhi and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, South Asia.

The top court judge said even if a discriminatory law is held unconstitutional by the courts, or is repealed by parliament, the discriminatory behavioural pattern is not immediately overturned.

“Constitutional and legal mandates are not sufficient to protect the rights of the marginalised group including Dalit and tribals,” he said.

The British Raj enacted the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 through which a tribe, gang, or class of persons addicted to the systemic commission of offences were notified. The Criminal Tribes Act was later repealed in 1949 once our Constitution was enacted, and the tribes were ‘de-notified’.”

“However, even after nearly seventy-three years since the tribes were de-notified, the members of the tribes are still subject to oppression and cruelty. Members of the de-notified tribes are still picked up by the investigating officers to cover up shoddy investigations,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Referring to a top court judgement, he said, “This Court in Ankush Maruti v. the State of Maharashtra allowed a review petition filed against the conviction of six accused persons on rape and murder charges.”

“The decision judicially recognised that the members of the nomadic tribes belonging to the lower strata of the society are regularly harassed by investigating agencies by using the forces of criminal law,” Justice Chandrachud said.

The apex court judge said that the Constitution mandates redistribution of material resources to further the constitutional ideal of substantive equality. […]

“However, without the fulfilment of the principle of recognition, the ideals of both formal and substantive equality would not be sufficient to address concerns of freedom. It is only through recognition that our existence as social beings is generated,” he said.

Justice Chandrachud said humiliation is perpetuated by the institutions and the society.

The members of the marginalised communities can also be institutionally humiliated not merely by using the tool of law but also by establishments that further a conducive environment for discrimination and humiliation to be perpetuated. Even if a discriminatory law is held unconstitutional by the Courts, or is repealed by the parliament, the discriminatory behavioural pattern is not immediately overturned,” he said.

Justice Chandrachud said that treating every person as an individual, irrespective of their differences and membership of multiple groups would not be sufficient to gain personhood (status of being a person).

“Hence, members of the marginalised communities would be able to gain complete personhood only by assertion and recognition of their group identities. The international framework and the Indian Constitution facilitate this approach, of identifying an individual as a member of the group to remedy marginalisation.”

“What I mean is that the only way for the members of the marginalised communities to achieve personhood is through social mobilisation as a collective against discrimination. Such mobilisation should not be considered as ‘politics of identity but as a necessary means for redressing historical discrimination,” he said. […]

Justice Chandrachud said combating something as prevalent and deep-rooted as marginalisation is no easy task, and does not have solutions.

“The only recourse available to us is to faithfully abide by and give life to the constitutional ideals which Dr Ambedkar helped formulate, and use those to bring transformative change in the minds and perceptions of the society,” he said.

Source: ‘Members of De-Notified Tribes Picked Up to Cover Up Shoddy Investigations’: Justice Chandrachud, PTI (The Wire, 7 December 2021)
URL: https://thewire.in/rights/members-of-de-notified-tribes-picked-up-to-cover-up-shoddy-investigations-justice-chandrachud
Date Visited: 8 December 2021

It’s a long road to freedom!

Stan Swamy (sociologist and activist for Adivasi rights) in “I am Not a Silent Spectator: Why Truth has become so bitter, Dissent so intolerable, Justice so out of reach” | Indian Social Institute, Bangalore, 2021 | Accountability >>

Sardar Patel signing the Constitution
Photo: The Better India >>
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) was independent India’s first Minister of Law and Justice, and the chief architect of the Constitution of India. – Wikipedia

“The Indian constitution had to empower the state to enter into the realm of Indian society and transform it by eradicating deeply embedded economic, political and social hierarchies.” – “The Foreign and the Indigenous in the Indian Constitution: Constitution Day talk” by Arun Thiruvengadam (Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore, 2 December 2015)

“Tribals are subject to oppression and cruelty even after independence and still picked up by the investigating officers to cover up shoddy investigations. […] The only recourse available to us is to faithfully abide by and give life to the constitutional ideals which Dr Ambedkar helped formulate, and use those to bring transformative change in the minds and perceptions of the society.” – Supreme Court Judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud (The Wire, 7 December 2021)

“The constitution would outlaw all forms of discrimination, abolish untouchability and guarantee the right to freedom of religion. It also included a system of reservations or affirmative action for Dalits and India’s indigenous peoples, the Adivasis.” – Listen to “How an ‘untouchable’ inspired a force of resistance against inequality in India” on CBC Radio Ideas (6 October 2020) | Guests in this episode:
Ananya Vajpeyi is a scholar and a writer at New Delhi’s Center for the Study of Developing Societies. She is the author of The Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India.
Anupama Rao is a historical anthropologist at Barnard College. She is the author of The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India.
Ramachandra Guha is a historian based in southern India, and author and editor of many books including Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World, 1914-1948 and Makers of Modern India.
Suraj Yengde is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School as well as a fellow with Harvard University’s Department of African and African-American Studies. He is the author of Caste Matters and co-editor of The Radical in Ambedkar: Critical Reflections. 

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Posted in Adverse inclusion, Colonial policies, Commentary, Constitution and Supreme Court, Democracy, History, Misconceptions, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Tips | Comments Off on “Give life to the constitutional ideals”: How to combat oppression and cruelty faced tribes – B R Ambedkar Memorial Lecture by Supreme Court Judge

Tip | How many ‘Scheduled Tribes’ are there in India? And what distinguishes them from other communities? (‘tribal’ or otherwise) – Information provided by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Scheduled Tribes are notified in 30 States/UTs [Union Territories]. Number of individual ethnic groups, etc. notified as Scheduled Tribes is 705. There has been some changes in the List of Scheduled Tribes in States/ UTs during the last decade. 

Source: “Scheduled Tribes in India as revealed in Census 2011” by C. Chandramouli (Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, Ministry of Home Affairs), 3 May 2013
Document: “23scheduledTribesIndiaRevealedInCensus2011EN20170503.pdf”
URL: https://ruralindiaonline.org/library/resource/scheduled-tribes-in-india-as-revealed-in-census-2011/
Date visited: 13 January 2022

Article 342 in the Constitution of India

  • Provides for specification of tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which are deemed to be for the purposes of the Constitution the Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory.
  • In pursuance of these provisions, the list of Scheduled Tribes are notified for each State or Union Territory and are valid only within the jurisdiction of that State or Union Territory and not outside.
  • Scheduled Tribes are notified in 30 States/UTs
  • Number of individual ethnic groups, etc. notified as Scheduled Tribes is 705
  • There has been some changes in the List of Scheduled Tribes in States/ UTs during the last decade

Source: “Article 342 Constitution of India”
URL: https://www.indianconstitution.in/2016/07/article-342-constitution-of-india.html
Date visited: 13 January 2022

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There are over 700 tribes (with overlapping communities in more than one State) which have been notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, spread over different States and Union Territories of the country. The largest number of main tribal communities (62) has been specified in relation to the State of Orissa. The Scheduled Tribes have been specified in relation to all the States and Union Territories except Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Pondicherry.

The Constitution of India seeks to secure for all its citizens, among other things, social and economic justice, equality of status and opportunity and assures the dignity of the individual. All Rights available to the Citizens of India, enshrined in the Constitution or any law of the land or any order of the Government are equally available to the Scheduled Tribes also.

Scheduled Tribes being backward and isolated from the rest of the population are not able to exercise their rights. In order to empower them to be able to exercise their rights special provisions have been made in the Constitution. Framers of the Constitution took note of this fact and incorporated enabling provisions in the Constitution in the form of reservation and measures to be taken to empower them to be able to avail the opportunities. Some people call these provisions as privileges for the Scheduled Tribes but these are only the enabling provisions so that Scheduled Tribes can avail the opportunities and exercise their rights and safeguards. […]

Who are Scheduled Tribes?
The framers of the Constitution took note of the fact that certain communities in the country were suffering from extreme social, educational and economic backwardness on account of the primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure facilities and geographical isolation. The Constitution of India in Article 366 (25) prescribe that the Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 of the Constitution to be Scheduled Tribes. […]

Source: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Address: https://www.ncst.nic.in/
Date Visited: 15 September 2021

While the Constitution is silent about the criteria for specification of a community as a Scheduled Tribe. The words and the phrase ‘tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities” in Article 342 have to be understood in terms of their historical background of backwardness. Primitiveness, geographical isolation, shyness and social, educational & economic backwardness due to these reasons are the traits that distinguish Scheduled Tribe communities of our country from other communities. It takes into account the definitions of tribal Communities adopted in the 1931 Census. These facts are the basis for the provision in Article 342(1) which mandates to specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory as the case may be. Thus the list of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in a State need not be so in another State. The Presidential notifications under Clause 1 of Article 342 of the Constitution are issued as the Constitution Orders. Two Constitution Orders were initially issued in relation to two distinct categories of States as existed at the time of adoption of the Constitution of India. […]

Source: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS | National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Address: https://www.ncst.nic.in/content/frequently-asked-questions
Date Visited: 15 September 2021

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Find a copy:
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Worldcat library information
Virginius Xaxa >>
Ganesh Devy | G.N. Devy >>

Posted in Assimilation, Constitution and Supreme Court, Democracy, Economy and development, FAQ, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Organizations, Quotes, Regions of India, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Tips | Comments Off on Tip | How many ‘Scheduled Tribes’ are there in India? And what distinguishes them from other communities? (‘tribal’ or otherwise) – Information provided by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Adivasis’ world view: A truly sustainable lifestyle – Comment

Shanthi Kunjan with mother © Priti David in 
“The forest in Shanthi Teacher’s classroom” | Ruralindiaonline.org >>
Tribal elders | Women >>

“Tribal communities are a standing example of how women play a major role in preservation of eco historic cultural heritage in India.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara (writer and Co-Founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris) | Learn more >>

Adivasi people: proud not primitive | Read the full article >>

[…] Defining what’s special about India’s adivasi or indigenous people is complicated. People, mostly anthropologists and human rights defenders, who know adivasis and have worked closely with them, also tend to be accused of romanticizing tribal peoples. Yet you can begin to understand what’s special about them if you read India’s first Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru’s lyrical descriptions about the tribes of India. In his Panchsheel, or development guidelines, he begged our civil servants to respect adivasis and for Tribal Belt development to focus on ‘respecting their own genius’, not turning them ‘into pale imitations of ourselves’.

Yet almost 66 years after Independence, India’s adivasi people continue to be treated shabbily. They are described practically universally, in even our best newspapers and magazines, as primitive and backward. Our media is totally ignorant about the meaning of adivasi culture and history. It is common on major festivals to see them depicted perhaps as ‘noble savages’, dancing in feathers and grass skirts, for an uninformed public to gawk at like creatures in a zoo.

“Is it eccentric to live in beautiful scenery in the hills among some of the most charming people in the country, even though they may be ignorant and poor?” Verrier Elwin quoted by G.N. Devy (The Oxford India Elwin)

When we arrived in the Nilgiris in 1984, my husband Stan and I often asked young adivasi people what they thought the word adivasi, ‘original people’ in Sanskrit, meant. Their replies were predictable. They answered ‘ignorant, uncivilized, wild, jungle folk, illiterate, uneducated and even stupid people’. Children joining local schools had their adivasi names changed by their teachers and were instructed to civilize their communities. They were taught to feel ashamed of their people and their culture. Since 1986, we have aimed to help these communities assert their rights, especially over land. Also to join the outside ‘mainstream’ if they so wished, on their own terms, with pride in their culture, with heads held high. We consistently worked on issues of pride and self-esteem.

So, the news that Survival International has launched a campaign called ‘Proud not Primitive’ is really welcome. Adivasis constitute nine per cent of the Indian population. They once led lives of quiet dignity. Now they live and die in quiet desperation.

‘Development’ in the areas where adivasi people live leaves them exploited and deprived, in total contradiction to Nehru’s beautifully worded Panchsheel. The reality of the adivasi existence, most of the nine per cent, is nothing short of shameful. […]

The forest department has criminalized their existence, treating them as intruders when in fact the recent Forest Rights Act acknowledged the historical injustice perpetrated on them and declared that their rights to an ancient forest heritage would finally be recognized.

Adivasi people have an alternative world view, which has rarely been acknowledged or recognized. Their existence was never based on accumulation or consumerism. To understand the cliché, they have a ‘symbiotic relationship with nature’, needs close observation of a forest community. They took what they needed from nature, but never in excess. They never hoarded. This is viewed by non-tribal neighbours as ‘lazy’ and unambitious. They never had a need to subdue, conquer or master nature. So, unlike their neighbours, they did not cut down vast tracts of forest. They plant vegetables between the trees. […]

It is in this context that Survival India’s campaign is sorely needed. There is a new generation of adivasis educated in the dominant society’s ‘world view’ who are beginning to look back at their own heritage and culture, Alex Hailey-like, to their ‘roots’.

This cultural revival is crucial for the survival of the adivasi world view, the only truly sustainable lifestyle when the world is looking desperately for solutions to save the earth. […]

All of us can learn from them. And it’s about time we started.

Source: “Adivasi people: proud not primitive” by Mari Marcel Thekaekara, New Internationalist 15 July 2013
Address : https://newint.org/blog/2013/07/15/india-adivasi-survival-international/?55521117611331971
Date Visited: 21 April 2021

Find up-to-date information provided by, for and about Indian authors, researchers, officials, and educators
Search tips: in the search field seen here, type the name of any tribal (Adivasi) community, region, state or language; add (copy-paste) keywords of special interest (childhood education women); or specify an issue you want to learn more about (biodiversity ecology ethnobotany health nutrition rights Scheduled Tribes) | More search options >>

For a list of websites included in a single search, click here. To search Indian periodicals, magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here. To find publishing details for Shodhganga’s PhD search results, click here >>

Read more posts by Mari Marcel Thekaekara >>

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The natural wealth with which much of tribal India is endowed is also its bane. […] The Adivasi is wedged between the state programme for development, meaning mines, dams, steel plants and roads, and a private agenda for quick money, which is currently termed ‘real estate’.

Woodsmoke and Leafcups by Madhu Ramnath >>

“Air is free to all but if it is polluted it harms our health… Next comes water… From now on we must take up the effort to secure water. Councillors are servants of the people and we have a right to question them.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi, Ahmedabad address on 1 January 1918; quoted by his grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in On another New Year’s Day: Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘khorak’ a 100 years ago | Learn more >>

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  1. toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser
  2. for details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)
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  4. explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>
Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Assimilation, Commentary, Community facilities, Customs, Ecology and environment, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Organizations, Poetry, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Topics and issues, Tourism, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Adivasis’ world view: A truly sustainable lifestyle – Comment

eBook | Jawaharlal Nehru’s “five principles” for the policy to be pursued vis-a-vis the tribals

Jawaharlal Nehru >>
Photo © Indian Express

Jawaharlal Nehru [1889–1964, first Prime Minister of India] formulated the following five principles for the policy to be pursued vis-a-vis the tribals:

(1) People should develop along the lines of their own genius, and the imposition of alien values should be avoided.
(2) Tribal rights in land and forest should be respected
(3) Teams of tribals should be trained in the work of administration and development.
(4) Tribal areas should not be over administered or overwhelmed with a multiplicity of schemes.
(5) results should be judged not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the human character that is evolved.

Bibliography

Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘The Right Approach to Tribal People’, Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. XIV, 1953-4, pp. 231-5.

––‘Tribal Folk’, in The Adivasis, Delhi, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1955, pp. 1-8.

Report of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission 1960-1961 (Chairman U.N Dhebar), New Delhi, Manager of Publications, Vols. I and II, 1961.

Source: Jawaharlal Nehru quoted by Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf in India and Ceylon: Unity and Diversity. A Symposium. Edited by Philip Mason, Director, Institute of Race Relations, London. Published for the Institute of Race Relations. Oxford University Press, London 1967.

Contents:

  • Unity and diversity : an introductory review / by Philip Mason —
  • The position of the Muslims, before and after partition / by Percival Spear —
  • Language and region within the Indian union / by W.H. Morris-Jones —
  • The cohesive role of sanskritization / by M.N. Srinivas —
  • The future of the backward classes : the competing demands of status and power / by Andre Beteille —
  • Caste and local politics in India / by Adrian C. Mayer —
  • Rural cities in India : continuities and discontinuities / by Owen M. Lynch —
  • The Gandhian view of caste, and caste after Gandhi —
  • The position of the tribal populations in modern India / by Christoph von Furer —
  • Elites, status groups, and caste in modern India / by Andre Beteille —
  • Cohesion and division in Indian elites / by T.B. Bottomore —
  • Nationalism, communalism, and national unity in Ceylon / by S. Arasaratnam —
  • Is there an Indian nation? / by Hugh Tinker.

Print version: Mason, Philip. India and Ceylon: unity and diversity.
London, New York [etc.] published for the Institute of Race Relations by Oxford U.P., 1967

Alternative source: online resource by HathiTrust Digital Library, 2010. MiAaHDL (viii, 311 pages) maps, tables; Details: Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002.
URL: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/575365973

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

Jawaharlal Nehru was among the few people who understood Elwin’s belief that tribal society must be allowed to evolve in its own distinctive manner and its culture must not be violated.

Elwin was for a long time his major adviser on tribal affairs. Not that Nehru was altogether able to prevent the exploitation of tribals and the violation of their culture; but at least he kept it in some check. Unless the successors of Nehru can teach ‘mainstream’ society to respect the different methods of the tribal people and devise ways of controlling the process of cultural desecration, mere economic development will not prevent the alienation of tribal communities. The question is whether it is already too late.

Source: Guest Column “Hands off tribal culture” (India Today, 9 January 2014)
URL: https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/guest-column/story/19800915-hands-off-tribal-culture-821415-2014-01-09
Date Visited: 5 June 2021

Tips: 1. click the eBook title (heading) for browsing, to Share this item and for Downloadable files; 2. to Search inside this eBook, click on the (…) Ellipses icon; 3. Zoom (+/-) to match your PC or tablet screen; 4. click the headphone icon to Read this book aloud

Synthesis and Adjustment. The Beginnings of the Caste System […]

Among the indigenous tribes many were gradually assimilated and given a place at the bottom of the social scale, that is among the Shudras. This process of assimilation was a continuous one. These castes must have been in a fluid condition; rigidity came in much later. […]

Probably caste was neither Aryan nor Dravidian. It was an attempt at the social organization of different races, a rationalization of the facts as they existed at the time. It brought degradation in its train afterwards, and it is still a burden and a curse; but we can hardly judge it from subsequent standards or later developments. […]

Growth of Industry: Provincial Differences

The transition from a pre-industrialist economy to an economy of capitalist industrialism involves great hardship and heavy cost in human suffering borne by masses of people. […]

Slowly India recovered from the after-effects of the revolt of 1857-58. Despite British policy, powerful forces were at work changing India, and a new social consciousness was arising. The political unity of India, contact with the west, technological advances, and even the misfortune of a common subjection, led to new currents of thought, the slow development of industry, and the rise of a new movement for national freedom. The awakening of India was two-fold: she looked to the west and, at the same time, she looked at herself and her own past. […]

Though the masses of India were desperately poor and growing poorer, a tiny fringe at the top was prospering under the new conditions and accumulating capital. It was this fringe that demanded political reform as well as opportunities for investment. […]

The rural credit system was almost entirely in the hands of these banias [retail and wholesale dealers and moneylenders]. They spread even to the tribal and independent territories of the north-west and performed important functions there. As poverty grew agricultural indebtedness also grew rapidly, and the money-lending establishments held mortgages on the land and eventually acquired much of it. Thus the moneylender became the landlord also.

Source: The Discovery Of India by Jawaharlal Nehru (1946), OUP Centenary ed. 1989, pp. 85-87 & 299-330
URL: https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.98835
Date Visited: 16 December 2021

“Education has to liberate a person from narrow world view and the boundaries of caste, community, race and gender. Teachers have been entrusted with the responsibility of moulding the young minds to understand the world and make it better.” – Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India (National Award 2014 to Teachers)

Diversity, plurality and tolerance are “core values of our civilisation”: Rashtrapati Bhavan >>

The vulnerability of tribal populations to exploitation by minor government officials, as well as moneylenders, landlords, and other agents of vested interests, can largely be traced to their illiteracy and general ignorance of the world outside the narrow confines of their traditional environment.[…] Brought up in a system in which all communications are by word of mouth, and hence used to trusting verbal statements, they get confused by constant reference to documents and written rules, which increasingly determine all aspects of rural life.

Source: Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival. Berkeley: University of California Press (1982), pp. 126-7
https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks
Date Visited: 19 January 2022

For centuries, moneylenders have monopolised rural Indian credit markets. Families have lost land and assets, farmers have been asked to forfeit jewellery of their wives or to prostitute them to pay off debts, and, when all else has failed, they have tied the noose to end their misery. […]

With institutional credit drying up for farmers, local sharks have taken the place of banks. They charge an arm and a leg and are creating a debt-trap for farmers who rely on crop success — and prayers — for loan repayments. But a suicide does not absolve the rest of the family from paying back a loan. Unlike a bank loan, which is squared by the government’s waiver package, the moneylender’s loan has to be atoned by the distraught family.

Source: “Moneylenders still rule India’s rural economy” by Moin Qazi, The Statesman, 1 August 2017
URL: https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/moneylenders-still-rule-india-s-rural-economy-1501622495.html
Date Visited: 16 December 2021

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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

Reports in the Indian press | List of periodicals included in this search >>

Find up-to-date information provided by, for and about Indian authors, researchers, officials, and educators
Search tips: in the search field seen here, type the name of any tribal (Adivasi) community, region, state or language; add (copy-paste) keywords of special interest (childhood education women) including cultural identity (anthropology archaeology art craft custom dance festival film literature music poetry rock painting storytelling tribal museum collection); or specify an issue you want to learn more about (biodiversity ecology economy ethnobotany health nutrition sacred grove wildlife) and rights (ethnic groups notified as Scheduled Tribes forest rights) | More search options >>

What I wanted to do was to make people, for whom Indian democracy and institutions mean something, think about the places where it fails so utterly and completely, and how their own lives are connected to these other citizens.

Nandini Sundar (Professor of Sociology, Delhi University), interviewed by Chitrangada Choudhury (Livemint, 10 October 2016)

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India has the largest youth population as well as the highest number of people trapped in forced labour and trafficking. | Read Scroll.in, then learn about the current situation by using the above search window.

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For more details (some with hyperlinks), click on the map button seen on the left top; scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest. | Explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>

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