Heralding social and economic actions: Hunting and food gathering in Durwa culture – Bastar

Just as hunting is also about territory, the actions of food gathering links Durwa culture to language and metaphor to perceptions in ecology, and gives it a unique vantage from which to view a forest based lifestyle.” | Read the full article by Madhu Ramnath titled “Within the world of food collection” on india-seminar.com >>


M. Ramnath, ‘The Role of Wild Food in Tribal Culture in India: as Taste, Identity, Metaphor’, in A. Baviskar (ed.), Nature Today: New Studies in Ecology and Environment. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Within the world of food collection

[…] Hunts such as these, all of them taking place in the months preceding the monsoon and involving only men, made me first realize that ‘hunting’ is not synonymous with ‘meat’ or ‘food’, and that there were other connotations attached to the activity. They inevitably involved rituals and, often, first fruit ceremonies that commenced the harvest or use of certain plants, and they sometimes heralded specific social and economic actions such as horn-blowing, sowing, or the consumption of mahua distilled from fresh flowers. […]

Compared to hunting, fishing is more pointedly about food. […]

Also, a fishing expedition always involved women – sometimes only women – and often children, the latter learning about the use of plants and plant parts used in stupefying fish. And because of the children involved the mood was one of a family outing or picnic, with noise and splashing and pranks.

The gathering of plant foods is an entirely different domain, in the sense of it being an ‘all year round’ activity and almost entirely a women’s affair.

Every village has its own ‘super-woman’, a plant collector par excellence, in whose house one inevitably finds unusual foods. […]

What makes plant collection important is the fact that it contributes to a large proportion of the adivasi diet. […]

A quick survey of edible plant foods in some villages in Bastar yielded a list of more than 300 species. However, those that were regularly eaten were far fewer, many species having slipped out of traditional diets as ‘there was not enough time’ (a common answer to the question, ‘Why don’t you eat this tuber or that fruit anymore?’ […]

I was accompanied by a young Durwa boy who had been to school and who surprised me with his ability to discern several species of the said genus Dioscorea. […] When I asked him how he had learned all this – this being an especially difficult genus even for botanists – he said that he had watched his mother as a young child, as she would carry him along on yam trips. […] Much of what he knew about yams, and indeed about the forest itself, he learned by watching, and not because he had been consciously taught.

Hunting is almost totally banned in India, strictly enforced by policing in protected areas. The Forest Rights Act (2006) explicitly states, while conferring other rights to the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers, that it excludes ‘the traditional right of hunting or trapping or extracting a part of the body of any species of wild animal’ (ch 2, 3(l)). […]

Yet, plant food gathering hardly faces any legal restriction and is carried out in most forests all over the country. […]

Though some of the animals whose meats are consumed may be threatened or endangered, the bulk of fish and plant foods are harvested in most places in central India according to customary rules that assure their long-term survival. […]

Source: Within the world of food collection
URL: www.india-seminar.com/2018/702/702_madhu_ramnath.htm
Date accessed: 9 June 2018

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Posted in Adivasi, Anthropology, Bastar, Central region, Childhood and children, Commentary, Community facilities, Customs, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Ethnobotany, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Maps, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Quotes, Resources, Seasons and festivals, Storytelling, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on Heralding social and economic actions: Hunting and food gathering in Durwa culture – Bastar

Slideshow | Kokum Harvest in the Honnavar region – Karnataka

We are inviting you to join us for the complete journey of Kokum from Tree to Jar from May 4-8th 2019. We’ll gather at the Angadibail forest house to experience harvesting, drying, preservation, and kokum inspired recipes. We’ll even try our hand making kokum butter using traditional methods. We’ll also fill the weekend with music, folktales, folk dance, learning local crafts from forest artisans. For registration and more details e-mail us at budafolklore@gmail.com. Last date for registration: 25th April 2019 | https://www.natgeotraveller.in/harvesting-kokum-and-life-lessons-with-karnatakas-ancient-tribes/

Photos and invitation courtesy Dr. Savita Uday © 2019 | budafolklore.weebly.com

[…] Kokum is a native fruit to the western coastal regions of southern India. In Kannada it’s called Murugalu. You rarely find it grown or used in cuisine beyond this area. Also know as garcinia indica, the Kokum tree bears hundreds of fruits during the summer. The fruit is green when tender and ripens to a red-purple color, at which point its plucked. Fresh fruit is usually reserved for juice while most of what is plucked will be dried. For drying, the skin and seeds of the Kokum are seperated and traditionally sun-dried. The seeds are used to make Kokum butter . As a well know counteractive to heat, Kokum is often used as a coolant.

The medicinal benefits of Kokum are wide ranging. Many of its benefits, when consumed, come from antioxidant properties. But it is known to reduce cholesterol, promote weight loss, reduce constipation, relieve pain from anal piles/fissures, improve working of the liver, reduce fever and burning sensations in the body, fight infections and cleanse the blood. Additionally it is used in some Ayurvedic medicines in infusions for skin ailments as well as providing relief from sunstroke and thirst. Finally, the application of Kokum butter quicken the healing of wounds and can be used for cosmetic purposes. […]

Next month, May 2nd and 3rd  BuDa is putting on a Kokum Harvest at our new center in the Angadibail forest. If you haven’t already seen the place, it is beautiful, the perfect place for community gatherings like this.

Join us for the complete journey of Kokum from tree to jar. We’ll be picking, processing and preserving the fruit together and even trying our hand at making Kokum-butter the traditional way.

Of course we’ll be beating the heat with a visit to the near-by waterfall, folk games and crafts with Hanmi-Akka. For more of a taste of the celebration, check out our blog post https://buda-honnavar.blogspot.in and our face book page –https://www.facebook.com/events/656517454476228/

Team BuDa Folklore
contact#: 9448223190

BuDa Folklore  is a unit of Janapada Vishva Prathishtana an  NGO  based in Honnavar, in Uttar Kannada. The team at buDa folklore has their roots in education, anthropology and community development.

Source: https://www.buda.org.in/content/about-us-0
Date Visited: Fri April 3 2015 19:57:06 GMT+0200 (CEST)


For more information, type “Karnataka tribal food”, “tribal festival”, “Honnavar forest community” or similar search terms in the search window here:


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Lending a voice to the nation’s indigenous population: Adivaani, a trust that publishes books written by Adivasis – Jharkhand and West Bengal

Garima Mishra, Indian Express New Delhi, Sat Apr 27 2013 | Read the full article >>
“Why don’t we have an Adivasi voice?”, “Why don’t we have a ‘for and by’ Adivasi publishing house?”, “Where is the authentic Adivasi narrative?” These questions had haunted Ruby Hembrom when she enrolled for a publishing course in Kolkata last year. “While going through a list of publishers and authors, I could not find any Adivasi. While Adivasis have often been written about by others, they have very rarely been authors themselves,” says 35-year-old Hembrom, an Adivasi hersel [who] established Adivaani, a trust that publishes books written by Adivasis. […]

In less than a year of its existence, the trust has launched three books. The first was Santal Sirjon Binti ar Bhed Bhangao, an academic book about the lifestyle, beliefs and history of Santals, written in Santal language by theologian Timotheas Hembrom; the second was Whose Country is it Anyway?, written by Gladson Dungdung, an activist based in Ranchi, in which he tells the story of his people and their struggle — in 1980, one-year-old Dungdung and his family were displaced from their agricultural land for the construction of Kelaghat dam in Jharkhand. Both books have been bought by research scholars and libraries. The third is a children’s book written by Ruby Hembrom and called We Come From The Geese; it is the first part of the ‘Santal Creations’ series that talk about how the Santal tribe came into existence. It has been bought by schools in Santal Parganas, Jharkhand, says Hembrom. […]
Another challenge is distribution as most distributors are not interested in “these kind of books”. However, after a number of failed attempts, the group is tasting success in small proportions.  […]
The team is working on part 2 and 3 of the Santal Creation stories. While one book in Santali is on Santali folklores, the other book, which is in two parts, is on the history of linguistics of Santali. “We have also discovered a wonderful Santali artist who is storytelling through illustrations. […]

Source: Lending a Voice – Indian Express
Address : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/lending-a-voice/1107153/0
Date Visited: Tue Apr 30 2013 10:54:28 GMT+0200 (CEST)

adivaani’s new book for children from adivaani on Vimeo.

SUSHOVAN SIRCAR, The Telegraph (Calcutta), 18-5-2013

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Discussing scholarly publications with the tribal communities concerned: “Madias are not Gonds”

From the report by Nandini Bedi and Erik de Maaker based on 14 December 2008 discussions including Lalsu, a member of the Madia community:

[…] The Madias, like the Baigas see the Gonds as their kings or rulers. […]

When Nandini questioned the group saying that even scholars like Deogaonkar who had lived amongst them called them “Gonds”, they sad he had been repeating what all the other scholars before him had written. Lalsu had said that since no Madias could read or write until recently, they didn’t know what they were being called in the scholarly literature. And since the scholars who wrote about them never went back to discuss or tell them about their writings, the Madias didn’t really know from them either. […]

Lalsu has been one of the first Madias who has come across this literature and has been in a position to question it. He’s very clear – Madias are not Gonds […]

For now, it would be best to refer to them as Madias.

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