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

Photo © Livemint >>

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 >>

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: http://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, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, 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

South Asia’s largest biennial gathering of Tribals: Conferring sacredness upon their ancestors during the Sammakka Saralamma Jatara – Telangana

The Day of the Goddesses
Open Magazine, 09 February 2018Read the fully story by V Shoba and view more photos by Harsha Vadlamani >>

ARRIVING IN DUSTY, sun-scorched Medaram in Telangana at the end of a six- hour ride on a special state bus service from Hyderabad, you are acutely aware of entering a vast non-dimensional space. As you walk the raucous grounds hosting the Sammakka Saralamma Jatara, woodsmoke, dirt and warbled music swirling all around you, the broad strokes of the festival seem familiar enough: millions of devotees come to take a holy dip in the Jampanna Vagu, a muddy stream of the Godavari now equipped with showers, and to offer coconuts and mounds of jaggery at an open-air shrine to local tribal goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma. But there’s more to it. […]

The story goes that nearly a thousand years ago, Pagididaraju, a Koya Tribal chief, his wife Sammakka, their daughter Saralamma and son Jampanna, rose up in revolt against the taxes imposed by the Kakatiya rulers on forest-dwelling communities, and died honourable deaths. To celebrate their rebellion, the village of Medaram, nestled in the Dandakaranya forests and two-and-a-half hours from Warangal since the road was asphalted in the 1970s, explodes in a festival touted as south Asia’s largest biennial gathering of Tribals.

The festival is symbolic of the culturally, if not historically, inflicted oppression on the tribes of central south India. The context may be somewhat lost in what has become a state-run event with tents and dinner buffets for visiting VIPs—among them the chief ministers of Telangana and Chhattisgarh, MPs, MLAs and minor actors—but in an India marching under the banner of religion, the jatara remains a rare refuge for communities who constantly invert accepted cultural, moral, social and sexual mores and confer sacredness upon their ancestors. […]

Source: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/dispatch/the-day-of-the-goddesses
Accessed: 5 May 2018

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Posted in Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Bastar, Customs, Dress and ornaments, Maps, Names and communities, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Southern region, Storytelling, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on South Asia’s largest biennial gathering of Tribals: Conferring sacredness upon their ancestors during the Sammakka Saralamma Jatara – Telangana

The Leopard and the Barber (Kunkna) – A story from Gujarat

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Source: Adivasi Stories from Gujarat © Bhasha Research and Publication Centre Vadodara 2017 | For more details, free download link and a map presenting language regions of Gujarat, click here >> 

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Posted in Adivasi, Customs, eBook download sites, ePub, Multi-lingual education, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Resources, Storytelling, Tips, Western region | Tagged | Comments Off on The Leopard and the Barber (Kunkna) – A story from Gujarat

The quest for cultural generosity: A new book on linguistic diversity and the human ability to “forge a safe and sustainable relationship with nature”

The extinction of languages leads to cultural loss and disinheritance of the human race as a part of its collective past vanishes, argues G.N. Devy

The silence the eminent scholar and cultural activist G.N. Devy refers to in The Question of Silence is a malaise of modernity. | To read the full book review, click here >>

An estimate by the UN’s cultural body counted 7,000 languages worldwide at the beginning of the 20th century, of which only some 300 are expected to survive to the end of the 21st.

The scenario that Devy sketches in India points to more catastrophic loss. Between the Indian census enumerations of 1961 and 1971, the number of languages listed fell from 1,652 to 109. This was a policy decision born in nationalist paranoia. As the war for the liberation of Bangladesh raged in 1971, census authorities seemingly determined that India’s safety lay in reducing linguistic multiplicity to manageable numbers.

Other measures by which states consolidate their authority could result in cultural dis-entitlement. The colonial government’s notification of social groups as ‘criminal tribes’ mischaracterised an independent streak as incurable delinquency. It effectively externed entire groups into a limbo of lawlessness, where they were deprived of basic protections. That legacy lives on in independent India, despite a republican constitution promising equality.

The corporate assault that reduces language to a commodity that can be packaged in cultural products is another threat. Modernisation proves an enemy of diversity in its quest of convenience and communicative efficiency. A variety of Indian languages emerged from Sanskrit, Dravidian and Persian roots through the 14th to the 18th centuries. Often, these were written languages that used multiple scripts. Any one script likewise, could be used for various languages.

That spirit of equality and not least, cultural generosity, may be difficult to retrieve, but Devy’s book gives hope. For those who may lack access to the larger body of his work, this volume provides a conspectus of sorts, in language that is easy and deeply intimate.

The Question of Silence – A Para-biography; G.N. Devy, Orient BlackSwan, ₹475

Source: “The Question of Silence – A Para-biography review: Republic of threatened voices” by Sukumar Muralidharan, The Hindu, 4 January 2020
URL: https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/the-question-of-silence-a-para-biography-review-republic-of-threatened-voices/article30471400.ece
Date visited: 8 January 2020

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More about this book and its author,
Prof. Ganesh Devy >>

Note: click on any red marker for details on endangered languages in a particular region of India. This map is bound to be incomplete as recent surveys in-depth studies on this subject have revealed. To learn more, please follow the links to relevant sources seen below.

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Colonial policies, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Modernity, Multi-lingual education, Organizations, Press snippets | Comments Off on The quest for cultural generosity: A new book on linguistic diversity and the human ability to “forge a safe and sustainable relationship with nature”

Globalisation in a historical perspective: “Histories of the Adivasis have largely been neglected”

Globalisation, Environmentally Non-sustainable Growth and the Plight of the Adivasis of India

Historian Anjana Singh offers insights into Adivasi’s living conditions

In this article the attempt will be made to analyse the long-term and current challenges of the adivasis. The problem is twofold: on the one hand economic development is a necessity for India; on the other hand the attitude of the Indian government towards the adivasis in an increasingly connected and competitive world, ignores the minorities. Poorer countries must transition form traditional to modern economies to alleviate poverty. The processes of modernization and globalization need to be analysed critically, though.

Summary, Groniek 213, Stichting Groniek, Summer 2017, p. 369

Historica Anjana Singh biedt met haar artikel inzicht in de huidige leefomstandigheden van de Adivasis (letterlijk: oude bewoners), de verzamelnaam van verschillende inheemse volken in India.

Source: Groniek 213 is uit: ‘Inheemse volken’ (University of Groningen)
URL: http://groniek.nl/groniek-213-is-uit-inheemse-volken/
Date visited:  16 January 2019

More about Anjana Singh (PhD): https://www.rug.nl/staff/anjana.singh/

Publications on the above issues may be found here (title descriptions and libraries):

Search for an item in libraries near you:
WorldCat.org >>

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 Accountability, Adivasi, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Colonial policies, Commentary, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Globalization, History, Organizations, Quotes, Resources, Rural poverty | Comments Off on Globalisation in a historical perspective: “Histories of the Adivasis have largely been neglected”