Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was the first public figure to highlight the value of his country’s tribal cultural heritage. He created an environment that accounts for the fact that Adivasi culture has long exerted a “profound influence on modern Indian art“. The same can be said about the inspiration derived by flute player Pannalal Ghosh, a pioneer in the field of Indian classical music as we know it today.
Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister, 1889-1964) discouraged the imposition of interventionist policies on tribal communities: he would not agree to creating a mere “second-rate copy of ourselves”.
While the development of modern Community facilities and educational institutions gathers momentum, Tribal elders continue to be revered in several parts of the country. The same can be said of the elevated status assigned to Women in many tribal communities.