Tip | Explore India’s leading periodicals, online journals and portals: Up-to-date information on tribal culture, ecology, education and other success stories


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In the above search window, enter several combinations of search words, regions of India and names while including “tribal” or “tribe” in order to get a good impression of indigenous customs, education, crafts, endangered languages, or rights laid down in the Forest Rights Act (FRA). This includes success stories in the fields of ecology, economy, conservation efforts by tribal communities, branches of the Indian government, institutions of higher learning and NGOs.
Searches based on your keywords include up-to-date news on grass root efforts providing tribal communities with balanced nutrition and health services based on hereditary knowledge and informal teaching methods that have maintained India’s biodiversity (studied worldwide as “ethnobotany“).

For example: the combination of search words “tribal grass root efforts” yields the following report on an “empowering journey by educating the tribal youth about their rights and responsibilities”, published on the occasion of the 2019 International Women’s Day in The Hindu: “These women from Visakhapatnam are bringing changes at grassroot level” (i.e. two women’s NGO’s founded in Vizianagaram district) | Read the full report here >>

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  1. Indian government and NGOs including universities and international organisations
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  4. Indian press coverage of tribal culture: Online editions of daily newspapers in English
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Born of a sense of wonder for India’s natural heritage, and the drive to affect positive change, Sanctuary Asia envisions a world with abundant biodiversity, a sustainable climate and an equitable future for one and all.

Source: About Us
Address: http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/about-us.html
Date Visited: Thu Mar 09 2017 09:57:46 GMT+0100 (CET)

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Shyamali Khastgir – puppet stories based on tribal values

Shyamali Khastgir with her Rajasthani doll illustrating the dangers posed to children exposed to nuclear radiation – Photo: Ludwig Pesch (1 March 2011)

Moral values in puppet story – Up close at art camp

Tuesday , August 18 , 2009

Ranchi, Aug. 17: She is an art teacher-turned-social activist. She knows eminent activists of India and those of the US and Canada and believes in giving peace a chance. She was even arrested outside the Pentagon, US, for protesting against nuclear programmes.

Meet Shyamali Khastgir, the daughter of famous artist Sudhir Ranjan Khastgir — one of the early students of Nandalal Bose.

Primarily an artist rooted in Santiniketan, the septuagenarian lady who came to Bundu near Ranchi to attend an art camp organised in memory of her late father pointed out that villages have been neglected, though villagers have been feeding us.

Her dream, of villagers once again becoming self-reliant, prompted her to make two puppets for the art event from August 13-15 — one representing mother earth and the other an aboriginal [adivasi] headman. She used these to explain to children who came to the art camp why one should protect the environment and resist being taken over by outside culture.

On how she became involved with protesting against nuclear programmes, she said that once she found a crippled child who was born with a deformity due to suspected radiation exposure of his mother working as a nuclear physicist at a laboratory.

This, coupled with her “admiration for Bertrand Russell who got arrested protesting against nuclear tests and nuclear armaments”, prompted her to protest against nuclear programmes.

Source: The Telegraph – Calcutta (Kolkata) | Jharkhand | Moral values in puppet story
Address : http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090818/jsp/jharkhand/story_11372775.jsp
Date Visited: Tue Aug 16 2011 17:12:06 GMT+0200 (CEST)
[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

I come from such an underdeveloped country of diversified lifestyle where most of the people, despite being malnutritioned, devoid of germ-free drinking water and under all sorts of sub-human conditions grow crops to feed their fellow countrymen. Perhaps, out of obsession they still connect themselves with the Mother Earth and nature. Can’t they show the whole world the path of existence?

Source: Jadugoda Diary. Howra: Monfakira, 2009, p. 25
ISBN 8190805789 – Bookfinder.com >>

Swapner Santiniketan O Anyanyo Rachana
Shyamali, the daughter of sculptor-painter Sudhir Khastgir and student of pedagogue Acharya Nandalal Bose had been brought up with the background of the teachings and ideals of Santiniketan which she followed throughout her life. But the Santiniketan she dreamt of was never supposed to be confined within the geographical boundaries only. Even harsh protests used to come out of her every time she noticed any deviation occurring there. This book reflects her comprehensive views regarding her very own Santiniketan.
112 pages, 1st Edition
ISBN: 978-93-80542-34-8
Price Rs. 100.00

The Faces: A Series of Twelve Drawings
This is the second one of the twin albums of drawings by the artist and social activist Shyamali Khastgir (1940-2011).
21.6 cm x 28 cm, 14 pages with cover.
Available only as e-book, get it from here: http://www.boipattor.in

The Birds: A Series of Twelve Drawings
This is the first one of the twin albums of drawings by the artist and social activist Shyamali Khastgir (1940-2011).
21.6 cm x 28 cm, 14 pages with cover.
Available only as e-book, get it from here: http://www.boipattor.in

Source: Books by Shyamali Khastgir
URL: https://www.monfakira.com/shyamali_khastgir/
Date visited: 25 May 2019

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Posted in Accountability, Adivasi, Childhood and children, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Gandhian social movement, Globalization, Health and nutrition, Literature and bibliographies, Maps, Modernity, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Puppetry, Quotes, Rural poverty, Storytelling, Tagore and rural culture, Tribal elders, Women | Comments Off on Shyamali Khastgir – puppet stories based on tribal values

Community-based initiatives in search of collaborative partnerships: Digital audiovisual archives facilitated by Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh – Gujarat


Aditi Deo (University of Oxford) | Read the full article here >>

[…] This article draws upon ethnographic research in small towns in north India with local small-scale initiatives to archive oral vernacular musics—musics described as folk and tribal. It explores the varied ways in which digital audiovisual archives of vernacular musics may materialize and circulate in the present day. Such community-based initiatives present curious alternatives to formal audiovisual archives, emerging through located relationships between people, musics, and technologies. My concern is with tracing the evolving relationships between communities, archivists, and musics through the mediation of digital technologies, examining how contextual technological practices may contribute to archival forms. Methodologically, my approach is informed by actor-network theories that view both human and non-human actors as agentive participants in social constitutions. Such an approach is especially productive in understanding how material changes associated with new technologies are integrally linked to social practices. Further, I suggest that such archives may be fruitfully viewed as gestures of community members towards claiming multivalent subjectivities—as cultural mediators and as technological experts. Archiving functions in these contexts as an aspirational practice—a mode of reification of precariously located vernacular identities and the coalescence of communities through technological modes around the notion of music in particular, and culture in general. […]

Such community archives that were part of my research were based in two distinct musical regions in northern India: Rajasthan […]; and the Adivasi (tribal) region at the cusp of the two states of Gujarat and Maharashtra where oral culture is closely linked to tribal identities in the context of gradual erosion of tribal languages.  In spite of their self-proclamation as insiders, the initiatives were often part of national and transnational networks of influence, demonstrating a spectrum of relationships between archivists and musics.  […]

The archive at the Adivasi Academy in the small village of Tejgadh in Gujarat was part of its museum centered on regional tribal cultures. The museum-archive was shaped by complex non-local influences, most crucially, the vision of its founder, language scholar Dr. Ganesh Devy, and the participation of professional vocalist Prachi Dublay who helped to collect and then transcribed the tribal songs. At the same time, it was developed with an explicit philosophy of reclaiming a tribal voice that had been silenced by colonial and postcolonial histories. The music collection was being developed and managed, quite autonomously, by Naran, Vikesh, and Neepa— three members of the tribal Rathwa community, all of whom had completed diploma courses in Museum Studies offered at the academy. […]

Academy founder, Dr. Ganesh Devy, has described the condition of tribal communities in the region through the metaphor of aphasia, a neurological disorder that causes loss of speech and language skills. According to him, the loss of languages and oral culture has resulted in tribal communities being rendered, literally, speechless.  […]

For in-stance in 2012, the archive in Tejgadh produced a set of CDs of selected tribal songs from their collection. Vikesh, one of the archivists, explained that they had handed some sets to drivers of shared shuttle vehicles in the region, presumably to be played in the vehicles as they transported passengers. He also expressed hope that regional vendors of digital music would rip these CDs and thus circulate the music in wider networks of local grey economy and non-economic exchanges.  […]

 The recording of sound in these regions in such political context represents a conquering of this aphasia—a recovery of communicative abilities. Circulating and sharing the recordings outside the community completes the communicative act. For archivists at the academy, providing access to the music through online modes and thereby acquainting the world with the uniqueness of tribal culture was vital to archiving. It was an assertion of cultural identities marginalized from mainstream society—identities around which a larger political community may coalesce. However, as important as the possibility for self-representation in this context was the direct engagement with technologies as a mode of acquiring coevalness with mainstream society. Archiving, here, emerged as a multivalent practice that served not only to achieve the immediate goal of music documentation but also to redress inequities perceived by cultural heritage communities through technological modes.

4. Conclusion
The technocultures of community archives present strong contrasts with those of most formal institutions that often aspire to standardization in preservation technologies as well as institutional policies for access and dissemination. On the other hand, as is evident in the three initiatives that I discuss, given the possibility to maintain music collections simultaneously in multiple places, more established archives may connect with community-based initiatives in search of collaborative partnerships. […]

References include:

Devy, Ganesh. A Nomad Called Thief: Reflections on Adivasi Silence. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2006.

[see full article for all references]

Source: iasa journal no 41 – September 2013
Date visited: 11 January 2019

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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Map credit: Adivasi Stories from Gujarat – Bhasha Research and Publication Centre (Vadodara) – Gujarat
Posted in Adivasi, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Cultural heritage, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Maps, Modernity, Museum collections - India, Music and dance, Musicology, Names and communities, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Success story, Western region | Tagged | Comments Off on Community-based initiatives in search of collaborative partnerships: Digital audiovisual archives facilitated by Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh – Gujarat

Acknowledging indigenous peoples’ stewardship: Contributions to earth’s biodiversity – Cultural Survival

It is no coincidence that 80 percent of the earth’s biodiversity is found on Indigenous lands. It is because of Indigenous people’s stewardship and relationship with the environment. | Read the full text here: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/issues >>

However, governments in Indigenous Peoples’ homelands and multinational corporations too often violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights by operating in their territories without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent… Often culturally, linguistically and geographically separate from mainstream cultures, Indigenous Peoples lack the financial resources and access to decision-making platforms to demand a voice at the table and ensure that their best interests are represented. Indigenous Peoples, having exhausted avenues in seeking justice and protection of their rights at the national level, can choose to seek international pressure and attention to their plights.


Called Tribal Peoples, First Peoples, Native Peoples, and Indigenous Peoples, these original inhabitants call themselves by many names in their 4,000 + unique languages and constitute about 5% of the world’s population.

There are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Indigenous people live in every region of the world, but about 70% of them live in Asia.

There is no universally accepted definition for “Indigenous,” though there are characteristics that tend to be common among Indigenous Peoples:

  • Indigenous People are distinct populations relative to the dominant post-colonial culture of their country. They are often minority populations within the current post-colonial nations states. In Bolivia and Guatemala Indigenous people make up more than half the population.
  • Indigenous People usually have (or had) their own language, cultures, and traditions influenced by living relationships with their ancestral homelands. Today, Indigenous people speak some 4,000 languages.
  • Indigenous People have distinctive cultural traditions that are still practiced.
  • Indigenous People have (or had) their own land and territory, to which they are tied in myriad ways.
  • Indigenous People self-identify as Indigenous.

Examples of Indigenous Peoples include the Inuit of the Arctic, the White Mountain Apache of Arizona, the Yanomami and the Tupi People of the Amazon, traditional pastoralists like the Maasai in East Africa, and tribal peoples like the Bontoc people of the mountainous region of the Philippines. […]

Indigenous Peoples and the Environment

It is estimated that Indigenous territories contain 80 percent of the earth’s biodiversity. Indigenous lands also hold unquantified megatons of sequestered carbon as 11% of the planet’s forests are under their guardianship. These regions face an unprecedented and rapid loss of biodiversity and climate change effects resulting from the fossil fuel-based industrialized global economy and natural resource extraction. Many traditional Indigenous lands have become biodiversity “hotspots.” For Indigenous Peoples, conservation of biodiversity is an integral part of their lives and is viewed as spiritual and functional foundations for their identities and cultures. It is no coincidence that when the World Wildlife Fund listed the top 200 areas with the highest and most threatened biodiversity, they found that 95 percent are on Indigenous territories. […]

Our Mission

Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience, since 1972.

Our Vision

Cultural Survival envisions a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

Source: Issues
URL: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/issues
Date accessed: 19 October 2018

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Video | “Rasi Nato” (Big Village): Song 5 from Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village) – West Bengal

 Rasi Nato (Big Village)

[Starting from 16:25, continues/ends in Part 2]

A group of women recall their bygone days:
In our big village we girls and boys were together in pairs. But the pairs of our friendships are no more. Some of us have shut ourselves up indoors. Some of us have chained ourselves and have multiplied like the roots of a banana plant.

Literary translation

Boys and girls in our big village

We used to be in pairs,

Pairs of our friendship is broken.

Some of us have closed ourselves indoor,

Some of us have chained ourselves,

Some of us have multiplied like root of banana plants.

Continue and view Part 2 here >>

View the full video album from the beginning >>

Learn more

Courtesy: Dr. Boro Baski © Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust –


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Posted in Childhood and children, Commentary, Customs, Eastern region, Modernity, Music and dance, Names and communities, Organizations, PDF printfriendly, Resources, Storytelling, Video contents, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Video | “Rasi Nato” (Big Village): Song 5 from Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village) – West Bengal