An experiment in intercultural communication: “Learning from the people in the villages, value their way of life” – West Bengal

Photo courtesy: Freundeskreis Ghosaldanga und Bishnubati e.V.

Since the beginning of my work with people of the Santal villages, Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati, close to Santiniketan, it has been important to me that it is not a one-way street. Giving and receiving should be equally important. This means that I, an outsider, was willing to share my experiences and my knowledge while remaining curious to learn from the people in the villages, value their way of life and cultivate their friendship. | Read the full story by Martin Kämpchen in The Statesman (15 September 2018) >>

Video | Roots and Branches: The Lifeworld of an Enlightened Villager in West Bengal: Documentary (2017) by Ronald Kurt © >>

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Award winning stories and other success stories: Education that reconnects children with their indigenous culture and traditions

“I will continue to contribute towards tribal literature by writing on socio-economic issues aimed at empowerment of tribal women along with informative and entertaining stories for children. […] Regarding her upcoming book, she said the focus would be on the importance of education. “Joba Murmu, who possess a post graduate degree in Santhali and won the 2017 Sahitya Akademi award for writing a collection of short stories for children with morals

Source: Times of India, 24 June 2017 | Learn more >>

thebetterindia.com, 2 August 2017

An initiative that produces books in tribal dialects in an underdeveloped area of Madhya Pradesh is helping tribal children to not only become better learners in school but is also reconnecting them with their indigenous culture and traditions. Alaknanda Sanap takes a closer look.

“If you map the parts of India where illiteracy is highest, you will find that it matches the parts where the mother tongues of children are different from the official language,” says Ganesh Devy, a linguist and the 2011 Unesco Linguapax laureate. Devy is the founder of the Vadodara-based Bhasha Research and Publication Trust.

Over the past few years, some states like Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have tried to integrate tribal languages in government schools, but most other states where indigenous people live in large numbers have been reluctant to take this step. […]

An initiative in Madhya Pradesh in central India is trying to overcome this reluctance through successful interventions on the ground. The state has a tribal population of 21.1%, with 46 recognised scheduled tribes and three tribal groups identified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). The Baigas in Balaghat district are one such group. They live alongside other tribal communities like Gonds, to which Arkat belongs. […]

Source: How Tribal Kids in MP Are Getting a Chance to Learn in Their Languages
Address: https://www.thebetterindia.com/110025/books-tribal-languages-help-rejuvenate-school-learning-central-india/
Date Visited: Sun Aug 27 2017 19:17:34 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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“Magnetic Fields”: Festival of Contemporary Music & Arts (14-16 December 2018) – Rajasthan

Festival date (2018): 14-16 December | Learn more: http://magneticfields.in

Started in 2013, Magnetic Fields is held in the majestic setting of the 17-century palace Alsisar Mahal at Jhunjhunu offering a unique marriage of contemporary culture with Rajasthani heritage and hospitality. From pure electronica to grungy pop-rock, the multi-genre festival has hosted some of the biggest international and Indian artistes in the past.– Economic Times, 7 September 2017 | Read more >> 

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On stereotypes and “three kinds of knowledge” (universal, community and individual knowledge): Papers presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

Parallel Session 2: Land, Identity and Tribal Autobiographical Narratives

Chaired by: Sandesha Rayappa, JNU, New Delhi

Paper Presenters: Mahi S. Thavarathu (JNU, New Delhi), P. Rajitha Venugopal (JMI, New Delhi), Vasundhara Gautam (BML Manjul University, Gurgaon), Rakesh Soni (IGNTU, Amarkantak).

Mahi S.Thavarathu, through her paper: “Diminishing the Stereotypes: Re-presenting the Tribals of Kerala in Kocharethiand Odiyan”, questioned the dominant notions governing ‘purity’ and ‘morality’ in a civilised society, and also highlighted the process of ‘othering’ of the tribal people. The paper specifically looked at the mis/representations of Malaaraya tribe which is rapidly facing the perils of Hinduisation and Sanskritisation. To correct the image of the tribe, the presenter relied on the semi-autobiographical novel by Narayan, and read the novel as an act of resistance against the misrepresentation of the community by the academic and the literary world. The paper also engaged with the changing contours of identity, displacement and crisis, set in motion by modernity.

Rajitha Venugopal presented a paper titled “Grappling with Modernity: Narayan’s Kocharethi as a Metaphor of Adivasi Lives in Kerala.” This paper was an attempt to look at how modernity served as a “double-edged phenomenon” as far as the Malaaraya [Mala Arayan] community depicted in Narayan’s Kocharethi are concerned. This paper also studied how Narayan’s act of narration and tracing the transition of the community serves both as a counter-representation as well as an act of self-assessment. It was argued in the context of the innate limitation of history that the dominant narrative inevitably overlooks different strands of culture, beliefs and traditions, with a vicious inclination to homogenise and standardise. Narayan’s Kocharethi was read as a text positing threat to the dominant representations of the tribe (Malaaraya). By analysing the depiction of three generations of a tribal family, she reflected on the changing trajectories in the socio-cultural life of the community and unveiled the complexities generated by modernity. The identity-negotiations occurring in the face of rapid modernity exhibit the transformations in the internal structures of the community, as modernity manifests itself as a liberating force that inevitable results in the erasure or appropriation of tribal ethics.

Vasundhara Gautam, in her paper “Apne Ghar Ki Talash Mein: Identity, Subjectivity and Home in Nirmala Putul’s Works”, argued that tribals have been misrepresented in colonial and pre-colonial historiography and emerge as the most marginal of the social groups. The biases that informed the colonial and pre-colonial historiographers exist today in form of certain stereotypes which need to be dismantled. With a view to making the required corrections, she engaged with the poetic world of Nirmala Putul and read her works in their appropriate socio-cultural milieu. She observed that Adivasi women in post-independence era have suffered because tribes have assimilated within the dominant patriarchal model. The idea of ‘identity’ and ‘home’ appear to be more problematic in case of an Adivasi woman, and here, she posits that we need to rescue tribal narratives from a certain homogenising tendency.

Rakesh Soni, through his paper “The Concept of Indigenous Knowledge” enunciated the characteristics of three kinds of knowledge namely – universal knowledge, community knowledge and individual knowledge. The two types of knowledge, universal and individual, can help us to understand reality from its own views. Self-realization of reality has both individual and universal character and knowledge happening simultaneously. At this stage, individual acts are universal but also bound with the individual’s physical body that is governed and regulated by Prarabddha karma. In this context, he laid importance on the community knowledge. Community knowledge means such knowledge whose validity and verification is made by a particular community or ethnic group that resides in a particular land or territory and has a particular cultural identity. In some cases, it is also known as indigenous or tribal knowledge

(Student Rapporteur: Mr. Abhishek Pundir)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Source: Report for the ICSSR-sponsored Two-Day National Conference Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative organised by The Department of English & Outreach Programme Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi, 27-28 February 2017)

Courtesy Dr. Ivy Hansdak, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi (email 4 October 2017)

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An alphabetical journey across India (interactive map)

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The Toda, Naga, Rabari and Banjara communities: Discoveries in India’s largest collection of royal and ancient costumes – Gujarat

The largest collections of royal and ancient costumes in India – Gujarat

Toda, Naga, Rabari and Banjara costumes figure in internationally acclaimed collection royal and ancient costumes – Gujarat | Learn more >>

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PVTG – Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups listed by the Government of India (interactive map)

 

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