Luxury Of Conviction Over Tribal Homogeneousness Being Destroyed By Development!

  • | Monday | 30th August, 2021

DN Singh 

Once again there is a raging debate over the loss of the homogeneous quality of the tribal communities in Odisha. A team of experts led by Anil Dhir, who represents the INTACH chapter in Odisha, is of the opinion that the majority of tribal groups in the state are in a slow departure from their roots due to various factors.

A kind of seminar was organized in Koraput to harp on such issues last Friday inviting suggestions from people.

Talking to this author Dhir said that, it is for all to see a marked shift in the lifestyles of some tribes as they are slowly yet steadily moving away from their culture, traditions and the homogeneous quality they are known for. “ Developments at what cost?” wonders Dhir.

Govt Must Stop Projects!

What is more worrisome is their detachment from the nature with which their association is centuries old. There was a time when they used to get everything from the forests including food and medicines. Even they used to weave the clothes from some barks of trees.

But, now with the introduction of developmental schemes by the government and the non-government agencies, many new things have made their way into their lives.

It is not only in Odisha but the trend is almost panned India. Many anthropologists in the past have expressed their concern over the lack of a balance between their(tribes) lifestyle and development. They are worried that there is a need for a holistic approach to the entire issue and which is not there. As a result, the required homogeneous characteristics of the tribes get immensely diluted. 

You Cannot Have The Cake & Eat It Too  

Here comes a significant aspect to ponder over. Should they be left to where they were or they, like any other citizen of the land, should be open to education, health, and hygiene?

Hundreds of institutions, both government and non=government, have made inroads into the areas to create such awareness like education, health, and sports picking up the boys and girls to hone their skills.

Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Science is a prime face of an endeavor to educate the youngsters and provide them the required impetus to excel in other fields like sports etc. The above institution is in focus because it has the largest capacity and wider outreach, perhaps, in the country as regards tribal upliftment.

The above institution has a set procedure to pick up the youngsters through motivation. Even after joining the institution they are made to go through a process of learning in their mother tongue and are allowed to  redeem their traditions despite being away from their place of living.

Luxury Of Conviction Only?

Such institutions like the above and Wida and scores of others working among tribes to educate them and try to make them self-reliant without compromising with their homogeneousness.

Yet, which has invited such concerns from anthropologists and experts working in this field. They have been lethal in their attacks on the above institution for the alleged erosion of the cultural values and uprooting of their roots from nature.

For example, what is wrong if an institution like Kalinga Institute of Social Science has under its umbrella over 30,000 students drawn from several tribal communities and making out of them men or women of substance?

Extract the best out of them to make them graduates or make thousands out of them excel in sports.

In Tokyo Olympics three from KISS had made it to the tracks and it is no mere feat. About five thousand have been trained from here as sportsmen in different games. And some of them have shined in the national and international arenas.

What is equally surprising is that, the critics of such nature never ever give a solution as to what should be the middle path which can balance in between their homogeneous qualities and at the same time initiate them into areas called development.

Till date there has been no holistic theory propounded by any of the ones who plead for such purity.  “ We have given certain suggestions to the government” said Dhir but could not give anything in detail.

So, if it is the luxury of conviction alone then that the purists may introspect if they are only the sideliners to comment and comment.


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