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Feeling Left out in the Race to Progress, Tribals express wish to get Educated and make up for Lost Time

AIMBSCS is an organisation formed to spread the ideology of Ambedkar and Birsa Munda, among other such progressive personalities

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Tribals of India, Wikimedia
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– by Vishal Narayan 

Jamshedpur, Nov 27, 2016: A feeling of resentment among tribals at being “cheated” by upper-caste Hindus, of being left out in the race to progress, is now giving way to the urge to get educated, to “make up for lost time”. At a pan-India conclave of tribals here, many spoke of the need for education to shake off a widespread “inferiority complex”.

Adivasi rights campaigner Thalko Majhi of the Ho tribe of Jharkhand, who had put up a book stall at the Tribal Conclave ‘Samvaad’, organised by the Tatas, said that upper-caste Hindus had made God their trustworthy ally in order to keep the tribals chronically subservient.

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Majhi spoke to IANS about his lifelong circumspection about the existence of God, which he could never describe for want of a proper idiom, until 2012.

“That year I came in contact with Shishir Varge of the All India Mulnivasi Bahujan Samaj Central Sangh (AIMBSCS). I joined his eight-day camp in Nagpur,” Majhi recalled.

“They taught people like me how to reason well; taught us the historical facts about the ‘varna vyavastha’ or the Hindu caste system that had never reached us earlier,” he said.

“All this soul/spirit is a lie! Hindus have cheated us,” said Majhi, adding, “I always wondered that if God is so benign then why does he allow such gross iniquities in the society? God is a myth.”

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Majhi said that until he was acquainted with the teachings of Bhimrao Ambedkar he had no idea about the “exploitative system” of the Hindu religion, which he conceded has made deep inroads into possibly every Indian culture through sophisticated propaganda.

“Did Hindus not eat beef? They very much did,” he said.

“And they made Buddhists flee when they faced tough competition from them,” Majhi said at the Dalit-Aadivaasi literature stall at the Tribal Conclave, which had on display titles like “Shoodron ki Khoj” (Search for the Untouchables) and “Tribals not Hindus”.

“I keep telling tribals not to mind such abstractions as God and not spend time on elaborate rituals. We have to make up for lost time,” Majhi said.

He rued that people, even those who benefit from the quota system, “tend to restrict the good fortune to themselves, and don’t educate others”.

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AIMBSCS is an organisation formed to spread the ideology of Ambedkar and Birsa Munda, among other such progressive personalities.

Munda, a 19th-century warrior, was an Adivasi and as far as can be gathered from his calls to his fellow men, was a confirmed sceptic. He was known to have urged tribals not to make animal sacrifices to appease any deity and not to indulge in idol worship.

Sukhmati of the Ho tribe, who too had a book stall at the conclave, had attended the eight-day AIMBSCS workshop in Nagpur as Majhi.

“I just want my future generation to be educated. I think this is the best way to wean them off their inferiority complex. Otherwise, they will just go on drinking and doing nothing as they have been doing for years,” Sukhmati told IANS.

Jharkhand has, among others, three main tribes — Ho, Santhal, and Munda. Although Mundas have of late come into the mainstream, the other two remain backward, with many of their youths unemployed.

The third edition of the four-day-long Tribal Conclave was held from November 15-19 and was themed around the Tribal Health System. There are an estimated 60 million tribals, or indigenous people, across India. (IANS)

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Is The observance of Valentine’s day a Commination For The Indian Culture?

India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture

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Exchanging gifts on Valentine's day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Wikimedia Commons
Exchanging gifts on Valentine's day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Wikimedia Commons
  • Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones
  • Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner
  • Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II

One can spot excited lovebirds everywhere as the week of love starts. Shops like Hallmarks and Archie’s are brooding with love tokens. The essence of ‘love is in the air’ can be felt very easily. The Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones. The day falls each year on 14th February and holds a great significance for the people worldwide. Things like cupid hearts, roses, chocolates, and red heart-shaped balloons can be seen in every florist and gift shop. Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner.

In India, along with all these romantic accessories and lovebirds, an uproar by political parties is also created every year. The party people go to different restaurants and places where the day is supposed to celebrate to wipe out Valentine’s Day decorations. These political parties also demand that this day this day not be celebrated, as it is not a part of Indian culture. Like every year, this time also the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and Hindu Mahasabha with the plan to ruin all that the lovebirds might have planned ahead. The couples which are been held on by such ‘social moral-police’ forcibly marrying them by accusing of expressing love in public or even on social networking sites. To counter the aggression of such groups, Chhattisgarh made it official that 14th February will now be celebrated as ‘parents worship day.’ Such is the plight of democracy in our country.

 

Also Read: 20 best valentine’s day gift ideas for him & her

Valentine’s Day History

Majority of people in India do not even know about Valentine’s Day origin and what exactly does it stand for. If we see historically then Valentine’s Day has really got nothing to do with individual love. It is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Therefore, 14th February is also known as the St. Valentine’s Day. There are many other stories associated with it but in the end, the day is associated with the tradition of courtly love which was an act of chivalry of Knights for their ladies.

Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Wikimedia Commons
Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Wikimedia Commons

Valentine’s Day Meaning

The Valentine day is well accompanied by Chocolate day, Hug day, Rose day, Slap day, Kick day, Breakup day etc. etc. So, now the lovers celebrate a Valentine week. If we see in the Indian context then it holds no sense of celebrating a day that too when its history has nothing to do with our society. It is understood if Indians who are Christians are celebrating it as it can be considered their festival.

The question arises, what is so wrong with celebrating Valentine’s day or expressing love in public?

If we look at the general celebration of any festival in India then, almost all the Indian festivals are celebrated in a very traditional manner and none is complete if done without worshipping God. Such festivals involve family but not just couples. Like Diwali is celebrated in a very convenient way in India. We pay obeisance to God, greet our friends and families, light diyas and burst cracker. But some people on the other hand drink and gamble on this auspicious day. Is it allowed by Indian culture?

India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture. Such practices make people think it is trendy to celebrate them. One has to celebrate Valentine Day because the event has been marketed in such a way that it looks special and cool for the young generation.

Also Read: Modern methods, ‘print your love’: Valentines day

Complications Involved

Basically, what matter’s is the way in which festivals are celebrated rather than their name and origin? The day in India is more likely driven by fashion and less by emotions.

Like many other cultures and festivals, Indian culture might absorb Valentine’s Day. Fundamentally, celebrating love is not harmful in itself but forgetting what love stands for and trampling the local culture and traditions as it does not resonate with the definition of globalization is certainly harmful.

The Valentine day is marked in such a way that youngsters are made to believe that they have to shower their partner with expensive gifts to keep the relationship going even when they are just students and the gift would come from their pocket money savings.

Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of "patriarchy and oppression" by the western world. Wikimedia Commons
Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, why should there be just one special day to express your love for your loved one? This should be expressed on daily basis for relationships to go with bliss. Exchanging gifts on Valentine’s day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Some people have started expecting benefits from this extraordinary show of love on a single day. It is extremely absurd when people start comparing how their previous date was so much better with the gifts they have received. The very idea of judging the love and affection on a materialistic platform has become a menace to the society.

The problem in India is that the society is undergoing a transformation and there are many bad elements in the society that take full advantage of such days. For some, love means only physical pleasure and nothing more than this. If this notion holds true then it is true that not only Valentine but any such festival is against Indian culture. Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones.

Also Read: Origins of Valentine’s Day: rooted in violence and blood

On the other hand, Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world which has been a part and parcel of India for generations.

If someone celebrates Valentine day to realize that they are a global citizen then the aura of subconsciousness is really gone wrong. In some cases, the conversion to other religion is also seen at the behest of such festivals.

Conclusion

Emotions like love have a very deep meaning in India and most Indians try for a lasting relation who will lead to marriage and a stable life. Thus celebrating a day where you express your love for your better half is never a big deal. There are the different set of arguments for either liking or disliking this day but that doesn’t mean it gives the right to extremists to forcibly marry off couples seen expressing love in public or social networking sites. However, we should be wary of unwanted practices just for the sake of attention and let things that ruin our culture happen. But at the same time, we should also not start moral policing at everything around.

Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones. Wikimedia Commons
Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones. Wikimedia Commons

There are many other foreign festivals that are now celebrated in India such as New year, Halloween, St. Patrick’s day, Mother’s days, Father’s day and so on though with less vigour. It is a common conception that foreign festivals attract more people as the way of celebrating these is just like a party and it is very attractive.

Valentine Day has become an occasion of global celebrations due to various reasons. Even the cultures and communities like India that have otherwise no links to Valentine Day have also adopted it. India has a glorious tradition, a leader in spirituality and diverse culture. Now a day, celebrating Valentine Day is considered a marker of modernity. It’s up to an individual how he/she takes the spirit of love and adhere to the very idea of compassion.