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Why Indian tribes need more opportunities to ‘Make (a living) in India’

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Indian Tribes facing hard time

Jamshedpur: Sumanti Bhagat, a petite 30-year-old Oraon tribal woman, famous among her tribe for her paintings, uses some sophisticated techniques that could put many contemporary artists to shame.

Bhagat, who has been living in Jaspurnagar since her birth, hand paints on canvases Oraon symbols and images that unique among her tribe’s day-to-day living.

Bhagat says simplicity is the key to leading a happy life. She is usually seen in a white linen red-bordered saree and feathers stuck in her hair. Bhagat feels she is lucky to have a tool in her hand – her art – by which she can know more about the “non-tribal” society.

“Through this art, I am able to visit other places and know more about the world. That is when I know I have very little opportunity to make it big in life. I’m invited for art exhibitions but sometimes paid a mere Rs.500 a day,” Bhagat told IANS here, where she was exhibiting her artworks at the recently-concluded Samvaad Tribal Conclave.

Bhagat uses only natural substances for her colours, like rice powder for white, sandstone for red, black soil, limestone for a shade of black and even uses dried cow dung and coal to add other shades to her paintings. All her paintings display grooves, an element that gives them a three-dimensional look and elevates them to a whole new level.

As I complimented her on her techniques, she asked gently, yet firmly: “But why aren’t we given any opportunities to make a living? Aren’t we a part of this country too?” To which, I stood still as I had no answer to give her.

She said she manages to make Rs.4,000 a month from her art shows. “I don’t have too much to spend in my Jasarpurnagar town, but who wouldn’t like to earn more to send their kids to better schools,” Bhagat humbly asked, mentioning her two children, who are in classes 2nd and 4th.

Very similar was the story of a Malika Mannow, a 29-year-old, who lives in a neglected corner of the country – few kilometres from Along town of Arunachal Pradesh.

She lives with her family of five – husband, two children and mother-in-law – and makes a living selling green tea, jute products and some local delicacies like fish and pork pickles.

“Where I live, we majorly deal and procure things through the barter system. Those who grow pulses exchange them for some clothes. But we want to send our kids to study and need money,” Mannow, who showcased the Adi tribe’s lifestyle at the conclave, told IANS.

She said she has started sending her home-made pickle, jute products and tea to other cities to sell them there and make some money. “But we aren’t paid as much as a local person in the city would make, selling the same product, even if of lesser quality. It’s getting tougher to get an education for our kids,” Mannow lamented.

She was making all her efforts, by working with other NGO’s and exhibiting her products at exhibitions in other cities, and manages to make just Rs.7,000 a month. Her husband makes some Rs.4,000-Rs.5,000 through wood-cutting.

There were many such stories under just one roof of this tribal conclave. Some displaced by development projects and some who moved to cities looking for a better future but did not always manage to get a job and had to live on the streets for the rest of their lives.

These were men and women not figuring in electoral rolls or possessing an ID card because they live in places where no government official has ever stepped in and because their numbers don’t add up to a vote bank.

As the world worries about the Middle East refugee crisis, here are India’s own economic and social refugees-Indian Tribes – still waiting to be recognized by the state.

Aren’t these the men and women who need more opportunities to ‘Make (a living) in India’ than those given to businesses? While many Indian tribes still fight to keep their homes from being destroyed for development, many remain displaced and homeless because of developmental projects.

The question still remains: Development for whom?

(Bhavana Akella, IANS)

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‘Tribes of India’ : An Online Database to Document the Lives of Indian Tribes

The database would contain rare and exclusive videos and photographs, above thousands, which have been collected from various Tribal Research Institutes around the country

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Indian Tribes, Tribal culture
Tribal culture. Wikimedia
  • The ‘Tribes of India’ will showcase the lifestyle, culinary culture, conditions of living of the tribes
  • It is going to be amazing to form a database collecting all the information regarding the characteristics of the tribes, as those will be accessible in the distance of a click
  • Experts from the ministry has also stated that the database would be frequently updated with new research inputs from sources and scientists

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: The very first attempt at producing a documentation of the lives of the tribal in India, is ongoing. The ‘Tribes of India’ will showcase the lifestyle, culinary culture, conditions of living, and historical and chronological facts regarding the evolution of their traditions and culture. The ‘repertoire’ is focusing on answering questions such as- the difference between the Gond tribe of Uttar Pradesh and the Gonds of Jharkhand, whether the tribes in Jharkhand possess a secret cure for anemia, and the status of living of the Santhals in the remote forest-zones.

ALSO READ: Lalung Tribe of Northeast India: What Makes them Stand Apart!

A database on the tribes of India is to be created by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The project aims to bring into light the art and culture, history of evolution and anthropological facts, lifestyle and eating practices, the rate of mortality, education system, architecture and the contribution of the tribals in India’s struggle for freedom, Economic Times has reported.

It has been planned that the database would contain rare and exclusive videos and photographs, above thousands, which have been collected from various Tribal Research Institutes around the country. It is true that the research institute has always showcased such collections, but this is the first time it is going to be saved in an exclusive database.

It is going to be amazing to form a database collecting all the information regarding the characteristics of the tribes, as those will be accessible in the distance of a click, from now on. Techniques to introduce a feature that would enable a viewer to take a virtual tour of the architecture of a tribal hut is also going to be implemented, a senior ministry official said to Economic Times.

According to the report, about 10 crore scheduled-tribe people form an 8.6% of the entire population of the country. But it has been observed that there has been no sincere attempt to showcase and explore the unique lifestyle of the tribes. The official further stated that the database would pose as an excellent guide for the research-scholars because it will contain the necessary statistics. Experts from the ministry have also stated that the database would be frequently updated with new research inputs from sources and scientists.

The database is to follow the effort of the government to explore and showcase the lifestyle of the Indian tribes and dedicate some museums as well to the tribes. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi addressed the nation and asked all to explore and research on the contributions made by the Scheduled Tribes in India’s freedom struggle, Economic Times has reported.

The database will also include links to the museums of various states post their construction.

-prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Know Why Women Of “Apatanis tribe” Harm Their Faces: Arunachal Pradesh

The Apatanis women are believed to be the exceptional beauty in Arunachal Pradesh.  With their beauty, arrived a danger of theft of apatanis women by neighboring tribes.

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Apatani Tribal Women. Wikimedia

Arunachal Pradesh, July 1, 2017: India is a land of many tribes which forms its rich cultural heritage. One such tribe is Apatanis also known as Tanw, which lives in Ziro valley in the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh in India.

This tribe is famous for their colorful culture with various festivals, vibrant traditional village councils detailed and complex handloom designs and cane and bamboo crafts skill. They reside in very basic bamboo huts resting on top of vertical wooden stilts.  The Apatanis worships nature by praying sun and moon. Apatanis are also known for their distinctive way of sustainable farming and social forestry.

The Apatanis women are believed to be the exceptional beauty in Arunachal Pradesh.  With their beauty, arrived a danger of theft of apatanis women by neighboring tribes.

Majority of women on the earth are considered to be delicate pieces of physical beauty. The outer beauty is not seen as a blessing of god but the parameter on which the girl is admired, adorned or loved. No matter, how beautiful a woman is but the beautiful looks always wins in captivating the eye. People are more tempted by what they see than what they feel.

Beauty is a positive term that is why it attracts people. Especially, if we talk of outer beauty, the desire of it makes people cross their limits and restore to wrong practices.

Rape, sexual assault, kidnapping and forceful marriage are some examples of these wrongful deeds. A lady finds variety of ways to protect herself from the cruel world. Some learn self defense, some keep weapons, some don’t go out alone in night, some keep pepper spray and  some employ special bodyguards to  save themselves.

But, these tribal women found the solution in killing the root of the problem itself. Their pretty faces were very appealing to the neighbor tribes which lead to kidnapping of these women.

They altered their faces by inserting huge nose plugs and tattooing their faces in order to safeguard their lives. Their decision showed their bravery of letting go their outer beauty.  They preferred a life without beauty instead of physical beauty because their life was very much more than physical beauty to them.

The older women of tribe can still be spotted with inked faces and nose plugs. The further inserting of nose plugs and inking of faces have been banned by government.

The beauty they portrayed by disregarding their face appearance was beyond words. But on the other hand, hurting oneself just for getting secured is not a good choice. Will you spoil your face by the fear of getting raped; will you hurt yourself so much and make your outer skin ugly to protect yourselves from all the evil crimes of outer beauty?

– by Surbhi Dhawan. Twitter @surbhi_dhawan

 

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Arunachal Pradesh to provide zero interest Crop Loan to Marginal Farmers of the state

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Farmers in the field (representative Image), Wikimedia

Itanagar, May 22, 2017: The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to provide zero interest crop loan to marginal farmers of the state to enable them easy access to formal credit through banking channels, an official said on Monday.

According to a Finance Department notification of May 7, 2017, the government has decided to launch “Chief Minister’s Krishi Rinn Yojana”, under which it would provide interest subvention of 4 per cent on crop loan/Kisan Credit Card (KCC) limit up to Rs 3 lakh sanctioned by all banks to all farmers of the state during the current financial year.

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This interest subvention will be over and above the subvention given by the central government to banks and the farmers as per policy issued by the Reserve Bank of India and NABARD.

“The farmers would also get interest relief at the rate of 3 per cent per annum if they promptly repay their short-term production credit (crop Loan) within one year of disbursement of such loan. In effect, farmers who take loan up to Rs 3 lakh and make timely repayments will get access to zero interest credit facility,” the official said.

The NABARD will act as channel partner for reimbursement to banks against interest subvention amount claims.

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A certificate of area and crop being cultivated issued by circle officer will be accepted as valid documents by banks for issuance of Kisan Credit Card to the farmers, the notification said.

Benefit under the scheme will be extended to farmers availing KCC/crop production loan from commercial banks, APRB and APSCAB Ltd at the same terms and conditions prescribed by the RBI/ NABARD.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu has set a target of 7,500 farmers to be covered under the Chief Minister’s Krishi Rinn Yojana in this financial year.

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The district-wise or bank-wise target will be circulated separately to all District Collectors and concerned banks. This target will be reviewed later and any bank which fails to meet the stipulated target would be reported to the RBI and Department of Financial Services, he said.

Moreover, the circle officers will function as Financial Extension Officers of the state government and also help the banks in timely recovery of crop loans. (IANS)