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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

– 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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Incidence of Hepatitis-B Virus Higher Among the Tribals in India

The Union Health Ministry said last year that in India, an estimated four crore people were suffering from Hepatitis B and some 1.2 crore were suffering from Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis C Blood Virus [HCV]. Photo Credit: michelsonmedical.org

By Sujit Chakraborty

The incidence of the Hepatitis-B virus is higher among the tribals, specially the Jarawas of the Andaman Islands and the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh, experts said.

“Hepatitis-B is still an important cause of chronic liver disease. The prevalence of the infection in higher among the tribals,” said Pradip Bhowmik, one of the country’s most renowned hepatologists and liver expert.

“Around 65 per cent of the Jarawa tribals and 21 per cent tribals in Arunachal Pradesh are affected by the virus. Except Central India, 3 to 6 per cent tribals in most parts of India are also affected.”

The Jarawas is one of the endangered tribes inhabiting the Andaman Islands and any interaction with them is prohibited by law.

“In Arunachal, the Chakma tribe has the highest percentage of the infection. More than 11 per cent of the population is affected which is a matter of concern,” Bhowmik told IANS.

On the eve of the two-day international scientific conference on liver disease, “Livercon V”, beginning on Saturday, Bhowmik said that earlier Hepatitis-C was about 0.1 per cent among voluntary blood donors.

A recent study shows that about 20 per cent of Hepatitis-C cases is transmission through injecting drugs.

“It was found earlier that Hepatitis-C was the disease of old age but new data shows that more than 30 per cent of Hepatitis-C patients are below 30 years of age and most of them have a habit of injecting drugs.”

Bhowmik said that availability of better diagnostic facilities in India was now making it possible to diagnose liver disease early leading to a reduction in complications.

Injection and medicines
Hepatitis A and E are the commonly transmitted hepatotropic viruses transmitted due to poor hygiene, contaminated food and drinking water, poor sanitation. Pixabay

“Awareness development among the health care providers is of paramount importance for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of liver diseases.”

Another hepatology expert Ajit Chowdhury said: “Alcoholic liver diseases were increasing in the country. But a chronic liver disease due to a fatty liver is gradually becoming a threat to the future generation and needs immediate intervention. Diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome are leading to chronic liver disease mostly.

“All these chronic liver diseases lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.”

Across the world, the prevalence of liver disease is increasing and mortality rates were also rising steadily.

Chowdhury said that liver transplantation has revolutionized treatment for liver diseases and India has many state-of-the-art hospitals to provide the best care.

Gradually the treatment is also becoming cost effective for the common people.

According to Bhowmik, the Indian government has targeted to make India hepatitis free by 2030.

Also Read- Punjab Bans Online Delivery of Food without Hygiene Rating

The World Health Organization has estimated that viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015, a number comparable to deaths due to tuberculosis worldwide.

The Union Health Ministry said last year that in India, an estimated four crore people were suffering from Hepatitis B and some 1.2 crore were suffering from Hepatitis C. (IANS)