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By Kanika Rangray
But the question also arises if this independence is the same for all. What has this independence meant for the tribal society?
The Tribal society of India
For a very long time, the tribal people have been considered as the primitive segment of the Indian society. They have been ear-marked as a community of people who live in forests and hills, and survive on what the forests have to offer them, without any contact with civilisation.
According to the 2011 census, tribal population in India is 104 million, which is 8.6 percent of the Indian population. Majority of the tribal population of India lives in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and some north-eastern states, along with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
When India became an independent and democratic country, relations between tribes and the more advanced majority communities changed; the tribal people now had rights to vote in general elections for the Parliament and Legislative Assembly of their respective states.
However, this did not have much effect on them, because they did not understand the implication of this right, but local elections did affect them. When some of the most powerful people in their district approached the poorest of the villagers for vote appeal; this alerted them to a fundamental change in the system.
The tribal people in India have been exploited since colonial times. The encroachment upon their land by the non-tribal people hampered not only their lifestyle but also led to uprisings among them.
In order to save the Indian tribes from further exploitation, the constitution provided some safeguards:
- Article 46 of the Indian Constitution says that the state should promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the tribal people and should protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation through special legislatures.
- Article 244(2) (Sixth Schedule) provides a self-government to the tribal peoples by making a provision of the creation of autonomous district council, creation of districts and regional councils. The objective of Sixth Schedule was to enable tribal people to live according to their own ways.
- Article 275(1) provides special grant-in-aid for promoting the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes (ST).
- Article 330, 332, 335 allocates a reservation of seats for the STs in Lok Sabha and in state legislatures as well as in services
However, these constitutional provisions have done little to help them. Majority of the tribes in India live below the poverty line. The tribes lead simple lives, with most of the occupations being of the primary kind such as hunting, gathering and agriculture, and they are carried out using simple technology. There is no profit and surplus making in such economy, and hence their per capita income is very meagre in comparison to the Indian average. This leads to debt at the hands of local moneylenders and zamindars, and mortgaging or selling off their lands to moneylenders. Ultimate result is displacement on a large level.
Talking about health and nutrition, the Indian tribal population suffers from chronic infections and diseases, the water-borne diseases being life threatening, deficiency diseases. Infant mortality rate is also very high in the tribal population of India. Malnutrition is common. Also, the disturbed ecological balance, caused due to the cutting of trees have increased the distances between villages and the forest areas, thereby forcing tribal women to walk longer distances in search of forest produce and firewood.
In terms of formal education, it has made very little impact on tribal groups. Even though there is an ST reservation quota in most schools and colleges across the country, the penetration of education in the tribal groups is still very low. This low level of education can be accounted to many reasons such as formal education not being deemed necessary to discharge their local obligations. Superstition and myths also play their role for tribals rejecting education. Also, extreme poverty makes it difficult for them to send their children to school as they are considered as extra helping hands. Most disappointing is that formal schools themselves do not hold any special interests for these children, and most of the tribes being located in interior and remote areas teachers do not like to go there.
The government initiated a handful of schemes to help the tribal or scheduled tribes (ST) communities; for their development. But the sort of development which they look forth to is like providing them roads, electricity, pukka houses to live in. But isn’t that equal to destroying their culture and their homes?
Development in the true sense for the tribals would be in educating them and providing them the technology through which they can nurture the forests. Development for the nation would be when these forests are given to these tribes, by making them their caretaker.
The end result would be a developed and independent tribal society of India, and a better green cover which would take us one step forward in achieving a perfect ecological balance in the country.
This would be independence for the tribal society of India.
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.
OṀ KALMASHARAHITABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) -KAL-MA-SHA-RA-HI-TA-BHOO-MYAI— NA-MA-HA
ॐ कल्मषरहितभूम्यै नमः
(Kalmasham: Tainted, blemish, dirty, sinful, wicked, foul, dosha, opprobrium, stigma; Rahita: Absent, devoid of)
Kalmasham is the opposite of purity; it means impure, contaminated and defective. The word is used in several senses such as: defective, fault, sin, dosham, tainted, vice, crime, disrespect, abuse, evil and contamination. However, it is also used in a technical sense in certain fields of knowledge. In Vedic literature we see words like pavitram, and pavitrata in the opposite sense of kalmasham. We, as Hindus, see everything as pure and equitable with God in an implied meaning that every atom at the microscopic level is part of the Supreme Power (Bhagavān). Having this knowledge and understanding, Hindus see the presence of God in living as well as non-living objects and have a pavitra meaning- kalmasharahita bandham.
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In Vedas and Purāṇās, Lord Shri Ramachandra Murty is portrayed without any defects and His marriage with Sīta was described as kalmasharahitam. He was glorified as the one who strictly observed the 'ekapatnī vratam' meaning-'one wife as a life partner'. Even when Sīta was abducted by the demon- Rāvaṇa and he kept her in his palace for a year, Rama did not look at another woman. The same credit goes to His consort and wife Sīta, who came out of Agni (pyre of fire) as a shining diamond proving her chastity and kalmasharahitam to the world. Our sacred literature is full of these incidents. Our dharmaśhāstrās explain that what is kalmasham is that which brings defection to one's purity. They advise purity in our thought, speech and actions.
God Ram and Goddess SitaGetty Pictures
There are many relationships we have as an individual. Some are pure and kalmasharahitam, as opposed to other relationships, like extramarital affairs. The relationship between husband and wife; brother and sister; father and daughter; parents and children; between siblings; teacher and student; among friends; and last but not least, between a devotee and his desired, beloved and personal god are considered kalmasharahitam.
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As a country, we have never waged war against another country with the intention of occupancy and robbing their wealth, or to convert them to our religion. We do not have that kalmasham on our hands or in our hearts.
Our land is 'Kalmasharahita Bhūmi'.