Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Home Uncategorized Why Indian tribes need more opportunities to 'Make (a living) in India'

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

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)



Most Popular

Women Experience Depression Even After 3 Years of Giving Birth

Researchers have found that approximately one in four women experienced high levels of depressive symptoms at some point in the three years after giving...

Lack of Monitoring Stations to Quantify Air Pollution in India

With Delhi facing another tryst with air pollution, several environmental experts believe that the problem goes beyond the national capital and that the country...

Nutritious Snacks for the Virtual School Breaks

The pandemic has forced children to go back to school with virtual learning having swapped classroom teaching. Although school in 2020 may look way...

Books that Address Children’s Mental Health

In these unprecedented times, when isolation fatigue, gloom, and the fear of losing a beloved has also come to grip children, taking care of...

Air Pollution Linked to 15% of COVID Deaths Worldwide

In a major global study, researchers have revealed that long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15 percent of COVID-19 deaths worldwide. According...

Ketogenic Diet could Prevent or Reverse Heart Failure

Heart problems? A special diet might help as researchers have found that the popular and controversial ketogenic diet could completely prevent, or even reverse...

Technology to Produce Psychoactive Drugs by IIT Guwahati

Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) on Tuesday said its researchers have developed a low-cost membrane technology to produce psychoactive drugs and anti-aging compounds...

Fashion Hubs Burgeon into Fresh Farm Outlets

In recent days, people passing by some of the biggest fashion hubs in Mumbai rub their eyes in disbelief at what they behold. Instead of...

Recent Comments