SE21
Environmental concerns, indigenous knowledge, dissent and governance issues among the indigenous/tribespeople

Convenors:
Nava Kishor Das (Anthropological Survey of India)
Chair:
Dr. Nava Kishor Das
Discussant:
Sanghamitra Choudhury
Location:
University Place 3.209
Start time:
6 August, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Issues of governance, cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and biological resources are survival issues. Tribes/Adivasis of India have remained marginalised and excluded. Tribespeople need to be protected by strong laws to ensure forest and land rights, and claims for self-rule.

Long abstract:

Issues of governance and survival of indigenous populations/ tribespeople are being addressed more rigorously now. Indeed, the protection of indigenous cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and biological resources are fundamental to human survival issue. Tribes of India have remained marginalised and excluded as they could not avail the fruits of development and growth as was expected. Indeed the tribespeople, also known as Adivasis, have been historically marginalised and oppressed by the dominant communities, linguistically and culturally. India has now shown some concerns for the issues involved. Tribespeople need to be protected by strong laws and related mechanisms that exclusively address biocultural resource protection. One of the approaches to understand these issues could be to perceive the discourse of indigenous people, indigeneity theme and adivasi consciousness vis-à-vis forest and land rights, citizenship rights, in order to debate the growing anxieties of the tribes and their claims for self-rule, devolution of power, autonomy issues, protective discrimination, and empowerment. Practical approaches need to use environmental concerns and issues of eco-activism and eco-feminism. The acknowledgement by the Constitution of India of indigenous languages and scripts may be seen as recognition of indigenous assertion. The construction through narrative, village theatre and other cultural expressions, has become part of the subtle process of reinvention of tradition. Tribal and indigenous peoples are now trying to preserve pristine culture and literature as a strategy of empowerment.