Tribal Treason in India

Introduction

It’s a miserable reality that tribals in our nation are caught between two flames, neither they can absolutely depart from their old culture nor they can totally adjust to the new ones. This is the greatest treason committed not only on the tribals but also the entire humankind. Tribals are the primary human social groups that have ever existed.

Tribals are the first-ever human social group that ever existed. There are multiple definitions given by scholars for the term ‘tribe’ and ‘tribal’ but some of the common features of these definitions would be common ancestors, ‘collection of families bearing a common name, speaking a common dialect, habituating a common territory etc.

Problems Associated with Tribes

Crisis in Terms of Identity: It is seen from the origin of the advanced time that the tribes have consistently been attempting to have their own one of a kind identity however at more than one purpose of time it is seen that these personalities are forced on them.

They are not an immediate piece of Hinduism but rather since our Constitution says that   any individual who is certifiably not a Muslim, Christian, Jew or Parsi will be viewed as a Hindu, so we allude to them as Hindus.

If we look way back to the line of our predecessors, we’ll see that at some point of time we as a whole belonged to some tribe and that was the inception. The Constitution of India refers to tribes as Scheduled Tribe and defines it under  its Article 366(25). 

Individuals feel that Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes have a little contrast in light of the fact that both the terms have frequently been utilized together.

This thought is totally off-base, as individuals neglect to comprehend that the tribals don’t have a place with any position and are not the SCs who were alluded to as untouchables during the early period in India. Tribals are not any Jati but rather Janjati, not Dalits yet Adivasis. They were never the piece of the Varna Dharma of Hinduism. They should be recognized appropriately, this crisis must end.

Reluctant Urbaniser: Due to globalization and industrialization at such a vast scale, there have been extreme changes in the lives of the tribals . These progressions for advancement of the country have prompted urbanization and have made the tribals hesitant urbaniser.

They have a dejected way of life and in the need of money they are compelled to come out of their regular everyday environments. They are offered whimsical openings for work as bait and they fall for it.

They are made a part of human trafficking and employed as sex laborers or beggars and some are even exposed to rape and forced surrogacy. They are forced to leave their native home in forests and become a part of the urban society where they feel out of place. They are neither able to adjust to the urban culture nor return to their unique natural surroundings. They are left with no feeling of having a place any longer.

Absence of Political Support: The tribals have consistently felt the absence of political portrayal, which is much needed in our nation. They need some political leaders who can express the opinions of the tribes and put forth their needs and demands. They need representation in respect of their right and their infringement and getting their issues resolved through the judiciary of the country.

We can see that there is a paucity of powerful political leaders who  belong to the tribal background and those who are present are there because there is provision for reservation in the constitution of our country. This kind of representation must go beyond mere representation to fulfill the basic needs of tribes.

Resources being Exploited: With the loss of land and the natural surroundings, there has been a breakdown in conventional type of living and practices of tribals. The thought behind the abuse of the innate land is very simple, these are lands untouched and unexplored by anyone and hence are very rich in its mineral content.

The whole 100 per cent of the country’s tin is found in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh which is a tribal area. Their lands have been taken away for various developmental purposes due to which they have lost all their habitat and all means of livelihood. Their lands mined, forests curtailed, rivers poisoned, skies polluted. This is very unfortunate that the rights which our constitution vows to protect are manipulated for economic gains.

Homecoming: ‘Homecoming’, tries to portray the constrained mass transformations to Hinduism. From the outset, they were strongly changed over to Christianity made to overlook their “Bonga devta” for the love of Jesus by the English during British system and afterward universal Hindus reconverted a large number of these poor tribals back to Hinduism. This is followed even today in India.

Repercussions of Treason

Naxalism: Term Naxalism is derived from the village Naxalbari in West Bengal. They are viewed as the far left radical communists. It was a rebel against the proprietors who slammed a laborer over a land question in West Bengal and gradually spread across other eastern states, for example, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

 From Tirupati to Pashupati. They are far radical and savage, and represent a danger to the country. Repetitive demonstration of brutality, land burglary and different abominations against tribals push them towards Naxalism and subsequently they begin to take up weapons and pick rough measures. This frightfully hampers the harmony and amiability of the nation in extreme manners.

A significant model worth referencing here would be of ‘Salwa Judum’ (2005), signifying ‘Purification Hunt’. It was driven by Mahendra Karma, the Tiger of Bastar, in the locale of Dantewada and Bastar. It was an armed militia that was a part of an anti insurgency operation to counter naxalite violence in the region.

 Local tribals were raised against their own brethren resulting in a civil war. The Supreme Court outlawed and banned it, but it still exists in the form of Armed Auxiliary Forces, District Reserve Group and other vigilante groups working covertly.

Cultural Shock: With modernization and globalization in full swing, tribal culture interacts with different societies of India because of which there is progressive change in ancestral culture.

These days we see tribals in shirt-pants not with dhotis or peacock quill over their head or so on which used to be their conventional clothing. The serious effect of this cultural assimilation is that tribals are relinquishing their own long culture and traditions which is the heart and soul of a tribe.

What is more disheartening is that nowadays their traditions and customs are not seen in their day-to-day life but merely during the festivals or national days through their traditional dance, cuisine and costumes. Culture for them is not merely a symbolic representation but a ‘way of life’

Schemes of Government

A number of employment-oriented and developmental programmes for tribals have been introduced by the government of India. The major programmes are Jawahar Rosgar Yojana (JRY), Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Prime Minister’s Rosgar Yojana (PMRY) and Training For Self Employment For Rural youth (TRYSEM). Also there have been several acts implemented for their benefit like Forest Rights Act (2006), Protection of Civil Rights Act (1955), SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (1996) or PESA and others. 

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs drafted the National Tribal Policy in 2006 to look at the issue of development of STs in an integrated and holistic manner.

These schemes will address the issues such as enhancement of human development index of STs, improvement of infrastructure in STs dominated areas, ensuring that they have control over the natural resources base, displacement from their habitat and resettlement, distribution of wealth among tribals.

The objective of these policies is to bring STs at par with the rest of the population in terms of their socio-economic conditions. These policies can do wonders if implemented properly

Conclusion

Tribals are among the most deprived and oppressed sections of India. Half of the tribal people do not have land. Poverty, deprivation and now the reduction of government expenditure on basic medical health facilities is reflected in the absolutely poor health condition of tribal women and children.

 India has several laws and constitutional provisions, such as the Fifth Schedule for mainland India and the Sixth Schedule for certain areas of north-east India, which recognize indigenous peoples‟ rights to land and self-governance. The laws aimed at protecting indigenous peoples have, however, numerous shortcomings and their implementation is far from satisfactory.

Even after numbering so many issues of tribal people, we can still expect some good things for them in the near future as there are several schemes and programmes being implemented and laws even being amended to protect their rights and interests. There is not really a need for a different set of rights and laws as in Tribal Rights for them, Human Rights are enough. But the real question is if we consider them humans or not.

References

FAQs

  • What are the problems that the tribes in India face?
  • How does being a reluctant urbaniser prove to be a hindrance in the growth of the tribal people?
  • What led to tribals using naxalism as a recourse for their rights?
  • What has proved to be a reason for cultural shock for these tribes?
  • What are the various schemes available that can help in upliftment of the tribes?

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