By: Dhumkudia Team
Dhumkudia—an indigenous institution of Oraon tribe—has been an educational center, providing learning opportunities from ancestors’ knowledge of culture, history, tradition, philosophy, social cohesiveness, traditional administration and legal systems, and above all survival. Similar institutions also exist among other Adivasi communities, such as Ghotul—among Gonds/Koiturs, Giti-Ora—among Santals and Selnedingo—among Bondas; wherein the mode of education has been oral in nature. These institutions have never been promoted or even acknowledged by the state and therefore their existence remains at threat.
Carrying forward the legacy of these institutions, Dhumkudiya is an Adivasi dialogue series cum conference for the revival and resurgence of Adivasi-indigenous knowledge systems. This year, in its second edition, Dhumkudiya will be organized on 25 December at Sangam Garden, Ranchi, Jharkhand.
The series aims to counter and resist the demonic representations of tribes/Adivasis since time immemorial, and bring forward, engage with the alternative “sustainable” modes of development, that are practiced by these communities. Survival is another crucial aspect of tribal communities at this hour and Dhumkudiya seeks to provide a platform to address different constituents of tribal life of sustainable development and livelihood.
In the current social-political-cultural intellectual discourse of the country, tribes and their lives are one of the most ignored and marginalized. Their views are barely heard or given any importance. Tribes are already in the cobweb of the opinions, schools and ideas that have been put forth by outsiders without knowing the basic philosophy of tribal communities. Historically, the dominant civilization has been always seen as the superior, where, the rest have tried to follow their path. To counter this and build an egalitarian and leading civilization, the creation of affirmative writing from every discipline is necessary; irrespective of the heterogeneity among tribes.
Latin American scholar, Grimaldo Rengifo Vasquez wrote that, “In local indigenous thinking, living is what gives knowledge, not gathering up a lot of a priori facts about the nature of things. As they say, ‘To know you have to live’”. While many of the commentators recognize western knowledge to be important and strategically necessary for indigenous communities, they decry the relentless academic bias in western thought and in consequences this bias has wreaked on oral indigenous cultures, alienating indigenous education from culturally authentic ways of learning, knowing and remembering.
Along these lines, social scientist Benjamin Barber tells us that, “education is systemic story telling” (Barber 1987:22). Education provides us with a narrative that defines our role in society. The formal education in India attempts to instill in us in a common set of values, a way of understanding the world and acting in it. But which story is ours? Who are the “We” that lay claim to the story that defines us as Indians? Who decides which story, or stories will be taught in school, whose knowledge and preferences count, and what criteria will be used to assess these preferences?
In a multicultural society, educational practices must be informed by many different narratives that define our diverse cultural heritage. And yet, in most pluralist societies, where many cultures coexist, educational institutions tend to promote a single (dominant) story. In Dhumkudia perspective, the core values that lie beneath the surface of cultural practices—that inform different cultures’ and understanding of the world—have been largely ignored in the nations’ educational agenda. Unfortunately, tribal communities have been trapped under an “assimilation” project, where multicultural society is losing the essence of multi and Adivasis have been manipulated to abandon their indigenous culture and tradition, despite how rich they are.
At the outset, the nominal independence that India got in 1947, there were several plans and special programmes introduced for Adivasi communities, but the real situation of Adivasis have remained the same. The rights, under 5th schedule of constitution, PESA (Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Area-1996), Forest Right Act (2006) and Tribal Sub Plan (1974) etc. are meager eyewash and have never been properly designed to provide benefits to the Adivasis. Similarly, the Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 aims to protect the indigenous communities from exploitation and atrocities. Despite this, indigenous communities have many setbacks due to irresponsible and dishonest bureaucracy and politics. The ‘Dhumkudiya’ set forth to address these major challenging issues as well.
At this juncture, scholars need to emphasize the indigenous ways of learning in life and thorough communal action—that is holistic, ecological, spiritual, and provides healing. It is this very form of learning and knowing that the indigenous movements seek to revitalize, value, honor, and embed into schools and other institutions of learning, not only for the benefit of their own children, but for the healing of entire world.
As the saying goes, ‘the deer’s history can never be written by lions, unless deer write their own’. Now as the tribal scholars are asserting their voices in the academic world, merely being an object and spectator is an offence. While we have already travelled a long way, nourished by earlier pathfinders and ancestors, now it’s a grim necessity to go for a voyage, where we can expect some more milestones to be set in the coming future.
More often than not, tribes are represented in the news through victim narratives—in relation to poverty, hunger, deprivation of constitutional rights, culture tradition, and inclusion in greater (non) civilized society and while their resistance for survival and dignified life have remained at the margins. After much endured efforts by the various governments about the upheaval of the tribes in India and the efforts by the tribes themselves, have brought them in a foray of divergence in their life. The lifestyle proscribed by western economies through capitalism, industrialization and urbanization are one of them. Alternatively, Adivasi communities have lived in term of sustainable development while maintaining the productive capacity of the capital throughout the human life. In fact, most of the indigenous people in the world have lived and survived through these alternative thoughts and indigenous communities such as—Maori, Mohawk or tribes in India are not an exception.
In an attempt to address the above discussed issues and contexts, “Dhumkudia-2019” invites papers, articles under the following themes for its second edition of Adivasi dialogue series-
(1) Culture and Tradition–
- Compatibility of our traditional way of life with our modern lifestyles.
- The practice of customs and traditions in present times.
- Challenges for Language, Literature, Art, Music and Customs.
- Culture Tradition and Reformation.
(2) Constitutional Rights and Autonomy
- Constitutions and Human Rights.
- Democracy and law among tribes.
- Customary Law and Constitutions.
(3) Tribal Society in the Age of Globalization
- Tribes in a Globalizing World.
- Need of the Institutions among Tribe.
- Tribal Society and Social evils such as – witchcraft, dowry, crime and corruption.
- Democracy and Unity among Tribes in globalizing world.
- Sense of Collectivism and Socialistic Pattern of Society.
(4) Education and Health
- Education and Health among Tribes.
- Traditional Education Institutes vs. Modern Educational Institutions.
- Education and Socio-economic Status of Tribes.
- Role of Tribal Intellectual in the Society
- Education and Development.
(5) Tribes as History Makers
- Megaliths among Tribes.
- Importance of Writing History.
- Importance of making history.
(6) Gender Equality
- Gender Equality and Tribes.
- Gender and Crime among Tribes.
(7) Food and Livelihood
- Traditional Food vs. Fast Food
- Forest Product, Market and Management
(8) Education and Economic Development
- Sustainable Development and Tribes.
- Capital among Tribes.
- Tribal Literature and its history.
- Literature and Music and Song.
(10) Tribes in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
- Tribes and Technology.
- Sustainable Technology and Tribes.
(11) Tribes and Environment.
- Nature as Livelihood for Tribes.
- Natural Resources and tribes.
(12) Agriculture and Industry among Tribes
- Agriculture as Industry.
- Traditional Agriculture livelihood.
(13) Water and Forest Resources
- Management of Forest Resources
- Water Crisis water resources
(14)Tribal Medicine and Healing Mechanism
- Traditional Tribal Medicine.
- Traditional vs. Modern Healing Mechanism
(15) Folklore and Folktales
- Traditional vs. Moderns Storytelling
- Fiction vs. Non-fiction.
If your vision, imagination and writings fall outside the given sub-themes but within the sphere of tribes, Dhumkudia-2019 will still be happy to include them as part of the discussion platform. You can send your work/papers written in any language at – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last date for sending Abstract is: 30/09/2019
The last date for sending full paper is: 15/11/2019
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- “Dhumkudiya—an Adivasi dialogue series” invites papers for its second conference - September 7, 2019
- Ahead of World Indigenous Day, Tribal-Adivasi organizations reassert their constitutional rights - August 8, 2019