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March 2005 Newsletter

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 From the Editor

 Dr. Bipin Jojo, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai


Are We Scheduled Tribes or Adivasis?

Thousands of Adivasis/Tribals have been living in metro cities and towns in the country away from their home states. Besides this, many of them are also residing in tea gardens of Assam and West Bengal, and in the Islands of Andaman and Nicober. It is difficult to know the number as even the Census of India does not give this data.   They have been recognized as Scheduled Tribes by the President of India as per Article 342 of the Indian constitution in their respective home states, but are not enumerated as Scheduled Tribes in the states of domicile with a few exceptions.  Can someone believe that in the Union Territory of Delhi there is no Scheduled Tribe Population as per the Census reports? Every body knows that there are many tribals from Chotanagpur, North-East region and other parts of the country serving in the various departments of Union Government and public sector companies. This unfortunately culminates in not recognizing their Scheduled Tribe status in the states of domicile. As a result of same, tribals seeking admissions in state government run or aided schools/colleges, employment in the state government departments or public sector units of the respective state government and/or any other provisions for socio-economic development, can not be claimed or received which are privileges meant for the Scheduled Tribes of a particular state.   It is astonishing that despite the constitutional recognition, the rights of Scheduled Tribes are violated though the constitution allows freedom of movement within the country. The Adivasis living in Andamans and tea gardens are competing to live with other tribal communities there.

Similarly, many of our tribal brethren have not embraced the mainstream religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Sikhism. They still continue practicing the traditional belief systems, which is known as Sarna in Chotanagpur. The practice of Sarna is recognized nowhere. As a result they are categorized as “Others/Not Stated” under the column of religion. For example, in Sundargarh district of Orissa around 50 percent of the population are scheduled tribes, out of which six thousand are categorized under this classification in 1991 census.

With this kind of situation, how long we can call ourselves Scheduled Tribes? The country proudly proclaims that we have the largest number of tribal population in the world, yet in the name of mainstream development, we are under persistent pressure to prove our Adivasi /Tribe identity.

Dr. Bipin Jojo (


Letters to the Editor

WRITE TO THE EDITOR Tribalzone, 704, Sachidanand, Wing A, Raheja Complex, Malad East, Mumbai - 400097 or via the internet to Include name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

It's not justified to say that persons holding key positions in Govt. or otherwise are shying away from revealing their tribal identity by merely not speaking Sadri. You are lonely on TOP. This is a hard bare fact. One has to admit that only handful of our tribal people have become successful by struggle of their own. TOP positions in any industry means frequent transfers & postings to alien places. I have come across IAS, IPS Officers who are ready to help provided you approach them with respect because we should not forget that they are holding high respect in the society they live. - M P Dungdung, New Delhi

I am elated and excited at the efforts that you have made in promoting tribal identity and culture in this fast changing era. The educated tribals need to lead the rest of the tribal community for this great venture. Once we leave our village, we begin to imitate other cultures and forget out roots. The educated Adivasi population is going through a period of transition. Very often we blame the exploiters and dikus for our misery. Rightly so, because they have exploited us for centuries, plundered our land, women and polluted our society in myriad ways. But this pollution and misery would not aggravate had we not tacitly allowed them to do so. There are over 1 lakh Indians in California. Last week I was invited by a Tamil group for a cultural program which was in chaste Tamil. They all spoke in Tamil. They have arranged special Tamil school for their children and these Tamil medium schools are open on saturdays. They learn their language, culture, tradition and love for their people. Will the educated Adivasis realise the importance of our culture? - Fr Francis Minj, SJ, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California, U.S.A


WRITE TO FORUM Tribalzone, 704, Sachidanand, Wing A, Raheja Complex, Malad East, Mumbai - 400097 or via the internet to Include name and address. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

I am concerned about the lack of reliable health information in Jharkhand. I'm not sure about other parts of Chotanagpur but Jharkhand seems to be the worst of the lot. Are there interested health professionals (govt. or NGO) working in Jharkhand to improve the situation? I'll be intersted in working on a simple lay reporting system to begin with. - Shantidani Minz, Faculty of Community Health, CMC, Vellore.

please right click here and save. There is plenty of reliable health information available on the internet. A lot of healthcare projects & studies are conducted by govt. & non govt. agencies in Jharkhand. You can search for specific interests. If you find interesting material and would like to share it with us - we will be glad to publish it in our healthcare section. - Dr. Manju Kerketta, Tribalzone,Birkera Jhariatoli, PO- Ranto Birkera, via Lathikata, Dist Sundergarh, Orissa - 770037.

Shri Livinus Kindo, I.A.S. is retiring from the Civil Services this month. An IAS officer of the 1973 batch was born on 13th March 1945. Tribalzone wishes him Happy Birthday and Good Luck in his future endeavors. Following are a few of his published books.

Credit Delinquency of India (1990)
Our Independence (1996)
To the Holy mother Church
The Village Vaidya (1996)
Shaadi Ki Safalta (Hindi-1998)
Christo Jayanti (Oriya-2000)
Tuhilu Ker Sapna (Sadri)
Tribal Economy (2002)
Kindos of Maledihi 
Ethical Issues - Religion & Human Values
The Planet Earth - 2002
Khisto Jyoti - Theological College Lecture

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