Dr. Vinay K. Srivastava on Tribes in India

Who doesn’t want to live with dignity? Who doesn’t want a comfortable living, free from pangs of hunger and rounds of deprivation? Who doesn’t want that his children settle down in good jobs and have security in life? Tribesmen are no exception. They are a witness to the images of affluence that incessantly circulate in the channels of media. Like the deprived people in general, they ask them why they have not been able to get the comforts the others have, why are they discriminated in independent India?

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The answer they reach, sometimes with the help of the activists and social workers traversing their areas, lies in what is popularly known as the ‘class character of development’, in the hiatus between the rhetoric of development and its ground-level reality, what development has led to – the alienation of land, the despoliation of their habitat, the exploitation of their women and children, and their plunging into the ranks of ‘worried community’. It is extremely important that tribal issues and problems are ‘mainstreamed’, implying that the wider society comes to have a reliable and empathetic understanding of the tribal people, their culture and the issues that confront them.

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