Forums discuss chalk out ways to uplift tribal groups

Young Adivasis have increasingly been using social media to highlight problems such as displacement faced by tribal communities all over India.

The youngsters have formed a few closed groups and open groups such as the Gondwana Friends and Adivasi People on Facebook, each with about 5,000 members. The groups provide a platform for lively discussions on the problems of aboriginal tribes, especially Gonds, the largest of the tribes in the country.

“Social media is a blessing,” says Chandresh Meravi, an active member of Gondwana Friends, who works with Thomson Reuters in Hyderabad.

Global meet of members

“The platform is being used to pass on to our youth our culture, heritage, and language,” he says. Adivasi Yuva Shakti, another forum of tribal youngsters, finds Facebook a great facilitator in uniting people. It hosted an international conference of tribal youth members of Facebook at Indore in October. Hiralal Alawa of New Delhi, a key organising member of the conference, says Facebook helps forge unity among tribal people. The conference was convened to discuss ways to uplift Adivasis.

Maoist angle

Their discussions on Facebook mostly revolve around the unwitting involvement of aboriginal tribes in the conflict between Maoists and governments. Gopal Thodsam, the Hyderabad-based endodontist who hails from Adilabad; Parwat Singh Marko from Navi Mumbai; and Rajkumar Saiyam, a banker from Madhya Pradesh, have taken up the infamous Operation Green Hunt in the forum, objecting to the Gonds’ loss of land to industrialists, contractors, and those involved in mining.

Government flayed

Mr. Saiyam says the government has not been doing anything to protect the interests of 10 crore Adivasis in the country. “Otherwise, how did the Gonds, who once ruled most of Central India, become so backward?” he asks.