Tribals in city unite to demand rights

Over 200 community members take out march in Aarey on World Indigenous Day

Published - August 10, 2019 01:49 am IST - Mumbai

A day to remember:  Members of the tribal community in the city break into a dance to celebrate World Indigenous Day at Aarey Colony in Goregaon on Friday.

A day to remember: Members of the tribal community in the city break into a dance to celebrate World Indigenous Day at Aarey Colony in Goregaon on Friday.

Over 200 members from the tribal community in the city celebrated World Indigenous Day by taking out a cultural rally in Goregaon on Friday.

Aimed at demanding recognition from the government and spreading awareness of the importance of forests, the rally began from Aarey market. While walking through the forest to a picnic spot, the participants played traditional musical instruments, sang folk songs and performed dances.

The rally was organised by Adivasi Hakka Samvardhan Samiti, an NGO working for the rights of tribal people in the city. Dinesh Habale, chairman of the samiti, said, “The United Nations has declared August 9 as World Indigenous Day. We have gathered here from forest lands around Mumbai to celebrate our culture and existence.”

Prakash Bhoir, a coordinator with the samiti, said the government had neglected the community. He said, “We have been living on the lands of our forefathers. We were pushed back when Bombay became Mumbai. These forests served as our home and they were taken away from us. From now on, we will be circumspect. World Indigenous Day will highlight our existence in the State and we will strive to preserve our culture.”

The rally witnessed the participation of representatives from several NGOs. Pooja Domadia, a member of Fridays For Future, an international non-profit organisation, said, “We are here to support the tribals and combine our missions to spread awareness of climate change and its effects so that the human race can save itself from a difficult future. We are not as sustainable or eco-conscious as we should be, but the tribals are. Even their musical instruments are eco-friendly, I saw one made of bottle gourd. The tribal way of living is the lifestyle that can save us from the effects of climate change.”

Shikhar Agarwal, a member of Extinction Rebellion, an international movement battling the climate crisis, said, “The capitalist-prone new world order has destroyed our climate. We don’t have much time left. However, changes can still be made with the help of tribals as they know how to make efficient use of forests and preserve the environment. They can lead us to an environmentally sustainable future.”

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