Odisha has come up with an encyclopedia on tribes documenting their age-old and unique traditions before they get entirely vanished from the circulation.
Tribes, as per 2011 census, account for 22.85% of the Odisha’s total population. Odisha is home to third largest tribal population of India, but it is the most diverse indigenous communities found in the country. The State has 62 tribes including 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups.
Five edited volumes of ‘Encyclopedia of Tribes in Odisha’ published by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute and Odisha State Tribal Museum in the Museum complex was released by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Monday.
The 3800-page encyclopedia contains 418 research articles. Besides, papers contributed by its own research personnel, the articles of other research scholars and eminent anthropologists on different aspects of the tribes and other States have also found place in the encyclopedia.
“The encyclopedia will certainly be a great treasure and repository for all the academicians, researchers, policy makers and those interested to know about the tribal communities of the State,” said Mr. Patnaik.
Established in 1955, the SCSTRTI, the premier and oldest Tribal Research Institute of the country, has studied various aspects of tribes and published informative research articles uninterruptedly in its 61-year-old research journal ‘ADIVASI’.
“It is hoped that these five edited volumes will serve as an all-time reference anthropological literature full of relevant and useful information on various aspects of the life, culture and development of the 62 Scheduled Tribes and 13 PVTGs of Odisha. At the same time, it will also pay homage to those anthropologists-cum-article contributors who are no longer with us,” said A. B. Ota, Director of SCSTRTI.
“As a matter of fact, the age-old culture and way of living of these tribal communities are changing fast and their cultural identity is disintegrating. Before it gets entirely vanished, systematic documentation needs to be done on an urgent basis,” said Prof Ota who along his consultant S. C. Mohanty, had undertaken painstaking task of editing, compilation and republication over a period of last 4 years.
According to Mr. Mohanty, volumes on the Odishan tribes are unique in their perspective and presentation since a modest attempt has been made to accumulate and present the published and unpublished data regarding their ethnography and development. Authors hope that it will be a fine repository of ethnographic knowledge as well as an excellent exposition of pristine tribal culture with its specificity and variety.