Telangana

Abundant scope for research on adivasi culture

Usha Vemula handing over a copy of her M. Phil dissertation to the villagers at Mallapur on Wednesday.

Usha Vemula handing over a copy of her M. Phil dissertation to the villagers at Mallapur on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: S. HARPAL SINGH;S. HARPAL SINGH - S_ HARPAL SINGH

Researcher Usha Vemula studies organic farming practice of Raj Gonds

Meeting an academic researcher is a rare instance in the life of an adivasi of Adilabad and neighbouring districts. It should have been a regular phenomenon given the scope the yet to be explored land and people of aboriginal tribes provide for researchers.

Only a handful of the researchers have ventured into the deeper confines of these backward areas since the legendary Austrian Anthropologist Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf conducted his seminal study on the ethos of Raj Gonds of Adilabad during the 1940s. It was only after a gap of over four decades that some serious scholar made a study on the aboriginal tribe.

The Raj Gond villagers of Mallapur in Indervelli mandal were in for a pleasant surprise for the second time when they found Usha Vemula, a researcher among them on Wednesday. She had travelled to the interior village to conduct the study about a year ago and now to hand over a copy of her M. Phil dissertation from Indira Gandhi National Open University done in the form of a case study of the village for its organic farming.

Her visit set off a debate on why universities do not send scholars to study various aspects of the life of the ethnic tribes living between the Penganga river on the North and Godavari river in the South which had constituted undivided Adilabad until September last year.

These tribes, mired in poverty, are unique in that they still follow their centuries-old customs and traditions.

“I wanted to study the age-old farming culture of Raj Gonds when I learnt that it still survives in the interior villages here. Mallapur was an excellent case study as people here had achieved self-dependence so far as food is concerned through cultivation of indigenous crops,” Ms. Vemula, whose husband worked in Adilabad as Agriculture Officer, disclosed as she gave reasons for the study.

“Research here should be culture and development-oriented. Our area is rich in culture but the poverty here is quite jarring,” opined Sidam Madhukar, a Raj Gond Adivasi himself who is a post-doctoral research fellow from University of Hyderabad.

Madhukar is currently researching on the incidence of migration among aboriginal youth to cities in search of employment. “The study will reveal the cause and effects of such migration among our youth,” he observed.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:13:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/abundant-scope-for-research-on-adivasi-culture/article19166560.ece

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