Call to respect Adivasi value for coexistence with wildlife

Kolam Adivasi Ghusadi dancers paying obeisance before their god.

Kolam Adivasi Ghusadi dancers paying obeisance before their god.   | Photo Credit: S_HARPALSINGH

Incorporate tribal value systems in awareness programmes: Experts

Of late, even the word tiger has become something to dread for the aboriginal people of former composite Adilabad district and conservation has come to denote displacement. The turnaround in the perception of the ethnic communities — which are known to have evolved effective methods of coexistence even with the dreaded big cats — has come following dwindling of the populations of wild animals, especially the tiger, and the government’s efforts to initiate conservation.

Adilabad has always been tiger territory and authorities found it conducive to develop parts of it as Kawal Tiger Reserve which technically requires relocation of villages in the core area. “The government has never tried an alternative when it came to sanitising the core and buffer area of the tiger reserve,” complained Pendur Madhav, a Raj Gond tribal from Pangdi Madora in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, as he went over the efforts of the government to offer rehabilitation to tribals living in villages inside the forests.

Every year, the Forest Department conducts awareness campaigns on tiger conservation across old Adilabad in connection with International Tiger Day celebrations, mostly among schoolchildren. This year was no different as the awareness programmes taken up at several places on Monday featured stereotypical and cliched aspects of it.

Voluntary support

“The Forest Department should tap indigenous knowledge to enlist voluntary support of Adivasi people in tiger conservation. One of the ways of doing it can be decoding the Dandari-Ghusadi dance of Raj Gonds and Kolams which, in fact, is an expression of coexistence with wild animals,” suggested Kanaka Ambaji Rao, a Raj Gond intellectual from Marlavai village in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district.

“The duvval or tiger had always formed part of our surroundings. The Dandari-Ghusadi dance is all about the white-clad dandaris being protected from wild animal attack by the peacock feather crown-wearing Ghusadi dancers while passing through forests,” Mr. Ambaji Rao observed as he referred to one of the stories associated with the important cultural aspect of the aboriginal people in these parts.

The magnificently dressed Ghusadi dancers are an embodiment of the protector-gods of the Adivasis. “It is understanding of this intricacy which can help authorities form a better understanding and evolve ways for conservation without undue displacement of tribals,” he added.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 8:09:32 PM |

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