Minor tribes seek political power

Rising aspirations: A Thotti leader expressing his views at a meeting of Rai Centres at Utnoor.

Rising aspirations: A Thotti leader expressing his views at a meeting of Rai Centres at Utnoor.   | Photo Credit: S_HARPALSINGH

PVTGs and other smaller tribes express their aspirations

And finally, the time seems to have come for the eight minority aboriginal tribes in erstwhile unified Adilabad district, a more marginalised lot within a marginalised lot, to demand political emancipation.

Representatives of these tribes, including those categorised as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) demanded representation in political appointments and tickets to contest elections at a meeting of the Adivasi Rai Centres or advisory councils held at Utnoor on September 15.

The meeting was debating fielding an Adivasi candidate from the Khanapur (ST) Assembly constituency when representatives of the PVTG Kolam and Thotti and Naikpod and Pardhan aboriginal tribes raised the question of their continuing political isolation. They wanted the majority ethnic tribe — Raj Gonds — to see the logic in their plea.

According to the 2011 Census, the total tribal population in erstwhile Adilabad district is 4,95,794 of which nine ethnic hill tribes account for 3,79,531, the remaining being the plains tribes — Lambada 1,12,793 and Yerakula 1,735. The population break up of the aboriginal people as per the figures given by the Utnoor Integrated Tribal Development Agency is Gonds or Raj Gonds 2,63,515, Pardhans 26,029, Naikpod 5,206, Koya and others 30,739, Kolams 38,176, Thotti 2,231 and Manne 1,570.

The literacy rate of Adivasis in general is 32 % but would be worse among the minority tribes. If the incidence of government employment among Pardhans is left out of consideration, there are only a handful of people belonging to the remaining tribes who are in employment of any sort leave alone in the government sector.

In the political arena, be it elected or nominated posts, the minority tribes almost go unrepresented which is matter being resented by them since a few years. The last decade or so has seen some improvement in their awareness levels which has made them ponder over their plight and possible solutions. Kudmetha Tirupati, a Thotti tribal from Mancherial, set the ball rolling as he pointed out that the minority ethnic people too have political aspirations.

Kumra Eshwaribai, a Kolam from Indervelli, lamented the fact that despite being in the political field for nearly two decades even a nominated post has eluded her. Madavi Manik Rao, another Kolam from Jannaram, wanted representation in the Rai Centres for the smaller tribes.

Kursenga Tanaji of Bela mandal and Gedam Manohar of Adilabad, both Pardhan community leaders, opined that representation of their tribe at least so far as nominated posts go will help them improve the condition of their lot. It may be mentioned here that the Pardhan tribe is better of the lot when it comes to education and employment but has poor representation in political appointments like nominated posts.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:55:20 AM |

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