Tribal convention to focus on culture

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: : It is probably the best introduction that the Tribal Land Rights Bill - that is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the current session - could have hoped for as 1,200 tribals and nomads gather in the corridors of power here in the Capital to tell their story this coming week.

While they might not have politics on their minds, more than 80 communities of tribals and nomads that have been left behind in the race for development will let their culture lead the way. Coming together at the National Convention of Nomads and Adivasis being held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) here from April 21 to 23, the event aims at going beyond just adding to their archives to get these isolated groups to actually talk.

"This is not just a village fair. The idea is not to get all these people to the Capital so that researchers can benefit from documentation of their lives. The convention is to help the tribal and nomadic communities. We hope to act as a catalyst, so that these communities from different parts of the country get to meet for the first time and share their experiences,'' said the IGNCA member-secretary, Kalyan Chakravarty, on Saturday.

Bridging the boundaries of language between communities, the convention hopes to make a tangible difference to their lives. "These communities have their own literature, music as well as history. We want to record their stories and put their names on it so that it is theirs. History in this country is usually about dynastic overthrows and we have bypassed groups in the hinterland. At the convention, we hope to be able to change that and record their history,'' stated Dr. Chakravarty. The convention that begins in the Capital this coming Thursday will set off a dialogue among communities on sustenance strategies. It will also explore close connections between intangible tribal culture and tangible heritage as well as the link between their art and crafts and resource management methods.

With experts and Government officials on one platform, the convention also hopes to link culture to different aspects of development.

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