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Monday, January 18, 2010
It has been an exciting experience for me to spend some time with tribal group and share their thought processes. We were taken to a visit ADIYAR group 5 km from Kerala – Karnataka boarder. Though it was a live demonstration of how community radio works in the tribal areas, my attention was with the plight of Adivaasis. I do blame myself to use the word Adivaasis as I believe in the cultural and social connotation this word entails. Years after years, they are living in utter penury and dilapidated conditions. One of the striking story shared was all the tribal households are marked as APL category when the new ration cards are issued in late last year. Though I don’t believe in the PDS, I find them the real time consumers and the most needy community. Unfortunately that is where they are deceived by the government machinery. They had lands and now they are taken over by others, they had Non timber forest products and now none, BPL cards are reissued as APL cards.. the story is never ending. I was asked to give my comments at the end to air it on the community radio; ‘I blame ourselves for their plight; it is hard to believe that such people are fighting for their lives in God’s own country’. They have exciting traditional songs and themes but knowledge how on Ayurveda and related. But the state exploits them through various ways; I was shown a community cultural centre built by government. It was a project of 1.5 lakhs but I can see that they are fooled for at least 1 lakhs gone to some one’s kitty. I don’t think the present system can any way help them. We need to innovative answers to improve their living conditions. I was awestruck when I saw a DTH connection in that society. I am sure if the Government had distributed that gadget, it would not have reached them so quickly as they have today. Why can’t the State build DTH like platforms to transfer cash or food articles so that the leakage can be removed..there are not many schools and most of the children are drop outs. Why can’t they give scholarships and allow them to study with children outside their community? Why can’t we have private property as a fundamental right? In a state where the left movements are of great penetration, I don’t understand why this community going from worse to worst....
I do enjoyed Gheer they prepared. It was so tasty and I wished we could have helped them. I was reminded of my previous visits to tribal areas, fisher men communities and beggar communities during 2005 to 2007 at different parts of this country. Most of the times I had dined with them. Still, I do consider their food was tastier than the food I had from the most flashy seven star hotels in this country. I don’t believe in middle class family complaints of ‘tribe lose their culture if they become upwardly mobile’; what else they can lose? that is the only solution to these perennial problems; capacitate them for that upward mobility as we all engross in today..