Book talk: Tale of India’s trampled tribals
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Book talk: Tale of India’s trampled tribals

March 19, 2017

Title : ‘Tribal’ Heritage: An Overlooked chapter of Indian History

Author : Promode Kumar Misra

Pages : 542

Price : Rs. 1,700

Publisher : Ingramspark, USA

Known for long years in academic circles, of Mysuru in particular, Dr. Promode Kumar Misra, a long time resident of the city, an accomplished anthropologist, brings to bear in this publication a graphic tale of India’s trampled tribals, perceived for centuries as hunting and gathering societies.

The author, based on his virtually lifetime study of the forest dwelling populations across India finds fulfilment in taking up the case and cause of tribals, glorified by Dalai Lama as peace-makers, healers and restorers, story- tellers and lovers (of humanity) of all kinds.

Students pursuing tribal studies have not been asking the relevant questions, Dr. Misra bemoans. Given the environmentally heterogeneous character of different regions across the country hosting tribal populations, the author has done a monumental work resulting in recognising the country’s tribals as a larger community than as inhabitants in isolated pockets.

The author has thrown light on the adverse impact of colonial rule on tribals as an integral part of Indian diaspora following commercialisation of forest resources, apart from framing rules amounting to criminalising the whole community. In this context, his citing the verdict of renowned linguist Dr. D.P. Pattanayak (Founder Director of Mysuru-based Central Institute of Indian Languages), namely “Movement of bringing tribals into mainstream only means excluding, marginalising and demolishing smaller languages and cultures.”

Keeping the spirit of the publication’s title, the author, in the course of his narrative in eight chapters, each with distinct sections and ‘endnotes,’ enlightens the readers with lucid presentation leaving no gap in understanding the life of the tribals. One couldn’t have asked for more.

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The virtually encyclopaedic information provided by the author in the publication may be considered fully rewarding if it triggers pro-active response by voluntary groups to restore a rightful place for tribals in the country.

The framework for protection of the rights of tribal and indigenous people is strengthened by the Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2006, which protects the individual and community rights of tribal people in forest areas and their right to free and prior informed consent in the event of their displacement and resettlement. Regrettably, this Act, much like most other Acts of the country, has suffered tardy implementation resulting in unabated trampling of the tribals as well as their culture, traditions and life.

Bibliography comprising 215 valuable references and also an eight-page index immensely enhance the value of the book from the view point of both scholars pursuing studies on tribals and also lay readers.

[The author can be reached via e-mail: [email protected]] — BRS


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