Let Us Be Aware Of Tribal Culture – CM Shri Kamal Nath’s blog

Bhopal, August 8, 2019 (Muslim Saleem): On the occasion of International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples, let us express our gratitude to the contribution of indigenous people who have created a vast heritage of ethnic diversity across the world.
Let us be thankful to all those tribes who are custodians of the Mother Nature.
The State Government has declared holiday on International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples. It is a humble initiative to respect the tribal communities, who understand the Nature more profoundly than all of us. They live with their own ethnic identity.
The time is approaching faster when greenery and forest wealth will be the major indices of judging the economic health of nations. When greenery will be an economic resource, we will realise the contributions of indigenous peoples.
We know that the Baigas consider themselves as caring sons of the Mother Earth. Therefore, for years they avoided the use of ploughs in farming as they believe that Mother Earth would suffer injuries. Away from the modern day comforts, the Bishnoi community’s love for the wildlife or saving the trees by hugging them are glaring examples. Obviously, they are the early settlers on earth. We remember the contribution of tribal freedom fighters like Tantya bhil, Birsha munda, Gundadhur and many more who fought out the British rule.
The tribal culture is an integral part of our magnificent cultural diversity. The tribal cultural practices originate from Nature worshipping.
It is a matter of happiness that this year, International Day of Indigenous Peoples has been dedicated to the indigenous languages.
In Madhya Pradesh, we decided to prepare a curriculum of elementary classes in Gondi dialect for children of this community. I believe that revival of languages and dialects will help save the culture. This does not mean that the tribal children should stay away from modern knowledge and language. They must learn English, Hindi, Sanskrit while using their own dialect. The use of dialects is not a sign of backwardness but a matter of pride.
Primitive tribes like Kol, Bhil, Gond, Baiga, Bharia and Sahariya live in our state. They save wild animals, birds, trees and vast wilderness. The tattoos on their bodies reflect their passionate love for Nature. The tattoo motifs varying from peacocks, fish, trees to reptiles etc. are their identity and status within the community. The birth songs, the mourning songs, music, festivals, worshiping of Gods and Deities, riddles, proverbs, stories, art and culture everything is unique. They are overbrimming with wisdom. Though could not have formal education for reasons, they have plenty of knowledge given by nature.
Some tribal families who met me mentioned a proverb in use. I was wonder struck by the philosophical tone. A Bhili person told me a saying explaining that ‘Riding on camels one cannot get alms. The head of a Gondi family told a saying, which means that one should not trust the standing crop and expectant mother cow until harvesting is done and milk is served. The Bhils often quote that – ‘Bhil Bhola Aan Seetha Mota’. This means that shop owners thrive on innocence of Bhil. All these sayings are reflective of their deeper understanding of life.
Many tribes find mention in the holy book of Ramayana. When Lord Rama came to Chitrakoot, he met the people of the Kol tribe. Recently, when it was brought to my notice that there is no school for the children of Kol community in Kol-dominated village Batohi in Satna district, I immediately instructed to continue classes there. It is our responsibility to see that the primary school at Batohi village or elsewhere in the State are properly managed. The people of the Pradhan community play Gudum Baja. The genius of tribal artistes should be widely known.
The educated civil society is desired to realize that there are people like us living in the remote forest. They settled first on earth and stayed back in the forests. Many doubts were raised when the Congress government enacted the Forest Rights Act recognising the rights of such people. This law proved a boon for the forest dwelling tribes. No one can remove them. We have given them dignity and authority.
Moving a step forward, we have decided to give financial help for conservation and restoration of shrines of tribal Gods and Deities. It is a humble initiative to preserve their culture. The State Government is committed to help the new generation of tribals explore avenues of development while protecting their cultural identity.
I extend greetings to all indigenous tribal families. I appeal to the citizens living in modern society to realize that a tribal society also lives in our time and along with us.
While writing all this, I am reminded of some lines of a Swedish poet Paulus Utsi –
‘As long as we have waters where the fish can swim,
As long as we have land where the raindeer can graze,
As long as we have woods where wild animals can hide
We are safe on this earth.’
Now it is our duty to be aware of our responsibility and exhibit sensitivity.