Category: Tribal, Festivals

NILGIRI TRIBALS TENSE AS TREKKERS TRASH PRICELESS ROCK ART

Why in News:

  • The rock paintings in Karikiyoor at Kil Kotagiri in the Nilgiri forests have withstood the forces of nature for some 5,000 years, but in just the last few years, close to 40% of the paintings have been destroyed by trekkers, tourists, and vandals.

Details:

  • Members of the Irula tribal community, who have an ancestral link to the site, said they were “extremely angered” and “disturbed” at the damage by illegal trekkers, permanently disfiguring the priceless pre-historic site.
  • They enter the site without permission.
  • The site remained undisturbed till very recently, when a spurt in the number of tourists has led to many people organising illegal treks to the rock art site,”
  • The society that painted the symbols onto these rocks were contemporaneous with the Indus Valley civilisation.
  • “The rock paintings in Karikiyoor contain analogous-Indus script, meaning they resemble the script found in Indus civilization sites of northern India.
  • Sites such as Karikiyoor need to be preserved to better understand the people that lived in the region, while also possibly deducing how certain technology and written scripts could have possibly diffused to southern India from the Indus peoples or vice versa.
  • The rock paintings serve both, as a “historical record,” detailing the hunting habits and
    ways of life of the local communities, and also a ritualistic purpose.
  • Irulas have a deep cultural connection to the site, believing that their ancestors were the ones who had painted the symbols. Failure to act will lead to the destruction and eventual loss of the site forever.

Irula Tribe:

  • The Irula tribe, one of India’s oldest indigenous communities, lives along the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Irulas are specialists in traditional herbal medicine and healing practices, and Irula ‘vaidyars’ (practitioners of any Indian systems of medicine) are mostly women and practice traditional healing systems which use over 320 medicinal herbs.

KOLAM TRIBE

Why in News:

  • Four children belonging to the aboriginal Kolam tribe from Narnoor mandal in Adilabad district died after food poisoning

Details

  • Kolam are   a   designated Scheduled   Tribe   in    the   Indian   states   of Andhra  Pradesh Chhattisgarh Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • They belong to the sub-category Particularly vulnerable tribal group, one of the three belonging to this sub-category.
  • They speak the Kolami language, they are an agricultural community. The Kolam are an endogamous group.
  • They have a high rate of returning positive to the Naked eye single tube red cell osmotic fragility test (NESTROFT) test, making them prone to high incidence of Thalassaemia.

Government initiative for tribes:

  • The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) strategy is a Government of India initiative aimed for the rapid socio-economic development of tribal people.
  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is vested with the duty to participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.

ANNA BURNS WINS MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR ‘INCREDIBLY ORIGINAL’ MILKMAN

  • Why in News?
  • Anna Burns has become the first Northern Irish author to win the Man Booker prize, taking the £50,000 award for Milkman, her timely, Troubles-set novel about a young woman being sexually harassed by a powerful man.

Other novels which get Finalised:

  • The novels selected for this year’s shortlist reflected a preoccupation with dark times and apocalyptic themes like ecological destruction, slavery and mass incarceration.
  •  Finalists included the Canadian author Esi Edugyan’s “Washington Black,” about a boy who flees a slave plantation in Barbados and becomes an apprentice of sorts to his master’s adventurous brother; Ms. Kushner’s “The Mars Room,” set in a women’s prison in California; and Mr. Powers’s inventive environmental epic “The Overstory,” about a quest to save one of the world’s last areas of virgin forest, in which the trees are the novel’s real protagonists.
  •  Judges also recognized unconventional literary forms this year, including, for the first time, a graphic novel by Nick Drnaso, titled “Sabrina,” which made the longlist but was not among the finalists. “The Long Take,” a genre-defying noir-tinged novel in verse by the Scottish poet Robin Robertson that unfolds in verse, prose and photographs, made the shortlist.

About man booker Prize:

  • First awarded in 1969, the Booker is one of the literary world’s most prestigious and lucrative prizes. The winner receives 50,000 pounds, or about $65,000, and typically sees a big boost in book sales.
  •  In 2014, the prize was opened to any novel written in English and published in Britain (it was previously limited to writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Commonwealth countries), and some prominent writers have argued that the rules change has diluted the impact of the prize.
  •  Fears that the Booker would become “Americanized” were borne out to a degree in recent years, after the prize went to American authors for two consecutive years — to George Saunders in 2017, for “Lincoln in the Bardo,” and to Paul Beatty in 2016, for “The Sellout.” Earlier this year, the Rathbones Folio Academy, a literary society with prominent members such as Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey, insisted that the change be reversed.
  •  This year’s crop of finalists included two American novelists, three writers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada.

Guru Fete

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that all Indian diplomatic missions would celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikh faith Guru Nanak.

About:

  • Indian diplomatic and cultural missions across the world will organise prayers and festivities to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
  • The move is seen as a counter to the pro-Khalistan rally in London.
  • To take the message of Guru Nanak to the world. His message of sharing the fruits of good deeds with all is the right teaching in this era when I, me, myself is the dominating idea.
  • The message of One God taught by Guru Nanak is similar to the Indian teaching in the Shastras.
  • Guru Granth Sahib is the best representative of the Indian understanding of multiple versions of truth. Guru Granth Sahib is the only holy book in the world which apart from the ten gurus of Sikh faith also contains messages (vaanis) of other learned saints and great souls (belonging to other faiths).

Pro-Khalistan Rally:

  • A pro and an anti-Khalistan rally took place in central London on Sunday
  • In a rally at the Trafalgar Square, for the support of a non-binding referendum in 2020, dubbed the London Declaration, for an independent Sikh nation.
  • The group was organised by the US-based group Sikhs for Justice, though the rally attracted demonstrators from across the UK.
  • The rally has drawn the ire of the Indian government, which has called it a ‘separatist activity, which impinges on India’s territorial integrity.
  • Pro-Khalistan groups based out of India, have refused to support the referendum and instead, have asked searing questions of the campaign and its effectiveness.

Guru Nanak:

  • Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Nanak’s words are registered in the form of 974 poetic hymns in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Guru Nanak travelled far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of His creations and constitutes the eternal Truth.
  • He set up a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, fraternal love, goodness, and virtue.
  • Guru Nanak emphasised Bhakti, and taught that the spiritual life and secular householder life are intertwined.
  • Guru Nanak emphasised Nam Japna (or Naam Simran), that is repetition of God’s name and attributes, as a means to feel God’s presence.
  • Guru Nanak appointed Bhai Lehna as the successor Guru, renaming him as Guru Angad, meaning “one’s very own” or “part of you”. Shortly after proclaiming Bhai Lehna as his successor, Guru Nanak died on 22 September 1539 in Kartarpur, at the age of 70.

Behdienkhlam Festival

It is the most important festival of the Jaintias or Pnar tribal community in meghalaya and is celebrated mid-July every year after the sowing is over.

“Khlam” means plague or pestilence’and “beh dien” means to drive away with sticks.

Is the ritualistic expression of the relentless struggle of mankind to overcome the destructive forces of nature, including diseases, since the dawn of civilization. This festival is also an invocation to God seeking blessings for a good harvest.

This festival is celebrated around the same time “Rath Yatra” is celebrated in other parts of eastern India. Behdienkhlam Festival is the most celebrated religious festival among the Pnars. It is popular at Jowai the District headquarters of Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya.

The central government is funding this festival to promote tourism, said organizing President.

BRU Tribes:

An agreement has been signed by Government of India, Governments of Mizoram and Tripura and Mizoram Bru(Reangs) Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF). To repatritate BRU people who is in temporary camps in Tripura to their native lands in Mizoram.

Background:

The Young Mizo Association and Mizo Zirlai Pawl, or the Mizo Students’ Association, organisations wanted more political autonomy for Mizoram’s Brus, and demanded a Bru Autonomous District Council. In 1997, militants of the Bru National Liberation Front allegedly shot down a Mizo forest guard at the Dampa Tiger Reserve located in Mamit district. The incident evoked a hostile reaction, and the Brus were at the receiving end of a violent backlash by the Mizos, forcing the Brus to flee the state in large numbers to neighbouring Tripura.

BRU Community:

  • The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the northeastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram.
  • Agriculture is main occupation, they practice jhum cultivation.
  • Mostly follow Hinduism.
  • They speak the Reang dialect of kokborak language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.

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