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Why in news:

  • The coloured cosmetic that they adorn on their lips can be manufactured from the non- carcinogenic lipstick seed cultivated in the backyard of Adivasi habitations in Rampachodavaram, Chaparai, and Maredumilli in Andhra Pradesh.

Background: / Who are Adivasis?

  • Adivasis are not a homogeneous group; there are over 200 distinct peoples speaking more than 100 languages, and varying greatly in ethnicity and culture. However, there are similarities in their way of life and generally perceived oppressed position within Indian society. According to the official Census held in 2001, Adivasis constitute 8 per cent of the nation’s total population, over 84 million people. Unofficial figures vary significantly but represent a much higher proportion of India’s population. Adivasis live throughout India but are primarily based in the mountain and hill areas, away from the fertile plains.
  • According to the 2001 census, the greatest concentration is in Chattisgrah (38%), Jharkahand (26%) Madhya Pradesh (20%), Orisssa (22%), Andhra Pradesh (6%) Gujarat(15%) Rajasthan (12%), Maharashtra (9%) and Bihar (0.9%).

Problems Faced By Adivasis

  • Many governments sign MoU’s with big mining corporations without the consent of the tribals who live on the land. Setting up mines and factories inside jungles requires displacing and relocating the tribal population. Most Adivasis do not want to relocate to a different place and prefer living in the jungles. They generally do not value money. Their refusal to vacate the land leads to the government deploying armed forces like the CRPF against them – often burning villages, harassing people, killing tribals – all in an attempt to get them to vacate. This conflict leads to Maoists leading an armed struggle against the government. They claim to be fighting for the rights of the tribals.
  • Governments should make public all MoU’s signed with all the mining corporations. This information should be available publicly, with details like the exact location of the proposed mine/factory, which mineral is being mined, which corporation has been awarded the contract, how much money the government and the corporation stand to make etc Governments must take consent of the tribals living on the land before signing any MoU with any corporation. The method of consent must be transparent, without coercion and documented. The government must give up any proposed projects for minerals if tribals do not consent to the mining. The Tribals often are malnourished and lack access to basic healthcare. Anaemia is a common disease among the tribal populations.
  • Tribals are often considered “low”, “dirty” by people from the towns, cities, upper castes. They lack social prestige in Indian society. India is a very racist country which is heavily judgmental.

Medicinal benefits of lipstick seeds:

The seeds have healing properties and used in

Treating digestive disorders, Weak bones, Headache, Neural tube defects, Eye ailments and respiratory problems.

Other Uses:

  • The plant’s seed extract is used as a natural colouring agent in cheese, food preparations, bakery products and sweets across the world. These rare seeds have no fixed price as there is no organised trade in the tribal areas. The seeds command much higher value in the international market.
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