India became Independent in 1947 after years of struggle and sacrifices by all Indians including Adibasi people. We welcomed the occasion with pomp and pageantry with high hopes and aspirations as a free nation. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India gave a famous clarion call on the eve of the Independence. "At the stroke of midnight when the whole world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom
63 years have passed by and the country has moved on to the modern age of technology and globalization. Most people have made some progress with the time and are enjoying the fruits of the struggle of their parents and grand parents.
But, alas the majority of Adibasi are still not awake to life and freedom. They are far behind the rest of the people of India in spite of special provisions for them in the Constitution of India.
This is a matter of great concern for the planners, governments and well wishers of Adibasi people. But it ought to be of greater concern for the Adibasi people themselves, their community and political leaders.
LET'S THINK OF SOME OF THE POSSIBLE REASONS FOR THIS:
· First and foremost Adibasi people have not moved with the time and taken advantage of all that are genuinely and rightfully theirs.
· Most of them are still confined to their traditional, cultural and social habits and practices.
· By nature, they are simple, straight forward, honest and non- mixing with the mainstream non tribal people.
· They are conservative in their thoughts and beliefs and reluctant to change their traditional life styles of basic needs.
· Lack of realization of their economic plight and general wellbeing in spite of the fact that most of them have land.
· Still using age old primitive ways of cultivation and livelihood.
· Lack of empowerment and awareness of the changes taking place around them in other communities and beyond in the fast moving world.
· They are voiceless and there is no one to speak for them in spite of so many political leaders coming out of their community.
· Lack of elementary education and appreciation of the benefit of the basic amenities of the modern life e.g. clean drinking water, sanitation, good housing, education, health care and healthy sustenance.
· Lack of self confidence, reassurance, motivation, ambition, and foresight due to long subjugation.
· Lack of appreciation of the importance of the infrastructures, power supply and transportation to enable mobility of work force.
· Easily met simple needs of life have prevented development, innovation and entrepreneurship in Adibasi.
· Erosion of traditional tribal systems and values by introduction of alien systems by the authorities without the informed consent of the Adibasi.
· Misuse of traditional alcohol HARIA in the name of the rituals of the tribal culture and traditions.
· Late appreciation of the planners, governments and other agencies to the specific needs and remedies for the development of Adibasi.
HERE ARE SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO BE CONSIDERED;
· The Adibasi people need to open their eyes and ears and see and hear what's taking place around them and try to board the passing trains of modern world with fellow neighbors and young men and women of the country.
· Relax some of the constraints of the customs and traditions of the tribal systems without loosing the core values of the Adibasi.
· Inter act and learn from the mainstream communities some of the skills and trade of livelihood.
· Not to segregate young Adibasi students in the schools and colleges by keeping them in separate hostels of their own but to have certain seats earmarked for them in general hostels to enable them to inter act with students from other communities and learn some of the skills of survival in the modern competetative world.
· Adibasi people need to change some of their life styles and moderate the use of traditional HARIA which has proved to be harmful to their health, wealth and well being of their families and hindrance to the progress of the community.
· They should take advantage of the universal rights of education and send all their children to schools to help bring about awareness and understanding. This will enable them to stand up and fight for their rights.
· Once educated, they can become innovative and ambitious to better their lives.
· Once empowered, they can demand for the access to better education, clean drinking water, sanitation, health care, housing and all other amenities of modern life and prevent exploitation from others.
· Governments need to provide better infrastructures of roads and communication to enable better mobility of workforce to the nearest market places and towns.
· Local job opportunities need to be expanded by providing small and medium scale industries, electricity supply, irrigation facilities and vocational training to the Adibasi young men and women.
· Government need to acquire some lands for other industries by negotiation with the tribal people and with their informed consent on the basis of long term lease and offer them comprehensive and better compensation and rehabilitation with stake holder rights in the industries. The land should be redeveloped and returned to the owners or their dependents, once the land is no longer required for the industries
· Governments need to improve capital investment and subsidies to the Adibasi people for their traditional means of livelihood like agriculture, animal husbandry, pig, goat and chicken keeping and to provide technical know-how and management skill and expertise.
· Self help groups in particular women's to be encouraged and supported as they are the people who care most for the welfare of their children, families and communities at large.
· They should be helped to form small scale co-operatives at the village level and advised on packaging and marketing of their products.
· The govt. need to provide support for the traditional knowledge and expertise of other livelihood of Adibasi people.
Perhaps, it's time that the Adibasi people awake to life and take fair share of the rewards of the freedom of the country. It's not going to be easy and they have to make concerted efforts and initiatives in all aspects of their lives to develop and progress in the 21st century and beyond. The problems are vast and their needs are varied. They need to be prioritized according to their essential needs of livelihood, clean drinking water, sanitation, health care, good housing, education and empowerment. Apart from these they need to change their mindset of helplessness and develop a positive attitude to life and ambitions and aspirations for future generation. They also need to change their life style and moderate the use of Haria which has proved detrimental to their physical and mental wellbeing and hindrance to the development and progress of their community over the centuries.
But above all they should preserve and promote their languages and good things about their customs, traditions and culture. They should be proud of their identity and heritage and walk with the rest of the people of India with their heads held high.