Edit: The schedule of event has changed from 27-29 May to 3-5 June, 2018.
Courtesy: Mypathi Arun Kumar (Research Scholar, Kaktiya University).
By: Birsa Munda Youth Association, Kamaram, Telangana.
“Protecting Culture is Protecting Aadivasis”
“Abandoning Culture is abandoning Mother”
The fringe of our Adivasi village – Kammaram Koyagudem, (Sri Sammakka- Saaralamma (Taadvai) Mandal, Bhoopalapalli District of Telangana State) is the canopy of thick dry deciduous forests with rich flora- fauna covering about area of 30Km2. The serenity of the village lies in the streams, springs, water bodies and hills. Forests are the habitats for the tigers and were declared tiger zone by the state of Telangana. A collective of 60 students, the academia of our village of 50 families with 2 Research scholars, and at least 10 students who are pursuing their under-graduate programs in the fields of Sociology, Botany, Zoology, Engineering; including youth from Intermediate (Secondary High School) have been successfully running “Birsa Munda Youth Organization” carrying forward the legacy of Indian Adivasi revolutionaries like “Birsa Munda” for the past 10 years.
The era of advancing technological modernity, has almost exterminated the Adivasi roots, values, traditions, customs, festivals, nutritional and food habits, Devaralu (deities), forest produce, the natural resources, folklore, dances, Rela- songs very much entwined with nature. The destruction of oral traditions has been the most agonizing phenomena that Adivasi community has been made to suffer. The major desecration to the indigenous knowledge or the traditional knowledge acquired, preserved and inherited by the Aadivasi community is at alarming condition.
The scission of Adivasi culture was evidently a result of colonization of dominant Hindu Religion through the portrayal of Adivasi civilization as more barbarian. In dominant narratives, Adivasi rituals and ceremonies of death, marriage, festivals are portrayed as mere superstitions, further reducing them to obscurantism whereas the Adivasi deities were penned as demons in dominant Hinduism’s holy, religious scriptures. Every such social invasion on the Adivasi Culture, Civilization has now become threat to the existential, survival roots of the Adivasi community.
In light of such advents, exploitation, expropriation, the Birsa Munda youth organization felt a warranted situation with a grit to bring out a book titled “Indigenous Knowledge of the Koya Tribe in Kamaram”. The book being a ethnography in itself is a result of scientific research developed by the empirical research methodology observing one village comprising 90% of Adivasi life style. Research based on the heritage, ancestral knowledge of the Adivasi’s of this village has attempted to prove that “Adivasis have been innovators and scientists”. The book further attempts to consolidate a thesis trying to prove that the “primitive” Adivasi social, economic and cultural organization of the community is inherently scientific. A strong determination to prove that the genesis of scientific technology was from Indigenous Knowledge of the Adivasi’s of the country and is further reflected in this book.
To research the Adivasi society one has to study in detail the trio of seasons namely summer, Rainy and winter. Owing to this study pattern the Birsa Munda Youth had started the research on 10th day of May. The chronology of the events with respect to the study on food habits and food gathering pattern of Adivasi dependent on the climate and seasons is narrated in this book; e.g. the availability of edible mushroom and eggs of Varanus (udumu) is traced only in the month of August. The period between months of February and May is completely dedicated to Marriages. The marriage system among Adivasis is more like a social organization and less of a hierarchical institution to protect the honor. The marriage is based on “Gatlu” that indicates the prohibited relations to get into a marriages. The ethnographic piece reveals the rationality/ science through deciphering into the association of deities (velpulu) to particular clan/family and the festival celebrations based on these particular deities form a crucial role in the religious and marital organization of the Adivasi society.
The traditional phonological knowledge of the Adivasis to predict monsoons, rains is documented. The role of method of calculation in Adivasi economy even before there was a permeation of Mathematics into such societies is also well explained. A calendar followed in the indigenous communities was based on the phonological knowledge concerning the physical changes in moon inherited by the traditional community. The traditional knowledge has maintained a calendar which is based on “fortnight” demarcation. The mainstream “Brahmanzied” calendar seems to have borrowed the names from the already existing nomenclature based on the flowers available in the Adivasi culture namely maga, pusa, uthara etc.
One more important aspect and tool to study the Adivasi organization of society is by analyzing 100 tools prepared exclusively with the traditional knowledge of the community. The history of the Adivasis is available in the form of hieroglyphics. The hieroglyphics are the representations of the local deities (devaralu and padigalu). Through the process of deconstruction of historical evidence available, an attempt was made to tailor the lines of Adivasi history through more scientific way of research . The author also tried to explain the very rationale and science behind the festivals of the Indigenous people. The science existed mostly in respecting the symbiotic relationship of Anthropocene with the natural environment and celebrating the nature itself. The Earth which is believed to be genesis of life is celebrated through “Bhoomi Panduga (Earth festival).” The seed which is perceived as basic for the food production is celebrated through “Vitthanala Panduga (Seeds Festival) ” and even other festivals like Peddala Panduga (Elders Festival) and Kothala Panduga (Harvest Festival) are also analysed as subjects of “science” of celebrations in the Indigenous culture. The science of the medicinal culture in the Adivasi community is also documented in this book. The community based or the common pool based social and economic organization had managed to retain the traditional knowledge in the fields of medicine. The forests protected and conserved by the Adivasi community are abode of medicinal herbs and plants. The aboriginals of the forests carry the medical care through effective and scientific use of these medicinal herbs and plants.
An attempt to prove that the Indus Valley Civilization is the civilization of the aboriginals was made by the research in the book. This study is carried through a comparative analysis of the samples from the hieroglyphics of Indus Valley Civilization with the 50 pictorial representations selected from the archaic rock structures and 25 samples of the evidences of pictures on the Padigalu and that of the marriage ceremonies sculpted on the iron pots.
A 30 thousand year old Paleolithic site from the forest was studied as a sample. 50 houses of them were identified from the site which was otherwise portrayed as habitats of the demons. The engineering, structure was taken as parameters to collaborate with that of the Koya houses now and the outcome of the research was to agree on the fact that “the site was the Koya habitation”.
The book has documented how the Brahminical Hindu scriptures (epics) and mythology like Ramanyanam, Mahabharatam had portrayed and tarnished the Adivasis as “Raakshasas (demons)”. The book also argues for a counter narrative that Lord Shiva (the nucleus of life) is adored by the clan belonging to 3rd Gattu among the Aadivasis.
The book has also documented the Adivasi stories, idioms, phrases, songs, riddles. This book is a document that represents the “Lived body with Life writing” which means a narrative produced by the life that has lived the experience and heritage socially, traditionally, culturally. Hence, Brisa Munda Youth Kamaram with a grit to counter the “cultural imperialism” and the affects of “Globalization” on the Adivasis’ “self – sustenance, autochthony” and instill the need to protect the “Roots” of Adivasis which are otherwise on the verge of devastation and desecration; had attempted to document every significant component of the Adivasi community and social organization. The book is much an attempt of “self –assertion” through documentation which is very important for any historical process hinting the anthropological and sociological studies of the so called “primitive” indigenous people of the land.
In this regard a three day event is going to be organized in Kamaram Koya village, Bhoopalpalli, Telangana between 3 – 5 June, 2018. The event would include the Book release of “Indigenous Knowledge of Koya Tribe in Kamaram”. We appeal everyone to share this story and attend the event in large number.
For more details, contact:
Mypathi Santhosh Kumar Dr. Devulapalli Koteshwara Rao
Reseach Scholar, Kakatiya University. EFL University, Hyderabad.
Phone: 9491997145 Phone: 9989699405
Research Scholar, Hyderabad Central University.
President: Women’s President:
Kornibelli Chokkarao (M.A. Telugu) Danasari Lalitha (M.A. English)
Phone: 9440102596 Phone: 8500949120
Registration: 3rd June to 5th June, 2018
Register through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: Free Registration and Free accommodation
INTEGRATED TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (ITDA), ETURNAGARAM, &
BIRSA MUNDA YOUTH ASSOCIATION, KAMARAM
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