The article was earlier published in Mana Telangana, 29th November 2018.
It has been translated from Telugu to English by Vivekanand Sidam, Osmania University.
Adilabad is a land of various Adivasi communities and of rich natural resources. Many great Adivasi freedom fighters like Kumram Bheem, Ramji Gond were born in this great land. However, another very less known great personality was Madavi Tukaram, who belonged to this land. Tukaram was from one of the vulnerable Adivasi Gond tribal groups, who went on to became an IAS officer.
Madavi Tukaram was born on 14 may 1951 in Luxtipet village, Utnoor mandal of Adilabad district. His father’s name was Madavi Bapurao Maharaj and his mother’s name was Manku Bai. He was youngest son of his family and had two sisters. Tukaram’s parents were daily wage labourers. He completed his primary school education in his own village. Afterwards, from class 6th to 10th and then high school education, he pursued it in tribal welfare school in Adilabad town. Later after many hardships, he went on to pursue his MA in Osmania University. For his financial sustenance, he worked as daily wage employee in forest department , Kagaznagar town. Apart from speaking his own mother tongue Gondi/Koya, Madavi Tukaram also mastered many languages like English, Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Sanskrit with fluency.
When British anthropologist, Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf visited Adilabad during Nizam period, he took help from Tukaram for his translation works from Gondi to English. Later Tukaram himself translated many writings of Haimendorf in Telugu. After encouragement from his parents as well as Haimendorf, Tukaram got group 1 officer job (as Revenue Divisional Officer). Thereafter he worked in many government positions and with his sincerity and hardwork, he was finally selected in IAS and worked as collector in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Kakinada. He also worked as commissioner in various departments and served as Secretary in Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs. He was also a former Project Officer of Utnoor Integrated Tribal Development Agency.
Tukaram is also rememered for his contribution in establishing “Rai Centre” – a traditional Gonds’ judicial court. In Gondi, Rai means legal decision or justice. Rai Centre was established for protection of Adivasi culture, history and their rights. In Rai Centre, civil conflicts were solved under its jurisdiction. At present more than 200 Rai centres committees are working in undivided Adilabad district.
For a community, that once lived autonomously in the region and now has become marginalized. Madavi Tukaram is venerated as a hero. He died in 29 November 1997 after suffering from Cancer. In his remembrance, last year in 2017, Adivasis in Adilabad demanded “inclusion of a chapter on late Madavi Tukaram in history books in the State besides establishing a trust in his name. The tribals from the region also wanted Tukaram’s photo to be displayed in schools and hostels along with that of martyr Kumram Bheem.” It is unfortunate that Tukaram’s family lives in poverty now.
While Adivasis remain one of the most marginalized groups in Telanga, with only a few civil servants of IAS ranks, Tukaram will always remain as an inspiration for all young Adivasi students and youths for achieving their goals surpassing all the hardships in their life.
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