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Monday, February 18, 2008

Tribal Instincts

Though tribals account for nearly 50 per cent of the population of Jharkand, I found it difficult to find people who could throw some light on tribal art and culture. Tribals living near the industrial townships of Jamshedpur, Jadugoda, Bokaro, Mosani and the capital city of Ranchi are so removed from their tribal roots that barring their facial features or a bit of adivasi twang in their Hindi accent, there's no way you can distinguish them from the commonfolk. Their integration into the so-called 'modern' society has come from sustained efforts by these industrial giants. As JRD Tata put it during a speech at the Oxford University, UK in 1956, "We have in India, a special problem...of integrating some 20 million primitive tribal people...largely and perhaps fortunately untouched by modern civilisation. They are by and large...people with special virtues as well as deficiencies. Their poverty is immense and their economic life is cruelly uncertain. Their integration obviously needs special care and sympathetic concern."

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