Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tribes (Adivasi) of the Orissa - Who will protect them and who can Develop them? Written By karnav shah

Adivasi Mother, Orissa
Recently I have visited Rourkela, Orissa state. It is a small yet beautiful city surrounded by large hills and enclosed by rivers. It is a full of nature and limited in population (about 15, 73,617) and fairly less pollution make it one of the livable city of India. It is generally known as a Steel city with the establishment of the first of the steel plants in India that is SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited). During my quick search I was able to find that SAIL has really contributed remarkably to develop infrastructure and development of the Rourkela as a true city. Most of the people living in this city are coming from the outside to do job;well they are the executive and new comers’ young professional. However my point of discussion is not a Rourkela but the conflicting situation of & for ‘Adivasi’ (Tribal) raised in Orissa due to rejection of the two Mega project that is, POSCO project and Vedanta bauxite project. Reader should also notice that this tribal people are also double victim of the Security forces of India and Naxals operating in Orissa State along with few other states. Affliction of the security forces and activities of the naxals is the different topic to be discussing which is not within the scope of this article.

Bonda Lady & Ornaments
This article will discuss how could the project would have been useful for the tribal of the Orissa and what other activities (for example, intervention of craft, hand-loom, may be establish in those area to develop social and economic status of tribal people.) could be suggested for the social, economic, educational and overall development of the Orissa's Adivasi.

Before we go forward let’s accept it is very clear that Adivasi of the Orissa wants to live a life like a people living in city with the same quality of education and life comforts. Some people may argue that they wish to remain in whatever they are however the new generation of the tribal people would surely ask one day to the government what they have done in last 63 year of independence of India to develop their life quality? It would be certainly shameful and unanswerable situation for the India and Orissa government. One of the reasons for increasing violence activity of the Maovadi (naxals) is underestimation of the need of tribal Adivasi by the State and central government. Government have utilized their land (forest area), eliminated their homes for the industrial projects and also used and employed them in labor work throughout the 63 years, however they were never given an opportunity that satisfy them or make them able to live in advance stage of the life that generally we are living. Based on one of the article written by Mr.Sudarshan Upadhya, on 05/09/2010 in Gujarat Samachar, that NGOs working for the tribal may be corrupted and misleading the tribal for the benefits of the corporation. Many staff and employee of these NGOs are receiving benefits in living in a five stars hotels and remain as an agent of the beneficiary while running strike (Andolan for the welfare). Well it is not always the case that NGOs not doing their jobs however It is visible and convincible that there is not noticeable progress made by NGOs and it is just became mere instrument which can be utilize as a tool and safe guard to conduct business activity in Adivasi area where there’s a influence of the  naxals, local government, media or any other party.

a pottery village op the Kumbhar caste, Orissa
The underlying question to the NGOs, The government of India and its State government and the citizen of India is that how long shall we keep Tribes (Adivasi) as Tribes? Recently Rahul Gandhi said that I am protecting tribal when the environment minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh Rejected the POSCO project (51,000 Carore) and Vedanta bauxite project stating that it violate environment and human rights law. However there is a need to look and test this matter at micro level as there are many parameters and political situation involved within the issue. I understand the given reason however for the development of the tribes and their area, employment is essential and in order to employ tribes industry installation is the necessity. It is not possible for the large tribes to move to other place in search of livelihood. It is responsibility of the government to create sustainable livelihood, education and quality of life for them. To build an industry in an area where the tribes are living, the area may be covered by the forest and visibly there seems no option rather than to cut them down. I am myself, against any type of environmental offence however as I said earlier (Micro Analysis) India is a nation of huge population with limited land and when it comes to the people who have been under privileged and are being used to conduct violence (or simply abused or under paid on jobs or women raped by the variety of the forces etc.) due to lack of education and livelihood. Consequently they are used by Naxals (Maoist may be using tribes people against the nation and government provoking them that India is fail to provide them employment and quality of life sort of points) Micro analysis is required. NGOs to my understanding, many times raise the issue that bring money in the form of corruption or benefits in legal form to them. In India, One can find many ways to escape from the illegal act of corruption. The general procedure is that when one found guilty, Activist will raise the issue in the media, media will propagate it and in few days who cares? For some people it becomes a business.

Demsa-the dance of the Gadaba tribe-orissa

Adivasi Sleeping

Orissa - Kunduli Market

People should not when TATA Singur (West Bengal) project was opposed by the NGOs ( I would not tell it was oppose by the people as the poor farmer might have been misguided), Government of Gujarat did not delayed in inviting them and It was being implemented in Gujarat successfully.

Kutia Kondh people at Ushabali village-orissa
Indian is dreaming to be super power by the year 2020 but where will we see the position of this Adivasi? International reader should not that this Adivasi (tribes) community is the easy and mega opportunity for getting the vote at the time of election for the government to win election and as when you offer them something (generally TV, Bicycle etc. or lucrative promises), they generally may vote in their favor. However it is also evident that the young generation of the Orissa’s tribal area now awaking. I could tell this because I visited some of the tribes people in Rourkela, They are known as “Kondha” and they were coming from or near “Sambalpur” city which is 321 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar of Orissa. I had word with them at personal level and they've openly expressed their views to me and I am pretty sure when the reader will Google the information of this article or go directly to the tribes area and meet awarer and alert tribes they would tell that they want to live like the people living in the city and they want employment that is beyond the labor work. When I asked them what If they have to compromise on their forest land where the industry plant would be installed which creates employment for you? They said ‘yes’ certainly. However they need support from the government in the form of 'guarantee employment' and development promises. Now Government need to follow the half strategy of the SAIL, Rourkela means what SAIL has done in infrastructure sector (Roads and Parks) as a corporate responsibility in Rourkela, then the project (company) like POSCO and Vedanta needs to develop rural and tribes strategy plan for the education and livelihood of Adivasi of the Orissa. Education built knowledge and assures that the next or current generation will make enough to contribute to the economy of the nation which further reduces the burden of the economy. Education will also make them able to understand their situation better than any NGOs or government consequently they will be making independent decision for themselves. Employment that is proper and sustainable, is demand of this youth for the permanent survival. Currently these tribes’ youth and people are working as a laborer on the road side construction or in the forest and women are working in vegetable market. They are extremely abused by the Indian Police too. The people I had talked with, they have now learnt that the government is not honest to them and many of the youth struggling on their own for the proper education from the all possible supports. Some of the youth also misguided by revolutionary illegal working organization as they provide them food and money which they don’t have at current stage. I would strongly recommend that we need to give Adivasi a computer in hand instead of the weapons or their own traditional items. (Computer not in the real sense but it is used as a POSITIVENESS or just say Support or progress)

dhuruba Orissa adivasi lady
Orissa is a full of many mineral like Aluminums, bauxite, steel and it is also fact that mineral lies underneath of the land and these mineral is also essential for many activities. Now from the social point of view, If X Company dig the land, it would affect the people living on the land or forest itself however the question sometimes rise is logical, that is If X Company would not produce Iron for example, how would society meet their need of decorative items, car and bike , building and construction material and etc. There is a demand and supply chain in terms of the economic view which also needs to be meet. Another example is Mumbai city, which was expanded eliminating many mountains and forest area as it was the necessity. Necessity is defined, in my personal terms, something that human needs to survive. Now If large industrial project installed close to the tribes area which If government make terms with the company to provide sustainable development and employment to the local people, what is the comparable loss of elimination of the forest with the advantage that tribes people may get in the form of better life, education and infrastruction which again reduce economic burden means when we pay tax it also goes for the maintenance of certain population of the nation that in non-productive. Killing Tiger would be crime and it affect the law but killing chicken or fish is not a crime as there is no law made for it and it is a food which many people can not live without  whereas the pain of the tiger may not be different than the chicken. so there is a discrimination at some stage that the intelligent people made while creating human right act and law. 

Kundali Tribes Market - Orissa

Orissa - Adivasi Village
I believe people should come forward and go directly to the tribe people and first educate them and show them the benefits of having such project then consider their opinion what would they want? Mr. Rahul Gandhi should go and sit among them within the environment affected by naxals and cultivate the understanding what really require for the long term social stability of the tribes of Orissa? In order to eliminate violence done by Maoist and other illegal organization, development and education with employment guarantee is mandatory and for that certain compromises should have been made in Orissa by central government at the time of project approval consideration. If it were about constructing building by destroying forest I would strongly oppose it or even if such project come to Gujarat in urban area at the cost of forest I would again oppose it however when such project bring change in social and economic state of the most under privileged, violently affected people, I, personally, favor it. One of the Tribes told me like urban people who want to go abroad, we want to go to city as they want that life style and comforts. NGOs and many activities and government itself have put and pushed Adivasi in very complex issue that is Land. They are being taught that their land would be taken by X or Y person and they would be rewarding nothing or less. The mentality of the tribe people are same as mentality of the Aamir khan’s (example) (Bollywood actor) Fan who sometime believe and may dress as he do in his next film, that mean tribes have influence under/of certain community or organization and government failed to build confident among them. This is totally political situation and interesting parties taking advantage of it. If government approve the project, there is a risk that majority of the tribes would consider it as negative decision and become insecure (losing land) which may affect next election and more than that if tribes become negative it will also be good for naxals who may provoke tribes increasingly against the nation and motive violent and the situation forever remain unstable and the race for the election winning, political gain and NGOs benefits continuously being produced on the cost of this tribes.

Basket Market Tribes Orissa - Chatikona

Bonda Lady, Orissa
Tribes get nothing as an income by doing farm work or labor work and it does not bring TV, fridge or comforts to their home. They need increment in their income means saving to buy the comforts. I personally believe and express my views to respected Environment Minister of India that apart from the written constituent law of India, there is a violation of human right by not assisting Adivasi of Orissa constructing their future, fulfilling their educational and economical goal or a goal to become something in a life.(Ethic/Moral Base). If you want to develop tribes area, you must provide the land to any business entity. The issue must be resolved in confidence with the Adivasi of Orissa instead of sitting in A.C office in New Delhi. We may organize many strategies for the new plantation of trees (seeds) to compensate or curb the production of the new car or environmentally affect industry production which reduce the pollution which also compensate environmental loss. If central government had wished, it could have changed the situation of tribes of Orissa by approving POSCO and Vedanta project. There shall be way to negotiate certain issues if it affect seriously. While expressing my views on approval I have not much interest in the benefits of business organization by installation of this project however it is very visible that how this project directly helps tribes.

Apart from the above view, I have following recommendation to the NGOs, Central Government and State government of Orissa and local people of Orissa:

  • Help and educate tribes’ people on their land and welfare issues. They need to learn that there is a life which is feasible for them to live with little support.
  • One of the major recommendations I would make is an intervention of the craft and design to the tribes to develop and promote the art, craft and culture of the Orissa creating sustainable income, livelihood and training program. For this there is no need of such qualification however one need to cultivate skill and require team leading skill so they sufficient motivation and income generation could be implemented to the life of tribes. People who are creative may train local artisan in tribe area to work on specific design or train them to give a export quality of the product that is easy to sale. If anyone need more help to set up any project or work in Orissa or any other part that helps Indian rural or backward class to develop, you may contact me on (karnav shah) I would be more than happy to be volunteering or advising on it.
  • Help to recognize individual skill of the local tribes and if it is sustainable and profitable make them entrepreneur and instead of making them dependent on such organization, show or team them how to access direct market or find client to sale or assist them to communicate with the potential client. For this group of people with the same interest needs to be gathering and make non-profit group. Remember I never advise to run an NGO as many times it loses its path in the middle seeing such personal benefits. However it is up to the group how they decide to move on. The concept of the NGO is good as long as involved people are unbiased and working to meet the objective.
  • Encourage local Municipality, Businessmen, Industrialist or State government to organize independent or joint project that helps directly to the local tribes in the major area like education and health-care. Without education and heath, capable and progressive society cannot be built.
  • Consider politics as your first right. It is not bad thing. If you say people in this area are bad then I would say it is because you are not a part of it. Be a part of it, represent the interest of your community and state people. Don’t just fight but fight till you get the justice. However one need patience and critical analysis for it.
  • Negations with Maoist is necessary for the constructive action and violation by the security forces must be eliminated for this Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik should organize few hours (say1/2) weekly session direct for the citizen of the Orissa to hear their problem directly through video conference which will bring stress on the police force, security force and other activities to work ethically and it also gives opportunity to build an trust among the community. After all CM is for the people.
  • International funder must ask and take possible answer for the amount that they fund to NGOs in Orissa for the welfare of Tribes or handicraft project. This is also applicable to local funder.
  • Use RTI Act. That is Right to Information Act. Google it.
  • I would not advise young people to come in direct conflict with police or powerful forces as times demand diplomacy and critical analysis in the environment of Orissa. Sometimes it is important to become a part of the system to change the system.

Orissa - Adivasi Lady (I really liked the expression)
In nut shell, I, as a citizen of India, have taken greater interest in the development of the any community of India. It has come to my knowledge when I was in Orissa that government did not approved such project so It inspire me to do my bit research and visit the local people who might be able to share their views. It was hard for me to find tribes people in Rourkela city, however fortunately I found some of them to share their views. I have also visited the NGOs VISTAAR in Rourkela, Orissa and met reporter Mr. Mishra to learn more about this political situation of Orissa. It is also important to know that, a study by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative using a Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) found that there were 421 million poor living under the MPI in 8 north India states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. This number is higher than the 410 million poor living in the 26 poorest African nations. From the point of view of real welfare for Orissa’s tribes and its economy I believe good opportunity has missed and it is question to us, as an Indian that being in democratic country we have right but still few ways to reach and influence the wrong decision taken by government or to analyses the sensitivity of the matter.

beside the entrance to the painting atelier in Raghurajpur, a village near Puri

Paintings on the interior walls of the houses of the 
Lanjia Saora people 
at Rizangtal in Orissa. 

For the youth, Oriyas and Tribes, I would make a recommendation that there is never late for a good start. There may be other recommendation or amendments in the suggestion I have make above for the planning and implement strategy for the development of Tribes of Orissa and the state itself.

Hata Maniguda, a pottery village op the Kumbhar caste.
Dhaba (Typical Indian Village Restaurant)at Baligaon Wekly Adivasi market

If you would like to make any comment or have project or idea to share with me, I would be glad to look in that, please contact me on (Mr. Karnav shah) I am also in process to set up social project that involves art and craft work by training the artisan and this project also aim to develop a quality of life, increase safe guard for the livelihood of naxals affected area of India. If you are interested in it please contact me on email

This article is Written by karnav shah who is also a social Entrepreneur working on various areas/Project/Research like craft,culture, community welfare, Livelihood, education and healthcare reforms among India rural and tribes artisan/Population. He is also involved in setting up some Independent social project that helps for the upliftment of the rural community and economy by income generation through handmade craft and art work and he is also applying creative and design intervention in rural area and tradition for the development of potential income generation ideas within the culture and tradition of the local tribes and Villages. He is also qualified MBA (Finance), Doctorate (Management) and Executive MBA (International Financial management-Global Degree). He has also worked in NGOs as a support worker and then Team Leader in Baptcare, Australia. Apart from his professional activity he is actively involved in social and political activities. He can be contacted on this email for any advise, project opportunity to simply Volunteering throughout the India On:

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  1. I appreciate this researched document and really like the new look of your blog. keep up the good work. However, the picture relevance at some place was little surprising as being in Orissa I have really seen women in such awesome jewelery but quite possible long back. Now even tribal have developed an urban taste and lifestyle...

  2. this picture reflect the traditional culture and art of the tribes people. to some extent it is also important they preserve it in as it is as it is what make them unique however the article was pointing to bring a positive change the quality of life with education, employment and healthcare reforms. Women are for sure wearing developed ornaments however as per the research there are more than 700,000lac tribes in more than 63 recognized village and district living and about 70% of them living under the poverty line, it is consequently not possible for most of the people of the tribes to approach new trend jewelery. Yes if they were given a chance, new generation is ready to do anything that excite them.

  3. I have also followed HDI index Information reveal recently worldwide by United Nations, stating the real situation of the under poverty life of the people of Orissa and other state of the India. Even in the extreme poor nation there will be few or number of people living in great comforts however it is also point i have learnt that india is so much big that the number of people we might see living happy may be not even 0.01%. when it comes to statistic it is important what proportion of the population are in need of such comforts in this terms tribes of orissa, i believe more than 70 or around percent are looking for better life and they need to show up a way towards it. Few people knows this face, that still 70% of inian polulation living in the rural area. One of the reason government supports industry going there for creating more employment and on the another side why NGO works in rural area or in craft, that is also to prevent them coming to urban area when they come in search of employment. they try to provide or create jobs there so the balance of the population along with employment could be maintained,

  4. thats is deeper view of the internal situation of tribes in orissa. I am oriya, however working as a IT professional in kerala, it really give us a sense that at least if we can not make direct change, we may adopt certain strategy as you have mention in your suggestion. I think it is important that developer like you express critical views on the certain issue clearly so at least community have new approach. i, from my side could probably donate for the development of my state or may be volunteer during vacation.

  5. I am pretty impressed with the new term that mr karnav you have mention in your article that is Micro analysis of political situation as it is most important analysis to recognize right thing. I have heard of the posco project and the information propagated is like mentions environmental violation but sometime there is really a need to compare human loss against the human gain and welfare. But there must be strict terms on company for certain action. I have knowledge about the HDI index which clearly state the situation of Orissa which is poor and it seems that central government may have made mistake or they should have reorganized the terms with the company

  6. Well, i think as far as concern to the development strategy, the case may be fought in supreme court but Indian constitution is very complex. And i have great agreement that NGOs, in most cases, remain as an tool of agent. Everybody talks good and good to show themselves good and many of the agree to the people who have influence as they sometimes feel down going against someone's opinion. It is a case of reality.

  7. Hi i am interested in that pottery pic? it is wonderfully made. i want to make something in different shape, do you know someone who can assist me?

  8. can you please send your detail question on my email Id

    I am more than happy to assist or advising on social project or handicraft dealing as far a marketing and source concern. I have design support thought my finance or probably other sources so i can redirect you to them. This is the answer of all the readers within this articles.


Thank you for your communication. I really appreciate you take your valuable time reading this BLOG.

I welcome your feedback, suggestion or further communication in any matter.



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All Rights Reserved. By Dr.karnav shah

This is an intellectual property. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval systems, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise.), without the prior written permission of both the copyrights owner(Dr.karnav shah) or the Relevant Copyright Owner of the Article mention In this Blog. If owner of Intellectual property is not Dr.karnav shah, you would find relevant owner or source of the information. Information Posted here is completely for social & Personal purpose. One should not utilize for monetary gain without the permission of relevant owner. If someone utilize it Dr.karnav shah is not responsible for that. Respect Copyright©


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