Unity is what the tribes need today
In 1950, Jaipal Munda, the ferocious leader of the Tribal groups then, commented that the history of the tribal people have been a history of dispossession and exploitation. But he also put enormous trust on the Nehru government and expected an equal society where the tribes won’t be neglected. But the trust that he had talked about is wrecked and grossly violated.
There are thousands of tribes in India, with each possessing unique culture and traditions. Sometimes this traditions and culture are glorified and the tribes are forced to live the life of deprivation and exploitation. However different and unique be the culture one common thread that cuts across all the tribes is the extreme exploitation whether it be a tribe of Jharkhand or of far flung North east. The land where the tribals’ reside are reservoirs of resources and minerals which have turn out to be a bane for the tribal people, as they are being forced out of their homes to make way for various developmental projects, whether it be dams in Arunachal Pradesh, Mining in Orissa and Jharkhand etc.
The other exploited counterpart-the Dalits have been able to raise their standards economically and also all the Dalits are united under the name of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the lone crusader for the oppressed. Even after 53 years of his death, he still holds the charm that Millions gather just by the mention of his name. But leaders like Jaipal Munda, Ram Dayal Munda etc. are least heard of by the tribals. The enormous amount of heterogeneity in culture and traditions has also proved to be an impediment to the unity of the tribes. Thus, we can find a few fights against the repressive structures by the tribes, most of them scattered. Many of the fights for dignity and also survival have been termed by the government as anti-state movements and they are suppressed by labelling them as ‘Maoist’ and ‘anti state forces’. For instance, many tribals fighting for their survival in orissa are termed as Maoists and the tribes who are fighting a historical oppression of forced nationhood in North east states of the India are termed as insurgents and more and more forces are sent to those areas to curb these fights with an iron hand. The state has proved to be the gross violator of Human rights in those areas.
Thus, in such a context what the tribes need now is to fight and revert back. But for that, the first essential necessity is the Unity among them. Also, new innovative means of fight needs to be emerged. For instance, the current media conveniently take sides and also overlook the problems of the tribes. Thus writing about the issues of the tribes in the internet and also forming solidarity and unity among them by identifying cross cutting issues can go a long way.