A Different Tune: Indigenous People of Gujarat

Today on the International day of World’s Indigenous People we bring you this video made by Ganesh Gamit from Tapi District, Gujarat as a part of one of Video Volunteers Community Video Unit.

Tucked away in Southern Gujarat the Chaudhari tribe is one of the largest indigenous communities in Gujarat. Though many have converted to Hinduism, they continue to maintain their traditional practices and keep their cultural heritage alive. This includes making ornate instruments from forest produce like the Dev Pavri.

This unique instrument made out of bamboo, gourd and buffalo horns, glued together with beeswax lends its melody to most celebrations and even to sad occasions.

Ganesh tells us that the community’s dependence on the land they live on has resulted in a strong bond with nature. This dependence has often been the cause for major concern as many can barely sustain themselves on small agricultural plots. Further, as more development projects especially industry comes in, more and more people have been alienated from their ancestral land.

Historically Tapi District has performed poorly on the development index. The district was carved out of Surat in 2007 in order to provide better governance in the area. But even at that time, there were reports that the majority of the tribal population felt that it would not benefit from this bifurcation. They still feel alienated as basic infrastructure like health and sanitation are absent in the area (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw0lA4zIwVM).

This feeling of alienation is but one chapter in a long book on violations against indigenous people in India. A report by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs estimates that over 40% of all people displaced by development projects are tribals. In 2010 the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Ministry of Home Affairs reported a total of 5,885 cases of atrocities against indigenous people.

As the indigenous people of Gujarat and India try to hold on to their traditional ways of life while adjusting to a new reality, we can only hope that the future brings a more inclusive way of development. One that respects the rights of the those who belong to a land rather than decide their fate without their consent.

 

More Video About Indigenous People In India:

Tribal Students Left Behind in Assam – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6vJB2Dd-hg

Shikamo Festival: Remembering the Tribal Way of Life – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjySsCSWJvw

Development Damned Tribals Demand Justice- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa66M8M4JBY

The Mark of the Munda- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRVKSPmsiMk