In Padutola village, Chhattisgarh, the Gund tribals still carry out the age-old customs and practices that make their culture unique.
In tribal culture, weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals are celebrated through traditional song and dance. Not only does this strengthen community life, but also aids in preserving an ancient but dying culture. “I had met many Gundi tribal people before, and I would ask them to sing a Gundi song for me. But they only had one answer, ‘We don’t know how to sing Gundi songs,’” says Bhan Sahu, our community correspondent in Chhattisgarh. In her video, however, she documents the revival of the musical culture of the Gund tribals, and how they have managed to keep alive some of the traditions which other tribes have slowly lost.
Scheduled Tribes of India comprise of 15% of the total population, varying anywhere between 0.04% (Goa) to 94% (Mizoram) of the state population. The Constitution of India recognizes 645 distinct tribes under the Scheduled Tribe category. This allows the members of these tribes access to various protective arrangements, benefits and resources that may help to bridge the gap between the disadvantaged and advantaged.
However, guaranteeing the preservation of tribal culture is more difficult than it sounds. With modernization well under way, developmental projects and commercial forestry have displaced over 10 million tribal people. Resulting in a loss of traditional livelihood, many disperse to cities where they hope to carve a future, at the same time losing out on their community life and heritage.
The members of the Gund community in Padutola have managed not only to keep their unique culture alive, but they celebrate it with a vigour that promises to keep it blooming. As Bhan Sahu mentions, “… the Gund tribals are an inspiration to the entire tribal community.”
– Rajyashri Goody