Saturday, August 15, 2020
Home Variety Culture and History Detours : It's time we celebrate our aboriginal or adivasi heritage and culture

Detours : It’s time we celebrate our aboriginal or adivasi heritage and culture

A few months back I travelled to British Columbia on the invitation of Canada Tourism. I expected it to be a place filled with natural beauty and it sure did not disappoint. Falls colours were enchanting, to say the least. However, what fascinated me most was its Aboriginal Tourism – the presence of First Nations communities in public spaces and in spaces specially designed to showcase their heritage. Totem Poles could be seen almost anywhere, sculptures with folk tales sit proudly at the airport. I went museum hopping learning about the tribes like Lilawat, Squamish, Songhees, Saanich, Esquimalt. In a few days that I spent there, these names became familiar entities.

I came back, read a bit more about First Nations of British Columbia and wrote a log piece on them. As soon as it was published, my thoughts went back to all the tribal museums I have visited in India – be it Tribal Museums in the heart of Delhi or in Posh Banjara Hills of  Hyderabad, or in situ tribal museums in Araku Valley, Silvassa, and Ratnagiri. I had hardly seen a soul at any of these museums. At one place, I had to request the caretaker to open the museum for me, which he did rather reluctantly. The museums where they exist, have a series of dioramas depicting tribal lifestyles.

At one of the museums, I wanted to take pictures and I was told strictly no photographs. I asked to meet a senior official to understand why no photography is allowed. After all, all that the museum has is recreated models of tribal landscapes and lifestyles. There are some items of personal use on display, but none that would be damaged by photography like say paintings of Ajanta would.

I was told if the photographs of the museum are published online, who would come to the museum? In a state of near shock, I asked them have you seen how many people post their pictures with Taj Mahal, has it stopped people from coming to Taj Mahal or has it inspired more people to come and see it for themselves. No answer came and there was no inclination to even think about it, forget about changing the photography policy.

- Advertisement -

Imagine the lost opportunity of free publicity by visitors. Imagine the images on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that will, first of all, tell people that such museums and such tribal communities exist, and then hopefully encourage people to visit them.  Imagine the connect it would create for these tribal communities with the rest of the world.

I wonder why do we not have our aboriginal art in public spaces? The only exceptions I have seen are the two railway stations across the country – Ratnagiri station with Warli art and Bolpur station with Shanti Niketan inspired art. Recently, I read about Madhubani station in Bihar being painted by local women & I thought it was a great tribute to Madhubani Artists like Ganga Devi. Why do we not have our public spaces depicting our local cultural roots? Given the diversity of our country, it would make our public spaces a riot of colour and designs while reminding us of our rich roots.

Souvenir shops in Canada were full of First Nationals inspired souvenirs. In India, it is an exception when I discover truly tribal inspired souvenirs. I think if I have to choose a tribal gift, I would have to go to Tara Books or some ethnic jewellery shops. Almost none of the tribal museums I have visited had a souvenir shop where I can buy something. They did not even have the literature about the tribes they are showcasing. At every museum, I look for books on the subjects being showcased. I am yet to find one that does not disappoint.

Guided tours can generate employment while enriching the visitor experience. Today, it is a such a dry experience to go through tribal museums of India, with almost no documentation and no reading material. It is not too difficult to publish books for children as well as adults. How lovely it would be to listen to some tribal music or instrument.

The government has already spent crores of rupees in setting up these museums, lakhs must be spent every year to maintain them. With a little thought and effort, the spaces can become our cherished cultural spaces.

Having said that there are two tribal museums that give me hope. One is Don Bosco Museum in Shillong, which presents the tribes of North East India in an elaborate and engaging manner. Second is Purkhauti Muktangan on the outskirts of Raipur in Chhattisgarh which is a vast open-air museum. Both these museums stand out because of their unique and thoughtful designs. I hope they get great storytelling guides, books and souvenirs also to complete the experience.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Anuradha Goyalhttps://www.inditales.com
Anuradha Goyal is the author of The Mouse Charmers - Digital Pioneers of India. She authors IndiTales - a leading travel blog from India that can also be read in Hindi, and AnuReviews - a book reviews blog with over 600 books reviewed across genres. In her earlier avatar, she has worked in IT industry for 12 years & led business innovation initiatives. She has lived across 15 cities in India and abroad before choosing to live in Goa with her library.

Related Articles

Trending now

Operation Polo: When India annexed Hyderabad from the Nizam and Razakars, the suppression of Hindus and the role of Nehru

On the midnight of August 15th 1947, India gained its independence from the British and was partitioned into two countries- Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan

On its first Independence Day since the liberation of Ram Janmabhoomi, India must pledge to return Kashi-Mathura to its true inheritors

The 74th Independence Day celebrations are underway across the country and it is a momentous occasion for the country for more reasons than one.

Made in India Coronavirus vaccine soon? Here is what PM Modi said in his Independence Day speech

During his Independence Day speech, PM Modi said that the vaccine is being developed in India for the Wuhan Coronavirus.

From Article 370 in 2019 to CAA and Ram Mandir in 2020: How PM Modi used his I-Day speech to talk about promises delivered

On India’s 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his 7th speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Breaking taboos from the ramparts of Red Fort: From speaking about open defecation in 2014 to the importance of sanitary napkins in 2020

On India's 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his 7th speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort

Watch: Prime Minister Modi addresses the Nation on India’s 74th Independence Day

PM Narendra Modi, will be addressing the nation and delivering his annual speech from the ramparts of the Red Ford after he unfurls the Indian flag.

Recently Popular

Karnataka: Controversy erupts after SP pressurises priests to place photo of Jesus Christ inside the Garbhagriha of Hindu temple

The temple priest has apologised for the incident and said that they did not have any evil intentions to hurt any religious sentiments

He may have flings with actresses, but is not a murderer: Subramanian Swamy says Aditya Thackeray has nothing to do with Sushant Singh Rajput’s...

Swamy said in the Q and A session that some other powerful persons are involved in the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, and Aditya is not one of them.

Wikipedia page on Bengaluru violence calls it a ‘clash’, refuses to identify rioters as Muslims: Here are the reasons given by the ‘editors’

On the 11th of August, when Hindus of the country celebrated Janmashtami, a Muslim mob indulged in violence in Bengaluru after being offended by a Facebook post that was allegedly against the Prophet of Islam.

Former SP leader Shahzeb Rizvi announces bounty of Rs 51 lakh on Karnataka Congress MLA’s nephew Naveen’s head for ‘blasphemous’ Facebook post

Shahzeb Rizvi said that whoever beheads Naveen for insulting the Prophet and brings his head will be given a bounty of Rs 51 lakh

‘Shut up or else, you will also be put to sleep forever’, mother of deceased actress Jiah Khan accuses director Mahesh Bhatt of intimidating...

Rabia Khan, mother of deceased actress Jiah Khan, accused Mahesh Bhatt of being a 'mouthpiece' of the Bollywood mafia.

My family has lived here for 50 years, I considered Muslims my brothers: MLA breaks down while narrating how his house was burnt down...

The Pulkeshinagar MLA's house was attacked by a violent Muslim mob with weapons, patrol bombs, and stones.

Operation Polo: When India annexed Hyderabad from the Nizam and Razakars, the suppression of Hindus and the role of Nehru

On the midnight of August 15th 1947, India gained its independence from the British and was partitioned into two countries- Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan

Price of freedom: How Beant Singh, now a rickshaw puller in Meerut, witnessed his mother and brother burn during partition in Rawalpindi

Beant Singh is one of the few survivors of partition that witnessed 2 million casualties and the displacement of 14 million people.

From self-reliant India to Coronavirus vaccine, Ram Mandir, warning to China: Here are 15 points made by PM Modi in his Independence Day speech

PM Modi began his Independence Day speech by paying tributes to freedom fighters, security forces and coronavirus warriors

On its first Independence Day since the liberation of Ram Janmabhoomi, India must pledge to return Kashi-Mathura to its true inheritors

The 74th Independence Day celebrations are underway across the country and it is a momentous occasion for the country for more reasons than one.

Made in India Coronavirus vaccine soon? Here is what PM Modi said in his Independence Day speech

During his Independence Day speech, PM Modi said that the vaccine is being developed in India for the Wuhan Coronavirus.

From Article 370 in 2019 to CAA and Ram Mandir in 2020: How PM Modi used his I-Day speech to talk about promises delivered

On India’s 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his 7th speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Breaking taboos from the ramparts of Red Fort: From speaking about open defecation in 2014 to the importance of sanitary napkins in 2020

On India's 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his 7th speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort

Watch: Prime Minister Modi addresses the Nation on India’s 74th Independence Day

PM Narendra Modi, will be addressing the nation and delivering his annual speech from the ramparts of the Red Ford after he unfurls the Indian flag.

Govt of India announces list of soldiers and police officials who will be honoured with Gallantry awards on Independence Day

The president of India will honour brave soldiers and law enforcement officials with Gallantry awards on the 74th Independence Day

While trying to hide its links to China by targeting the BJP, Congress depicts Japanese PM Shinzo Abe as Chinese President

The Congress party in its latest goof up has depicted Japanese PM Shinzo Abe as the Chinese President in an effort to target the BJP.

Connect with us

239,751FansLike
430,386FollowersFollow
301,000SubscribersSubscribe