Friday, November 27, 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.

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

‘Indira thok di…Modi ki chhati mein’, ‘Imran Khan dost’: Congress plays a dangerous game as ‘farmer’ protest turns into show of strength for Khalistanis

Farmer protest along Punjab-Haryana border have seen participation from Khalistanis, even as Congress lends support to them

‘Malafide intent’, ‘action to target her for statements’: Bombay HC slams BMC for demolishing Kangana Ranaut’s house, appoints valuer to ascertain damage

Bombay HC was hearing a writ petition filed by Kangana Ranaut challenging the demolition of her bungalow by the Mumbai civic body

Abetment to suicide charge not established in FIR: Massive victory for Arnab Goswami as SC delivers scathing statements

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee stated that the FIR by Maharashtra government does not establish the charges of abetment of suicide against Arnab Goswami.

Yogendra Yadav is not a farmer leader: Here is why urban Indians should reject this hollow emotional blackmail

The India Today banner reads “Gold standard of journalism" as they discuss the 'farmer protest' in Punjab, led by Rajdeep Sardesai

Uttar Pradesh ranks number one in providing jobs to migrant workers by generating 10 crore person-days under Gareeb Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan

Uttar Pradesh government has spent 9,329.57 Crores on the project and generated 10,58,17,358 Person-days for migrant workers

Minor gang-raped, forced conversion to Islam, threats, caste abuse: Details of 11 cases in which UP SIT, formed to probe Love Jihad, found criminality

To curb growing menace of Love Jihad, Kanpur police under guidance of the Yogi govt in Uttar Pradesh formed an SIT

Recently Popular

Odisha: Largest ever vigilance raid in state unearths massive wealth gathered by IFS officer, fancy cars, ultra-luxurious lifestyle

Pathak's family reportedly owns a lavish apartment in Bhubaneswar with Italian marble flooring, ivory furnitures and other luxuries. The son is engaged to an MLA's daughter.

Hyderabad elections: Owaisi makes ‘beef biriyani’ sly on BJP leaders, Raja Singh offers him pork biriyani

As an insult to BJP leaders, Owaisi had stated that they should have some biriyani at a particular hotel in Hyderabad that is famous for beef dishes.

Remembering the role Barkha Dutt played in endangering the lives of 100s of civilians during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack

A look back at how live coverage by journalists like Barkha Dutt and other journalists endangered lives of thousands of people during 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Aziz Burney’s ’26/11 RSS ki Saazish’: Read how the Congress-favourite Urdu journalist gave Pakistan a clean chit and blamed Indian Army

Through his articles, Burney had tried to give a clean chit to terror-state of Pakistan by claiming that it was not the ISI or LeT that was behind the attack, but the RSS with covert support from Mossad and the CIA.

During 26/11 Mumbai attack, Param Bir Singh refused to be on ground and take on terrorists, then Mumbai CP Hasan Gafoor had said

Hasan Gafoor, who was the Mumbai Commissioner of Police during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had accused senior police officials, including Param Bir Singh of not taking on the terrorists.

When Sonia Gandhi trusted Ahmed Patel for conveying to PV Narasimha Rao’s family that his funeral will not be held in Delhi

Sanjaya Baru had said Ahmed Patel approached him to let PV Narasimha Rao's son know about Sonia Gandhi's message.
- Advertisement -

Mehbooba Mufti cries foul, yet again, says she and her daughter have been ‘detained’ for the past two days, yet again: Details

Mehbooba Mufti further alleged that her daughter ILtija Mufti had also been placed under house arrest, for wishing to meet Waheed's family.

‘Indira thok di…Modi ki chhati mein’, ‘Imran Khan dost’: Congress plays a dangerous game as ‘farmer’ protest turns into show of strength for Khalistanis

Farmer protest along Punjab-Haryana border have seen participation from Khalistanis, even as Congress lends support to them

‘Malafide intent’, ‘action to target her for statements’: Bombay HC slams BMC for demolishing Kangana Ranaut’s house, appoints valuer to ascertain damage

Bombay HC was hearing a writ petition filed by Kangana Ranaut challenging the demolition of her bungalow by the Mumbai civic body

Delhi: Dozens of idols in a temple in Begumpur vandalised, locals heard someone shouting ‘beheaded, beheaded’

Several idols kept in the Shiv Shakti temple in Delhi's Begumpur area was beheaded by unknown miscreants on the night of November 24

US govt announces 5 million dollars reward for Pakistani terrorist Sajid Mir, involved in 2008 Mumbai attacks

Sajid Mir was the operations manager for the LeT during the Mumbai attack that killed over 170 people. He had played a crucial role in planning, preparation and execution of the terror attack.

Abetment to suicide charge not established in FIR: Massive victory for Arnab Goswami as SC delivers scathing statements

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee stated that the FIR by Maharashtra government does not establish the charges of abetment of suicide against Arnab Goswami.

‘Lashkar Zindabad’: Mangaluru sees graffiti threatening to take LeT and Taliban’s help to eliminate ‘Sanghis’ and ‘Manuvadis’

Mangaluru saw graffiti threatening to take Lashkar-e-Toiba and Taliban's help to eliminate 'Sanghis' and 'Manuvadis'.

The Wire’s faux analysis: How it went from ‘Modi can’t get crowds in his rally’ to ‘Bihar admires Modi’ in 48 hours flat

As NDA emerged victorious in Bihar, the left-liberals, who had hoped for a victory of RJD-Congress-Communist alliance were perturbed.

Kanpur Grooming Jihad: Woman trapped by ‘Sahil’ using fake Hindu identity, forced to eat beef and have sex with Maulvi

Kanpur woman was trapped by one Sahil, pretending to be Sachin Sharma. She has allegedly tortured by Sahil and his family to change her religion.

As Mamata Banerjee continues tirade against BJP, key leaders start abandoning her ahead of crucial 2021 assembly elections: Details

Reportedly, several leaders are in talks with both the BJP and the Congress and may abandon Mamata Banerjee ahead of Bengal polls

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
489,311FollowersFollow
20,200SubscribersSubscribe