ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The New Tribal States

The formation of the new states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand poses a challenge, both theoretical and practical, to all those who have long argued and agitated for the preservation of tribal identity and culture and its possible development in the direction set by its own genius.

Modern civilisation has been seen as inimical to tribal peoples all over the world. It cannot tolerate life in the wild and wants to tame and civilise everything around it. Disappearance of wild life and tribal peoples from Europe and America is an evidene of this. As for Nature, it may celebrate it in Art and even feel adventurous about it, if it occurs in Dark continents like Africa. It, of course, wants to study primitive societies and cultures all over the world and establish societies for the preservation of wild life and wilder peoples and maintain ecology and express concern for preserving it as it is endangered by processes that it has unleashed all over the world. Anthropologists are concerned with this disappearance of tribal communities and cultures and have thought about how to preserve the tribal people who still survive outside the regions where their own civilisation had destroyed them earlier.

The recent formation of the new states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand in the Indian union poses a challenge, both theoretical and practical, to all those who have long argued and agitated for the preservation of tribal identity and culture and its possible development in the direction set by its own genius. Would the requirements of being a modern state with its whole institutional paraphernalia of governance and administration permit such a preservation or make it impossible, is the question which needs to be squarely faced by all those who value traditional ways of life in any form whatsoever. A state, as everyone knows, has to have elected representatives who need a modern air-conditioned assembly hall to deliberate on the welfare of those who have elected them, reasonably comfortable houses to live in and transport facilities to go to the assembly building and to visit and look after their constituencies. They also need a governor from the centre to oversee the working of the state from his central palatial building and a whole set of ministers with their diverse departments and offices to develop the economy of the state and plan its social and human development conceived of in terms set by experts trained in the west. One will, of course, have to have the legal and educational system on the pattern set by the NCERT, the UGC, the Supreme Court and other such institutions of the central government. And, how can there be a state in the modern world without newspaper, radio and TV networks, the media facilities, the bars and restaurants, the highways and the latest models of cars running on them with ensuing facilities involved for accidents on them?

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