Tribals are carriers of cultural diversity

In the year 1992, five hundred years of Columbus reaching America were about to be completed. Some countries that colonized the world planned to celebrate this year as the date of the ‘discovery of knowledge and civilization’. The plan had to be implemented by bringing a proposal in the United Nations. As soon as the news of this came to the intellectuals and representatives of the tribal society, they started protesting against it. Tribal communities of the world said that this date is not the date of ‘discovery of knowledge and civilization’, but of ‘genocide’. The tribal communities declared that date to be celebrated as ‘500 years of resistance’. This scheme could not be implemented in practice after strong opposition from these communities.

Columbus reached America on October 12, 1492. Since then, till the end of the 19th century, the number of tribal communities in America had decreased to only two and a half million. American tribals were attacked by Europeans about one and a half thousand times. That period was the period of massacres of tribals. During this period the population of tribal communities decreased from five to 15 million. But the so-called civilized and developed society has never expressed regret for this. On the contrary, in that period the officers and soldiers who killed the local tribals (Red Indians) and occupied their lands were honored by the white government. Columbus Day was celebrated by them on 12 October.

Tribal communities have always opposed this date of colonial oppression and domination. The question is whether there was no civilization before Columbus reached America? Didn’t they have a knowledge tradition? Wasn’t that their lifestyle and world view? The supremacy of civilizations is hidden in the answers to these questions. The world tribal society has given its sacrifices protesting against the vandalism in the name of civilization. On the basis of his lifestyle and world view, he criticized the so-called civilized society and continued his struggle to keep his history, tradition and memories intact.

In the 20th century, the issue of violation of human rights of tribals was raised by tribal representatives and human rights activists in the United Nations. In the year 1982, for the first time centrality was discussed in the United Nations regarding the promotion and protection of human rights regarding these communities. When voices began to be raised against the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in America, the question of tribal human rights came to the fore as a central question. Looking at the question of tribal human rights, their lifestyle and culture, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 1993 as the ‘International Year for Indigenous People’. The next year (1994) the General Assembly announced that now every year on August 9, ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous People’ would be celebrated. On August 9, 1982, the first meeting regarding the human rights of tribal communities was held in the United Nations. This date has now become popular as World Tribal Day.

According to the United Nations, tribal communities account for five percent of the world population. But fifteen percent of the total poverty of the world belongs to this community. Tribal communities around the world speak about 7000 languages ​​and form a complex of five thousand cultures. If seen, tribal societies enrich the cultural diversity of the world the most. But the sad thing is that they are continuously being crushed under the road roller of non-tribal authoritarian civilization. Today many tribal communities are on the verge of extinction and many of their languages ​​are on the verge of extinction. The storm of capitalist development has uprooted them from their native land and made them victims of displacement, poverty and human trafficking.

The tribal community has been denied its dignity not only in North America but also in Africa, Australia and India. In colonial times, the British in India had declared the tribal communities as born criminals by enacting the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. In pre-colonial times, tribal communities were presented in the forms of Asura, Daitya, Rakshasa etc. For the protection of the tribal society in India, a provision was made in the fifth and sixth schedule of the constitution. Strict laws were made in their interest. Despite this, the interests of the tribal society and their dignity have been being violated. This community has had to pay the highest cost of development projects in the country. Since independence, out of the total sixty percent displaced by development projects, forty percent of the population belongs to the tribal community.

The tribal communities are forced to lead a life of poverty in the same areas from which the minerals etc. are mined for the country. The cultural diversities of the tribal community in the world society are actually their civilizational values, which have been neglected till now. The neglect of their lifestyle, knowledge, tradition, history etc. has ultimately violated their human dignity. His civilizational values ​​are more relevant to the present world society. His knowledge and world view analyze human and non-human life relations in a better way.

The cruelest character of colonialism has been seen in tribal areas only. World Tribal Day teaches lessons to be learned from the cruelest conditions of colonialism. It reminds us of that neglected and forgotten stream, in contrast to the one-sided stream of history and culture, in which the high qualities of humanity and civilization are present. Which tells that the indicator of humanity is to accept different language, culture, lifestyle, knowledge tradition and world view. It is a day of pride for the tribal communities.

(These are the personal views of the author.)

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