Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Using a banyan tree as a motif, Sanskritik Vaividhya Kendra (Cultural Diversity Centre ) is coming up at State Tribal Museum to highlight the cultural unity of tribes inhabiting different parts of India.
Madhya Pradesh is home to 43 different tribes with seven of them constituting a majority of the tribal population of the state. The gallery will feature a contour map of the state, showing the geographical distribution of different tribes.
A huge banyan tree, which also happens to be the logo of Madhya Pradesh government, will be the centrepiece of the gallery. It will be made of iron and plaster of paris. The state government’s emblem is a circular seal depicting lion of Ashoka before banyan tree.
Separated by hundreds or even thousands of kilometres, the tribal communities residing in different parts of the country are extremely diverse. “However, there is an underlying cultural unity among them. In many ways, they seem to be inter-connected, it appears as if they have common roots. And this is what we propose to highlight,” said Ashok Mishra, curator of the Tribal Museum.
Citing instances of cultural commonalities between tribes inhabiting the north-eastern, southern, western, northern and central parts of the country, Mishra said that they all have a rich tradition of group dances meant for almost every occasion. Their Dev Loks do not have images but only objects that symbolise their gods. They have a minimalist lifestyle, they do not believe in hoarding things of daily need and they live in the present.
“It seems as if there is a common thread, which connects all of them,” Mishra said, adding, “in some states like Uttar Pradesh where the tribal population is very small, the tribes have adopted folk culture.”
Representatives of different tribes from across the country will be invited to the museum and they would themselves create the exhibits representing their culture. “They will decide which material they want to use to showcase their culture and how to do it. We will be facilitators only,” Mishra said, adding that the work on the gallery, which began 4 years ago, was underway and no date had been fixed for its completion.
Madhya Pradesh has the biggest tribal population in the country. It has 1.53 crore tribal residents (Census 2011), who form around 21% of the state’s population.
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