Celebrating 26th Adivasi Day or International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on Sunday, Adivasi communities in Indore division held celebrations in their own villages and sectors. Unlike every year, there was no procession in Indore city, but procession and celebrations were in full swing in villages in the division.
This year’s theme for the day is COVID-19 and indigenous peoples’ resilience. To highlight their importance on the day, United Nation quoted, “In order to raise awareness of the needs of indigenous peoples, every 9 August commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Especially now, they need us. Especially now, we need the traditional knowledge, voices and wisdom of indigenous peoples.”
Forest department officials especially those who belong or relate to the community joined in the celebrations and quoted the important lessons to be learnt from indigenous people and their lifestyle.
Indigenous peoples & celebrations in Indore division
As shared by deputy forest ranger TR Hatila, there are 4 major communities of indigenous peoples residing in Indore division. They are as follows:
· Gond Tribe: Gonds are arguably the largest tribal group in Asia, with a population crossing three million! Though much is known about them, some of the Gond people remain isolated from the rest of the civilization. They worship Lord Shiva, known as ‘Bahadeo’ in their native tongue. In Indore division, Gonds generally reside in Choral and Manpur area. Their traditional dance is ‘Madai’ which was performed in these villages to celebrate the day.
· Bhil Tribe: Bhils are fine warriors with inherent, exceptional skills of archery. The name Bhil literally refers to Bil, meaning ‘bow’, a reference to their great archery skills which are mentioned even in the Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Their God is Vaghdeva, Lord of the Tigers, along with deities like Khandoba, Bahiroba, and Sita Mata. They reside in Mhow-Manpur belt. To celebrate the day, the community celebrated with sacred dance forms of Ghoomar and Gair, mostly performed by men.
· Baiga Tribe: The tribe known as descendants of Dravid have their small home in Mhow-Manpur belt. They strive to preserve Mother Nature and refuse to indulge in plowing which includes scratching the face of the Earth. They consider it a sin, which makes shifting cultivation a common and accepted form of agriculture. To celebrate the day, they practised their major folk dance forms include Bhoom, Bilma, and Karma, and prevalent tribal music known as Rautnacha, along with Soorwa, Dewarnacha, and Banthi.
· Pateliya Tribe: A part of Pateliya that is originally from Gujarat lives in Kampel area. The Pateliya are mostly distributed in Dahod Mahisagar Panchmahal districts of Gujarat and Jhabua, Dhar, Indore, Dewas, Guna districts of Madhya Pradesh. They speak Malvi among themselves and Hindi with others. They profess Hinduism, and worship local deities such as Devkarji, Mataji, and Kalka Devi,Baba Ghodaja, Nihal Devi, Baba Khatri. The community cleaned their weapons, dressed in traditional attire and celebrated the day with brief procession.