Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tribal Affairs: In the name of 'development'



How tribes are often destroyed in the name of 'development'. A new film, ‘There You Go!’, has been launched by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, which takes a satirical look at how tribes are often destroyed in the name of ‘development’.

Indigenous peoples make up around 370 million of the world’s population – some 5 per cent – they constitute around one-third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people. According to a UN report: In Australia, an indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, while in Guatemala it is 13 years and in New Zealand it is 11.

Traditional tribal habitats, particularly in mainland India, are rich in mineral and other resources and this has attracted large-scale power, mining, and infrastructure projects. Like any other indigenous communities all over the world, they face issues of brutal violence by police, denial of land rights, dispossession of land and marginalization. Rehabilitation and resettlement efforts have been pathetic, The apathy and slow progress of various departments in taking up the community claims is often resented by tribal communities.Even if they are increasingly recognized for their unique relationship with their environment, they face racism and discrimination that sees them as inferior and uncivilized. They are in process of assimilation by the forces of mainstream with their benefits usurped by non-tribal and government (Revenue, Police, Tribal Development and Forest Departments). There are also instances of the Tribal Sub Plan funds being diverted for projects of little direct benefit to tribal (Detail report). Even where the allocation is sufficient, the money is neither disbursed on time nor programmes implemented optimally due to administrative inefficiencies and corruption.

We conceptualizes development as something done to individuals and communities, rather than with or by them. This paternalism of government/ NGO / Religious leaders is ethically flawed; the fact that it often fails to achieve development outcomes only adds to the case against it. Development is a slow process. As once Russian scientist once said: ‘‘Ice forms instantly, but the process of forming the ice is slow and invisible." There must be feeling of being partners in progress rather than development being thrust from above. We have to ask tough questions - Is goal of development to help developing countries catch up to and copy developed countries ? What is development for a tribal boy ? Is development economic only ? Unless we answer such questions, there isn't much hope in the fast changing world for the tribal.

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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !
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