TRIBAL IDENTITY & CULTURE
TRIBAL HISTORY & TRIBAL REPRESENTATION IN HISTORY
TMYS Review June 2023
in collaboration with
For the years 2023-25 TMYS Review is working on the theme of TRIBAL IDENTITY & CULTURE.
Under this context, TMYS Review June 2023 will explore the role of Tribal History and Tribal Representation in History in shaping cultural identity and ideology, focussing on three sub-themes:
- Gender Roles in Tribal Traditions & Heritage
- The Everchanging Status of Women in Tribal Communities
- Historicity of Social and Political Struggles of the Tribal Communities.
Call for Submissions
Stories, Poems and Essays on
TRIBAL HISTORY & TRIBAL REPRESENTATION IN HISTORY
Based on any of the three sub-themes defined above.
Selected contributions will be compiled into Ebooks & paperback publications for TMYS Review June 2023.
‘Culture’ and ‘Identity’ are very closely knit words that mutually affect each other. One cannot be defined without the other, but there stands a prominent difference between the two. One is easily captured in perceptible means of expression, such as festivities, marital unions, and rituals. The other is an idea. More than having an identity, we have a sense of our identity, a perception of our identity giving rise to individual identity and collective identity. We are divided on lines of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion but essentially all these elements are pointing towards one’s identity.
Those who have a distinct sense of identity can be considered as privileged here. This project takes into consideration a section of people who have struggled to secure a better sense of self and identity. They have been relegated to the margins of the Indian Sub-continent and broadly classified as “Scheduled Tribes”.
Their history goes back to several thousand years when they occupied a large part of the Indian subcontinent. Gradually they were pushed to the hills and margins where they continue to reside till date. It would be difficult to mark the commencement of tribal literature on a timeline but its origin can be traced to the British colonial rule in India. During that time many tribes gained an access to modern education. They started writing in English and many other Indian languages like Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Telegu and others, and have been making a considerable continuous progress since then (‘Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation’). They also write in their indigenous languages which have been divided into broad categories of Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman, Dravidian, and Indo-Aryan groups (Sharma). In India, there are more than 700 ethnic groups comprising around 9 percent of the total population, which have been deemed Scheduled Tribes for the purpose of the Constitution. The term ‘Adivasi’ is used for tribes, meaning the indigenous people or original inhabitants, where Adi stands for ‘the earliest time’ and Vasi for ‘the resident or inhabitant’ (‘Adivasis’).
Tribal communities are often identified by States in language that signals ‘primitive’ traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and “backwardness”. Some descriptions focus on specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population, extremely low level of literacy and poor exposure because of barriers in communication. These groups are recognized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (‘Vikaspedia Domains’). It is worth noting that official descriptions do not always represent the perspectives or ambitions of communities, and the ways in which identities evolve over time (Parmar). Many stories and experiences therefore remain undocumented.
Despite their rich history and cultural heritage, little is known about the Scheduled Tribes. They have kept their tradition thriving through oral stories and folklores. Their narrative is representative of their societal structure, community rituals and culture, socio-political movements and mythology. The specific term for the literature of, for and by the tribals differs throughout the world. We have the different literary categories like the Native American Literature, Black Literature, Coloured Literature, Slave narratives, Aboriginal Literature, Tribal Literature and such. The term “Adivasi Literature” is commonly used in Hindi and other Indian languages (‘Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation’) however a major percentage of the available Adivasi literature is written by the privileged echelons of society, which is the so-called upper caste non-Adivasi writers (Poyam).
In India, we have only 22 languages included in the eighth schedule of the constitution and there are around 900 dialects (‘Languages Included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution | Department of Official Language | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI’). Translation is one of the major means through which the stories of the aboriginal tribes can reach the mainstream media. Even though the mainstream non-Adivasi writers of tribal literature divide their stories as oral and written narratives, the Adivasis prefer to use a common term “Orature” to represent the egalitarian nature of their communities and thus their narratives (‘Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation’). It is quite alarming to note that many indigenous languages are endangered due to the lack of recognition and support. These ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’ (‘Vikaspedia Domains’) have very little written/documented by their own people. This also highlights the urgency of translating the available vernacular tribal literary texts in English and other languages to ensure these stories continue to live.
(Authored by Chandna Singh Nirwan)
“Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation.” Kharia.org, kharia.org/pkf-adivasi-literature.html. Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.
“Adivasis.” Minority Rights Group, minorityrights.org/minorities/adivasis-2/. Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.
“Languages Included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution | Department of Official Language | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI.” Rajbhasha.gov.in, rajbhasha.gov.in/en/languages-included-eighth-schedule-indian-constitution.
Parmar, Pooja. “Undoing Historical Wrongs: Law and Indigeneity in India.” Osgoode Hall Law Journal, vol. 49, no. 3, 2012, pp. 491-525. Accessed 8 Jan. 2023.
Poyam, Akash. “Ten Voices from Adivasi Literature.” The Caravan, caravanmagazine.in/books/reading-list-ten-voices-adivasi-literature. Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.
Sharma, R. S. “The Linguistic Background.” India’s Ancient Past, Jan. 2007, pp. 45–49, https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.003.0006.
“Vikaspedia Domains.” Vikaspedia.in, 2022, vikaspedia.in/social-welfare/scheduled-tribes-welfare/particularly-vulnerable-tribal-groups.
TMYS Review June 2023 aims at exploring the role of “Tribal History & Tribal Representation in History” in shaping Tribal Identity and Culture, adhering to the below mentioned sub-themes:
- Gender Roles in Tribal Traditions & Heritage
- The Everchanging Status of Women in Tribal Communities
- Historicity of Social and Political Struggles of the Tribal Communities in India.
Under the scope of the project, PANEL DISCUSSIONS (topics listed below) are organised with senior scholars, professors, researchers, authors, journalists and other professionals who have worked extensively on such contexts falling under the three sub-themes listed above and have minutely studied their history, culture, occurrence, circumstances and more. This project endeavours to add to the existing body of study materials on this subject.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT:
1. Youth engagement with a network of entities that have researched or contributed towards exposing the hidden and/or understanding the complicated dimensions of the theme (and sub-themes).
2. To curate critical insights for global learning and inspiration on the social, political and personal dynamics of Tribal History & Tribal Representation in History shaping Tribal Identity and Culture
3. Invite attention towards the historical and contemporary practices that have influenced generations, impacted the society, the economy, the present and future of countries.
THE PROJECT ARCHITECTURE:
1. TMYS Review June 2023 invites essays, short stories or poems on the mentioned theme; the submission must cater to one of the sub-themes.
2. Carefully curated panel discussions on the sub-themes will be hosted live on TMYS social media.
Please scroll below for DIGITAL CONVERSATIONS for the titles and the delegate speakers.
3. Submissions citing one or more discussions from the DIGITAL CONVERSATION/S for information and inputs will carry additional weightage.
4. A selection of short stories, essays and poems will be published in TMYS Review June 2023. The issue will be available in ebook and paperback formats across the world, distributed via Amazon.
5. All submissions under the anthology will enter as nominations for the RUPA AWARD for TMYS Review, 2023 under our annual Awards programme, where Rupa Publications will honour FOUR submissions from the TMYS Review projects with one specially curated gift hamper each.
6. All submissions under the anthology will enter as nominations for the UVIC AWARD for TMYS Review, 2023 under our annual Awards programme, where the Global South Colloquium, University of Victoria will honour FOUR submissions from TMYS Review with cash awards of INR 3000/- (USD36) each.
7. Four selected contributions per year will receive Letters of Excellence from the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (CAPI), University of Victoria.
*All selections will be made purely on the basis of the merits of the submission.
** Winners of all the awards/rewards will be announced between December 2023 and January 2024.
THE DIGITAL CONVERSATIONS
TMYS Facebook LIVE with global thought-leaders. Topics are listed below.
(I) Gender Roles in Tribal Traditions & Heritage. (moderated by Dr. Stella Chitralekha Biswas)
1. Gender and Folklore: A Historical Perspective
Tracing Traditional Roles of Women in Shaping and Preserving Tribal Identity.
Delegate Speakers: Abin Chakraborty Surama Bera Nandini Sengupta
Date & Time: 22 Jan 7pm IST
2. Tribal Women as Custodians of Traditional Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Women and Transmission of Traditional Symbols, Icons and Religious Rituals
Delegate Speakers: Geetika Ranjan Purbasha Mondal Sumedha Verma Ojha
Date & Time: 28 Jan 7pm IST
3. The Role of Tribal Women in the Preservation of Endangered Languages
Women's Contribution in the Protection of Indigenous Languages Through the Binoculars of Diachrony.
Delegate Speakers: Shaktipada Kumar Sandesha Rayapa Mohan Dangaura
Date & Time: 25 Feb 7pm IST
4. Costume & Cuisine Defining Tribal Identity: A Historical Review
Women Decision-makers Exploring Tribal Cuisine and Clothes across Generations.
Delegate Speakers: Sayan Dey Lisa L. Pichuau Mridula Rashmi Kindo
Date & Time: 2 Mar 7pm IST
(II). The Everchanging Status of Women in Tribal Communities (moderated by Sourabhi Dutta Roy).
1. The Diverse Roles of Tribal Women in Family Traditions
Women as Domestic and Social Resources and their Personal Space.
Delegate Speakers: Subhadra Mitra Channa Nidhi Dugar Kundalia K. Pushpanadham K. Viswa Bhushan
Date & Time: 1 March 6.30pm IST
2. Overcoming Barriers: Success Stories of Tribal Women.
Economic Growth and Development of the Tribal Women in Society.
Delegate Speakers: Arunima Goswami K. Kalyani Meghna Guhathakurta
Date & Time: 6 March 6.30pm IST/7pm Bangladesh
3. The Struggles of Unheard Voices.
The Patriarchal Authorities and Local Dominance of Tribal Communities.
Delegate Speakers: Mallarika Sinha Roy Samita Manna Erik De Maaker
Date & Time: 8 March 6:30pm IST/2pm Netherlands/3pm CEST
4. When Women Become Witch: The Dark Stories.
Punishing Tribal Women for their External Appearance and/or Disobedience.
Delegate Speakers: Shashank S. Sinha Anamika Baruah
Date & Time: 11 March 6.30pm IST
5. The Worldview of the Great Andamanese
Endangered Languages and Feminist Narratives.
Delegate Speaker: Anvita Abbi
Date & Time: 9 Feb 7.30pm IST
6. Another Paradise on Earth: Socio-economic Status of Kashmiri Tribal Women
Delegate Speaker: Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary
Date & Time: 11 Feb 6.30pm IST
(III.) Historicity of Social and Political Struggles of the Tribal Communities. (moderated by Jaishree Chouhan).
1. Positioning of Tribal Women from Historical Perspective.
Marginalized Status of Tribal Women under Mainstream Feminism.
Delegate Speakers: Upasana Mahanta Philipp Zehmisch Sanjukta Das Gupta
Date & Time: 7 Feb 7pm IST/3:30pm CEST/ 2:30pm Germany
2. The Stories of Conflicts and Confrontation.
Tracing Back the Oppressive Practices Against Tribal Communities Throughout History.
Delegate Speakers: Dakxin Bajrange Chhara Jelle J.P. Wouters Virginius XaXa
Date & Time: 18 Feb 7pm/7:30pm BTT
3. Tribal Representation in Historical and Political Narratives.
Underrepresentation of Tribal Communities in Mainstream Conversations and Content Consumption.
Delegate Speakers: Tuhin A Sinha Joy L.K. Pachuau Richa Lakhera
Date & Time: 27 Feb 7pm IST
4. Habitation and Tribal Identity.
Sustainable Habitation of Tribes and Side-lining the Communities in Environment Preservation Discourses.
Delegate Speakers: Sudash Lama Budhaditya Das Walter Fernandes
Date & Time: 1 Feb 7pm IST
1. TMYS Review June 2023 invites short stories, poems or essays on the above-mentioned theme. All submissions to TMYS Review that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.
2. The submissions MUST justify either or more of the sub-themes mentioned above. The content doesn't need to restrict to Indian situations. We welcome contributions on and from other parts of the world.
3. Selected submissions will be published in TMYS Review June 2023 (ebook and paperback, distributed via Amazon).
4. The contributors are free to refer to our digital conversations with the delegates (details above). At the end of the submission files, the citation must mention the referred talks if consulted, in the following format. Submissions with such citations will carry greater weightage for selection/recognition.
Chandra, Nishita, Somrita Urni Ganguly and Sarmila Paul. “Gendered Subjectivities Governing Nutrition Patterns”. Religious History of Food Consumption Series. “Cultural Identity & Ideology (II)”. Interview by Stella Chitralekha Biswas. TMYS Review. 5 June 2022, https://fb.watch/eMk2E7p70d/
PN. the order: (i) Names of panelists - surname of the panelist that comes first in alphabetical order, followed by the names of other panelists (ii) session topic (iii) sub-theme (iv) annual theme (v) interviewer name (vi) TMYS Review in italics (vii) date of discussion (viii) link of discussion.
5. The short stories could be fiction or nonfiction, 1200-2000 words.
The essays should be 2500-3000 words. Essay submissions should be accompanied by an Abstract (no more than 300 words). Works cited in essays should follow MLA9 format.
Submission upto 5 poems will be accepted against each registration.
6. Last date of submission: 31 March 2023
7. All submissions should be accompanied with the bio-brief (around 150 words, written in third person) and photograph of the author. Mentioning the social media links (Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter/Instagram) of the contributors in the email body is encouraged; it will help us to tag when we promote the submissions.
8. All submissions should be word files, attached and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; while making a submission, mention in the subject line <the title of the essay/story/poem, name of the delegate speaker in citation (if it applies) and June 2023.
9. All submissions should use Calibri/Times New Roman, font size 12; font size 16 for headings and font size 14 for sub headings if any. Line spacing : 1.5.
10. Only original and previously unpublished work will be considered.
11. A participation fee of INR 300/- (USD 5 for contributors outside India) will be charged per contribution.
This is a non-refundable fee, but we will do our best to cooperate in case you have made an error that can be corrected to help you resubmit. In each such case, our decision will be final.
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Contributors outside India can send us an email and we shall raise a Paypal link for them.
Post making the payment, please send a mail at email@example.com to register yourself.
***Registration doesn't guarantee publication***
12. Simultaneous/multiple submissions are accepted, with the same fee for each submission.
13. Decision of the Project Delegate/s, the Project Team and the Editors will be final.
14. Contact for Queries : write QUERIES in subject line and send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; we apologise in advance for not responding to obvious or irrelevant queries.