India is home to more than 84 million ‘Indigenous’ Peoples. Now, that’s an impressive figure and many a tribal would be overwhelmed by that number. But what else is known about us? An entry on the internet or a read in a book would throw up a stereotypical romanticized tribal lifestyle. More often than not we wonder if that is who we really are, is all that’s written about us really true.
Adivasis have a distinct socio-political and cultural identity that makes them unique as a self-sufficient community. Adivasi music, songs and dances have only been limited to the opening and closing ceremonies of government and civil society functions in schools, hospitals, colleges etc.
The history of Adivasi struggles and culture has always been written by others, i.e. by the mainstream historians. They have largely manipulated, ignored and even neglected the contributions of the Adivasi heroes in the freedom struggle of India.
The Adivasis hold on to their cultural and historical heritage with great pride, however no documentation of this rich legacy has been made by themselves.
In view of the current ‘modernisation’ and industrialisation in India, it is feared that in the near future many folk, ceremonial and other ritual art forms of the Adivasis will disappear, and it won’t be incorrect to state that the traditional oral forms of storytelling is an endangered intangible culture.
adivaani is a response to this situation.
Are we content with what’s been written about us by others? What can we turn to when we want to read, know and study about authentic Adivasi culture, history, folklores, heroes and literature?
We want to create a database of Adivasi writing for and by Adivasis. We want to document the oral forms of storytelling and folklores and tell our stories of struggles, exploitation and displacement in our words.
We seek the participation of Adivasi contemporary writers, poets and researchers and anyone who feels for the Adivasi cause to help, preserve and amplify the Adivasi voice, the adivaani.