The year that’s been

2016 has been the most engaging year for us by far; so much so that we weren’t able to reach out to you regularly. Our sincerest apologies for that!

January opened with the news that I was selected as Asia Foundation Development Fellow 2016—an opportunity that has been such an enriching experience, where I have been able to explore new geographical terrain, test my capabilities and hone my skills.

January also had adivaani travelling to the Jaipur Literature Festival, where I spoke at three sessions (one at the Jaipur Book Mark) engaging new audience with Adivasi literature and those who produce it.

In March adivaani in collaboration with Dr. Mark Elliott, Senior Curator for Anthropology, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge organised a workshop with Adivasi sculptors and artisans in preparation for an exhibition in 2017; where the participating artists could respond to the existing collection from 19th century Adivasi India and contribute with their own artworks.

All along we were working on four books. The first was Jacinta Kerketta’s bi-lingual (Hindi-English) poetry book Angor and its German version Glüt; which were released in May, first in Ranchi and then in Germany. I had the opportunity to speak on Santali Literature at the annual India Literature Forum, Germany before heading on a cross-country tour along with Jacinta, presenting both books at events at universities, bookstores and cultural hubs.

In September, Ngaire Gardner’s book Illustrated Pursuits: W. S. Sherwill in India 1834–1861 was published; a collection of drawings, published articles and maps by Walter Stanhope Sherwill, who spent a total twenty-seven years in India as Revenue Surveyor.

Gardner is the great-great-granddaughter of Sherwill and when she proposed the book to us, we knew little of Sherwill except that the iconic drawing of Sidhu Murmu in jail, one of the brothers famous for leading the Santal Rebellion 1855–57, was in all probability drawn by him. That and his other works showcased my people and their locales from a hundred and fifty years ago and that was incentive enough to produce that book.

Then the first week of October had us gather at Gangpur College of Social Work-Sundargarh, Odisha for the Second National Congress (Jatra) organised by the Tribal Intellectual Collective India and several co-hosts (including adivaani). We launched volume 3 of the Tribal and Adivasi Studies Series—Social Work in India, edited by bodhi s. r.

This year adivaani also got its 12AA (tax exemptions certificate) and 80G (50% tax exemption for donors from India) consolidating it’s legal status as a non-profit.

As the year comes to a close, we are only grateful for the year that’s been. We appreciate everyone who has stood by us, sustained us and celebrated every milestone big and small with us.

As we step into the New Year, we look forward to another eventful year and we hope you’d share this journey with us. More books and more projects are in the pipeline for 2017.

We have had a year long running online fundraising campaign that flows into next year as well. Do mark your support on Generosity or contact us for a domestic donation.

We thank you for your solidarity, always.

 

Best wishes,

ruby-signature-final

Adivaani and Tribal Intellectual Collective India’s second book is out!

TAS3

Adivaani and the Tribal Intellectual Collective India is proud to present its second title from the Tribal and Adivasi Studies series—Social Work in India, Edited by bodhi s. r.

bodhi. s. r sums up the book for us: ‘This specific volume of the TAS series attempts to unravel key constitutive elements of perspectives from within in Tribal and Adivasi Studies. This being a subject area not sufficiently explored by scholars and whose myriad questions remain definitively unanswered to this day, both in academia and within progressive activist scholarship. Evidences to assert and augment propositions related to unraveling this distinct methodological position have been sourced from a practice discipline–social work. Discursive in nature and drawing extensively from the experiences of those who have directly engaged in critical and strategic practice in Tribal/Adivasi empowerment, this volume; also an act in epistemological reconstruction, envisages asserting and achieving greater depth and clarity of the said perspective in the identified subject domain’.

We released the book at the Second National Congress in Bihaband, Orissa on 6th October 2016 at the inaugural session of the three-day jatra.

Here are some snapshots from the book release, the congress and the tribal and adivasi students, scholars and postgraduate students who attended the event.

Ruby

Illustrated Pursuits: Why we chose to do the book?

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Illustrated Pursuits by Ngaire Gardner

 

Almost two years ago adivaani received the proposal for Illustrated Pursuits: a collection of drawings, published articles and maps by Walter Stanhope Sherwill, who spent a total twenty-seven years in India since he first arrived as a young man in 1834 to work for the British East India Company. He served as an ensign, Assistant Revenue Surveyor, Revenue Surveyor of what was then known as the Bengal Presidency. He held positions of Lieutenant; Captain—a position he held until 1859 when he became Major Sherwill. On his retirement in 1861 he was given the title Honourable Lieutenant Colonel.

When Ngaire Gardner, the author, a retired school teacher who taught History of Art, Classical Studies, Visual Arts, Design and Photography and also great-great-granddaughter of Sherwill contacted us; we knew little of Sherwill except that the iconic drawing of Sidhu Murmu in jail, one of the brothers famous for leading the Santal Rebellion 1855-57, was in all probability drawn by him.

‘Hot Wells and Springs in the bed and on the banks of the Bum Buklesir Nullah – Zillah Beerbhoom’; W. S. Sherwill, 1851; Indian ink on paper; © Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 40.8 x 27 cm.

That image has been in circulation and used by Santals and Adivasis for years now to represent and assert our identity rights and self-determination.

What are the odds that an Adivasi publisher comes in contact with Sherwill’s descendant and has access to more material that serves as the only window to the life and times of our people over a century and half ago. Well, it happened and Illustrated Pursuits came to life.

‘The Great Tree embedded Gun, at Moorshedabad’; W. S. Sherwill, 1850; Indian ink on paper; © Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 41 x 27 cm.

Sherwill’s “Notes Upon a Tour of the Rajmahal Hills” (1851) and “Notes Upon a Tour of the Sikkim Himilayahs” (1852), both published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and included in this book, give us a glimpse of the tribal people and their customs in those regions. Actually, Sherwill’s work does reflect British colonial positions and this book will help us engage with those thought patterns and approaches.

We did not want to pass up the prospect of having this historical material, curated in one place and made available to the descendants of Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu and the others who have been represented in Sherwill’s drawing.

Ngaire Gardner sums up the intention of the book: ‘the consequences of British colonial attitudes to the land, resources and indigenous population of India continue to reverberate today and readers will inevitably bring their own perspectives to Sherwill’s images and words. My aim has been to share the material he has left behind and to allow readers to form their own opinions of his legacy’ .

Ngaire Gardner

Ngaire Gardner

The book, from our imprint ONE of US, is now available for you to read. Go ahead and grab your copy.

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Adivaani and Tribal Intellectual Collective India’s first book is out!

Earlier this year adivaani and the Tribal Intellectual Collective India’s paths crossed. Conversations turned to collaborations and the plans to co-host their First National Congress, in Shillong in September 2015 were consolidated. Not only that; ideas to produce books together were also explored and formalized. The first product from this association is a series: Tribal and Adivasi Studies: Perspectives from Within.

Adivaani and Tribal Intellectual Collective India is very proud to present its first title of that series: Identities and their struggles in North East (volume 2).

We very fittingly released the book at the First National Congress in Shillong on the 18th September, 2015 at the inaugural session of the two day event.

Here are some snapshots from the book release, the congress and the tribal and adivasi scholars and postgraduate students…

From left to right: Dr. Alex Akhup (Editor of the volume), Prof. Virginius Xaxa (Convener, Tribal Intellectual Collective India), Prof. Bipin Jojo (Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Tribal Intellectual Collective India), John F. Kharshiing (Chairman, Grand Council of Chiefs, Meghalaya), Ruby Hembrom, (Director, adivaani), Prof. Xavier Mao (Department of Philosophy, NEHU, Shillong). Photo by John Minz.

The sales table

Ruby speaking at the Plenary of the Tribal Intellectual Collective India National Congress

The participants…

You can buy the book at our regular venues…

CDC sponsors adivaani!

It’s raining goodwill for adivaani. This time it comes from CDC Printers, Kolkata.

CDC

After reading the feature on us in The Telegraph, Kolkata, CDC Printers got in touch with us saying they’d like to sponsor some of our work. We could hardly believe our ears.

Two meetings down the line we had it all figured out. They were impressed with our work and wanted to contribute to help us grow. They’re printing few of our productions for free and to encourage us to continue printing books without being burdened by budget constraints or compromising on quality, they’ve offered us a long-term arrangement that is the perfect solution for us.

Earth rests on a Tortoise being printed

Earth rests on a Tortoise being printed

Our books now seem secure.

We’re now adding three products to the adivaani list:

1. Earth rests on a Tortoise, part two of the Santal Creation Stories. Once again, text by Ruby Hembrom and illustrations by Boski Jain.

2. The success of We come from the Geese; part one of the Santal Creation Stories in English prompted us to have it translated in Hindi. So grab your copy.

3. A Santal Hul calendar, beginning the 30th June, 2013 to the 30th June, 2014 as a memento to remember the Santal Rebellion (1855-57) and to uphold the spirit of freedom and dignity.

The Santal Hul Calendar

The Santal Hul Calendar

All we can say is a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Chittranjan Choudhury and the entire team at CDC Printers.

Ruby Hembrom

I believe not everyone is meant to do just one thing in life, I certainly am not. My 8 years of work experience in the Legal field, the Service Industry, the Social Development Sector and the Learning, Research, Development and Instructional Designing field bears testimony to this fact.

My education, training, skills and career define only part of who I am; my identity as a tribal, a Santal, is fundamental to my being and that completes who I am.

But is that enough? Life for me is about fulfilling one’s potential. In the many ways I’ve redefined who I am; the adivaani dream has made me come alive all over again. So what is the adivaani story?

2nd of April, 2012 found me trading four months of my life to learning a new skill. I attended a course on publishing to explore the possibilities of what I could do with my love for Language, the written word and stories. The course would just be an extension of what I was already doing.

In the first month there I met many fascinating storytellers in batch mates and resource persons from the publishing world and heard lots of stories firsthand. And two stories I heard planted an idea in my head that finally made me see why I was at the course.

Listening to Urvashi Butalia and S. Anand’s stories of what their publishing houses embodied got me thinking. While their story unfolded bit by bit I was bothered by a thought: both of them were sharing specific issue related stories through books that were important to be told, but there were some stories that still needed to be told–the Adivasi stories. Even the list of publishing experts we were to meet; had no Adivasi representation and that got me more concerned. Were we not important enough to be included or were we non-existent in the publishing world (this was not true as we do publish in our native regional languages).

I was consumed by the burning desire for ‘our’ stories to be out there. Who would tell them? Soon enough I saw I wanted to tell them. But I didn’t know how. I didn’t write and I had no plan, but all I knew was that the tribal voice had to be heard; the authentic Adivasi story had to be told.

That idea and the possibilities of what could happen through it filled my waking and sleeping hours. The more I thought and talked about it, it became clear how I had been living a half-life until then.

Next to come is the christening story. We need a name I thought; I don’t want to keep calling it an idea anymore.

In a mock exercise at the school we were to draw up publishing house ideas and I absolutely loved the name ‘Inkdia’ and the logo that one team came up with. So I walk up to the leader of the team, Shyamal, and ask him if the name is copy right, ‘yes’, he says. Shyamal directs me to Luis, who coined ‘Inkdia’ and designed the logo, with whom until then I had not had a real conversation. I shared my idea with him and won over a collaborator. He said he’d help with the logo, and that was just the start of his additions to my big idea. Soon we has Boski on board to work with the logo and our first few illustrated books. I was fortunate to have found my best collaborators in the course.

But I still didn’t have a name.

A little dejected I sit through the session, toying with ideas for names. I try playing around with letters around the word tribal and Adivasi and Voilá! the name as if by magic appears: adivaani, the Adivasi voice.

That’s how an idea became adivaani and adivaani became the fuel that keeps the dreamer and storyteller in me alive.