Another India: an exhibition and a book

The exhibition Another India: Explorations and Expressions of Indigenous South Asia, opened on the 7 March 2017 and will continue until April 2018 at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), Cambridge University.

Curated by Dr. Mark Elliot, this exhibition “explores the tangled histories of artefacts from indigenous populations in India and how they came to be in the collections in Cambridge.”

The assemblage being exhibited is a combination of artefacts, paintings and photographs from MAA’s collection, many of which have never been exhibited before, and artworks by contemporary artists from the Indigenous and Adivasi communities represented.

We’re happy to announce that the catalogue from the ongoing exhibition—which is a remarkable account of the objects, the people who made them and who collected them and their complex legacies, is now available for sale at adivaani’s regular distribution channels.


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 Hembrom at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2016


Join Ruby, adivaani’s Executive Director, at the following sessions:

1. Jaipur BookMark, Thursday, January 21, 2016
Time: 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Session No.: 2 (Main Stage)
Session Name: An Indian Reader
Speakers: Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, Rita Kothari, Jerry Pinto, Shailesh Bharatwasi and Ruby Hembrom in conversation with Manisha Chaudhry

2. Jaipur Literature Festival, Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm
Session No.: 98 (Baithak)
Session Name: Adivaani: The Indigenous Literature of India
Speakers: Hari Ram Meena, Ruby Hembrom and Peter Anderson in conversation with Mohini Gupta

3. Jaipur Literature Festival, Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm
Session No.: 103 (Mughal Tent)
Session Name: A Room of One’s Own
Speakers: Ila Arab Mehta, Anuradha Roy, Ira Pande, Alka Saraogi, Ruby Hembrom in conversation with Anjum Hasan, introduced by Namita Gokhale.

adivaani’s new imprint One of Us brings out Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda country


In the past we’ve received manuscripts and proposals from Non-Adivasi authors, activists, scholars and researchers who wished to publish with us and we turned them down as a policy as we were creating a niche space for ourselves and they’d anyway have better chances to be published by established, mainstream publishers.

Three years on we realized that there were some Non-Adivasi’s who’ve been so closely associated with us and our issues; who’ve build trusting relationships with us that their voices were important to include to create the larger documentation, adivaani database. After much deliberation we decide to start One of Us to include such narratives.

One of Us is a celebration of outsider-insider collaborations, associations and relationships. adivaani wouldn’t be what it is without such collaborations and neither would our Adivasi movements and struggles.

Samar Bosu Mullick’s Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda country is the first title under One of Us; traversing through Munda terrain picking up sights, sounds, smells and flavours from it.


Sylvan Book Release

Samar Bosu Mullick (centre) at the official release of Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda country in Ranchi on the 24th of October, 2015.

Samar (Sanjay) Bosu Mullick has been engaged in the Adivasi struggle for identity, autonomy and rights to resources since 1968. This collection of 14 stories is embedded on facts that he as an activist encountered during the last 45 years of his being among the characters of the stories.

Do pick up the book and read on to savour the stories.

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…

Disaibon Hul: Printed Children’s Book of the year

Our children’s book on the Santal Rebellion of 1855-57 Disaibon Hul wins the Printed Children’s Book of the Year at the Publishing Next Industry Awards 2015. To everyone who helped make the book and everyone who has read it, our heartfelt gratitude. Congratulations Saheb Ram Tudu and many thanks to CDC Printers for bringing alive the vision of the book on paper and Sarini and the Tribal Cultural Heritage in India Foundation for support in realizing the project. Here’s the link to the jury for the awards.

Disaibon Hul

Introducing adivaani’s new Board of Trustees and Advisers


adivaani has in the last two and a half years travelled far and wide; covering more ground than planned, connecting with more people than anticipated and have had associations and networks open unexpected doors. At the end of the year as we pause to catch some breath we realise we have to consolidate all that we have worked for and towards and make every experience count.

We’ve been fortunate to have the commitment of three individuals to contribute to this journey— Impsupenla Ozükum and Judith Herenz.

So we continue to urge you to support us as you’ve been doing—write, phone or drop in and keep your involvement with us going. So feel free to contact me.

Ruby Hembrom

Executive DIRECTOR