There are several mentor institutions for Telangana Tribal University at Mulugu, Warangal Dist. which confuse us regarding both courses and syllabus. University of Hyderabad wants B.A. (in Hotel management), BCA (Bachelor of Computer Science), MCA and MBA with marketing and packaging of forest products. Govt. education department hold the opinion that there are no takers for BCA and MCA even in established colleges.
Confusion prevails over courses and syllabi of Tribal University
JNTU has not recognised MCA for teaching posts (The Hans India, Page-1, Monday, Jan 14, 2019). On the top of it, one Telangana, M.P visited Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, (MP) and found to his surprise, that this university teaches usual courses, no reference to tribal aspects or any extra reservation to tribals except the usual seven per cent.
One of the objectives of the university is to get familiarity of forest laws, rights of tribal's over forests provided in constitution, recent relief and rehabilitation act (R&R) and its enforcement when tribals were displaced for hydroelectric and irrigation projects. Forests and tribals are inseparable. Foresters usually don't go deep into the forests, performs their duties on the binges of the forest. It is surprising that all forest staff, may be by their training or in-built superiority, view tribals are enemy of the forests and branded them as smugglers of timber.
Foresters and tribals have mutual hate relationships. While foresters oppose grazing by cattle, in fact it is useful even in reserved forest, otherwise grass invade the growth of forest species. Further when the grass grows thick, wildlife can’t locate the water pods also. Next 33 per cent of India is supposed to have forest cover, wherein tribals live. However, no governments gave due importance to the forests or tribals. Tribals know the topography of forest well, familiar with edible, non-edible, poisonous and medicinal and economic value of the forest plants.
Since foresters or other people don't have contact with them, this knowledge is vanishing. There are many edible plants which after research and breeding could be introduced in our food list. Likewise, the medicinal plants used by tribals-called by the name tribal medicine-need to be investigated since chemical active principles of plants provide leads to new medicine.
Tribals are reluctant to leave forest and move with civilized society.
This is perhaps they get food and fodder and liquor (by brewing vippa flowers) free. Besides, they have in-built insecurity to move with plain people. They are at liberty to preserve traditions and beliefs but at the same time there is need that they should lead civilized and decent life. The assimilation into modern life need to be slow, especially during R&R plan, since they have low immunity and catch diseases rapidly.
Anthropology is one important subject which should be taught in all the courses. Famous anthropologist Haimendorf closely interacted with tribals of Utnoor (Adilabad) and prevailed on Nizam to give pattas to tribals in the forest. Tribals unrest could be largely controlled if Govt. sanction pattas to their podu cultivated lands.
His book especially on "Kondareddys of Bison Hills" (Bison Hills-Papikondalu of forest of West Godavari Dist.) need to be part of syllabus. Besides Anthropology is the popular subject of choice to many students who write competitive examination like IAS etc.,
To sum up i) usual degree and post graduate courses (B.A. B.Sc. B.Com. and Post Graduate Courses with 30 per cent on matters related to tribals as discussed above need to be introduced for all the courses.
ii) A message needs to be given that we should not treat them as anthropological specimens and gradually they should be merged into to modern life style. iii) project work to all the students to collect, edibles, poisonous plants and medicinal plants, native names and correlation with botanical names with the help of taxonomists.
The relationship of tribals with foresters and wild life-tribal conflict should be thoroughly studied. This is particularly necessary because in the name of reserved forest for wild life many tribals are being displaced. iv) A tribal museum to be set up in University.
The tribal students emerge from this university are eligible for all jobs and in addition they could educate the elder tribals about what they learnt about forest laws, modern living and need for assimilation into main stream of society. For non-tribal students studied in this university they need to have grasp of the miserable life of tribals. One strong recommendation is all foresters from IFS to forest guarding should be given course work in this university on the importance of tribals in guard forest wealth and treat them with compassion and sympathy.
ITDA staff and Girijan Corporation staff also need to have training in this university with emphasis on tribal welfare and their health, scientific methods of collection preservation and packing of forest produce (Tamarind, Shikakai, soap nut, Jackfruit, Usiri and medicinal like karkkaya etc.,).
At the end in international parlance they are called “indigenous people”. Its Indian equivalent is Adivasis. If we call them as Adivasis, we get feeling that they are the original owners of this land and we are immigrants. This feeling brings us humility to us while dealing with tribals. Tribal University should not be a “namesake uiversity”.
- Dr K Nagaiah, Prof G Srimannarayana
(The authors are Chief Scientist, CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad and Retd. Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, Osmania University, Hyderabad respectively) .