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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Friday, July 03, 2009

Tribals, development and humanity!

or Roy II:
I promised here to post about the theft that happened to Roy & other trivia! so this post!!
The Roy neighbourhood is full of the tribals. These are people who are not “developed” and live in the forests and now bcos of our “progress” they are also used as daily labours for many jobs including farm labours. These ‘illiterates’ ‘under developed’ can actually live longer if we were to have any man made or natural disaster, for they(even a small child) know what are edible and non-poisonous ones among the whole flora in the forests. They also know of the medical ones. So the ones who can lead a life as we were meant to have been deemed ‘illiterate’ tribals’ ‘uncouth’ what not! Hmmm..
They are a great people, with no big affinity to material possessions.
Though our govts and media might push us to believe that these tribals are poor..actually if you move close or talk to people who have studied them closely, you shall understand that they are actually being spoilt now bcos of the excess money they get as compensation for all the sundry ‘jobs’ they do.
These are people who hardly have needs for stuff or the unnecessary possessions we all crave & live for. They just don’t save! Yes!! They don’t save! Or is it hoard? they don’t live for 2moro. So the big(!?) money that they get for the labour at agri farms & odd jobs that they perform goes straight to the (state run) wine shops. For want of anything to do with money these tribals have all taken to alcohol. Alcoholism is the biggest menace. What a shame. The first step of commercial/ economic exposure has pushed them to such a sorry state. Another very striking feature is they are a sharing community. Anything & everything is so easily shared across. But alcoholism is ruining all that is a sad story now.
2 incidents stand out from Roy’s experience with them.
Once, Roy had locked his small house (remember that foto?) and gone else where for a few days. On his arrival he found his house was broken in (ok, what if it’s a nice mud & bamboo structure, you still call it broken if the lock is broken, aint?). Then he found out that all that was missing was only one blanket. There were quite some (going by the tribals’ standards and Roy’s too!) stuff and all that they took was a blanket. Infact Roy had 3 of them to provide for friends like us who go and stay with him once a while.
Do you really call this theft after all? Amazing! They have just matter of factly taken one (presumably excess lying wastefully, unused!) blanket that was needed.
The next one is when one of the families comes to Roy’s house and gives him one clay pot and one radio (used old ones). Roy is stunned and when he posed some questions, he gets an answer that they were going out ( I didn’t get where, etc so no further explanation here) and so had given him these 2 stuff. Roy keeps wondering why these 2 alone, of all the things. Then later on, long after they returned he found out that these 2 were their only possessions. How nice! How simple!!
I wish the humanity didn’t evolve to what we are today, che.
But I need to mention this before I wind up. Bcos its these things that give us hopes..
Roy’s parents visited him recently and he had to take a bigger place (for obvious reasons- NRI parents, cush life, bug fear, leaking roof, etc) close by. So he moves out of this house. (actually Roy is not far from their life style. He hardly has stuff!) Then he hears of a problem with one particular tribal family whose hut was burnt down in an drunken brawl. So he coolly hands over his hut/ house to them and now this tribal family lives there! How cool and magnanimous!
I asked Roy if that family thanked him. He said the just took over possession of the house matter of factly and no big fan fare or expression of thanks. But once they gave him some special fruit from the forest, which according to Roy is a way of thanking:-)
Now, Roy plans to move to a bigger place with some more friends to explore more and bring about a sustainable community instead of one man moving everything. So soon we might have to visit a slightly bigger place that Roy might move to.
Note: We also visited the kanavu school that has helped many of the tribal children to learn esp the vocations like Kalari, painting, ayurveda massaging, etc apart from formal education. See here for more info and esp those links there in Wikipedia.
This is mainly to help the kids who are mostly affected by the alcoholism that is rampant in the tribals. These students themselves run this school & hostel now. They perform folk songs & dance to collect donation and sustain this initiative. They even visit cities and perform to collect contributions. See if you can help them.

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