TRIBAL RIGHTS

 

Admittedly the indigenous tribals are the original children of the soil of India. Many of them are still living in the fastly disappearing forests in the States of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa, where LAMP has been running various development programmes with them for about thirty five years. The main objective is not only their socio-economic-cultural development, but also preservation of their identity as forest people, who still claim that the forest, the forest-land and the forest streams and water resources, like fountains, belong to them as their inalienable birth-right. With the objective of helping them to grow freely and naturally in their own habitat, in their own environment and in their own traditional manner.

Tribals-Their Roots, Identity, Rights And Integration

Inaugural speech delivered by Dr. M.V.d Bogaert. Sj, Coordinator, XIDAS, in the seminar on “Rights of Tribals and Indigenous peoples over Land,Water and Forest” held in the World Social Forum, Mumbai, 2004,with Shri C.P.Majhi,Governing Body Member , LAMP, as Chief Guest.

LAMP’s dedicated social activists have all along been busy in implementing several development programmes for natural improvement of their existing miserable condition. Most of them are now victims of land-grabbing by outsiders, who exploit them through various overt and covert ways, dispossessing them of their lands, denuding their forests and also depriving them of their water resources, by introducing a number of noble schemes for irrigation, electricity generation, cash-crop cultivation etc. All these activities have been marking the deprived poor tribals more poorer and more helpless. They have no food security. Many of them are forced to work as day-labourers in the fields owned by the new land-owners and even in the factories set up on the land from which they have been uprooted or in the fringe areas of almost denuded forests.

LAMP’s dedicated social activists have all along been busy in implementing several development programmes for natural improvement of their existing miserable condition. Most of them are now victims of land-grabbing by outsiders, who exploit them through various overt and covert ways, dispossessing them of their lands, denuding their forests and also depriving them of their water resources, by introducing a number of noble schemes for irrigation, electricity generation, cash-crop cultivation etc. All these activities have been marking the deprived poor tribals more poorer and more helpless. They have no food security. Many of them are forced to work as day-labourers in the fields owned by the new land-owners and even in the factories set up on the land from which they have been uprooted or in the fringe areas of almost denuded forests.

Most of the tribals-particularly the women are illiterate. Their health status is pitiable. Their children suffer from perennial malnutrition and various others consequential diseases. So primary education and health care for children have been given priority by LAMP in all its development actions for holistic development and empowerment of the tribal people. Simultenously, awareness generation campaign has been launched for instilling in them a sense of their rights, duties and obligations for raising their status, duties and obligations for raising their status not merely as isolated groups of aboriginal people , but also as full citizens advancing India, emerging as a vibrant community free from all social evils and superstitions (like witch craft), marching forward with other classes and communities of people for achieving their objective of living a meaningful multi-ethnical life.

Simultenously, awareness generation campaign has been launched for instilling in them a sense of their rights, duties and obligations for raising their status, duties and obligations for raising their status not merely as isolated groups of aboriginal people , but also as full citizens advancing India, emerging as a vibrant community free from all social evils and superstitions (like witch craft), marching forward with other classes and communities of people for achieving their objective of living a meaningful multi-ethnical life. India is a land of unity amidst diversities. So to bring the tribals in the mainstream of the countrymen has all along been a prime concern of LAMP, while helping the targeted communities to achieve all-round development .To this end LAMP regularly arranges cultural functions of tribals in which the outsiders also participate, with a view to complementing other programmes on national integrity.