Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) has made an appeal to President Droupadi Murmu to speak to Governors to use their special rights and powers for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.
A delegation of six representatives from the affiliate met the President, also a tribal, recently and requested her to have a word with the Governors to use their power and implement the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act and other measures for ST welfare.
“She told us that Kalyan Ashram should focus on women and their healthcare. We had told her that we have 400 poorna kalik (full-timers) women with us across the country,” stated a senior functionary of the RSS affiliate.
Celebrating tribal warriors
While seeking help from the President to ensure tribal rights are protected, the RSS affiliate is in the process of documenting the stories of tribal warriors who faced the invaders (Muslims and British). The building of memorials in places of major tribal uprisings is also in the process. The latest edition of VKA’s monthly magazine, Van Bandhu, has listed more than 80 stories of tribal warriors who fought the invading armies. This documentation is also a part of the ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations.
A senior functionary of the affiliate said despite limited human resources, research about tribal warriors is in full swing. “The best work of documentation is happening at the Heritage Foundation in the Northeast and we are working to establish it in other states as well. The special edition is a part of the documentation, which will be circulated. For those who want to make corrections in the articles, we would be more than welcoming to make amends if given better evidence,” said the functionary.
‘International Day of World’s Indigenous People Irrelevant for India’
Balasaheb Deshpande, founder of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, had written to then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao that India does not have Indigenous people since every person living in India is Indigenous. “In fact, majority of the Muslims and Christians are Hindus who have converted. So, shrewd attempt of dividing India into Indigenous and non-Indigenous should be stopped immediately. This is in the country’s well-being,” Deshpande had stated while appealing to the PM to present India’s side on the matter in the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Population meeting.
The letter written by Deshpande to then PM stated that unfair attempts were made to draw parallels with the world where invaders tortured indigenous people. “The attempt is made that Aryans, along with Muslims and British, invaded and that only Tribals were Indigenous and the United Nations should give such tribes recognition as a separate tribe or country and that there are no similarities between tribals and Hindus,” stated the letter.
Pramod Pethkar, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh, said: “We believe that International Day of World’s Indigenous people celebrated on August 9 is irrelevant for the country. We believe that everyone living in India is a ‘mool niwasi’ of the country. No one came from outside. This could have been the cases in other countries of the world. And when this was discussed in the international forum, many nations apologised to the Indigenous population, including Australia. We are sympathetic towards it.”
He further explained, “For India, it is not relevant to celebrate Indigenous day. Birsa Munda is pride for us and that is why we celebrate Janjati Gaurav Mahotsav on his birthday. Every Indian should celebrate it.”