Free counters!
FollowLike Share It

Sunday 30 October 2011

Tribals verus Non-Tribals: War of words over an award

Tribals verus Non-Tribals: War of words over an award

It is hard to differentiate between misplaced and genuine sense of pride when intellectuals lock their horns over an issue. Here’s a classic case.
London based Gandhi Peace Foundation had to reframe the title of award being given towards Adivasi cause, after facing wide range of objections and protests by the social activists especially from people working on Adivasis.
But this didn’t douse the flames instead it set-off another controversy of undermining the ten millions of Indian aboriginals.
Earlier, the Gandhi Peace Foundation announced the conferring of award titled ‘The Adivasis of India’ to eminent non-Adivasis activists Dr. Binayak Sen and Dr. Bulu Imam as the recipients on behalf of Adivasis. Consequently, the issue was seriously and assertively raised by Jharkhand based tribal activists, Glasdon Dundung.
“Would this foundation do the same thing with other communities’ like Bengali, Marathi, Brahmin or religious groups like Hindu, Muslim, Christian, etc? Is it possible an Adivasi to receive award on behalf of Bengali, Marathi or Brahmin communities? Will Hindu, Muslim or Christian allow a Dalit to receive an award on behalf of their group? And should men receive some award meant for women?” asked Dungdung.
The issue was snow balled into fierce intellectuals’ discussions and has given food for thoughts to many. Eventually, the foundation asserted its gaffe and later they re-worded it as ‘Different ways to address the growing violence’.
Meanwhile, it was easy for the Foundation to re-word its award title than to drop the awardees. Many Adivasi organizations welcomed this step of foundation which is headed by Sir Richard Attenborough. But, it has set off another debate.
How could an organization change original awardee (The Adivasis of India) merely in respect of recipient?
Did the foundation succumb to the pressure from Dr. Binayak Sen’s International lobby which had made series of international campaign in solidarity while Dr. Sen was in prison?   
An unnamed e-mail is being circulated as smear campaign against the tribal activists who have been raising this issue. In response to smear campaign, Adivasi groups have been threatening to ‘expose’ the awardees at different platforms.
In flow of criticism, Mr. Dungdung went on to extent of doubting Dr.  Sen’s intention. He says ‘Mr. Binayak Sen and Mr. Bulu Imam had got award letter from foundation in July, 2011, which clearly states that both of them are the recipients of awards on behalf of Tribals of India. Both of them didn’t object till we protested.’
At the same time Mr. Dundung says ‘we have immense regard for them and their extraordinary work towards Adivasis. So the foundation needs to recognize their work in their respective field’
Responding to an allegation published in a magazine, he says ‘I haven’t said that Dr. Sen and Shree Imam are either clever or selfish, but what I mean is, I smell some sort of dishonesty in their responses regarding the matter of Peace Award and this is obvious too’ 
Jharkhand Indigenous People Forum and Jharkhand Human Rights’ Movement have appealed the foundation that after this serious controversy, foundation should not make any discussion over Adivasis of India.
Also, these organizations have appealed recipients that ‘receive the awards for your extraordinary works for all other people and not for the Adivasis’

No comments:

Post a Comment