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Re: [andamanicobar] Telegraph: Modern or museum piece row

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  • Madhusree Mukerjee
    Having observed and participated in this debate many times, over many years, I have come to the conclusion that the two views represented here cannot be
    Message 1 of 7 , 3 Jul 6:22 am
      Having observed and participated in this debate many times, over many years,
      I have come to the conclusion that the two views represented here cannot be
      reconciled. Should the Jarawa be "civilized," helped to join the mainstream,
      or should they instead be helped to preserve their culture? It seems to me
      that there can be no agreement on this issue.

      I have described the two views as uninformed and informed. It may be more
      helpful to describe them instead as a bird's eye, or top-down, view, and a
      worm's eye, or bottom-up view. The world looks totally different to the bird
      than it does to the worm, and it is possible that there is no meeting of
      these viewpoints.

      All of us participating in this debate in this internet forum are naturally
      birds. That is, we are privileged people (whether we have air conditioning
      or not). We are born to the bird's eye view. Because the world works for us,
      we assume it must work for others as well. Surely the Jarawa should be given
      houses, running water, and education, and helped to have the kind of life we
      do. What could be wrong with that?

      The worm's eye view belongs to the indigenous people, who see a different
      reality altogether. In a recent, remarkable book by Felix Padel and
      Samarendra Das (Out of this Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium
      Cartel), the authors quote a line from an adivasi song: Matiro poko, mati
      bina bonchiba kahee? (Earthworms we are--without earth how to survive?).
      When removed from the landscapes that they know and love, from their
      cultures and habits, aboriginals die, of heartbreak if nothing else. The
      situation is even worse for nomads, to whom a settled way of life is simply
      foreign. The Great Andamanese and the Onge are dying slowly even though they
      have government-built huts, food doles and medical care. Many of the
      so-called Great Andamanese babies are actually fathered by outsiders. The
      children hardly speak any Andamanese language. If you go to Dugong Creek
      (admittedly it is many years since I was there, but I doubt that things have
      changed) you don't see joy. You see sadness, overwhelming sadness. To
      understand how life is for the worm, especially the worm that has been dug
      out of the ground and left in the open, birds such as us have to make a real
      effort. That effort is what makes the difference between what I call an
      uninformed (bird's eye) view and an informed (worm's eye) view.

      This debate over the fate of the Jarawa has an almost exact parallel in the
      debate over the development of India. Should India be "developed" or not?
      Should it try to become rich like the West? The simple-minded answer is, of
      course. But the problem, again, is that this goal is unreacheable. Indians
      will never be as rich and powerful as westerners. There simply aren't enough
      resources in the world for everyone to enjoy the standard of living of the
      average westerner--that would take five or more planets worth of resources.
      Moreover, there isn't enough space left on earth to accommodate all the
      people who will be thrown out of agriculture. When Europe industrialized,
      millions were moved off their farms. Where did they go? To America and
      Australia, where they took over the lands of the aboriginals. When Indian
      farmers and aboriginals are thrown off their land by industrialization,
      where will they go? To the slums, where their mortality rates are far higher
      than even the high mortality rates that now prevail among India's rural
      poor. So, just as the expectation that uplifting the Jarawa will be good
      for them is a chimera, so also is the expectation that developing India will
      benefit Indians.

      Yet, the carrot of wealth and power is being held out to India by the world
      powers, because it is to their interest that India at least try to
      "develop". That way, the demand for western manufactures will increase, so
      that the west can sell its goods and get the money to pay for Indian
      resources such as aluminium. (No matter that the mining, refining, and
      smelting of aluminium is devastating to the people and the environment, so
      much so that the Western powers have decided that they can no longer afford
      to have such a damaging industry on their own soil.) Ultimately, whether it
      is the upliftment of the Jarawa or the development of India, the
      beneficiaries are the ones who are already on the top. Worms that are dug
      out of the earth invariably get eaten by us birds.

      Madhusree


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Shakti Banerjee" <banshakti@...>
      To: <andamanicobar@...>; <pranabes@...>; "Sachikanta
      Chakrabarti" <sachichaks@...>
      Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2010 8:28 AM
      Subject: Re: [andamanicobar] Telegraph: Modern or museum piece row


      I fully endorse the views of Shri Bishnu Pada Roy that the Jarwas should not
      be kept as museum pieces or should I say Jarwa Safari Park something like
      Tiger/Lion Safari Park?Are they not humans?Are we to treat them like apes
      keeping them naked and leave them to their destiny?All our ancestors also
      had lived like them.So should we also remain like our ancestors.The world is
      changing and we should be moving accordingly.Then are we to support the Khap
      Panchayats and honour killings because a girl from one community has married
      a boy from other community?
      So let us be fair to the Jarwas and if the community wants better
      living,education etc we should promote them to this modern world and not
      merely treat them as animals by the excuse of preserving their indigenuous
      identity.
      Regards
      LtCol(Retd) Shakti Ranjan Banerjee

      On Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 7:49 PM, Miriam Ross
      <mr@...>wrote:

      > http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100702/jsp/nation/story_12637160.jsp
      >
      > Modern or museum piece row
      > CITHARA PAUL
      > New Delhi, July 1: The Andamans' lone MP has stirred controversy by
      > demanding that Jarawa children be brought to "mainstream" schools and
      > introduced to TV and cars instead of being treated as "museum pieces''.
      >
      > Bishnu Pada Ray has written to the Union tribal ministry to drop its
      > "isolationist" policy and "wean" Jarawa children away from the tribe
      > to "drastically mainstream" them. Else, the tribe, whose population is
      > now around 300, will become extinct, he says.
      >
      > "What right do we have to say the Jarawas should be kept as museum
      > pieces? Who are we to say they should not be educated. because they
      > will lose their indigenous character? Like each one of us, they too
      > have the right to the fruits of modernity," Ray told The Telegraph.
      >
      > Ray wants Jarawa children aged 6-12 to be "kept in a normal school
      > atmosphere", where they will be "trained in personal hygiene, use of
      > clothes and basic reading and writing skills" and exposed to
      > mainstream eating habits.
      >
      > He has cited the examples of the Birhore and Sabar tribals of
      > Jharkhand, whose children have been "modernised''.
      >
      > "Over time, the trainers were able to infiltrate into the main pockets
      > of tribes and inculcate skills of personal hygiene, wearing of
      > clothes. partaking of cooked food and basic agricultural and
      > horticultural activities. The final result was training the entire
      > population into a village identical with any other village of
      > Scheduled Tribe population,'' his letter says.
      >
      > It adds that the Jarawas' numbers have been dwindling every year
      > because they use polluted water and follow unhygienic practices.
      >
      > Ray's demand has invited criticism from tribal activists, who say
      > similar schemes in the US, Canada and Australia have proved
      > disastrous. "Thousands of indigenous people across the globe had been
      > left traumatised by this modernisation process. Who are we to decide
      > what modernity is? This proposal will spell doom for the Jarawas,''
      > said activist Gourav Adivesh.
      >
      > International tribal activists too have hit out at Ray's suggestions.
      > "If the government takes their children away and puts them in a
      > school, they will lose their culture. If they are made to live in a
      > town, it would be a crime," said a Yanomami leader from Brazil, Davi
      > Kopenawa Yanomami.
      >
      > "These scandalous proposals are contemptuous both of indigenous
      > peoples' rights and the UN's standards for their protection. Attempts
      > to force the Jarawas to abandon their way of life will simply destroy
      > them,'' said Survival International's director, Stephen Corry.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



      ------------------------------------

      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • C.R Bijoy
      Dear All, The opinions and counter opinions (such as aniumal life vs civilised life; isolation vs freedom, integration/assimilation/masinstreaming vs
      Message 2 of 7 , 3 Jul 8:58 am
        Dear All,

        The opinions and counter opinions (such as aniumal life vs civilised life;
        isolation vs freedom, integration/assimilation/masinstreaming vs
        self-determination etc) have all been intensively debated since mid 1980s,
        detailed studies and assessments (local, regional and intercontinental)
        made, huge meetings bringing together the hundreds of 'insiders',
        'outsiders; the IPs and non IPs, tribal and non-tribals, government and
        non-governmental, institutions, NGOs and movements etc [for instance the UN
        Working Group on Indigenous Populations (UNWGIP) See
        http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/groups/groups-01.htm%5d have
        taken place. All these issues are well settled. These are moreover more or
        less settled and got already reflected progressively in international laws
        and standards.

        For instance, the ILO Convention No.107 of 1957 'Convention concerning the
        Protection and Integration of Indigenous and Other Tribal and Semi-Tribal
        Populations in Independent Countries [
        http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C107] were interrogated by
        Indigenous Peoples and ILO conceded and replaced with ILO Convention No.169
        of 1989 Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
        Countries [http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C169]. ILO 107 was
        'Founded on the assumption that ITPs were temporary societies destined to
        disappear with �Modernisation� while its replacement ILO 169 is 'Founded on
        the belief that ITPs are permanent societies'. The former 'Encouraged
        integration' while the latter 'Recognition of, and respect for, ethnic and
        cultural diversity'. India is a signatory of ILO 107 but has not ratified
        ILO 169.

        Further the UNWGIP unleashed a huge exploration from different fields of
        specialisations (legal, anthropological, sociological, political etc) and
        finally led to a concensus on the need to have a separate Declarion which
        got drafted and debated clause by clause for over a decade within the UN and
        outside it, including the IPs. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights
        of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
        during its 62nd session 13 September 2007, a result of 22 years off
        worldwide debate (for a birds eyeview see
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples%5d.
        The Declaration was passed by a majority of 144 states in favour, 4 votes
        against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11
        abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia,
        Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine). India voted in
        favor. [For the text of the Declaration see
        http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf%5d

        These are essentially a set of principles of beliefs on what constitutes the
        rights of IPs and how they can or should be secured by nation states. The
        core prinicple is that they have the right to self-determination (Article 3
        and 4 for instance). The debate ought no longer to be what is best for the
        Jarawas but instead whether the governance system adheres to these emerging
        norms which has been acknowledged as the best so far.

        The question now is whether the indian laws adhers to which of these
        international laws and norms and how much in law, governance and practice,
        its inadequacies or contradictions, whatr cahnges are to be made, how can it
        be made etc.

        Of course, it is another matter to debate whether these 'primitive' people
        leading an animal life is more civilised than the 'modern' people leading an
        un-animal life. Whether the former has a better non-physical quality of life
        index (such as inhuman crimes against life and ecosystem and the like), what
        are the real meaning and indicators progress, development and of
        civilisation itself.. a debate that will be a commentary on our own life
        (besides the IPs); a worthy debatre in itself.

        Thanks
        Bijoy

        .


        On 7/3/10, Shakti Banerjee <banshakti@...> wrote:
        > Dear Mr Sekhsaria,
        > First of all,I am not of the view that forests should be open to timber
        > merchants.I really do not know if the Hon'ble MP is having any such
        > notion.But I only subscribed to the idea that there has to be an
        enhancement
        > in the quality of life among these indigenious people.Facilities such as
        > medical,education etc must be extended to them.Protection of ethnical &
        > cultural identity is a seperate question.Is living like wild animals naked
        > eating vegetation & raw meat is to maintain the indigeneous character?That
        > will depend on the community.We have many tribals with indigenous identity
        > with better quality of life.Why Jarwas have been chosen to lead as we call
        > an 'Animal life'?And their living an animal life has no bearing on
        > protection of biodiversity.We have to ensure that roads are not built
        > through forests,forest exploitation by outsiders do not take place and
        wild
        > animals are rightly conserved.I have worked with many communities in India
        > and have worked for ensuring better quality of life among forest
        > dwellers.But I do not find any sense of isolating a community in the name
        of
        > protection of indigenious character.They are also human primates like any
        of
        > us and are not definitely apes like chimp or gorillas.
        > Regards
        > Col Banerjee
        >
        >
        > On 7/3/10, Pankaj Sekhsaria <psekhsaria@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Dear Col Banerjee and friends,
        > > I would like to respond rather briefly to a range of issues that have
        > > been discussed over the last couple of days in light of the MPs
        > > recommendations for the Jarawas:
        > >
        > > a) Firstly I would like to dispel the notion that someone is advocating
        > > that the Jarawas should be treated as museum pieces. It is, ironically,
        > > a term used by those who are arguing and advocating for their quick
        > > mainstreaming.
        > >
        > > b) Neither is anyone asking for the creation of any safari park of any
        > > kind. We have to realise that in the Andaman islands there is a Jarawa
        > > Tribal Reserve that was created way back in 1956 in the interest of the
        > > Jarawas and acknowledgement of the fact that they need these forests and
        > > resources to live their lives in the way that they have been and chose
        > > to. It is also extremely crucial to realise that the last of the
        > > untouched, pristine evergreen forests in the Andaman islands are only
        > > found within the boundaries of the Jarawa Reserve. This is a treasure -
        > > trove of biological diversity that has been protected because of and on
        > > account of the Jarawa people. It might surprise people to know that the
        > > forests of the Jarawa Reserve are the only contiguous tract of forests
        > > that were never logged in the Andaman islands. Most other parts of the
        > > Andamans including many of the sanctuaries and national parks, have at
        > > some point in the last 150 years seen timber operations. Details of this
        > > (including maps) are there in the Jarawa Tribal Reserve Dossier that was
        > > recently released by Kalpavriksh and UNESCO (it can be downloaded from
        > > http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001876/187690E.pdf)
        > >
        > > What many are asking is for the protection of these forests and
        > > biological resources and this surely does not mean one is asking for a
        > > Jarawa Safari Park.
        > >
        > > It is very pertinent to note here that those who want the mainstreaming
        > > of the Jarawa are also asking in the same breath for the opening up of
        > > these forests for 'development'. This is there in the recos of the
        > > Member of Parliament too.
        > >
        > > c) Asking for the protection /preservation of indigenous identity is not
        > > treating anyone like animals. I think it is offensive to even suggest
        > > that. We are all in different ways proud of our cultures and identities
        > > and we all strive and struggle to hold on what is valuable to us. There
        > > is absolutely no reason to deny this to the Jarawas or to any other
        > > community
        > >
        > > d) Let me also correct the incorrect notion that Avinash is persisting
        > > with as far as the Andaman Trunk Road is concerned. The Supreme Court
        > > 2002 orders clearly asks for the closure of the Andaman Trunk Road in
        > > those parts in South Andaman and Middle Andaman islands where it runs
        > > through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve. Let it be clear - the order is for
        > > closure of the road and not to stop extension and let me say it again -
        > > it is shocking that the A&N administration so wilfully continues to
        > > ignore the order of the highest court of the land.
        > >
        > > e) I also want to refer to some comments made by Sara and Avinash about
        > > those who sit in the 'mainland' and 'elsewhere'. I would like to ask
        > > whether their issue is about where these people are (whether or not
        > > they also sit in AC offices notwithstanding) or about what they say.
        > > I would request again, not to bring in this 'insider' - 'outsider'
        > > notion into the discussions to question the locus-standi for people to
        > > have opinions and take stands. It will serve no purpose. In todays
        > > increasing interconnected world (and this egroup is an excellent example
        > > of that) many of the old boundaries have become irrelevant. It is the
        > > issue and the opinion that matters and that is what I think we should
        > > focus on.
        > >
        > > f) And lastly, I refer to the point made by Madhusree and some others -
        > > the suggestions of the MP to drastically mainstream the Jarawas are
        > > completely uninformed by what has happened in history in many other
        > > parts of the world. SUch efforts to mainstream indigenous communities
        > > have had devastating impacts on many peoples and cultures. The least we
        > > can do is not repeat the mistakes that others have done. And I am not
        > > even discussing the fate of the Great Andamanese and the Onge who are
        > > the immediate neighbours of the Jarawa in these islands.
        > >
        > > best wishes
        > > pankaj
        > >
        > >
        > > Shakti Banerjee wrote:
        > > > I fully endorse the views of Shri Bishnu Pada Roy that the Jarwas
        should
        > > not
        > > > be kept as museum pieces or should I say Jarwa Safari Park something
        like
        > > > Tiger/Lion Safari Park?Are they not humans?Are we to treat them like
        apes
        > > > keeping them naked and leave them to their destiny?All our ancestors
        also
        > > > had lived like them.So should we also remain like our ancestors.The
        world
        > > is
        > > > changing and we should be moving accordingly.Then are we to support
        the
        > > Khap
        > > > Panchayats and honour killings because a girl from one community has
        > > married
        > > > a boy from other community?
        > > > So let us be fair to the Jarwas and if the community wants better
        > > > living,education etc we should promote them to this modern world and
        not
        > > > merely treat them as animals by the excuse of preserving their
        > > indigenuous
        > > > identity.
        > > > Regards
        > > > LtCol(Retd) Shakti Ranjan Banerjee
        > > >
        > > > On Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 7:49 PM, Miriam Ross <
        > > mr@...>wrote:
        > > >
        > > >> http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100702/jsp/nation/story_12637160.jsp
        > > >>
        > > >> Modern or museum piece row
        > > >> CITHARA PAUL
        > > >> New Delhi, July 1: The Andamans� lone MP has stirred controversy by
        > > >> demanding that Jarawa children be brought to �mainstream� schools and
        > > >> introduced to TV and cars instead of being treated as �museum
        pieces��.
        > > >>
        > > >> Bishnu Pada Ray has written to the Union tribal ministry to drop its
        > > >> �isolationist� policy and �wean� Jarawa children away from the tribe
        > > >> to �drastically mainstream� them. Else, the tribe, whose population
        is
        > > >> now around 300, will become extinct, he says.
        > > >>
        > > >> �What right do we have to say the Jarawas should be kept as museum
        > > >> pieces? Who are we to say they should not be educated� because they
        > > >> will lose their indigenous character? Like each one of us, they too
        > > >> have the right to the fruits of modernity,� Ray told The Telegraph.
        > > >>
        > > >> Ray wants Jarawa children aged 6-12 to be �kept in a normal school
        > > >> atmosphere�, where they will be �trained in personal hygiene, use of
        > > >> clothes and basic reading and writing skills� and exposed to
        > > >> mainstream eating habits.
        > > >>
        > > >> He has cited the examples of the Birhore and Sabar tribals of
        > > >> Jharkhand, whose children have been �modernised��.
        > > >>
        > > >> �Over time, the trainers were able to infiltrate into the main
        pockets
        > > >> of tribes and inculcate skills of personal hygiene, wearing of
        > > >> clothes� partaking of cooked food and basic agricultural and
        > > >> horticultural activities. The final result was training the entire
        > > >> population into a village identical with any other village of
        > > >> Scheduled Tribe population,�� his letter says.
        > > >>
        > > >> It adds that the Jarawas� numbers have been dwindling every year
        > > >> because they use polluted water and follow unhygienic practices.
        > > >>
        > > >> Ray�s demand has invited criticism from tribal activists, who say
        > > >> similar schemes in the US, Canada and Australia have proved
        > > >> disastrous. �Thousands of indigenous people across the globe had been
        > > >> left traumatised by this modernisation process. Who are we to decide
        > > >> what modernity is? This proposal will spell doom for the Jarawas,��
        > > >> said activist Gourav Adivesh.
        > > >>
        > > >> International tribal activists too have hit out at Ray�s suggestions.
        > > >> �If the government takes their children away and puts them in a
        > > >> school, they will lose their culture. If they are made to live in a
        > > >> town, it would be a crime,� said a Yanomami leader from Brazil, Davi
        > > >> Kopenawa Yanomami.
        > > >>
        > > >> �These scandalous proposals are contemptuous both of indigenous
        > > >> peoples� rights and the UN�s standards for their protection. Attempts
        > > >> to force the Jarawas to abandon their way of life will simply destroy
        > > >> them,�� said Survival International�s director, Stephen Corry.
        > > >>
        > > >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >> ------------------------------------
        > > >>
        > > >> Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > ------------------------------------
        > > >
        > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > > --
        > > ---
        > > http://pankaj-atcrossroads.blogspot.com
        > > http://www.indianaturewatch.net/view_cat.php?tag=Pankaj+Sekhsaria
        > > http://3fotosaday.blogspot.com/
        > >
        > > C/o Kalpavriksh
        > > Apt. 5, Sri Dutta Krupa,
        > > 908 Deccan Gym
        > > Pune 411004
        > > India
        > > Tel: 020 25654239
        > > Mob: 09423009933
        > > Email: psekhsaria@...
        > >
        > >
        > > ------------------------------------
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >


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