It is nice to see this write-up. This was written some time before the UN Declaration was adopted. Perhaps I would be happy to see more of news and views posted in e-group. Or may be I have missed out on them. Bineet Mundu
There can be no ' superior ' or ' inferior ' cultures. Such notions sprang from the biases of the ' majority ' and plainsmen who always looked down upon or were condescending to the ' tribals '. The word tribal itself has been used in a condescending if not derogatory sense. In North East India the same has happened. Plains people were abjectly suspicious of tribal mannersims and were loath to mix with them. It was only because of the pioneering work of some anthropologists and field workers like my uncle Dr B.S.Guha that the racial charactersistics of tribals were objectively and emphatectically studied. So were the efforts of men like Verrier Elwin, and the late bureaucrat Nari Rustomji. Consequently tribals felt alienated and the result was an upsurge against the plains people who also took to exploitation in various forms. That is why regions like North East are troubled today, with the gradual clamour for separation.
The Mizoram famine in the 1950s also escalated the process of separatism and then secessionism. Nagaland, and Tripura followed suit. Today there is an uneasy quiet in Nagaland. God knows when this will end, or will it end? Meghalaya also saw movements towards separatism, first in the formation of the state from the larger province of Assam in the 1960s and 70s, and then in overt secessionist movements in the 1990s to the end of the 20th century. It still continues though the state govt claims that the backbone of this has been broken.
It is a warning to our countrymen that the pluralistic cultures of India shuould be seen as one large diverse group of people rather than ' recognised ' or ' unrecognised ' cultures, as this leads to cultural hegemony of the ruling classes.
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