Nordon Shunu Writes a Letter to the Prime Minister

To

The PM of India

Sir,

India has countless problems. Of course, it is the seventh largest country and the second populous country. So governance would be automatically difficult in such a complex and dynamic space. You being the principal head of the government of India have unlimited responsibilities and engagements. Every day, billions of letters written by common people to the government officials, and bureaucrats are thrown into trash cans. No big deal! You cannot do anything about it.

The letters might be silly and sometimes abominable. But with so many problems, we find ourselves utterly helpless too. With this letter, I would like to throw light into the problems of tribal groups in India.

By and large, the mainstream people are treated better and given more importance than the tribal people. Tribal people are known for their sustainable use and conservation of resources, practices that literate and sophisticated mainstream people have failed to follow. Tribal people live most close to nature- their means of livelihood come from forests; their surrounding environment is nothing but trees, they value the natural resources and pray to the Sun and the Moon. But even leading spartan and isolated lifestyle hasn’t been easy for them.

Human safaris are till date organized in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Jarawa tribals in Andaman Islands were showcased in an insensitive “human safari” video.
A brochure of the Royal India Holidays showed one of their holiday packages to the tribal areas of Orissa stating that tourists can “see the lifestyle of tattooed, heavily beaded, nearly naked people, their day-to-day activity and their extremely primitive way of living.” This is our incredible India. Wonderful!

There are very less intriguing tribes left, living in alienation inside thick and dark forests. These Tribal people should not come in contact with the outsiders, lest they get exposed to diseases which their bodies are not immune to. But the government only illegally interfered in their lives, exploited them and displaced them from their original shelters. You obviously don’t welcome your destructor!

Much of the tribal people have been forced to shed their traditional lifestyles to become peasants, farm laborers, and NREGA workers. Though, one thing hasn’t changed; many of them are still vulnerable, live in abject poverty lamenting over and not benefiting (purportedly through government reservations) by being “scheduled tribes”. In Madhya Pradesh, PTG women are denied of sterilization even when the couple already have six and seven children and no or meager means of sources to sustain so many of them. A ban aimed to ensure the continuity of tribal groups denies them of family planning, instead of checking on mortality rates and the reasons for same.

That is no way to preserve the tribes. Their lifestyles won’t get improved this way, if the government wants to modernize them, give them scholarship in education or reservations in jobs. If nothing else, give them at least a safe shelter. The original inhabitants of India are vulnerable and endangered. It is unfair. You didn’t let them live in their original shelters, provide them housing now.

Tribal people, too naïve that some of the groups haven’t even discovered proper clothing are told to make claims to forest land. Deforestation is snatching the species of their shelters. It is not just the animals that get extinct, but humans too. We are destroying not just the biodiversity but also our long-preserved culture. Government must check on deforestation.

The Forest Rights Act 2006 (Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition ofForest RightsAct) must be implemented effectively. The prevention of exploitation by governmental officials has to be stopped.

Thanking You,

Yours faithfully,

Nordon Shunu

Image Courtesy: [The Viewspaper]

Disclaimer: The above article is the personal opinion of the author and not of the publication.