August 9 is being celebrated as the ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’. Unofficially though, but we can call it as ‘International Tribal Day’ in India. Very few of us really know about the tribals and their requirements. Political parties have been using them as vote bank for decades. The real development of the tribals has been lost somewhere in the failure of government schemes and Maoists have taken advantage of it.
The innocent tribals find them at the receiving end more often. The Maoists use them as shields, while the Cops look at them with suspicion. Sometimes, they get killed by the Maoists, who suspect them to be police informers. And, when it comes to the security forces, Gumudumaha type incidents ruin their lives and peace forever.
The contribution of the tribals to nation building, be it ecology, preservation of forests, politics or government, cannot be undermined under any circumstances. They are our own people. But, have we done enough so that they are treated at par? Perhaps, not. They are being treated as second class citizens. Whether it’s political class or bureaucrats, they have failed the tribals. Can we take a pledge to end the discrimination and work for tribal welfare?