26th Adivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan was organized by Adivasi Ekta Parishad on 13, 14 & 15 January, 2019 at Athola, Silvassa, Dadar Nagar Haveli. Adivasi Ekta Parishad is a national intellectual campaign for tribals. Tribals from twelve states – Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and Jharkhand participated in this mega event of Adivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan. About about 2,50,000 (Two lakhs fifty thousand) all over India had gathered in this convention. Fr. Nicholas Barla, SVD – Secretary, CBCI Office for Tribal Affairs, one of the organizers and member of Adivasi Ekta Parishad and Sr. Lalita Roshni Lakra, DSA from the same office attended the three days program.
The first day began at 10.00 am with a huge cultural rally with a march of three kilometres. The participant tribals gathered in the specified place in their tribal costumes, tribal musical instruments and weapons. It was so wonderful to see Indian tribals with its rich, great & unique diversity with their songs, dance, dress, musical instruments. One who witnessed the event could vividly see the unity in diversity. The rally started with a small pooja and then it slowly moved dancing and settled under a big pandal but the pandal could not accommodate all as the number was so big and the Pandal became small for two lakh and fifty thousand people. One of the main attractions of this convention was a huge Warli Painting which was 40 feet long. It is probably the biggest traditional painting in India. All the participants relished and enjoyed the tribal dishes from the stalls. There were about 50 stalls put up for displaying the tribal arts & crafts and tribal food.
The first day’s sessions were divided into three sessions for – 1. Women 2. Youth 3. Tribal Literature. It started with a tribal way of prayer - Prakirit Pooja (Nature’s Worship) and Dharti Vandana. Dharti Vandana song was sung by all participants very devotionally. Then floral homage was paid on the photos of tribal freedom fighters – Birsa Munda, Rani Durgawati and also on Mahayogi Mata.
The keynote address of women session was delivered by Mrs. Ranjna Pawara. She began with a slogan – Ek Teer Ek Kaman, Mahila Purush Ek Saman. She emphasized on women empowerment and role of women in the society. She also spoke on the fundamental right to freedom and equality. Many prominent women speakers spoke on the various issues and struggles of women in various parts of India. Woman advocate (Public Prosecutor) spoke on legal aspects of women. Thus many tribal women, youth and tribal writers and scholars spoke on various tribal issues of their respective states. There was also a cultural evening program at 8.00 pm where the tribal children performed their tribal dances and songs. A big painting on the theme of the event was explained by the painter.
The second day of the 26th Adivasi Sanskritik Mahasammean began with a huge rally started from 3 kilometers away at Birsa Munda Chowk. The new President of Adivasi Ekta Parishad (for one year) Shri Bhupendra Vasava from Gujrat was introduced to the assembly. He was put a new turban by the former President Shi Jeevraj Damore of Rajasthan. The Chief Guest of the mega tribal convention was Honourable Miss Anusuiya Uikey, Vice-Chair Person of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. In the very outset she congratulated for the tremendous amount of zeal and efforts made by the organizers for the 26th Adivasi Sanskritik Mahasammelan. In her address she said that constitutional provisions and rights are not yet been given fully to the tribals. She appreciated the rich tribal culture of different tribal communities. The tribal culture is the only culture that is alive in this world, she said. Western countries adopting our culture. Tribal women used Godna on their body (foreheads, hands and feet which is being used in a modern way and termed as Tattoo. Tribal ornaments are available in many stalls and shops in high rates. people feel pride in using the tribal costumes and dress. The tribal songs have become very popular today, even in the films today. Our tribal music and songs have become popular in our country as well in the foreign countries, she added. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar tried to mainstream the tribals. And for this purpose he made a special provision in the Constitution of India in the form of Fifth & Sixth Schedule and in PESA Act. So that they can develop socially, economically and educationally. She emphasized the significance of political reservation. She also clearly mentioned the roles and responsibilities of Governors and the President in PESA Act and particularly in Fifth & Sixth Schedule. She said that ST commission is a Constitutional commission so it is a very important commission. Apart from the Chief Guest Miss Anusuiya Uikey many former eminent MLA, MPs, IAS and Advocates addressed the assembly/convention.
Fr. Nicholas Barla, SVD, Secretary, CBCI, Office for Tribal Affairs also presented about his address to the UNO on tribal issues. There was again a cultural show casing in the evening. The recommendations of 26th Adivasi Adivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan 2019 was read by Mr. Ashok Choudhary, General Secretary of Adivasi Ekta Parishad on 14th January, 2019 that included the Fifth Schedule, Scheduled Areas, Sixth Schedule , Tribal Advisory Council, Role & responsibilities of Governor & President, Commission for Scheduled Tribes, tribal issues and problems faced by the tribals and the demands of constitutional rights of the indigenous people of India.It was announced that 27th Adivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan will be held in Palgar, Maharashra in 2020.
Bihu dance was performed by a group of tribals from Assam There were few deliberations by some prominent tribal speakers and concluded by an evaluation session. Group dance by all tribals present there left a good memory at the end. Thus 26th Adivasi Sanskritik Ekta Mahasammelan 2019 became a historical event with great success in the land of Union Territory of Dadar & Nagar Haveli.
Lalita Roshni Lakra, DSA
CBCI Office for Tribal Affairs