Abstracts and Excerpts: TMYS Review December 2023

    Amazon India link for TMYS Review December 2023 will be available here.

    (Available worldwide via Amazon)



    NOTE FROM THE SERIES EDITOR by Dr. Sourav Banerjee


    TMYS Review, a quarterly imprint of www.tellmeyourstory.biz (TMYS), began in 2020 with the vision of popularising stories from personal experiences and academic research. Diverse themes covered under TMYS Review are conscious about documenting women's history of a generation because for every subject, every topic, women have a different story to tell which points towards all those aspects that the society as a whole and people individually must take note and respond to. The effort has been recognised by global thought leaders and universities with their generous participation and/or collaborations. TMYS Review works on sparking gender sensitivity by engaging a community of emerging and established scholars/writers through creative writing and critical thinking. The primary audience comprises of students – the future torchbearers and other literary enthusiasts, who are constantly inspiring and moulding the world with their words.



    EDITORIAL By Rianka Sarkar (Project Lead)


    "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

    -  Ayn Rand

    We all emerged from tribes and then resolved to create civilization mocking our very history. Tribalism is a state of existence of a living tribe that still restores to ancient practices contrary to the civilized ones. Ironically enough, what we call as the civilized form of living is actually de-rooting humanity and deprecating nature which tribalism seeks to preserve. In the pursuit of civilizing the society and as an individual, we have somewhere forgotten our pedigrees to nature and our fellow human beings. Literature has always held a reflection of the society we live in, and every ancient folk culture, myth and lore find their existence in literature, hence holding a mirror to the society. Tribes and tribals have always originated in the fringes and every literature of the past narrated them as an entity in need to be controlled, chastised and leashed. Be it Greek literature, where Medea, the tribal princess, was mocked and abandoned by her cosmopolitan husband, or autodidact forest prince Ekalavya’s sacrifice from the Mahabharata, tribalism is derogated and marginalized as the improper entities. Delving deep into regional chronicles, we discover anecdotes of numerous tribal heroes who have not only influenced their people but also saved nature and their land from invaders. The Khasi Rebellion of 1833 saw the profound rise of the Khasi chief, Tirot Singh Syiem who fought against the British with his self-trained army when they sought to take over the Khasi hills. The Garo tribes, an ethnic tribe from the Tibet-Burma region, made frequent attacks on the British forces who occupied their territory. Pa Togan Sangma and his group adopted the guerilla warfare tactic and attacked the British officials, killing them while they were sleeping in the beauty of the hills. North-eastern tribal narratives are replete with anti-British guerilla warfare where the tribe leaders killed numerous colonizers who attempted to seize their land, but very little or no documentation is recorded in mainstream literature.

    Madhya Pradesh has the third largest tribal population of which the dominant one is the Manjhi tribe. Rajmohan Devi, one of the Manjhi women had realized the ill effects of superstitions, alcoholism and witchcrafts practiced in the region and educated people against their side effects. She adopted the Gandhian principles during the colonial rule and established Bapu Dharma Sabha Adivasi Seva Mandal for the upliftment of her community people. The white colonialism in India precipitated humongous retaliation from the tribes in their attempt to salvage their land and resources. Tribal representation in literature was always a peripheral poise where their identity was never in the mainstream. They, in fact, were the support bearers for the central characters or the plot. Post-modern narratives and critics, hence determine to decode these hidden entities, decrypting their ideologies, culture, aesthetics and orientation. For instance, a post-modern re-reading of Robinson Crusoe is inclined to demystify the garbs, culture and ethnicity of Friday through his remnant portrayal given by the white author.





    Poet: Vanaja Malathy


    too many milestones too soon

    I have crossed

    reaching the last (?) milestone of my life

    I look back

    a life that's spent in drudgery

    devoid of any colour

    I plead the world

    take all that I have

    treat me better to live

    the life I wanted to-

    there's only silence everywhere



    I took different roles in my life









    every stage I wore a new mask

    obliged its demand and command

    hormones ruled me at every stage

    adrenalin turned me

    naughty, playful, loving, lustful



    Poet: Nivedita Dey

    BHOMIJAA - born of the brown earth

    Perhaps it was another lifetime when I saw you

    welcoming a banished prince onto your boat

    washing his feet to cleanse your blood of which sin?


    My child-heart often grieved grandpa's bedtime tales of

    your hunger for knowledge decreed inadmissible

    your amputated thumb an exaction for alleged defiance.


    I still find your fleeting frames silhouetted

    in Ray's celluloid, matching your drum-beat feet

    to the much muffled heartbeats of this brown Earth.


    I still see your mahogany dreams collecting dust

    in silverfish-eaten shelves, neglected library nooks,

    paraphrased by outsiders, punctuated with pregnant silence.

    Satyajit Ray, the Indian film maker.



    I mindlessly stroll along the mountain bends

    carpeted beige : eucalyptus, poplar, oak

    I hear a hum distant, undecipherable, smelling of petrichor

    stirring up long forgotten notes in my arid metro veins


    a tune of brown soil, mud kissed blood and toil

    that have turned the wheels of history timelessly


    I see faces betraying their sense of betrayal

    I see tears tucked away behind golden yellow smiles

    I smell secret condiments coloring the afternoon air

    I fail to touch the invisible roots jostling underneath

    the pull partly familiar, chaotically unfamiliar, not mine



    Poet: Sowmya Ayyar



    Multiplied by infinite,

    Join together,

    In the never-ending form.



    Giving rise to


    Hold space

    For the finite

    To form,



    Sitting under a great oak tree

    Of my mother's garden

    I once read a book-- a novel--

    About Native Americans,

    and wondered what happened

    to these wandering peoples

    and the lifestyle they offered.



    Short Stories


    Author: Gigy J. Alex


    I met him in one of the seminars, a well-dressed, handsome young man, with a smile on his face and a very firm and determined look. Seeing him barefoot, I was wondering why was he like this, without sandals. When the panel discussion started, the scientist from the research institute made a mind-blowing presentation with facts and figures, the social activist made a speech enlisting the grim and bitter realities and then was the turn of the young gentleman.

    He looked a bit agitated when he started and then he asked the audience whether they’d mind if he was not talking in English. No one had any objection. He started about his people, the guy who was so proud of his people, their history, their past, and their exodus. “We were happy when we were in our places, unaffected by the cultured societies, we were healthy when we had nutritious pristine forest goods. But you people started giving us subsidized food and our people stopped going to the jungle, our people stopped doing the traditional jobs. They started buying toddy and arrack, they started selling themselves to the so-called masters. You offered free food and bought their freedom, they were your bondage laborers. Please excuse me for being emotional. We are so much connected to our land and mother nature. See, I am not wearing any sandals as I am fasting. I am preparing myself to take part in our deity’s festival. I am educated, I am also engaged in research and development. But I respect my past, our ancestors, and our deity.”


    Author: Henkar Rokom Bado


    The tiny village where I was born and brought up was originally called Dwp. It is a word derived from the common name of raw materials consisting of wild leaves, shrubs, and bamboo for making idols of gods and goddesses of our faith. The Galo word Dwp could not be pronounced by people of nearby plains of Assam who frequented our village either for cultivation of the vacant lands owned by the clans of the village on lease or for abstraction of forest products. This led to distortion of the word Dwp to Dip by the outsiders.

    Years later, a teacher of a new inter-village school set up several miles away required to enlist the names of children of the feeder villages. He asked the father of a child: Aapka ghar kahaan hai? (Where is your home?)

    On translation by the native Chowkidar who knew a little bit of Hindi, the man replied: Dip a.

    In Galo, the word ‘a’ (pronounced as ‘a’ in alma-mater) spelt after a word means ‘in’. Dip a would mean In Dip’.  The man meant that his house was in Dip.

    The teacher took ‘Dip a’ as ‘Dipa’ and the name stuck. Perhaps he fancied the name Dipa that sounded similar to Deepa, the goddess with a lamp, that is, Laxmi!

    Dipa consisted of just about three dozen or so households. All families built platform type houses of wood and bamboo. Sliced cane was used to bind the materials for the house structure together as nails were unheard of.  Large, thick and round shaped leaves of a tall palm called Taek were used for roofing. Dried Taek leaves would last for about a decade. The ever-present smoke emitted by the hearth in the middle of the single hall house prevented termite attack, thus prolonging the life of the leaves. While the posts were of round blocks of wood, the walls were made of sliced bamboo. 




    by Joyashree Dey









    Author: Manjima Sarkar

    THE KNIGHT WITHOUT AN ARMOUR: the legend of Dharti Aba and his Munda Warriors


    Humans have taken a long period of evolution to find their social or ideological solidarity in their associations. It is where the sense of belonging arises from. Being part of a whole, contributing to it and protecting it are borne from the cognisance of mutual understanding. This, in turn, forms the basis of identity, individually or as a group. Over the years, these associations lead to the formation of communities that sustain themselves on their unique beliefs and practices even if they are in stark contradiction to contemporary social traditions. So naturally, a threat to this form of existence is perceived not just as a barrier to the way of living but also as an attack on one's identity. An uprising is a retaliation to this attack on the individual or group identity. It is a reaction aiming an immediate change. People can survive on the bare minimum with no dignity or agency as long as there is a possibility for them to remain alive. They keep doing that until they are cornered with various mental and physical abuse, inspiring anger and rebellion. Reading into this transition is the most practical approach to understanding tribal uprisings.

    This essay outlines one such uprising led by Birsa Munda that altered the tribal history of India. Besides his armed revolt against the British oppressors, this paper also traces his spiritual journey, summarises the participation of his comrades to release his people from the shackles of exploitation, and pieces together the reasons and consequences of his actions. Based primarily on the historical anecdote of Birsa Munda’s life and times in colonial India as carefully recounted by authors Tuhin A. Sinha and Ankita Verma in their book The Legend of Birsa Munda (2022), this essay demonstrates how he became one the greatest freedom fighters of all time.

    Keywords: Birsa Munda, tribal uprising, oppressors, exploitation.


    Abua Disshom Re! Abua Raj! (‘This is our country! We shall rule it!’)

    - The Legend of Birsa Munda (2022)      


    An in-depth study of the Indian tribal history can take us back to a time when stranded local communities inhabited the hills and dense forests of the subcontinent. Despite the fact that they have lived in this part of the world for centuries, it can be quite difficult, even for a historian, to define or classify them. “In the various Census Reports and studies of the Castes and Tribes, they have been called by various names, like 'aboriginal tribes', 'primitive tribes', 'tribal populations', 'animists', 'Hindu tribals', etc” (Mehta 236).

    It is thus essential to understand how the definition of a tribe has changed with time. From being a scattered group of individuals following their ideals, observers with vested interests have morphed it into an idea of marginalised and uncivilised entity whose needs, culture and beliefs are backward and barrier-laden. It is in this regard that we see India's history fraught with tribal uprisings – all of them with a common agenda of preserving their unique identities, no matter how intimidating the adversary is. Tribal unrests in India, starting from the Chuar Uprising in Midnapore to the revolts against the Japanese occupation of Andaman and Nicobar during WWII, not only aimed to preserve their identities and their homes but also the land, water, air and the environment around them.


    Author: Paboni Sarkar

    FEMALE VOICES FROM THE PERIPHERY: A Study of the Used and the Abused in Popular Fiction


    The Adivasis constitute the most neglected, deprived, and oppressed segment of the Indian population. These Indigenous minorities face tremendous hardships in their quotidian lives. Even if they somehow manage to procure the basic amenities, a dignified living remains an elusive dream. Overworked, tricked of their assets and evicted from their lands, many are reduced to the status of sub-humans. Those in authority hardly pay heed to their grievances and needs. Official reports put before the world a blemish free facade of normalcy. But beneath it, inhuman atrocities prevail. Among them, the women suffer the most. Lying at the crossroads of patriarchy, state-sponsored violence, superstitious beliefs, economic debilitation and racism, it is the Adivasi women who are singled out and punished. Twice marginalized because of her race and gender, the oppression meted out to her is unreckonable. She constitutes the voiceless section of the Adivasis. Her ordeals remain unknown, her battles unrecognized. This essay therefore makes a sincere attempt at examining the position, circumstances and battles of tribal women as surfaced in the select fictions of Mahasweta Devi, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar and Mamang Dai.

    Keywords: Adivasis, women, battles, body, gender, rape, patriarchy


    A visit to Tagore’s Shantiniketan for many city-dwellers is incomplete without treating their eyes to some exquisite song and dance performance by the tribes of the place, namely the Santhals of the Birbhum district. Those dark, glossy maidens swaying to and fro in perfect unison to the rhythm of the drumbeats may enthrall many a city elite, but their woes never reach them. News of terrible atrocities meted out to many of India’s tribes pop up every day. But little is done to mitigate their sorrow. In the colonial period, these people courted triple exploitation from the money lenders, the missionaries and the local landlords. Treated like bonded slaves and overworked, these people soon assumed the status of sub-humans. Situations worsened further in the post-colonial era. The leaders of independent India simply carried forward the policies of their colonial masters, keeping intact the ‘ancient neglect’ for the Adivasis of the subcontinent. Expropriation of tribal lands and their eviction from the same under the ruse of initiating developmental projects such as mining, dam-building, factory expansion that feather the nest of unscrupulous industrialists and forget the tribes, intensified their destitution. In addition to these, routine exploitation, cultural genocide, environmental degradation, racism, and centre-margin conflicts have denuded them of their basic human dignity. According to the 2011 census, the Scheduled Tribes form 8.6% of India’s total population. Yet this significant chunk of the nation is systematically deprived, their wisdom and language devalued, and their attempt at self and communal upliftment sabotaged. Despite all these, the slightest hint of insurgency on their part is sure to bring afloat such vituperative names as ‘anarchists’ and ‘anti-nationals’. The fact is that we have never thought of them as part of the dominant self. They are always deemed as an ahistorical body of uncouths, the vicious ‘other’ to be time and again dealt with at the muzzle of the gun.   


    Author: Sarbani Chakravarti

    HASHULI BAKER UPOKATHA: Tribal Tales, Women and Beyond


    The tribals all over the world, have their own traditions, languages, customs and institutions which distinguish them from the mainstream society. Rooted in age-old cultural practices, their society is relatively egalitarian and men and women in many tribes have equal rights. The Kahar tribe depicted in Bengali novel Hashuli Baker Upokatha by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay, represents many core ideas that are generally associated with tribal communities. The women are as important as the men in the structure of the narrative, each one embodying some aspect of the feminine spirit. If Suchand is the storyteller shouldering the responsibility of keeping the legacy of her tribe alive, Nasubala, the trans woman, represents the tribal acceptance of diversity in gender identities. If Bashanta epitomizes selflessness in love, her daughter Pakhi represents unrestrained volatile passion and Kaloshoshi is the tragic figure who succumbs to the societal pressure and finds herself in a loveless marriage.  A brief discussion on the principal female characters is imperative for understanding and appreciating the essence of the novel. The paper proposes to explore different aspects of tribal life portrayed by the female characters and various dimensions of their personality. 

    Keywords: mainstream, migration, labour, British, landlords, passion, subaltern.



    The women characters depicted in the Bengali novel Hashuli Baker Upokatha by Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay are representatives of the quintessential tribal women of the subcontinent who strive to etch out a place for themselves in the tribal scheme of things. These women are an integral part of the narrative and along with their male counterparts, depict the codes of conduct acceptable by the tribal communities where passion and sexuality are often not treated as a taboo. The rendezvous of these women in many cases have become a part of the legend of Hanshuli Bak. However, unlike mainstream society, they have not been pushed into the fringes of the community with little or no right to participate in social life. Some of these women wear their hearts on their sleeves as camouflaging passion is not the tribal way of life. The love relationships also bring to light the ‘class/status conflict’ between the two hamlets of the Kahar community based on their profession, mirroring in a way, the caste system prevalent in the mainstream society. The most interesting aspect of the portrayal is that in spite of the differences, they reflect upon the mainstream society in more than one way, thus, serving as a commentary on how India functions as a united whole despite social and cultural divisions.


    A ghost from the past, Suchand builds up the narrative of the plot through her anecdotes which she generously shares with the audience who get a glimpse into the apocalyptic events of the past like the flood which had killed many of their ancestors and the British official and his wife. The amorous games played by the Kahar men and women even in such extreme circumstances set them apart and bear testimony to their indomitable spirit and resilience. It also serves the purpose of adding humour for the readers who are mostly non-tribal, whose lips might curl into a smile at the ‘absurdity’ of their behaviour. She makes her powerful presence felt when she convinces everyone that the snake killed by Karali is ‘Baba Thakur’s’ familiar and thus calls for offerings and penance to avoid terrible consequences.


    Author: Ishani Routh

    DOPDI AND DULI: Representations of the Two Tribal Women from Popular Fiction, Their Stories, Their Lives and Their Battles


    Traditionally the portrayal of Indian womanhood has always drawn pictures of women ranging from the royals to the socially upper class, specifically focusing on the domain that is shared by the socially secure and independent Aryan women or the purdah-clad and andarmahal-inhabitant women. The tribal women have never received their share of attention, not even the slightest streaks of the limelight whenever the discussion and presentation of Indian womanhood aroused. Tribal society has been traditionally treated by the mainstream society as a foreign body, a body which deserves to be marginalized as it lacks the quintessential ‘development’ and ‘civilization’ that the mainstream possesses. Mahasweta Devi has always voiced forth in favour of the tribals, especially for tribal women. Her faith in womanhood is unflinching and she has portrayed the tribal women as the valiant images of womanhood and her concern for the tribal women who fought against the mainstream society for their dignity is found in several of her works. Her short story “Draupadi” from Breast Stories speaks about how the tribal women are exploited, assaulted, and dishonoured by the social institutions and protectors of law. However, the female protagonist fights back from her marginalized position valiantly. On the other hand, Ray’s popular film, Aranyer Din Ratri portrays a subversive image of a tribal woman who appears as an object of the male gaze, whose purpose is to provide pleasure to the viewers hence presenting herself as an exotic and bizarre being of the primitive, enjoying the lustful stares of the male protagonists. In this paper, the difference in these two perceptions, in these two representations of the tribal women, the self-creating image of Dopdi, and the pleasure-giving image of Duli is studied and analyzed with the help of feminist studies and tribal literature studies discourses.

    Keywords: tribal, gender, primitive, urban, vegetation


               In terms of anthropology, the tribals are defined on the basis of some specific features. Firstly, tribals should be isolated ethnic groups residing far away from the mainland communities. ‘Primitiveness’ is inextricably associated with the tribal people. Besides having a low-density population, they should have their own society, their own political and administrative systems, their own economy and technology, their own religious and social ideals, and their own community rules and notions. All of these should be coloured in primitiveness which comes from their living in the extreme margins of the mainland, especially in India, which are densely populated by natural vegetation1. Living in the interiors of the forest gives a tone of primitiveness, savagery and old worldliness to their image in the minds of mainstream population. In India, the tribals are mainly the Adivasis which means native or age-old original natives. The original residents of the subcontinent, according to some earlier scholars, were the Dravidians. The view has been modified though. It is now argued that the original inhabitants of the country were the pre-Dravidian aborigines who were the ancestors of the present-day tribals or the Adivasis2. The origin of Dravidians is not purely Indian as their genetic evidence suggests that these Dravidian people had migrated to India from various lineages including Asia, Middle East and Africa3. There existed some Indigenous groups in India who saw the migration of the Dravidians into their land and that happened around 2600 BCE. Later when the Aryans migrated to India, which was around 1500 BCE, they witnessed a mixed population, the pre-Dravidian Munda aborigines amalgamated with the Dravidians4. The Aryans who considered themselves as the civilized ones, invaded the landmass and colonized over the natives. They ruled over them, imposing their language, culture, and traditions, and marginalized the original inhabitants of the country to the exteriors so that they get the central stage to rule and set up their empires. Since then, the country has been divided among two sections mainly--- the mainstream society and the isolated primitive society. This isolated status, being marginalized to the extreme borders of the land, where they are neglected and deprived of basic amenities of civilization, has continued throughout the ages, irrespective of whether the country was ruled by the Rajputs, Pathans, Jats, or Mughals, they remained marginalized forever. Their marginalized status continued even during the British rule and it somewhat worsened in the post-independence era. It was in the aftermath of India’s independence when the constitution started caring  about the tribals of India and the government tried to absorb them in the urban civilization by registering them to the reservations as defined by the constitution, in the different institutions of the society5. However, there arose the problem. The mixed origins or the mainstream Indians started to feel challenged and insecure, they who have always ruled over these marginalized lower-class people are to function in the society side by side with them6. The thought of absorbing the ‘primitive’ beings in their sophisticated civilization made the mainstreamers feel challenged and insecure for they felt they would soon lose their upper-hand status in their society. As a result, within the system, impediments and oppressors who in the name of protectors misused their powers to oppress the Adivasis or the tribal communities. This situation is well-evidently painted in Mahasweta Devi’s “Draupadi”.

    1. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/thethinkingcap/tribes-are-the-anthropological-genesis-of-indian-society-51537/

    2. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/India-largely-a-country-of-immigrants/article15127444.ece

    3. https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/where-indians-come-from-part-2-dravidians-and-aryans/

    4. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/India-largely-a-country-of-immigrants/article15127444.ece

    5. https://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/S000001AN/P001117/M013283/ET/145794602224ET.pdf

    6. https://epgp.inflibnet.ac.in/epgpdata/uploads/epgp_content/S000001AN/P001117/M013283/ET/145794602224ET.pdf



    The Consolidated Link: all panel discussions can be accessed here



    Project Assistant & Author: Haimanti Bagchi


    The intermediality7 caused due to the marginalized Indigenous communities, the intersectional spaces of discourse and the Adivasi representations in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been a space for many major recent interdisciplinary researches. The hegemonic politics of silencing the marginalized communities as ‘other’ and discerning their narrative as the mainstream need to be critically analysed in all aspects of culture, art and literature for a wider perspective. From history to ethnography, from music to literature, and from food to religion, the ‘othering’ of tribal discourse has been pragmatic in every context of life. The problematic spaces in the basic definition of ‘tribals’ or ‘Adivasis’ have created the ‘othering’, which has been a catalyst to constant alienation, silencing, and displacement of the ethnic identities concerning the ever-modifying boundaries by the urbanized psyche. The various approaches of detribalization through assimilation, in the name of integration and development have significantly overpowered the subaltern narratives, subduing the ethnic essence of the tribal culture. In the light of bringing out some significant interventions in the context of tribal discourse and tribal representations, the discussions raised substantial questions about the ethnic representation of the Adivasi communities with respect to their belief systems, practices, food systems8, Indigenous knowledge systems through their tales, lores, poems, cuisines, and other expressions of asserting their ethnic identities. The discussions delved into the intersections in the pursuit of understanding Indigenous identity and their positions and engagement in an urbanized-capitalized world.

    The digital panel discussions held under TMYS Review December 2023 revolved around the exploration of “Tribal Literature & Tribal Representation in Literature” within the broader context of “Tribal Identity & Culture”. The panel discussions were categorized under three overarching sub-themes:

    1. Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry by Tribal Writers.
    2. Tribal Characters in the Literary Works of Other Communities
    3. Positions, Circumstances and Battles of Tribal Women in Popular Fiction

    The four panel discussions under the first subtheme (Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry by Tribal Writers) were titled as:

    1. Ecocentrism as a Concurrent Theme: Role of Nature in Tribal Life and Literature.
    2. Evidence of Tribal Spirituality and Religion: Institutionalization of the Belief System.
    3. Indigenous Culinary Narratives: Traditional Recipes and Ingredients.
    4. Secrets of the Tribals: Totemism, Magic and Sorcery.

    Panelists from various interdisciplinary backgrounds, belonging to both Indigenous and non-indigenous communities delved into exhaustive discussions which brought out not only structured discourses from the academia but also from their lived experience and field works. Hence, the digital panel discussions brought about sincere multicultural, multidisciplinary, and intersectional exchanges, which were thought-provoking and shed light on some ‘trivial’ tribal positionalities and relevant spaces in the literature concerning Indigenous representations.

    The first topic titled, ‘Ecocentrism as a Concurrent Theme: Role of Nature in Tribal Life and Literature’ featured speakers namely, Dr. Walter Fernandes, Dr. Aashish Xaxa, and Bhogtoram Mawroh who focussed on bringing out how the Anthropocene age has pushed nature and its resources in the on-going crisis of climate change to the forefront. They further elaborated upon some significant ways in which Indigenous knowledge systems have been a source of understanding and creating a co-habiting space for all beings with their age-old wisdom which has often been shared through their oral narratives from one generation to another. The delegates also commenced an expansive discussion on how interdisciplinary dialogues are necessary to recalibrate eco-centrism to reconcile with the tribal wisdom and knowledge of the ongoing challenges of consumerism, displacement, and ecocide. The importance of understanding agro-biodiversity and Indigenous food systems to shift paradigms from the exploitation of ecology to co-habitation with nature was evaluated discursively.


    7. A generic  term for phenomena at the point of intersection between different media, or crossing their borders, or for their interconnection, typically in the context of digital media.

    8. The term “food systems” refers to all the elements and activities related to producing and consuming food, and their effects, including economic, health, and environmental outcomes.


    Author and Project Assistant: Shramana Biswas


    Tribal literature and the representation of tribal communities in mainstream literature have gained increasing attention in recent years as society is gradually becoming more aware of the diverse cultural tapestry that exists within its borders. Tribal literature refers to literary works produced by members of Indigenous or tribal communities, often reflecting their unique cultural, social, and historical experiences. These writings encompass a wide range of forms, including oral traditions, folklore, poetry, prose, and more, and they play a crucial role in preserving and sharing the rich heritage of these communities.

    One of the fundamental aspects of tribal literature is its ability to capture the essence of Indigenous cultures and histories. These literary works often serve as repositories of traditional knowledge, myths, rituals, and the collective wisdom of tribal societies. They are crucial in preserving languages that are at risk of becoming extinct and in maintaining a sense of cultural identity among tribal communities.

    Moreover, tribal literature has increasingly become a means of self-expression and empowerment for tribal writers. Through their works, these authors can challenge stereotypes, raise awareness about the struggles and challenges faced by their communities, and assert their presence in the broader literary landscape. This literature provides a platform for tribal voices to be heard and for their stories to be acknowledged and appreciated.

    For the current project, comprising three subthemes and four panels for each subtheme, discussions were organized by TMYS Review and invitations were extended to academicians, poets, and administrative authorities who possess either intrinsic tribal affiliations or have amassed considerable experiential insights in the domains of tribal literature and the tribal populace.

    The digital panel discussions held under TMYS Review December 2023 revolved around the exploration of “Tribal Literature & Tribal Representation in Literature” within the broader context of “Tribal Identity & Culture”. The panel discussions were categorized under three overarching sub-themes:

    1. Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry by Tribal Writers.
    2. Tribal Characters in the Literary Works of Other Communities
    3. Positions, Circumstances and Battles of Tribal Women in Popular Fiction

    The four panel discussions under the second subtheme (Tribal Characters in the Literary Works of Other Communities) were titled as:

    1. Stereotyping of Indigenous Community in Literature: Defamiliarizing and Othering of Identities
    2. Tribal Representation in Theology and Myth: Characters in Religious and Quasi-Religious Texts
    3. Cultural Misappropriation of Tribal Rituals: Agency and Autonomy of People and Practices
    4. Tribal Representation of Indian Epics: Significance and Symbolization

    The discourse on Tribal Literature and Tribal Representation in Literature was initiated by engaging Dr. Ward Churchill, Dr. Payel Dutta Chowdhury, and Dr. Juri Dutta in a panel discussion titled ‘Stereotyping of Indigenous Community in Literature: Defamiliarizing and Othering of Identities.’ The portrayal of Indigenous communities in literature has been a subject of both praise and criticism throughout history. While some authors have strived to depict these communities with authenticity and respect, others have perpetuated harmful stereotypes.


    Author and Project Assistant: Joyashree Dey


    The upsurge of marginalized literature was a result of the significant political and social changes over the last decade of the 20th century when diverse literary genres established their voices in popular culture to strengthen their social identities. The ethnic groups who raised questions about their identity in society were the tribes, Dalits, women, and peasants. Dalits and tribal communities have been preserving their cultural practices orally. The first settlers, who happened to be the Indigenous communities, were marginalized eventually.

    Tribal cultures reflect the earliest traditions of India that later had been significantly affected by rapid industrialization. Indigenous people have started losing their homes in the forest since the British law imposed on them (The Indian Forest Act of 1865) and later even in post-colonial India, they have endured enormous suffering since the Tribal communities were shut out of not only the development process but also their own homes. Tribal communities have been marginalized in almost every aspect of social life as a result of the main developmental processes that have produced inequitable social zones. The tribes thus lost both their identity and their means of subsistence. However, religion is one of the cultural elements that is least susceptible to change. Tribal literature, which carries a strong element of tribal awareness, is likewise vying for recognition in the world of academia. Tribal literature, more than simply presenting their songs and poems, represents the tribal identity as well as acts as a mode of preserving the traditions and the traditional modes of existence in the face of rising exploitation.

    The digital panel discussions held under TMYS Review December 2023, revolved around the exploration of “Tribal Literature & Tribal Representation in Literature” within the broader context of “Tribal Identity and Culture”. These discussions were categorized into three overarching sub-themes.

    1. Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry by Tribal Writers
    2. Tribal Characters in the Literary Works of Other Communities
    3. Position, Circumstances, and Battles of Tribal Women in Popular Fiction

    Through these debates, we strove to understand tribal culture and identity through multiple perspectives, rather than limiting our critical approach to specific generalized images, ideas, and theoretical frameworks. The third sub-theme, ‘Position, Circumstances and Battles of Tribal Women in Popular Fiction was divided further into five different topics for discussion:

    1. Objectification and Gendered Fantasy: Politics of Representation in Adivasi Narratives
    2. Indigenous Women Characters from North-east India: Impact of the Matrilineal Community on Authors and Audience
    3. Indigenous Women in War Narratives: Stories of Feminine Courage and Violation of Human Rights.
    4. Suppressed or Neglected Voices: Tribal Women Appearing as Marginalized and Peripheral Characters.
    5. Oral literature of the Gaddi Tribe: Culture, Ethnography, and Preservation of Undocumented texts.

    Delegates, from all over the world, from both Indigenous and non-indigenous communities, of diverse professional backgrounds and ideological comportments, gathered to share their perspectives on these topics, reiterating their relevance.

    The first topic titled, ‘Objectification and Gendered Fantasy: Politics of Representation in Adivasi Narratives’ featured speakers namely, Prof. N. Santha Naik and Dr. Suparna Banerjee who acknowledged the diverse ways in which objectification and gendered fantasies are intertwined within Adivasi narratives. By critically examining the portrayal of women, men, and non-binary individuals in Adivasi stories, they uncover hidden power dynamics and explore opportunities for narratives that celebrate agency, resilience, and empowerment. The politics of representation in Adivasi narratives carry immense significance. These narratives, whether oral traditions, literature, or visual art, possess the potential to challenge hegemonic paradigms and disrupt established norms.



    Amazon India link for TMYS Review December 2023 will be available here.

    (Available worldwide via Amazon)



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