TMYS Review December 2023

in collaboration with





For the years 2023-25  TMYS Review is working on the theme of TRIBAL IDENTITY & CULTURE. It started with the June 2023 project of TMYS Review which worked on Tribal History and Tribal Representation in History.

TMYS Review December 2023 will explore Tribal Literature and Tribal Representation in Literature - and their contribution in shaping cultural identity and ideology. The project will focus on three sub-themes:





Call for Submissions

Stories, Poems and Essays on


Based on any of the three sub-themes defined above.

Selected contributions will be compiled into Ebooks & paperback publications for TMYS Review December 2023.




‘Culture’ and ‘Identity’ are very closely knit words that mutually affect each other. One cannot be defined without the other, but there stands a prominent difference between the two. One is easily captured in perceptible means of expression, such as festivities, marital unions, and rituals. The other is an idea. More than having an identity, we have a sense of our identity, a perception of our identity giving rise to individual identity and collective identity. We are divided on lines of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion but essentially all these elements are pointing towards one’s identity.

Those who have a distinct sense of identity can be considered as privileged here. This project takes into consideration a section of people who have struggled to secure a better sense of self and identity. They have been relegated to the margins of the Indian Sub-continent and broadly classified as “Scheduled Tribes”.

Their history goes back to several thousand years when they occupied a large part of the Indian subcontinent. Gradually they were pushed to the hills and margins where they continue to reside till date. It would be difficult to mark the commencement of tribal literature on a timeline but its origin can be traced to the British colonial rule in India. During that time many tribes gained an access to modern education. They started writing in English and many other Indian languages like Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Telegu and others, and have been making a considerable continuous progress since then (‘Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation’). They also write in their indigenous languages which have been divided into broad categories of Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman, Dravidian, and Indo-Aryan groups (Sharma). In India, there are more than 700 ethnic groups comprising around 9 percent of the total population, which have been deemed Scheduled Tribes for the purpose of the Constitution. The term ‘Adivasi’ is used for tribes, meaning the indigenous people or original inhabitants, where Adi stands for ‘the earliest time’ and Vasi for ‘the resident or inhabitant’ (‘Adivasis’).

Tribal communities are often identified by States in language that signals ‘primitive’ traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and “backwardness”. Some descriptions focus on specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population, extremely low level of literacy and poor exposure because of barriers in communication. These groups are recognized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (‘Vikaspedia Domains’). It is worth noting that official descriptions do not always represent the perspectives or ambitions of communities, and the ways in which identities evolve over time (Parmar). Many stories and experiences therefore remain undocumented.

Despite their rich history and cultural heritage, little is known about the Scheduled Tribes. They have kept their tradition thriving through oral stories and folklores. Their narrative is representative of their societal structure, community rituals and culture, socio-political movements and mythology. The specific term for the literature of, for and by the tribals differs throughout the world. We have the different literary categories like the Native American Literature, Black Literature, Coloured Literature, Slave narratives, Aboriginal Literature, Tribal Literature and such. The term “Adivasi Literature” is commonly used in Hindi and other Indian languages (‘Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation’) however a major percentage of the available Adivasi literature is written by the privileged echelons of society, which is the so-called upper caste non-Adivasi writers (Poyam).

 In India, we have only 22 languages included in the eighth schedule of the constitution and there are around 900 dialects (‘Languages Included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution | Department of Official Language | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI’). Translation is one of the major means through which the stories of the aboriginal tribes can reach the mainstream media. Even though the mainstream non-Adivasi writers of tribal literature divide their stories as oral and written narratives, the Adivasis prefer to use a common term “Orature” to represent the egalitarian nature of their communities and thus their narratives (‘Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation’). It is quite alarming to note that many indigenous languages are endangered due to the lack of recognition and support. These ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’ (‘Vikaspedia Domains’) have very little written/documented by their own people. This also highlights the urgency of translating the available vernacular tribal literary texts in English and other languages to ensure these stories continue to live.


(Authored by Chandna Singh Nirwan)

Works Cited

“Adivasi Literature | Pyara Kerketta Foundation.”, Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.

“Adivasis.” Minority Rights Group, Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.

“Languages Included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution | Department of Official Language | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI.”,

Parmar, Pooja. “Undoing Historical Wrongs: Law and Indigeneity in India.” Osgoode Hall Law Journal, vol. 49, no. 3, 2012, pp. 491-525. Accessed 8 Jan. 2023.

Poyam, Akash. “Ten Voices from Adivasi Literature.” The Caravan, Accessed 16 Oct. 2022.

Sharma, R. S. “The Linguistic Background.” India’s Ancient Past, Jan. 2007, pp. 45–49,

“Vikaspedia Domains.”, 2022,



TMYS Review December 2023 aims at exploring the role of  “Tribal Literature & Tribal Representation in Literature ” - and their contribution in shaping Tribal Identity and Culture, adhering to the below mentioned sub-themes:






Under the scope of the project, PANEL DISCUSSIONS (topics and panelists are listed below, please scroll down) are organised with senior scholars, professors, researchers, authors, journalists and other professionals who have worked extensively on such contexts falling under the three sub-themes listed above and have minutely studied their history, culture, occurrence, circumstances and more. This project endeavours to add to the existing body of study materials on this subject.



1. Youth engagement with a network of entities that have researched or contributed towards exposing the hidden and/or understanding the complicated dimensions of the theme (and sub-themes).

2. To curate critical insights for global learning and inspiration on the social, political and personal dynamics of Tribal Literature & Tribal Representation in Literature shaping Tribal Identity and Culture.

3. Invite attention towards the historical and contemporary practices that have influenced generations, impacted the society, the economy, the present and future of countries. 



1. TMYS Review December 2023 invites essays, short stories or poems on the mentioned theme; the submission must cater to one of the sub-themes.

2. Carefully curated panel discussions on the sub-themes will be hosted live on TMYS social media.  

Please scroll below for DIGITAL CONVERSATIONS for the titles and the delegate speakers.

3. Submissions citing one or more discussions from the DIGITAL CONVERSATION/S for information and inputs will carry additional weightage.

4.  A selection of short stories, essays and poems will be published in TMYS Review December 2023. The issue will be available in ebook and paperback formats across the world, distributed via Amazon.

5. All submissions under the anthology will enter as nominations for the RUPA AWARD for TMYS Review, 2023 under our annual Awards programme, where Rupa Publications will honour FOUR submissions from the TMYS Review projects with one specially curated gift hamper each.

6. All submissions under the anthology will enter as nominations for the UVIC AWARD for TMYS Review, 2023 under our annual Awards programme, where the Global South Colloquium, University of Victoria will honour FOUR submissions from TMYS Review with cash awards of INR 3000/- (USD36) each.

7. Four selected contributions per year will receive Letters of Excellence from the Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives (CAPI), University of Victoria.

*All selections will be made purely on the basis of the merits of the submission.

** Winners of all the awards/rewards will be announced after December 2023.



1. TMYS Review December 2023 invites short stories, poems or essays on the above-mentioned theme. All submissions to TMYS Review that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.

2. The submissions MUST justify either or more of the sub-themes mentioned above. The content doesn't need to restrict to Indian situations. We welcome contributions on and from other parts of the world.

3. Selected submissions will be published in TMYS Review December 2023 (ebook and paperback, distributed via Amazon).

4. The contributors are free to refer to our digital conversations with the delegates (details above). At the end of the submission files, the citation must mention the referred talks if consulted, in the following format. Submissions with such citations will carry greater weightage for selection/recognition.

Chandra, Nishita, Somrita Urni Ganguly and Sarmila Paul. “Gendered Subjectivities Governing Nutrition Patterns”. Religious History of Food Consumption Series. “Cultural Identity & Ideology (II)”. Interview by Stella Chitralekha Biswas. TMYS Review. 5 June 2022,

PN. the order: (i) Names of panelists - surname of the panelist that comes first in alphabetical order, followed by the names of other panelists (ii) session topic (iii) sub-theme (iv) annual theme (v) interviewer name (vi) TMYS Review in italics (vii) date of discussion (viii) link of discussion.

5. The short stories could be fiction or nonfiction, 1200-2000 words.

The essays should be 2500-3000 words. Essay submissions should be accompanied by an Abstract (no more than 300 words). Works cited in essays should follow MLA9 format.

Submission upto 5 poems will be accepted against each registration.

6. Last date of submission: 10 August 2023

7. All submissions should be accompanied with the bio-brief (around 150 words, written in third person) and photograph of the author. Mentioning the social media links (Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter/Instagram) of the contributors in the email body is encouraged; it will help us to tag when we promote the submissions.

8. All submissions should be word files, attached and emailed to; while making a submission, mention in the subject line <the title of the essay/story/poem, name of the delegate speaker in citation (if it applies) and December 2023.

9. All submissions should use Calibri/Times New Roman, font size 12; font size 16 for headings and font size 14 for sub headings if any. Line spacing : 1.5.

10. Only original and previously unpublished work will be considered.

11. A participation fee of INR 300/- (USD 5 for contributors outside India) will be charged per contribution. 

This is a  non-refundable fee, but we will do our best to cooperate in case you have made an error that can be corrected to help you resubmit.  In each such case, our decision will be final.

Tell Me Your Story OPC Pvt. Ltd.
A/c no : 059685800000177, Yes Bank.  Branch - Shankardhan Plaza Junction, MM Road, Mulund West, Mumbai 400080, IFS Code : YESB0000596.

Contributors outside India can send us an email and we shall raise a Paypal link for them.

Post making the payment, please send a mail at to register yourself.

***Registration doesn't guarantee publication*** 

12. Simultaneous/multiple submissions are accepted, with the same fee for each submission.

13. Decision of the Project Delegate/s, the Project Team and the Editors will be final.

14. Contact for Queries : write QUERIES in subject line and send us an email at; we apologise in advance for not responding to obvious or irrelevant queries.




TMYS Facebook LIVE with global thought-leaders. Topics are listed below.




1. Ecocentricism as a Concurrent Theme: Role of Nature in Tribal Life and Literature  

Delegate Speakers:  Walter Fernandes Aashish Xaxa Bhogtoram Mawroh

Date & Time: 31 May 6.30 pm IST.

2. Evidence of Tribal Spirituality and Religion: Institutionalization of the Belief System 

Delegate Speakers:  Subhadra Mitra Channa Ananya Dutta Gupta Geetika Ranjan

Date & Time: 6 August 7pm IST.

3. Indigenous Culinary Narratives: Traditional Recipes and Ingredients

Delegate Speakers:  Mita Kapur Sayan Dey Rekha Sarin

Date & Time: 28 July 6pm IST.

4. Secrets of the Tribals: Totemism, Magic and Sorcery

Delegate Speakers:  Anand Neelakantan Sawani Shetye Nitin Kushalappa 

Date & Time: 14 July 6pm IST.


(II).  Tribal Characters in the Literary Works of Other Communities (Organised by Shramana Biswas).


1. Stereotyping of Indigenous Community in Literature: Defamiliarising and Othering of Identities

Delegate Speakers: Juri Dutta Payel Dutta Chowdhury Ward Churchill

Date & Time: 3 June 8pm IST; 8:30 a.m MT.

2. Cultural Mis-appropriation of Tribal Rituals: Agency and Autonomy of People and Practices

Delegate Speakers: Tanka B. Subba Sanjukta Das Gupta A. B. Ota Pravir Krishna

Date & Time: 2 July 6pm IST; 2:30 p.m CET.

3. Tribal Representation in Indian Epics: Significance and Symbolizations

Delegate Speakers: Utkarsh Patel Neha Bansal

Date & Time: 30 July 7pm IST.

4. Tribal Representation in Theology & Myth: Characters in Religious and Quasi-Religious Texts

Delegate Speakers: Anway Mukhopadhyay Ivy Imogene Hansdak

Date & Time: 24 June 6pm IST; 2.30pm CEST.


(III.)  Position, Circumstances & Battles of Tribal Women in Popular Fiction.  (Organised by Joyashree DEY).

1. Objectification and Gendered Fantasy: Politics of Representation in Adivasi Narratives

Delegate Speakers:  Suparna Banerjee N. Shantha Naik

Date & Time: 8 June 7.30pm IST.

2. Indigenous Women Characters from North-east India: Impact of the Matrilineal Community on Authors and Audience

Delegate Speakers:  Sajal Nag Rosy Chamling Arunima Goswami Kalpana Bora

Date & Time: 22 June 7.30pm IST.

3. Indigenous Women in War Narratives: Stories of Feminine Courage and Violation of Human Rights.

Delegate Speakers:  Margo Tamez Saroja Sowmya Ayyar Moupia Basu Rianka Sarkar

Date & Time: TBD

4. Suppressed or Neglected Voices: Tribal Women appearing as Marginalized and Peripheral Characters

Delegate Speakers:  K. M. Metry Streamlet Dkhar

Date & Time: 5 June 8pm IST.

5. Oral literature of the Gaddi Tribe: Culture, Ethnography and Preservation of Undocumented texts

Delegate Speakers:  Stephen Christopher Reeta Purhaan

Date & Time: 11 June 4pm IST; 12.30pm CEST.