Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Communities - many and small.

"I haven't met a single Marxist or Gandhian, Christian priest or Islamic maulvi , Vegan or Deep Ecologist , who does'nt think that their way is morally the highest way and sometimes the ONLY way . I am an absolute heterodox and an absolute theist."

(via Sunny Narang)

Verrier Elwin wrote – "The message of the ghotul – that youth must be served, that freedom and happiness are more to be treasured than any material gain, that friendliness and sympathy, hospitality and unity are of the first importance, and above all that human love – and its physical expression – is beautiful, clean and precious, is typically Indian."

I am all for thousands of customary laws and self-drawn out contracts . I abhor the concept of a single written constitution. For me it is just an extension of "People of the Book" . And anyways anyone with power changes it or hires expensive priests in black robes to find "upaya". And who applies it on the ground , some police , some prisons , and all such systems are corrupted and become barbaric and blind soon .

Humans and their collectives are made to experiment and make mistakes. So the smaller they are , the less harm they will bring . The bigger they are more World Wars we will have . So Small is ultimately safer , more diverse , ecologically more harmonious and less dangerous . A million tribes are better for me than 200 countries that rattle with weapon production and war machinery daily .

Just read about the many sub-tribes in one tribe known as the Adi tribe in Arunachal Pradesh. I traveled through Arunachal in 1989 . Loved their bamboo and cane everything , from bottles to suspension bridges . Arunachal is a living example of how there are multiple tribes with all having their own systems of organising society . From single chiefs , to village councils , to something that is divided by function like castes , to each having its own customary family and marriage customs .

I have never once in my life wanted to "civilise or convert" anyone thinking my way is the way that is better . One can at best first try and deeply understand the community, its understanding of life , nature , cosmos and knowledge , men-women , family web of relationships and then reflect on one's own , and then try a dialogue.

I explore with people what their rules and habits are, and then see what can make it better or deeper in continuous communication with them. That is something the west, the missionaries of any religion or ideology do not have . So "violence" of thought is actually an human impulse . Just the concept that ONE sect has better knowledge and can exterminate or exploit , transform or flatten another sect is the foundation of war .

As an Islamic Sufi artisan once told me , that "Jang to hogi hi" and that Sufism is meant for too few in any time.
I haven't met a single Marxist or Gandhian, Christian priest or Islamic maulvi , Vegan or Deep Ecologist , who does'nt think that their way is morally the highest way and sometimes the ONLY way .

I am an absolute heterodox and an absolute theist . I believe human creativity knows no bounds and every human relationship has its infinite possibilities, and anyone who creates or forms their sects are welcome to it, as long as we have freedom to move in and out . The sect has absolute right to throw me out if I do not respect its customs, just as in any constitution or party like AAP !

My first reading on the Tribes of the North-East was by Verrier Elwin , his documentation on the NEFA tribes . Verrier Elwin (29 August 1902 – 22 February 1964) was an English self-trained anthropologist, ethnologist and tribal activist, who began his career in India as a Christian missionary. He was a controversial figure who first abandoned the clergy, to work with Mohandas Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, then converted in Hinduism in 1935 after staying a Gandhian ashram, split with the nationalists over what he felt was an overhasty process of transformation and assimilation for the tribals. Elwin is best known for his early work with the Baigas and Gonds of central India, and he married a member of one of the communities he studied there, though he also worked on the tribals of several North East Indian states especially North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and settled in Shillong later in life, apart from Orissa and Madhya Pradesh

The Adi, or Bangni-Bokar Lhoba people are found in the temperate and sub-tropical regions within the districts of East Siang, Upper Siang, West Siang and Dibang Valley and Southern Tibet. The Adis have two main divisions, (The Bogums and Bomis) and under each there are a number of sub-tribes. the Minyonfs, Karkos, Shimongs, Bomdo, Janbos, Panggis, Palibos, Bogums, Padams, Milangs and so on from one group; while the Gallong and seven other groups constitute another group of Adis.
They have well organised village council called ‘Kebang’.
Adi society has two types of dormitories – for the boys it is called Moshup and for girls it is called Rasheng. Moshup is a house for the unmarried boys which are constructed by the villagers. The children of ten years and above can become member of the Moshups. They believe that this system develops the spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and adjustment and fellow feeling among the children. There are different Merum or cells in the Moshups. Each belong to a particular Merum and sleeps in it. Rasheng is comparatively smaller and is constructed in the middle of the village. A senior girl becomes the in charge of this house.

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