[pib] Chavang Kut Festival
- Chavang Kut the post-harvest festival of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities is being celebrated across North-Eastern states with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.
- The festival marks the Anglo-Kuki war centenary year.
- In Manipur, Mizoram and Assam and other parts of the country, the festival is organized every year as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.
- It is one of the most important festivals of Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities. It is a state holiday in Manipur.
Note: Not to be confused with Chapchar Kut
- The Chapchar Kut is a festival of Mizoram, India. It is a spring festival celebrated with great favour and gaiety.
- It is celebrated during March after completion of their most arduous task of jhum operation i.e., jungle-clearing.
Explained: Naga Peace Talks
- The deadline set by the Centre for wrapping up the Naga peace talks, October 31, arrives this week.
- While the Centre’s interlocutor and now Nagaland’s Governor, R N Ravi, has stressed that some key issues remain unresolved with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN(I-M).
What are the Naga peace talks?
- The talks seek to settle disputes that date back to colonial rule.
- The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood
- One key demand of Naga groups has been a Greater Nagalim that would cover not only the state of Nagaland but parts of neighbouring states, and even of Myanmar.
Rise of Naga nationalism
- The British had annexed Assam in 1826, in which they subsequently created the Naga Hills district and went on to extend its boundaries.
- The assertion of Naga nationalism, which began during British rule, has continued after Independence, and even after Nagaland became a state.
- Along the way, the unresolved issues gave rise to decades of insurgency that claimed thousands of lives, including of civilians.
How has the Naga assertion played out historically?
- The earliest sign of Naga resistance dates back to 1918, with the formation of the Naga Club.
- In 1929, the Club famously told the Simon Commission “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
- In 1946, A Z Phizo formed the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Naga independence on August 14, 1947, and then, in 1951, claimed to have conducted a referendum.
- The referendum got overwhelming majority in support of an independent Naga state.
- By the early 1950s, the NNC had taken up arms and gone underground.
- The NNC split in 1975, the breakaway group being the NSCN, which split further in later years, most prominently into the NSCN(I-M) and NSCN (Khaplang) in 1988.
And how have the peace talks played out in recent years?
Before the ongoing talks, which followed a framework agreement in 2015, there were two other agreements between Naga groups and the Centre.
- A peace accord was signed in Shillong in which the NNC leadership agreed to give up arms.
- Several NNC leaders, including Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah and S S Khaplang refused to accept the agreement and broke away to form the NSCN.
- In 1988 came another split, with Khaplang breaking away to form the NSCN(K) while Isak and Muivah headed the NSCN(I-M).
- The NSCN(I-M ) signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1997, preceded by rounds of talks since 1995.
- The key agreement was that there would be no counter-insurgency offensive against the NSCN(I-M), who in turn would not attack Indian forces.
- The NSCN(I-M) had then announced to “every citizen of Nagalim wherever they may be”, that a ceasefire agreement was entered into between India and the outfit to bring about a lasting political solution.
- In August that year, the Centre signed a framework agreement with the NSCN(I-M).
- PM Modi described it as a “historic agreement” towards settling the “oldest insurgency” in India. This set the stage for the ongoing peace talks.
- In 2017, six other Naga armed outfits under the banned of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) joined the talks.
- Today, Muivah remains the senior-most Naga rebel leader. Isak died in 2016. In the NSCN(-K), its leader Khaplang died in 2018.
What was in the framework agreement?
- The government has not yet spelt out the details in public.
- Following the agreement, the government had said in a press statement: “The Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations.
- The NSCN understood and appreciated the Indian political system and governance.
- On the other hand, the NSCN(I-M) issued a statement earlier this year which said that Nagaland State does and will not represent the national decision of the Naga people.
- The statement was in opposition the proposal for a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) in the state of Nagaland.
Where does the territorial demand currently stand?
- The accord being finalised “does not change the boundary of states; provides autonomous Naga territorial councils for Arunachal and Manipur; a common cultural body for Nagas across states.
- It provides for specific institutions for state’s development, integration and rehabilitation of non-state Naga militia and the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
- The map of Greater Nagalim in the NSCN(IM) vision, on the other hand, covers a 1,20,000 sq km sprawl across the Northeast and Myanmar — the area of Nagaland state itself is only 16,527 sq km, a fraction of this vision.
- Amid the anxiety this has caused among citizens in neighbouring states, state governments have assured them that their respective states’ territorial integrity would not be compromised.
What are the other issues?
- The government and the NSCN(I-M) have failed to agree on issues relating to a separate Naga flag and a constitution.
- In its latest statement, the NSCN(I-M) has said it will not budge from the demand for the flag and the constitution — and that it is looking for a lasting solution.
- However the NSCN(I-M) has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution.
Where could the disagreement lead to?
- The statement from the Governor’s office has given rise to speculation that the government is ready to sign a final peace agreement with other groups without the NSCN(I-M), the largest group.
- Civil society groups in Nagaland are divided in their opinion.
- Some have said the talks should be wrapped up with whatever is offered now and keep other issues open for later negotiations.
- Others believe all issues should be settled and the NSCN(I-M) should be on board, even if it takes longer than the deadline.
Explained: Rising tensions between Nagas and Kukis
- Few groups of the Kuki militants have sought the intervention of PM Modi to subdue the rising tension between the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur.
What is the cause of recent tensions?
- Tensions between the Kukis and Nagas are not new, and in light of them building up again, the Manipur government ordered that the stone memorials be taken down.
- The centenary the Anglo-Kuki War was celebrated by a Committee under the aegis of Kuki Inpi Churachandpur (KIC).
- The KIC which is the apex body of Kuki people in various northeastern states, asked all Kuki villages to install memorial stones with the inscription,
- But Naga bodies objected to the Kukis installing these stone memorials on the Naga’s ancestral land.
The Anglo-Kuki War
- Before the British came in, the Kukis had been one of the dominant tribes of hill areas surrounding Imphal during the rule of the Maharajas of Manipur.
- The Kukis exercised full control over their territory until then.
- Therefore, the Anglo-Kuki War was essentially a war for the independence and liberation of the Kukis from the imperialists.
- The war had unified the efforts of Kukis living in northeast India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- Even so, the state of Manipur had already lost its independence to the Britishers in 1891 and became free only after India became independent in 1947.
- The Anglo-Kuki War began when the Britishers asked the Kukis to get enrolled in their labour corps in France and the latter resisted.
Naga claims it as rebellion
- The Nagas claimed that the Kukis have been trying to distort history as there has been no “Anglo-Kuki War” but a “Kuki Rebellion” in 1917.
- The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of the Nagas of Manipur, asserted that the Kuki rebellion against the British was for labour recruitment drive under the Labour Corps Plan.
- Following this, the Nagas conveyed to the state government to take appropriate steps such that the history of Manipur is not distorted.
What has been the reason for Kuki-Naga clashes in the past?
I. Reorganization of Manipur
- After the conclusion of the Anglo-Kuki War in 1919, for administrative and logistical ease, the state of Manipur was divided into four areas.
- It included Imphal, Churachandpur, Tamenglong (that was inhabited by the Kukis, Kabui Nagas and Katcha Nagas) and Ukhrul (that was inhabited by Kukis and the Tangkhul Nagas).
- The reorganization of Manipur is cited to be the most central result of the war.
- The Kuki chiefs who were not used to any bureaucratic control in the earlier now had to function bureaucratically.
- Furthermore, it is believed that Kukis came to Manipur in the late 18th/early 19th century from neighbouring Myanmar.
- While some of the Kukis settled next to the Myanmar border, others settled in Naga villages, which ultimately became a contentious issue between the two tribes.
- The relationship between the two worsened during the colonial period and reached a low point during the Anglo-Kuki war, referred to as a “dark period” in the oral history of the Tangkhul Nagas.
- Essentially, identity and land govern their ethnic conflict.
Galo community in Arunachal Pradesh
- Members of the Galo community in Arunachal Pradesh can recall the name of their ancestor from 20 generations, and this is made possible by their system of naming.
- At about 1.5 lakh people, the Galos are one of the 26 major communities of Arunachal Pradesh, and dominate West Siang, Lepa Rada and Lower Siang districts.
- They have a big population in East Siang, Upper Subansiri and Namsai districts too.
- The Galos belong to the Tani group inhabiting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, besides Tibet.
- They trace their common origin to a primeval ancestor, Abotani.
- But unlike the Mising (Assam), Adi, Apatani, Nyishi and Tagin, the other communities, only the Galos maintain genealogy through given names.
- They have a system of prefixing the second syllable of a father’s name to that of a son, who passes on the suffix in his name to his son.
- Hence they can trace the names of ancestors from the first syllable or prefix of our names,.
- They have nine sub-clans: Angu, Bagra, Doji, Kamnyi, Karso, Naho, Ngomdir, Rasa or Rame, and Yorsi or Kamsi. The numbers of sub-clans of the other clans vary.
[pib] Museums for Tribal Freedom Fighters
- The Govt. has decided to up six museums dedicated to tribal freedom fighters in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
- The particulars of museums sanctioned, location of museum and tribal freedom fighters / heroes associated with the museum are as under:
|Sl. No.||Name of State||Location of Museum||Tribal Freedom Fighters / Heroes|
|1||Gujarat||Garudeshwar, Rajpipla||Prominent freedom fighters from across the country|
|2||Chhattisgarh||Raipur||Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh|
|4||Andhra Pradesh||Lammasingi||Shri Alluri Seetha Ram Raju|
|5||Madhya Pradesh||Chhindwara||TantyaBheel, Bheema Nayak, KhajayaNayak,etc.|
|7||Manipur||Makhal Village, Senapati||Rani Gaidinliu|
New plants species with healing properties found in Manipur
- Scientists have identified new plants species in Manipur, whose medicinal or pharmacology properties were not known yet.
Traditional medicines of Zeliangrong Tribals
- Scientists identified plants like Gynuracusimbua, Hedyotisscandens, Mussaendaglabra and Schimawallichii whose medicinal usage are reported for the first time and its pharmacological properties are not explored so far.
- The researchers documented 145 medicinal plants that the healers use for treating 59 ailments.
- They also found that the ethnic group used more than 40 species for treating more than one ailment.
- In most cases, native healers were found using leaves as a primary ingredient in their formulation, owing to the year-round availability.
- Additionally, they practice some uncommon methods such as using of guava leaves along with other medicinal plants for treating cold and fever.
- Healers of this tribal group were also found using some rare and vulnerable species like Piperarunachalensis without being aware of the status of these plants.
About Zeliangrong ethnic group
- Zeliangrong people are one of the major indigenous Naga communities living in the tri-junction of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland in India.
- The term “Zeliangrong” refers to the Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei Naga tribes combined together.
- Earlier, the term also covered the Inpui tribe.
- The proper noun Zeliangrong does not denote a tribe but, rather, a union of tribes or, rather, the apex tribe of three aforementioned tribes (Zeme Naga, Liangmai Naga, Rongmei Naga).
Wild Food Plants
Wild food plants (WFPs)
- WFPs which are neither cultivated nor domesticated constitute a special category.
- They grow wild in forests as well as in farmlands and are harvested by local people as sources of food.
- The tradition of eating WFPs, to augment staple food crops, continues in the present day.
- For forest- dwelling communities, forests remain the main source of food, nutrition, and livelihoods even today.
- The Soliga tribe is one such community in the Western Ghats who use their indigenous tradition of eating WFPs, to augment staple food crops
Soligas and their traditional knowledge
- The Soligas are one of few remaining forest-dwelling tribes in and around the forests of Biligiri Ranganath (BR) Hills, MM Hills, and Bandipur in Karnataka and the Sathyamangalam forests in Tamil Nadu.
- The study revealed that the diversity of WFPs consumed by the Soligas evolved over generations as a survival strategy.
- They relate the usage of WFPs to seasonal plant availability and the status of resources.
- These tribals can even predict the availability of WFPs with respect to micro-climatic changes, indicating a long-term intimate knowledge of their surroundings.
- In addition to their role in balancing food baskets of the poor, WFPs play an important role in maintaining the nutritional and livelihood security for forest communities during periods of drought or scarcity.
Examples of WFPs
- According to Soligas, they get a variety of mushrooms, tender bamboo shoots, and fruits like Jamune, Karanada, wood apple, custard apple and several varieties of leaves during the rainy season.
- Honey and tubers like Dioscorea, makal and many ceropegia are harvested throughout the year.
- In the hot dry summers, the Soligas use leaves and fruits like mango, jackfruit, amla, bel and tamarind.
- Except rice, another staple food of Soligas which they grow, the forests give them everything else.
- For example, edible leaves such as Kaddisoppu and Javanesoppu available in the forest have a very high content of pro-vitamin A (Beta Carotene), anti-oxidants and soluble protein.
- It is found that the leaves are rich in digestible iron, zinc, and manganese as well.
- Tubers and fruits from the forest that are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidant, are in high demand in local markets.
- Some of the tubers and mushrooms also have high iron, zinc, vitamins and anti-oxidant content that is vital for nutritional security.
Threats to WFPs
- Despite their role in food security, forests are mostly left out of policy decisions related to food security and nutrition.
- Forest foods are in high demand, both in tribal community markets and nearby rural markets.
- Though this may appear an opportunity for economic empowerment of tribal communities, if not managed, over-harvesting could lead to degradation of the forests and ultimately, disappearance of these very species.
- Activities such as stone quarrying, mining and development pose grave threats to WFPs.
- The other threat is from commercial monoculture plantations on forestland under afforestation and social forestry programmes, which are crowding out these wild species.
- For WFPs to be preserved for posterity, the forests must be co-managed by tribal communities.
- For the tribal communities, the forest is not just a source of food, but is also a part of their identity.
- Their way of life is respectful of nature and recognizes diversity in its different manifestations.
- The tribal community’s relationship with the forest is one of belonging rather than ownership.
- Community forest management is good for the health of the forests.
- Implementation of India’s landmark 2006 Forest Rights Act that offers provisions to involve communities in safeguarding forest resources and developing co-management plans is needed.
[op-ed snap] Leave them alone: on the Sentinelese
Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus
From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Sentinelese and other tribes of Andaman
Mains level: Need of special safeguards for isolated tribes
Killing of a US citizen by Sentinelese tribe
- The death of a young American man at the hands of the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has led to dangerous lines of debate
- Some have called for the Sentinelese to be convicted and punished and others have urged that they be integrated into modern society
- Both these demands are misguided, and can only result in the extinction of a people
- The Sentinelese are perhaps the most reclusive community in the world today
- Their language is so far understood by no other group and they have traditionally guarded their island fiercely, attacking most intruders with spears and arrows
Special safeguards for the Sentinelese
- There is a reason why no one — whether missionary, scholar, adventurer, U.S. citizen or Indian — is allowed to venture near North Sentinel Island without permission, which is given only in the rarest of circumstances and with meticulous precautions in place to ensure that the Sentinelese are not disturbed
- Having lived in isolation in an island in the Bay of Bengal for thousands of years, the Sentinelese have no immunity or resistance to even the commonest of infections
- Various degrees of protection are in place for the indigenous people of A&N Islands, but it is complete in the case of the Sentinelese
- The administration enforces “an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ policy to ensure that no poachers enter the island”
- A protocol of circumnavigation of the island is in place, and the buffer maintained around the island is enforced under various laws
Need of restraint
- At the heart of the issue is the survival of the Sentinelese
- According to the 2011 Census, their population was just 15 — though anthropologists like T.N. Pandit, who made contact with them in the 1960s, put the figure at 80-90
- This degree of ignorance about the Sentinelese often sparks an Orientalist public discourse, instead of understanding the dangers of trying to physically overpower them
- A foreigner’s death is a cautionary incident — for the danger of adventurism, and for the administration to step up oversight
- But it is also an occasion for the country to embrace its human heritage in all its diversity and to empathetically try to see the world from the eyes of it’s most vulnerable inhabitants
Nuakhai celebrated across western Odisha
- Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Odisha in India.
- The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice.
- It is observed to welcome the new rice of the season.
- During the festival, the head of the family worships the household deity, offering rice and other food items. He then distributes the prashad among the family members.
- Apart from the rituals of offering the new crop to the deity, the ‘Nuakhai Juhar’ is a major ritual of the festival, which is an exchange of greetings with friends, relatives and well-wishers.
The Apatani tribe from Arunachal Pradesh
- A small tribe in Arunachal Pradesh has been able to defeat modern technological advancements in terms of environment conservation.
- The Apatanis from Ziro have a unique lifestyle that focuses on living in harmony with nature.
- Ziro is home to the tribal group called the Apatanis which is one amongst the very few tribes in the world that worship nature (Sun & Moon).
- In April 2014, Apatani Cultural Landscape has also been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for “extremely high productivity” and “unique” ways of preserving ecology.
Why do you think women have those nose plugs?
How to Manage the Food-Forest Nexus: Lessons from Dongria Kondh
Scattered across 240 sq km on the remote Niyamgiri hill range in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, an ancient tribal group known as the Dongria Kondh have earned themselves a reputation as trailblazers. Why?
The Dongria Kondh set an example in 2013 to millions of tribal people around the world when they fought and won a case with a British mining giant that invested close to a billion dollars in a bauxite extraction operation in this mineral-rich area.
What next? The twin issues of hunger and deforestation
- Their varied and nutritious diet, which includes over 25 species of plants, comes directly from the forests.
- But rampant deforestation for large-scale infrastructure projects, coupled with monoculture plantations of fast-growing trees to supply timber and paper industries with raw materials, have reduced food availability.
- But fikr not! Look up to Niyamgiri hills for a lesson on an alternative economic model, one based on community management and control of land and resources.
Traditional fervour marks Nongkrem Dance
- Nongkrem Dance Festival is performed to appease the all- powerful Goddess, ‘Ka Blei Synshar’ for a rich bumper harvest & general prosperity.
- The festival is celebrated during autumn at Smit, the cultural centre of the Khasi Hills.
- The Khasis are a tribe of Meghalaya, who also celebrate the ripening of paddy for threshing, by dances and songs.
- The folk dances capture the movements of everyday life as well as animals and birds.
The first National Tribal Festival - Vanaj
- Organised by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram.
- The aim was to bridge the gaps of social divide and promote tribal culture in India.
- More than 900 folk and tribal artists participated.
Tip: In 2014, India held the biodiversity express and some questions in the Prelims were sitters from the brochure itself.