The English word for ‘adivasi’ is ‘indigenous’ people. Some call them ‘tribal people’. Usually they live in forests and have their own culture, which is usually different from the culture of the plains. In many of the states of India, tribal people are lagging behind in all indicators of development except the sex ratio.
In many states including Odisha which has 22 per cent tribal population (the country’s tribal population is about 8.6 per cent of the total population), Adivasi Mela (Tribal Fair) is organised to showcase their culture and products. People, usually from urban areas visit these fairs, look at the tribal men and women wearing their traditional clothes and jewellery, try their food and buy stuff produced and made by them.
When I see the tribal men and women in this type of set up- I have a mixed feeling. Are the organisers showcasing them? Do people go to the mela (fair) to ‘see’ them as we go to the zoo to ‘see’ exotic animals? Is it not demeaning? From a different angle, this probably gives them an opportunity to come to the big city and ‘see’ the city life. Perhaps this is the first step of ‘mainstreaming’ them.
Then again is the ‘mainstreaming’ necessary? Can’t they be left alone to pursue their way of life?
I am not sure of either.
(Adivasi girls at the Adivasi Mela, Bhubaneswar.Photo: Ashok Panda)
Media Literacy and Democracy
Media Literacy is the capacity to access, analyse and evaluate the power of the images, sounds and messages with which we are faced every day and which play an important role in contemporary culture. It includes the individual capacity to communicate using the media competently. Media literacy concerns all media, including television, film, radio and recorded music, the press, the Internet, any other digital communication technology, alternative and traditional media. The purpose of media literacy is to raise the level of awareness of the different guises taken on by the messages transmitted by the media that we find in our lives every day. This must help citizens to recognize how media filter their perceptions and convictions, mould popular culture and influence personal decisions. It should provide citizens with the capacity for critical analysis as well as creative problem-solving capacities, turning them into aware productive consumers of information themselves.
As media academician McChesney says, the problem we face with a hyper-commercial, profit obsessed media system is that it does a lousy job of producing citizens in a democracy. A solution is real media literacy education that doesn‘t just make people more informed consumer of commercial fare, but makes them understand how and why the media system works- so they may be critics, citizens and active participants.
The important question is: are media teaching institutions in India trying to develop this critical faculty in their students?
Tailpiece: What do you do when you feel stressed?
My Doc: What do you do when you feel stressed?
Me: I go to temple…
Doc: Good…and do meditation?
Me: No…I mix-up all shoes and watch people looking for them.
If you want to know the positive aspects of Budget, watch Zee News
If you want to know the negative aspects of Budget, watch NDTV and ABP News
If you want to know the ground reality, watch your bank account.
Valentine’s Day Special
Husband: Kaisi ho dear? Tum, mujhe miss kar rahi hogi toh socha call kar lu.
Wife: Itna hi pyar aa raha tha to ladaai kyun kiye subah subah??..
Husband: Silent. Thinking…thinking…..Saala, yeh to Ghar ka number lag gaya..
(Courtesy: Social Media)
The author is a journalist turned media academician. He lives in Central Odisha town Dhenkanal. He also writes fiction. English translation of his Odia novel Yamraj Number 5003 is being published shortly. [email protected]