Tribals and media

Darshana Gopa Minz

Tribal’s of India, a very vulnerable and utmost naïve group of this country, constitute 8.6% of nation’s total population, over 104 million people according to 2011 census.

Tribal’s has been moreof a figure of deprived people of jungle than people of nature; are still an outcaste and sidelined faction of our nation.

Rather than having a identity forunique heritage culture, traditions, rituals, festivals,beautiful art and folksongs that originated in this very lands of our country, tribal’s have been prejudice into just a pity image of poor, underdeveloped groups of forests subjected to exploitation.

Though government schemes are hurled forthe tribal’s on the name of evolvement, but little growth and progress is witnessed in parameters of mere socio-economic development.

Despite special enabling provisions for tribal’s in the legal framework and several targeted public policy initiatives, tribal’s have continued to suffer deprivations and harassment of different kinds. Precisely, the rights guaranteed to the tribal population have been grossly violated. The tribal population not only face severe socio-economic marginalization but also the threat of undermining of distinctive culture and identity, which in turn is deep-rooted in the livelihood patterns. Tribal’s have beensidelined in economic development programs and are severely marginalized with regard to political decisions.Suppressingtribal’s socially, economically or culturally is a fad; essentially weaker sections getoppressedmost, making tribal’s one of the most marginalized communities in India.Everywhere, the cultures of indigenous peoples have been repressed, challenged, or overwhelmed by larger populations and more powerful states.

With extensive tribal resources and wealth, private companies and corporate tend to exploit the naïve tribal population. Tribal’s are being dispossessed of their own ancestral lands to make ways for mines, dams, logging concessions, business investment and tourism complexes.

Large number of tribals are subjected to dislocation, effecting women and children the most by pushing them into trafficking, labor and domestic abusive jobs; since they are not educationally and technologically developed for better job roles yet.

With the wealthy connection of corporate houses, the police repression has also grown on tribal’s, who are facing major violation of human rights in India.

People who once dreamed of justice and equality, and dared to demand land to their tiller, have been reduced to having no rights of speech for their own land and dignity.

When the corporate wants another chunk of our tribal land, this isn’t first time or last time; it will be every time. There is no end to profit and greed.

Land is sacred; it belongs to the countless numbers who are dead, the few who are living and the droves of those who are yet to be born. It belongs to the tribals.

You take away their land; you take away their dignity.

Media plays an extremely important part in protection of human rights; journalists play a vital role in reporting concern and pain of common people. Media expose human rights violations, and give platform for different voices to be heard.

This is why, media have been called the Fourth Estate; an independent unbiased powerhouse for the voices common people.

But journalism is only ethical when done with the moral values of human rights protection. The dilemma remains; that how many journalists being outsiders would be authentic tobe able to understand the concerns and issues if tribal’s of this nation.

Often tribal sentiment gets hurt with the misrepresentation of outsider journalists in press and media. Without understanding the core values and sentiments of tribal’s, pieces have been said and published, putting tribal’s into identity crises that have damage their original culture and the inner dignity.

The role and impact of the Fourth Estate becomes more crucial, when the most naïve and humblepopulation of this nation is being subjects to voiceless suppression.

Further, while the importance of lack of participation in the decision-making process on development planning cannot be overstated, it is important that tribal community have an equal opportunity to benefit from the fruits of the process of development of this nation. If the flow of these benefits such as, livelihood, literacy, health facilities, etc. are marginal to the tribal communities, the right to participate in the development process is being violated and thereby, tribal rights are under severe threat.

Jharkhand, the newest State of the Indian Union, whose creation was the propositionon tribal identity and arguably is the fruition of some of the tribal rights entitlement on the Indian State, too doesn’t appear to serve the purpose of socio-economic development of tribal’s or have safeguarded tribal population socially, economically or culturally.

With no major media coverage of tribal rights violation to their own lands, of their culture, and basic human rights speech; can media, the fourth estate, make thevulnerablevoices and the pains of tribal’s heard or even recognized?

Not the television treats as entertainment and recreation medium only, but the harsh, cruelty and humiliation tribal populations are going through at the moment mentally, physically, socially and economically.

Will media ever play the key to core of socio-economic development of the tribal’s?

From our suffering and suppression to our self-respect and pride?

Can the fourth estate promote the full realization of the social, economic and cultural rights of tribal’s with respect for their social and cultural identity, their customs and traditions and their institutions?

And if yes! Then when?