As the world celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples tomorrow, the fact remains that indigenous peoples around the world are fighting for their rights to ancestral land, forest resources and the traditional knowledge system. Most of them remain at the end of the economic pyramid, yet they have millennial wisdom in protecting our ecosystems.
The natives of India, the Adivasis, have a rich and diverse tradition. With the education and skills acquired, many of the forest’s traditional inhabitants and hunter-gatherers have entered the mainstream. Therefore, tribal museums are a great way to preserve and display tribal artifacts and tribal way of life. Non-tribals also have a vision of the tribal lifestyle.
Gone are the days when tribal museums seemed to be a monotonous display of artifacts, becoming more alive and experienced in technology. This houses interactive kiosks, mobile information applications, audiovisual tools and virtual reality technology that are used to create museum visits and make the exhibitions interactive.
Live craft demonstrations, music and dance performances, workshops, seminars, crafts lies, craft shops and tribal food courts present a pleasant experience for visitors. Informative, educational but fun with the active participation of the tribes.
A work of love
The Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum in Bhopal is unique in India. It is a museum of the tribal, by the tribal and so that everyone can experience their work of love. As Ashok Mishra, the museum’s curator, would say, “It’s the meeting of some crazy people with innovative creative ideas, and fortunately the government supported it.” The best praise comes from the tribes who see it as their home, not as a museum.
There is a colorful display of artifacts and the play of natural and artificial lights. Housed in spacious high-ceilinged spaces, spacious open spaces, colorful themed galleries, life-size installations that rise from the floor to musical instruments hanging from the rooftops; love and captivate.
The last is the tribal hut project where Gond, Bhil, Bhariya, Sehariya, Baiga, Kol and Korku are being built. “It would be a real tribal experience. A tribal family can stay in the shack for a year, show off their creative skills and culture, prepare and serve tribal food while guests sit on the floor, as they would at home, ”said Ashok Mishra. “We hope this experience inspires them to do something similar in their hometown,” he added.
Museum of Man
The Odisha State Tribal Museum in Bhubaneshwar also has traditional tribal huts. The museum has a large collection of silver ornaments, handmade combs and tribal weapons. Each of the 62 tribes, the largest in India, has a digitized gallery. It has adopted technology wholeheartedly, VR technology provides an immersive 360-degree experience that attracts visitors. Earning the nickname of the Museum of Man for its life-size exhibits, it has a dining area that serves authentic tribal food, an herb garden, auditorium, live craft demonstrations, music and dance festivals; the solar vehicle and the wheelchair are facilities designed on the premises.
For tribal martyrs
Decorated with tribal motifs in red and white, the Nehru Centenary Tribal Museum in Hyderabad is also equipped with the latest digital and VR technology. The Sammakka Seralamma Tribal Museum in Medaram is also vibrant with the sculpture of bull horns on top.
“The Kumram Bheem Memorial Tribal Museum in Jodeghat is built in honor of the tribal martyr. He fought against the British and the Nizam for Gond’s rights over his ancestral lands and the forests surrounding his village in Jodeghat, ”said Satyanarayana Dyavanapalli, curator of the Telangana tribal museums.
There would be many more museums of tribal freedom fighters across India.
One of the revered tribal freedom fighters, the sculpture of Birsa Munda could be seen at the entrance of the Johar Janjatiya Sangrahalaya in Ranchi. Jharkhand and Chattisgarh were two states formed as tribal states in 2000. In the Ranchi Museum there are attractive dioramas showing the subsistence of the 32 tribes of Jharkhand. There is the use of traditional materials such as wood, iron, jute, clay, clay, straw, leaves, hemp and natural resources that capture the essence of the tribal ethos.
Ajrakhpur in Gujarat is a unique museum dedicated to the exquisite embroidery work done by the women of 12 Kutch tribes. The Living and Learning Design Center is a modern and technically equipped museum where you can also see weavers, potters, metalworkers and block printers working in the craft studio.
In southern India, the Udhagamandalam tribal museum shows the lifestyle of 36 tribes. The Kozhikode Museum in Kerala has artifacts from 35 major tribes that mainly assist researchers and students in tribal studies. In Karnataka, the state will have its first tribal museum in Mysuru that will showcase the culture, tradition and lifestyles of 50 tribes.
While every tribe in India has a distinctive identity and culture, the similarity lies in their customs rooted in nature. The use of bamboo, the collection of forest products, the great natives, the pottery, the metal utensils, the art inspired by nature and other ecological natural resources find common ground.