Eight recipients this year of the coveted fellowship aimed to document & preserve traditional knowledge of communities
Jamshedpur: Samvaad Fellowships were announced on concluding day of Samvaad 2022, a tribal conclave enabled by the Tata Steel Foundation.
Details of this year’s winners as follows:
1. Ms Changam Wangsa. Changam hails from the Wancho tribe of Arunachal Pradesh: A Bachelor in Architecture, she will work on “Documentation and Revival of Tsai (Lailung, Mai & Shoan), a music form of Wancho Tribe.” She believes that in this music lies history, cultural roots, tradition, nature, occasion and this needs to be preserved.
2. Mr Kirat Brahma belongs to the Bodo tribe of Assam, has aDiploma in Animation and Film Design from N.I.D. Ahmedabad. Through the fellowship, he wants to use animation as a tool to educate the community children about their folklores, languages and secure the tribal future and culture. He would work“To create animated Boro Traditional Folk Rhymes.”
3. Ms Rashida Kousar belongs to the Bhoto tribe of Ladakh. She has completed her B. Sc. & wishes to revive the traditional Balti food and present the delicious food and also make it an attraction for tourists who visit the area. Her proposed area of research is “Study of Traditional Tribal kitchen(Thab-tshang/Byan-sa) and ethnic foods in Ladakh”.
4. Arif Ali is currently pursuing class 12thin Arts and her proposed area of research is “Gujjar Women and their craft”. Through this fellowship, Arif wants to spread knowledge about the traditional handicrafts of Van Gujjar community and hence preserve its crafts.
5. Ms Inakali Assumi hails from Sumi Naga tribe of Assam. She wants tocontribute to the unique cultural diversity of India by preserving the rich cultural identity of the Sümis and she would be “Documenting the Vanishing Sümi Folksongs.”
6. Ms Sara Batool represents the Balti tribe of Ladakh. She thinks that cultural contact and inter-cultural interactions has changed the Balti culture manifolds and the centuries old rich and colorful culture and tradition of the tribe is at the verge of its extinction. Conservation and preservation of the culture and tradition of this indigenous tribe is thus the need of the hour. She would work on “Preservation of art, culture, tradition and language of Balti tribe in Ladakh”.
7. Ms Suman Purty belongs to Ho tribe of Jharkhand. Her proposed area of research is “Philosophical analysis and documentation of account of chants of Ho tribe rituals.
8. Mr Bholeshwar from Banjara community of Odisha will work on the “Preservation and Documentation of the Folk Songs and Folk Dance of the Banjara Community in Kalahandi, Odisha.”
The Samvaad Fellowship is an initiative that was started in the year 2017 aspiring to address one of the ecosystem’s core objectives “to document and hence, preserve a body of knowledge and a world view that runs the risk of being obliterated”. The Fellowship envisions supporting initiatives/ ideas which are aligned towards conservation of lesser known indigenous practices from tribal cultures which are vulnerable and are not part of a large conservation effort and thus run the risk of being lost.
The Samvaad Fellowship, over the last 5 years, has a cohort of 30 fellows from 27 tribes and 13 states of India. This year, organisers received an overwhelming 176 applications from 68 tribes from 22 states and 3 UTs of the country. These applications were scrutinised and evaluated internally and then 28 applications were sent to our jury members who evaluated it and based on their scores, the best 18 pitched their project in front of the jury. After two days of pitching, the jury has selected eight applicants. Some of esteemed jury members included Dr Sonam Wangchok, Founder, Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation, Dr Meenakshi Munda, Assistant Professor at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University, Ranchi among other.
Final Day of Samvaad also saw cultural performances from indigenous communities of Sikkim, Nagaland, West Bengal and Jharkhand at Gopal Maidan.
Munda Tribe from Jharkhand performed Jadua and Gena dance. The Munda people are an Austroasiatic speaking ethnic group of India. They predominantly speak the Mundari language as their native language. They are one of India’s largest scheduled tribes.
Oraon Tribe from West Bengal exhibited Kadsa dance. Kadsa is a dance form performed by women with earthen posts on their heads. These women carry decorated earthen pots in their head and perform different dance steps and display various formations. The Oraon are a Dravidian ethnolinguistic group inhabiting the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. They predominantly speak Kurukh as their native language.
Next up were Tamang Tribe from the state of Sikkim who regaled the audiences with Damphu Dance, a fun, energetic, robust foot-tapping dance. Tamang Tribe of Sikkim belongs to Tibeto-Burmese speaking ethnic Community. 90% of the Tamangs are Buddhist. The name of Tamang tribe comes from the meaning Horse trader/warriors. They speak Tamang language.
Next performance was from Nagaland Warriors dance group from Nagaland. The Nagaland Warriors’ crew encompasses through collective colour and vibrant elements of all the 16 tribal regions from Nagaland and gives you a glimpse to inspire cultural sensibilities through folk instrumentals, folk songs and folk dance.
Each individual member from the Warriors crew comprises the best Professional performing Artist from Nagaland and dance coach from Kohima Dance Studio who came together as a team formed in 2014 under the initiative of Task force of Music and Fine Arts, Government of Nagaland.
Performed in the International Hornbill Music festival and countless Governmental occasions including concerts and shows as well as representing India to several parts of the countries like Handshake concert, Scotland, Europe, Bangkok, Korea, Israel and many more
Final performance of Samvaad 2022 was Purple Fusion, a folk band from Nagaland. Purple Fusion is a band that plays Folk Fusion/World Music and experiments mostly with traditional Naga Folk Songs. It incorporates indigenous ethnic music with western genres like blues, Jazz, Funk, Reggae and Rock to create a blend of music which is different and unique.