I was sent an urgent request from a indigenous colleague in India about their current situation, and thought I would try and help get the word out. Please, if you can email this entry to friends and colleagues, or help spread it around so that word gets out on the current situation in India concerning indigenous peoples.
I belong to the Gond tribe of India and you must be aware that in India tribal are being systematically displaced and killed in the name of development by the Indian Government policies and USA expansion policies in India.
We have registered a political party by the name "Prithak Bastar Rajya Party" where we will be demanding a seperate Bastar State to safe gaurd the interest of the tribal. Evo Morales is an inspiration for us.
Below is also a video link which might give you some insight to our plight.
I would be grateful if you can mobilize some support for us in your country.
You can read more about this at Prabhat's blog: http://bhumkal.blogspot.com
For a greater insight into the current situation of indigenous peoples in India, a great resource to have that provides an excellent overview is: Disappearing Peoples: Indigenous Groups and Ethnic Minorities in South and Central Asia by Left Coast Press and edited by Barbara Bower and Barbara Rose Johnston. A full review of the book can be found on the Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources site.
A similar situation is occurring among the Dongria Indigenous Peoples of India as a result of mining operations.
The South Central Gond indigenous people live in the forests and hills of India in Maharashatra and Andhra Pradesh, north of the Godavari River. They are essentially concentrated in the Chandrapur, Adilabad, and Garhichiroli districts. The Southeast Gond indigenous people live in the forests and hills of southern India. They are primarily concentrated in the state of Andhra Pradesh, south of the Godavari River and in bordering districts north of the river.
The South Central Gond speak a Central Dravidian language called Adilabad Gondi. Today, The Southeast Gond are bilingual, speaking both their native language, Koi Gondi, and the Telugu language. The Telugu, their bygone rulers and present neighbors, immovably influenced both the South Central and Southeast Gond indigenous peoples.
The Gond were historically one of the most significant group of original Indian tribes. In the 1500's, several Gond dynasties were firmly incorporated by the Gond rajas, or kings. They ruled like Hindu princes until Muslim armies overthrew them in 1592. In the 1700's, the Gond lost all power to the Maratha kings, who forced the Gond and their culture to retreat to the hills.
Sixty percent of the Gond are Hindus, while the remaining forty percent are animists. The Animist Gond believe that the wood is the dwelling place of the gods and hereditary spirits. As such, the forests in which they live are considered extremely important to them. They habitually pray to the ancestral spirits for guardianship and blessings. This is one of the natural resources currently being impacted by developments in India as demand grows for wood - resulting in the destruction of Gond indigenous territory and lifeways.
Both the South Central and the Southeast Gond are semi-nomadic framers, who use swidden or "slash and burn" agriculture to survive. Most of the South Central Gond survive by farming, hunting, and eating the fruits of the forest groves, but they also trade and sell cattle. Others hold wage-earning jobs.