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?Women feel safer in tribal societies?

ON THE first day of two-day workshop on ?Women Empowerment and Tribal Traditions?, participants tried to underline ethos and traditions that have ensured a respectable position for women in tribal societies.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 15:03 IST

ON THE first day of two-day workshop on ‘Women Empowerment and Tribal Traditions’, participants tried to underline ethos and traditions that have ensured a respectable position for women in tribal societies.
 
The workshop is being organised by Women’s Studies Centre of Barkatullah University, Bhopal. Some experts shed light on tribal traditions that have actually hindered growth and empowerment of tribal women.

In the first session, anthropologist Prof S N Chaudhary, while dwelling at length on tribal traditions, said that education being imparted to them was devoid of tribal environment and traditions. Referring to Panchayati Raj, he said it has only increased their dependence on the State.

Director, Museum of Man, Prof Kishore said that tribal women felt safer in tribal societies than many of advanced societies. He expressed concern that art and craft, which the tribals were adept at, did not have a market. Laxmi Narayan Payodhi spoke on religious beliefs of tribals while Prof Asha Shukla felt the tribal traditional justice system was biased against women.

Presiding over the second session, Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Kala Parishad Director Dr Kapil Tiwari said that India did not develop a vision of its own culture and had often interpreted it as visualised by others.

Western history was replete with instances of wars and clashes for land, women and nature but tribals had largely been free from it, he added. Shiv Kumar Pandey, an expert on tribal issues, spoke about institutions, rites and rituals that have helped in empowering women. Dr Shreya Bhattacharya delivered a lecture on tribal societies in Africa and predominance of women in economic, political and commercial institutions there.

Professor Devashishnath of the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) praised the Chhattisgarh government for allotting 30 per cent reservation to women in societies constituted for forest management etc.