Odisha publishes India’s first encyclopedia on tribal communities
Unveiled by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the five edited volumes of ‘Encyclopedia of Tribes in Odisha’ has 418 research articles on the tribals, including 13 particularly vulnerable groups
Odisha on Monday became the first state in the country to start an encyclopedia on tribal communities to document their age-old and unique traditions.
Unveiled by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the five edited volumes of ‘Encyclopedia of Tribes in Odisha’, published by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute and Odisha State Tribal Museum, has 418 research articles on the tribals, including 13 particularly vulnerable groups.
The 3,800-page tome has papers contributed by its own research personnel and articles of many research scholars and eminent anthropologists on different aspects of the tribes.
“The age-old culture and way of living of these tribal communities are changing fast and their cultural identity is disintegrating. A systematic documentation was the need of the hour, and we have tried to do that in this encyclopedia. A modest attempt has been made to accumulate and present the published and unpublished data regarding their ethnography and development with the objective appraisal of the old and the new, the past and the present. It will be a fine repository of ethnographic knowledge as well as an excellent exposition of pristine tribal culture with its specificity and variety,” professor AB Ota, who along his consultant SC Mohanty edited the 5 volumes, said.
As per the 2011 Census, tribal people constitute 22.85% of Odisha’s total population. Though their numbers as percentage of the total population is higher in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Odisha has the most diverse tribal communities found in the country. The state has 62 tribes.
In 2018, the state government brought out a tribal atlas containing 60 plates of maps, along with corresponding graphs and diagrams, which portrayed the distributional aspects of the Odisha’s tribal population, ecological setting of the tribal habitats, their socio-cultural attributes such as linguistic/dialectical affinity, sex composition and literary levels.