Published: 25th September 2020
Adivaasi Drishyam wants to keep you informed about the wealth of knowledge that adivasi communities possess through their webinars
Started by Eugene Soreng and his team, this YouTube channel and Instagram page are all about passing on the information about adivasi culture, cuisine, songs and a lot more. This is how he does it
The journey of discovering the depth of knowledge every indigenous tribe holds has been a long one for Eugene Soreng, both literally and metaphorically. It took him three years, two of which were dedicated to field work in his home state of Odisha, as well as in Assam and Jharkhand while pursuing his MA in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. And because he made the long and laborious journey of genuinely understanding the knowledge systems of various adivasi communities, he wanted to make it easier for the rest of us. Thus was the origin of the Adivaasi Drishyam YouTube channel in April 2018, which has over 1.24k subscribers, and the Instagram page in June 2020.
First came the trip to visit the Katkari tribe in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. "I used to think that we need to develop adivasis, in fact, that's what I said in my admission interview at TISS. But with my first trip itself, I understood that they have their own traditional knowledge banks," says the 28-year-old. Then he visited the Santhal tribe in Assam and his mind was blown. "They make the most beautiful homes with what is available around them and that's when I realised how sustainable their way of living was," notes the Rajgangpur-born. Many such trips triggered several thoughts in Eugene's mind. He realised that the adivasis don't need to catch up with the world and its idea of development, it is the world that needs to catch up with them. And to help the world, he and his like-minded friends, started Adivaasi Drishyam.
Poster for their webinar on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples | (Pic: Adivaasi Drishyam)
Now, Adivaasi Drishyam is not just a YouTube channel or an Instagram page. What they do is organise multiple webinars that focus on various aspects of adivasis, from cuisines to songs and beyond. For example, on the birth anniversary of adivasi scholar Dr Ram Dayal Munda, they organised a webinar and titled it Naachi Se Baanchi (those who dance will survive), which was the Padma Shri awardee's motto of sorts. It was an online discussion on what dance means. Then, they had set up another webinar on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples for which they organised a talk on Tribal Songs and Meanings. Another thing about their talks is that generally, they are not by noted people. They are by youngsters from diverse adivasi groups, who talk about their own experiences. "For one such webinar, I actually implored my own friends to learn their tribal songs from their own parents, it was a way of reconnecting with our culture," says Eugene who hails from the Kharia tribe.
In a way, these online webinars also serve as documentation of what could otherwise be lost forever. Eugene, who is currently pursuing his MPhil from TISS, especially mentions that the songs of the adivasis are not materialistic in nature, they are all about the adivasi worldview. "They are fully aware that death is inevitable and their lyrics resonate that," he says. What Adivaasi Drishyam has in store for us is much more exciting. Taking up the concept of 'educating' people about adivasis forward, they are going to launch an Adivaasi School in November which will be a virtual school. Adivasi leaders, adivasi laws and acts and a lot more will be the kind of short courses one can take up. And that's all Eugene will tell us about it.
Edex and The New Indian Express have been curating the 40 Under Forty list since 2017. We featured collections of impactful grassroots teachers in 2017, innovative start-ups in 2018 and environmental impact-makers in 2019. All the people selected have been chosen after a careful process of editorial selection and nomination. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org