Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Mainstream Versus The Maoist-Stream

In 1970s, when I used to make short films, I visited several tribal villages and found that many tribal people felt that the dawning of modern civilizations over their forests and hills was actually invasion over their age old way of life and destroying their own culture. The expansion of mainstream was considered as the conquest of civilization. I also found out that another section of tribal people did welcome the new ways of life.

Recently I went to a tribal village near Ranchi. Though, they considered themselves as Hindus, but they do not have any gotra identity, i.e. they do not have any lineage from sages like Vashishta, Shandilya, etc. They called themselves Nagbangshi. They do not worship any Hindu gods or goddesses and instead they worship a tree called Kharua. Yet, they take pride in calling themselves as Hindus. They are in favor of development. When I asked them, as a result of progression or development, TV sets will enter into their homes and propagation of fairness creams, soaps, etc. will reach to them, then they asked me, ‘what is the harm in becoming fairer?’

I found the tribal world sharply divided. One section respects their traditional culture and this section wants to protect their original way of living and culture and for this protection, they support Maoists and Nakshals regardless of any political implications, while others are eager to modern ways of living and ready to pay a price for that.

For an unbiased overview of what maoism is all about, do check out this comprehensive post by Vyankatesh.

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