Bangalore International Centre had arranged a talk on “Indigenous communities and Development’” by Dr. R Balasubramaniam, Development Activist, Leadership Trainer, Social Innovator, Public Policy Advocate and Writeron Saturday, 13th February, 2016 at 6.00 PM. The talk was chaired and moderated by Mr. V P Baligar, Former Chairman and Managing Director of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO).
During his talk Mr. Balasubramaniam indicated that indigenous forest dwelling communities constitute nearly 8 % of India’s population and have typically faced multiple challenges as the rest of the country pursues mindless economic growth. Whether it is building dams, or forming national parks or mining in tribal areas – the indigenous people have mostly been at the receiving end of the bargain. Life in the forests or in geographically challenged circumstances further alienates them and many state interventions for their welfare too have remained largely on paper. Along with the corruption, indifference and ignorance of the implementing organs of the state, the tribals also face cultural shocks. They are mostly at cross roads today and they are neither able to give up their old lifestyle nor able to integrate into the demands of a mainstream existence. Dr. R Balsubramaniam with his nearly three decades of living and working with indigenous communities shared his thoughts on the challenges that the tribals are facing today; how these challenges need to be addressed and how development should look at expanding the capabilities of these indigenous communities. From his personal experience and through numerous real-life anecdotes, he narrated his views on how tribals see development, how ‘mainstream’ cultures are generally insensitive to tribal aspirations and how the state and other NGOs can work in ensuring equitable development for these gentle people of the forest.
It was one of the finest and most inspirational talk ever heard in BIC.
The Q & A session after the talk was informative and interesting.