destination india

Thursday, August 18, 2005

vanishing tribes of india

During the Tsunami, the world came to know of the vanishing tribes of the Andamans viz. the Onges, the Jarawas and the great Andamanese – people who have remained untouched by the effects of advances in Science and technology. From the visuals presented by the electronic media for the benefit of spectators, it is apparent that they detest outsiders; they want to continue to live the life that they have grown accustomed to.

Close on the heels of this revelation comes the announcement that rickshaws will soon be things of the past for Kolkattans. That is the gist of the decision of Chief Minister Sri Buddhadeb Bhattacharji.

He has also informed that alternate avenues of employment will be made available to the affected. What is not disclosed is that against the 25,000 registered rickshaw-wallahs, there are as many, if not more, unregistered ones. Obviously, the obituary may not be that easy to write. Once this cheap mode of transport is really and truly consigned to history, it would be in the fitness of things to preserve one of the pieces in the Indian Museum for posterity. In case the tanga is not already there, a provision could be kept to add it as yet another exhibit for the kids of the next century.

In this connection, we hear of other categories of people who gradually pass away into oblivion – sometimes back there were news that conch shells and articles made out of these are going out of fashion, even the raw material has vanished from the market post Tsunami. Likewise, the potters (not Harry, he is doing roaring business!) have lost out to throwaway varieties of cups, plates and tumblers. The priests, who used to attend to their devotees on a generation-to-generation basis, are also hard to come by. Today’s priests are gainfully employed elsewhere and, donning the garb to perform the tricky rituals of invoking the Gods or Goddesses is more of a pastime for them. In many instances, the devotees have eliminated the third party interference altogether – pre recorded cassettes are available in plenty. These contain step by step directions of how to progress towards attaining enlightenment and, possibly, nirvana.

The latest trend is to propiate the Gods via the internet – probably, the response is faster!


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