| Driving Odisha towards educational excellence

Tribal Literature Festival

Tribal Literature Festival is an initiative of Sikshasandhan. It has been working in the field of education of tribal communities since its inception in 1995. Sikshasandhan has organised number of workshops for story- tellers, writers from tribal communities and encouraged tribal youths to document stories, songs, games, riddles. These has been published and used for promotion of education of tribal communities.

The tribal population of India is 104281034 which constitute 8.08% of India population as per the 2011 census. More than 705 tribes live in India. Baring some, most of them have either lost their languages or are on the verge of losing them; in most cases these have been subsumed within the language of the majority community. Tribes constitutes 23% of the total population of Odisha. There are 62 tribal groups living in Odisha, out of which 13 are considered the most vulnerable. Language and culture play an important role in spreading education and promoting development of tribal and marginal communities. Even though constitutional commitments exist, due attention has not been given to preserving,promoting and utilising the languages and cultures of tribal communities in the process of education and development. As a result, tribal communities in India have been isolated from the so-called mainstream society and sometimes out of sense of alienation feel drawn to extremist groups.

It has been observed that there are story- tellers, singers, artists, musicians who enrich tribal society in many significant ways. Few attempts have been made to collect and preserve their stories poems, songs, riddles, games and paintings. In case of Santhaltribe, some efforts have been made in this regard, but for most other tribes, nothing much has been done. Literature festivals are being organised in different part of India, but these dont focus on tribal communities, languages and literatures.

To correct this lacunae, Sikshasandhan has decided to organisea Tribal Literature Festival every year on theInternational Mother Tongue Day (21st February 2014). The following are the broad objectives of the festival: