Seminar on experience of voluntary organisations working among Vanvasis
Vanvasis?a reservoir of indigenous knowledge
From Our Correspondent
?The so-called intellectuals living in cities have to learn many things from the Vanvasis, specially in respect of culture, human relations and herbal medicine. There is also a need to redefine the concept of tribal,? said Prof. P.K. Mishra, a retired professor of anthropology at the N.E. Hill University, Shillong and a visiting professor of USA and Tridindad universities. He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Mysore to celebrate the golden jubilee year of the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.
Prakash Kamath, south zone organising secretary of Kalyan Ashram said that several voluntary organisations like V.G.K.K.B.R. and S.V.Y.M. had set good models of Vanvasi development in Mysore district, which could be emulated in the entire country.
Speaking at the first session, which was on health, Dr Prashant, eye specialist of Sargur Hospital, pointed out that earlier the Vanvasis suffered mainly from skin and tuberculosis, but now, owing to the growing influence of city culture, they have begun to develop diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease also. Dr Tara Singhal of S.V.M.M. Muttil, Wynad district of Kerala who conducts monthly camps in Gundulapet taluk, emphasised on the need to create health awareness among the Vanvasis. Smt. Kouslya, a full-time worker of Kalyan Ashram said that full-time women teachers, living in small huts put up by Vanvasis, conduct classes for primary school children and teach adults also. They also impart sanskars to them through bhajan kendras. Dr Balasubramanya stressed on the need to impart vocational training to Vanvasis. Shri Ravindra emphasised on the usefulness of the single-teacher schools, which are producing good results in Vanvasi areas.
Economic development of Vanvasis was the topic of discussion in the subsequent session. Ramesh Kikkeri, an organic farmer with a degree in mechanical engineering, spoke on the ill effects of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. He said that organic farming was best suited for world agriculture. Shri Sachidananda Hegde, a senior journalist and trustee of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, exphasised on the need for collective co-operation among NGOs and for exchange of ideas and experiences. He said that Vanvasis, Gramvasis and Nagarvasis were all children of one nation and their diverse cultures should be preserved while encouraging the process of their development.