School of Tribal Culture, Philosophy and Eco-Spiritualism and School of Tribal Legal Studies and Tribal Rights, KISS-DU, in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Indigenous Peoples Across the Globe (CSIPAG), KISS-DU, organized a one-day lecture series on “Reinterpretation of Tribal Development Under the SDGs 2030” on 20th April 2022.

The lecture was delivered by Professor Sonali Singh, Department of Political Science, Banaras Hindu University and Dr. Sunita Reddy, Associate Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Deputy Director-R&D, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Welcoming the distinguished speakers, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU emphasized that “The tribal people should be involved in preparing and implementing the tribal development project. Tribal voices have to be heard. For tribals, the culture is the structure. So, the culture can be preserved by preserving the structure”, he said. Dr. Iswar Chandra Naik, Chairman, Council of Deans, KISS-DU, introduced the speakers.

Professor Sonali Singh, in her talk, discussed the central issues of tribal land, livelihoods, etc., and presented development plans and policies for tribals since the independence of India. She also touched upon Verrier Elwin’s isolation, assimilation, and integration. Professor Singh cited that the liberalisation of the 1990s has chiefly affected the tribals, and even though with the increase in the GDP, the share of the tribals in the investment has decreased. The SDG goals are interconnected, but it has not given that much space for tribals. Further, she pointed out that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals have been divided into 169 targets and sub-divided 232 indicators. They have a specific role to play in tribal involvement. Professor Singh expressed her concerns on the dominant paradigms making programme policies. The top-down approach has led to climate problems. Professor Singh urged to lay special focus on indigenous people.

Dr. Sunita Reddy questioned the mainstream development modalities and components. The tribals are taken for granted in every development project, and the top-down model is the development baggage given by the British, which has been carried by the planners and implementers till today, she stated. Dr. Reddy discussed the goals of SDGs and spoke at length on Goal 4 (Quality Education). She opined that the SDGs planners should learn from the simple life of the tribals. The tribals are marginalised by the forced development programmes. Dr. Reddy suggested that the tribal health practitioners should be given more importance and stressed on the sustenance of the folk healing culture. The tribal houses are constructed in such a manner that they are environment friendly, she added.

Professor Ashok Kumar Mohapatra, Senior Professor, English Programme, KISS shared his views on the protection of traditional indigenous knowledge and KISS has created a pan tribal identity. Dr. Ratnakar Mohapatra, Dean, School of Tribal Culture, Philosophy and Eco-Spiritualism, KISS-DU, proposed the vote of thanks, and Dr. Birendra Suna, Director, Centre for the Study of Indigenous Peoples Across the Globe (CSIPAG), KISS-DU thanked the Schools and the Centre in making the distinguished invited lecture a success.