The Political Science Programme under the School of Tribal Culture, Philosophy and Eco-spiritualism organized an international webinar on the topic ‘Tribal Administration and Development in India’ on 17th February 2022. His Excellency Shri Arun Kumar Sahu, IFS, High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, was invited as the distinguished speaker on the occasion. The webinar was attended by faculty members and research scholars from different universities.

Elaborating on the relevance of the topic, Shri Sahu expressed concern over the fact that the threat to indigenous culture has persisted for a long time. The Portuguese, Spanish and Belgians all exploited indigenous societies and their rightful resources, he pointed out. Highlighting the major approaches to tribal development – isolation, assimilation and integration, he stated that balance between social development and growth should be the main objective. He stressed the fact that tribals should be given both choices and opportunities. Tribal identity should be protected and efforts should be made to preserve and promote their culture, he said.

Addressing the youth, Shri Sahu talked about creating an enabling environment for the development of tribal students and underlined the fact that the government should provide the tribal students with adequate opportunities to prove their talent. He concluded his talk by saying, “The more aware you become, the more you can protect, preserve and promote tribal culture, identity and heritage.”

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Deepak Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU appreciated the topic of the webinar. Sharing his research experience of three decades as a Social Anthropologist, he revisited the Panchsheel as put forth by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Professor Behera cautioned against the danger of overexposing the tribal population to outside influence.  His main message was that nothing should be imposed on the tribal people in the name of development and urged the need for involving the tribal population at the level of project formulation. The gender issue cannot be ignored in the tribal community as women are breadwinners, Professor Behera concluded.

Introducing the distinguished speaker, Professor Jugal Kishore Mishra, Professor of Political Science, KISS-DU said that Shri Sahu joined the Indian Foreign Service in the year 1996 and assumed charge as High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago in 2019. Previously, he served as the Deputy High Commissioner in the High Commission of India, Ottawa.

In his address, Dr. P. K. Routray, Registrar, KISS-DU spoke about the rights of the children and advocated that education is the only means which will enable the tribal students to achieve their dreams and goals. He further added that Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KISS & KIIT has been working for the last thirty years to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the tribal students through education. KISS-DU is a University of Innovation and it has been infusing a unique teaching-learning pedagogy focussing on tribal development, he added.