TRI is a welcome step
People across Jammu and Kashmir and the newly carved out Union Territory of Ladakh have been stressing for preserving the district identity of the local populace since August 5 when the Union government scrapped Article 370.
Though no formal promise was made by the government to the people in the region but an announcement has been made to establish a Tribal Research Institute (TRI) by next fiscal year.
The move is seen to preserve and promote tribal cultures in Jammu and Kashmir and the institution would be focusing on to promote tribal practices and their art, culture and languages.
The TRI is coming up in Khimber, near Srinagar —which would be a centre of excellence to focus on studying and promoting tribal practices and their art, culture and languages in Jammu and Kashmir.
The need to preserve the cultural practices and languages is necessary in order to preserve the rich cultural heritage of indigenous people and the traditional wisdom that dates back several generations. And the government needs to act by taking collective, conscious and concerted decisions on this front.
The TRI is believed to work as body of knowledge and research, support evidence-based policy, planning and legislations, capacity building and disseminate of information, among others.
TRIs will have a greater role in making policies for tribals of the UT with the aim to provide more autonomy to Tribals. There is a plan to give TRI more autonomy in academic and financial matters so that they can recruit domain experts for research work and have adequate physical infrastructure.
TRIs—which were constituted for research and documentation of socio-cultural and linguistic aspects of tribal life, have picked up pace and were doing better. Even the Union ministry for tribal affairs intends to set up a national-level apex body to coordinate activities of TRIs across the country to train manpower, share best practices and disseminate information.
Tribals in Jammu and Kashmir have been an ignored lot. The previous governments have been promising various measures for them but on ground very few initiatives were taken to benefit the tribals and get them out of the economic and social backwardness.
Besides, no formal involvement of tribals was sought in maintaining the various connections that these people have with the local ecosystems. The tribals have been surviving as they have been co-opting with nature for their existence.
Since the forest wealth is fast diminishing in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh the role of the tribals can be viewed as all important, but for ensuring this they have to be engaged on many counts.