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Tribal Conclave “Samvaad” witnesses large participation from Odisha

3/12/2021 at 3:19 PM

Bhubaneswar, Dec 3: This year, Samvaad, the annual tribal conclave hosted by Tata Steel Foundation, saw more than 50 participants from various tribes of Odisha taking part in various components of the event.

Samvaad, since 2014, has emerged as an ecosystem for tribal identity which brings together tribes of India and beyond for constructive dialogue, enables key elements of tribal identity to thrive and be fed into this dialogue and fosters an international peer group which drives positive change.

It has already brought together more than 30,000 women, men and children from 157 tribes across 25 states and 5 Union Territories of India and 17 other countries in an impartial contemplation of the tribal development narrative, balanced with an unstinted celebration of tribal culture, wisdom and way of life. Samvaad is rooted in the belief that the answer to the most vexing challenges faced by the planet today rests within the tribal way of life.

This year, Samvaad was hosted from November 15-19, 2021 through an online setup that combined Webex platforms for interaction and YouTube for public viewership. Community screenings were setup at more than 110 locations across India. Around 180 outstanding tribal artists, home chefs, healers, culture crusaders and leaders came together in person in Jamshedpur.

Samvaad 2021 was convened around the central theme of ‘Reimagine’ that embarked on deeper, patient and representative exploration of what this reimagination means for tribal communities.

Prior to the main event, the Rhythms of the Earth musical residency marked the inception of Samvaad 2021, welcoming 40 tribal musicians across the country, who spent five days together to co-create original scores that will eventually find its way through an album, was the journey worth witnessing. And in this quest for tribal identity, reimagining one’s self as an artist in the larger spectrum of activities, tribal artists, musicians, fellows, healers, dancers, found themselves on the stage of Samvaad 2021.

At the residency, six tribal musicians from two major tribes from Odisha, Koya and Kondha, participated who contributed to the larger narrative of taking tribal music to the world.

This year, seven elements were showcased during the five-days of Samvaad where tribal home chefs, healers, fellows, artisans, dancers, thinkers, and film makers from across the country, including the state of Odisha, came together.

For tribal cuisine, we had six home chefs from Odisha who prepared some of their quintessential dishes for the live crowd in Jamshedpur. During the art residency of tribal artisans that took place between 16th and 22nd November 2021, five tribal artisans from Odisha took part to create canvasses using tribal art forms.

The paintings brought to fore the tribal way of life in varying hues. Madhusudan Majhi belongs to the Ho Tribe from Odisha and been painting for nearly 20 years was one of the moderators at the art residency.

 Three tribal groups participated from Odisha for the cultural events during the evenings while three thinkers/activists/scholars participated in the discussion sessions. Eugene Soreng, a filmmaker and research scholar from Odisha, spoke of his Kharia identity as he insisted upon the process as a “moment of reflection.” According to him, the key areas that are non-negotiable are, the ancestral identity of being kharias, or any tribal person from any community, and the physical space— the history and lived experiences they carry with them.

Odisha stood out with its uniqueness and identities that once again portrayed the tribal communities from Odisha for what they stand for.

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