जर्मनी के 'श्वेतरे' शहर में आयोजित कार्यक्रम की रिपोर्ट जर्मन जर्नल में ।
(जर्मन रिपोर्ट का अंग्रेजी अनुवाद: योहान्नेस लापिंग)
The future of Indian Adivasis presented in a literary form
By Theodor Rathgeber
During its annual meeting at Protestant Academy Villigst, 27 –29 May 2016, the India Literarure Forum focused on Adivasi literature. Through cooperation with Adivasi Koordination in Germany, a poet and a publisher were invited for this meeting. It turned out as a memorable meeting.
Literature by, with and on Adivasis can be quite a complex issue, provoking a lot of discussions. Language being a central tool, hardly any of the indigenous languages of India is known beyond the local sphere. Or even when, like in the case of Santali, there might be five different scripts in which it is used. What to do then? Read out in public the scripted texts!
Jacinta Kerketta, belonging to the Oraon community of Jharkhand, read from her poetry book “Glut”, which was published in this May by Draupadi Publishing, Heidelberg. After a considerably long period of almost exclusively oral tradition, she now comes as one of the few persons of literature among the Adivasis who stepped into modernity, using Facebook, making her own blog, and now having published her first book. Indigenous peoples of India count between 80 and 90 millions. As Jacinta Kerketta would not have reached out to as many in her mother tongue Oraon, she chose her second major language Hindi to get attention beyond her local spheres. The quality of her poems proves that this was the right decision. Participants in the literature meeting listened with rapt attention to her extraordinary, visual poetic expressions about Adivasi lives. Her imagery carries ideas about Adivasi lifestyles in harmony with nature, and at the same time its destruction in consequence of ruthless exploitation of natural resources by outsiders. There is no romanticizing of resistance, and even distortions and violence in Adivasi households are not left out. But every now and then, there are signals of hope in her poems. Jacinta Kerkettas poetry proves deep understanding and reflection and a powerful representation of the various issues, as in the Indian context one would hardly expect from such a young person. This is why she wanted her photo to be printed in the book.
Here poetry book was also published in English by Ruby Hembrom, belonging to the Santal community (counting alone about eight million). Her publishing house is named “adivaani” (“voice of the first”) and was founded in 2012. Its focus is on literary documentation and publication of the Adivasis, in order to show and prove their creative potential – against all traditional stereotypes. Everyday life in India is full of such preconceived notion, as she told in one episode of her publishing life: When contacting a printer for getting a manuscript printed with a black cover, the printer was surprised and mentioned that black might be too difficult a colour for indigenous peoples. Why not better take something beautifully coloured?
Both guests were received with great interest and given vivid applause on several occasions.