There is an urgent need to do a complete mapping of all the major and minor tribes and communities of India so as to develop an understanding about their socio-cultural scenario. It is also important to document their traditional practices as a first step to safeguard these practices and ensure their survival. Cultural mapping as a tool for exploring and understanding cultural diversity helps to look at all the aspects of a community’s cultural life as “community assets” with an understanding of how these resources bring value to human and community life and are very often connected to livelihoods.
The ICH Division has already initiated a project to create an authentic first-hand database on the ICH of tribal communities of India.
Documentation and cultural mapping of tribes is essential because:
- It is important to understand their cultural milieu as they are an important segment of our society
- It is important to document rituals, folklore, aesthetic sensibilities, narratives, religious practices, customary laws, dress patterns, ornaments, utensils, agricultural implements, fairs and festivals of the tribes
- Not much research has been done in the area, apart from a few works which are also in the nature of listings and enumerations. So we aim to prepare a systematic, scientific and authentic visual and textual documentation of the intangible heritage and life-style of the tribes of the country
- Their culture is unique and diverse and needs to be understood in order to be safeguarded
- The relationship between their culture/religious beliefs and patterns of subsistence requires elaborate research
- Documentation and mapping will lead to further interest in these communities and involvement of government agencies to make laws to safeguard their rights over their land, cultural spaces, performing arts, craft forms and traditional medicine
- It is important to collect data and publish it in the form of a series of monographs that can be used as reference material by students, researchers, government agencies, and enthusiasts
Some of the prominent studies undertaken towards this goal are listed below: