Whom do the tribals in Orissa belong? Christians Pastors say that “tribal people belong to us”. Since they don’t have any culture, they are illiterate and ignorant people, so Christ wants to make them good people. On the other hand, the Hindu Saints proclaim that,”the tribal people or the ‘adivasi’ belong to us. They are foolish people often lured by the Christians. If they are not brought back, the Hindu religion will perish slowly”
In the midst of this dispute, where are the tribals? Whether the Temple or in the Church? Often the tribals say, “We also have our own culture, caste and religion”. But this gets suppressed by the Holy books of the Hindus and the Bible of the Christians.
Adivasi’eat beef, slaughter buffaloes. They believe in love marriage of young people. They worship the nature as their God and Goddesses. The local wine plays a very important part during their festivals. But the Bishops advice the tribals to forsake drinking liquor, and to come the Church. Meanwhile the Hindu Saints order them not to slaughter Cows. But these are some of the main traditions of ‘adivasi’ culture.
During the time of justification, the Christian Fathers justify that,“due to lack of education, the tribals have been practicing human sacrifices, believe in black-magic, were not coming to Hospitals but we educated them, helped them to get away from those practises, also taught them to wear clothes and supported them to face the outer world”.
In contrast to this, the Hindu Saints keep claiming, “we have helped a lot for the upliftment of the Tribals by providing them with educational facilities”.
In between such a cold war, the victims are the innocent tribals.There have been tribal leaders to revolt for their rights but it has never been heard that,“Our tradition, religion and culture is independent. The decision to convert either to Hinduism or Christianity must be our right, and that it should not be a political issue”. So we are still waiting for such a voice to rise up……