IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th August, 2023 Geography

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The cultural significance of festival celebrations within indigenous tribal communities, focusing on two major festivals: the Sarhul Festival and the Karam Festival.


  • Festivals hold a significant place in the lives of tribal communities, reflecting their culture and traditions.
  • Festivals serve as occasions of joy, a celebration of life's colors, and connections with nature, ancestors, and deities.
  • Indigenous peoples' close proximity to nature influences their festivals, which revolve around activities like agriculture, animal husbandry, hunting, and worship of the five elements.

Connection to Nature

  • Indigenous peoples' festivals are closely intertwined with nature and the Panchbhutas (five elements): Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, and Aakash.
  • These elements symbolize Earth, water, fire, wind, and sky, reflecting their close bond with the natural world.

Sarhul Festival

  • Celebrated by Jharkhand's indigenous people.
  • Marks the flowering of the Sal tree (Shorea Robusta) during Chaitra (March/April).
  • Signifies not entering the forest until Sal trees bloom, preserving nature in its pristine form.
  • Story of Bindi, Mother Earth's daughter, symbolizes reverence for nature and the cycle of life.
  • Bindi's disappearance led to desolation, shedding leaves from trees.
  • Compromise with the god of death allowed Bindi to spend half her life on Earth, rejuvenating nature upon her return.

Karam Festival

  • Celebrated during the 11th moon of Bhadrapada (August/September).
  • Involves planting the Karam tree (Adina Cordifolia), symbolizing fertility and prosperity.
  • Folklore recounts the tale of seven brothers and the Karam tree's power.
  • Brothers' anger at their wives led to uprooting the Karam tree, resulting in losses.
  • The Younger brother's worship of Karam devta led to regaining lost wealth.
  • Brothers bring Karam tree branches to celebrate the Karam festival annually.
  • Devotion, respect, singing, and dancing characterize the festival.

Message of the Festivals

  • Emphasize the link between customs, traditions, and nature.
  • Acknowledge the importance of these celebrations for well-being and prosperity.
  • Showcase the interdependence between human life and the natural world.
  • Reflect the indigenous communities' reverence for nature and their commitment to preserving it.

About World Tribal Day

  • World Tribal Day, also known as International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, is observed on August 9th each year.
  • Recognizes and celebrates the unique cultures, traditions, and contributions of indigenous peoples around the world.

Historical Background

  • Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 through Resolution 49/214.
  • Marks the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982.

Importance and Objectives

  • Raises awareness about the challenges faced by indigenous communities.
  • Highlights their distinct cultures, languages, knowledge systems, and contributions to global diversity.
  • Promotes and protects indigenous rights, including land rights, self-determination, and cultural preservation.

Themes and Focus

  • Each year, World Tribal Day has a specific theme that addresses key issues affecting indigenous populations globally.
  • Themes focus on issues like land rights, cultural heritage, education, health, and social inclusion.
  • This year's theme is: Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination

Activities and Celebrations

  • Indigenous communities, governments, organizations, and NGOs organize various events and activities.
  • Cultural exhibitions, traditional performances, workshops, seminars, and conferences.
  • Discussions on indigenous rights, sustainable development, and cultural preservation.

Awareness and Advocacy

  • Provides a platform for indigenous voices to be heard on the global stage.
  • Advocates for the recognition of indigenous rights, land tenure, and equitable representation in decision-making processes.

Challenges Addressed

  • Highlighting challenges such as land displacement, discrimination, lack of access to basic services, and cultural appropriation.
  • Raises awareness about the importance of respecting and preserving indigenous knowledge and traditions.

Education and Empowerment

  • World Tribal Day contributes to educating the general public about indigenous cultures and issues.
  • Empowers indigenous communities by recognizing and validating their unique identities and contributions.

International Solidarity

  • Fosters a sense of global solidarity and cooperation in supporting indigenous rights and well-being.
  • Encourages governments, organizations, and individuals to work together for positive change.


Q)  Examine how the observance of World Tribal Day contributes to raising awareness about the unique cultures, rights, and challenges faced by indigenous communities globally. (150 words)