Nature Talk




   That a large section of people living in very interior areas of Indian sub-continent, African and the East-Indian archipelago areas were quite different in attitude, did not escape notice of the British administrators. They took note of their customs, religious rituals, and social composition etc., which were different from their own. These later become early reference for the anthropologists. The discipline ‘anthropology’ took shape in England, other European countries and in the United States.

   In the earlier days, many scholarly persons belonging to natural science, humanities and even medicine indulged in anthropological studies and enriched the discipline. It essentially became a human science, which covers all aspects of human existence. Man basically has biological existence but the behavioral existence has earned the name human being. The mental qualities of individuals vary highly, but in a coherent group, these qualities are averaged. In a group, cultural behavior is established, which run through generations of that group of people. They form a society and frame own rules. Form simple societies with numerically limited persons, large civilization of people emerged.

   The subject Anthropology taught the nuances of studying nuances of studying human societies in the University level. It started in the first quarter of last (20th) century and gradually many university started teaching. Some of them offer curricula for various aspects of the discipline.

   As the subject emphasizes tribal societies many educated people, know it as tribal study only. In reality the focus area is much wider i.e. for all types of man related problems. The Government of India and State Governments have departments devoted to gather data on human societies, analyze their findings and help in formulation of planning. The university scholars who study existing societies or dig up past cultural relics or find genetic composition of human groups, and analyze them to give a sound theoretical base. Some other institutions are now showing interest in studying molecular genetics of Indian people with imported technical know-how. Most of such researchers have been trained in biological sciences and human genetics pursued by them hardly find anthropological viewpoints.

   Up to eight decade of last century, Indian universities could instill a genuine eagerness among students to pursue anthropology as career. But gradually there was a reverse trend. Brilliant minds could not get a decent job to pursue their career in anthropology thus detracted to job-savvy subjects. The government also did not care for anthropologist for state or national planning, rather depended on economists and demographers. So mostly mediocre and lesser souls thronged the departments demeaning the quality of the discipline.

   As India is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic vast land with very rich cultural heritage, it deserves well documentation of cultural, social and genetic isolates still nurturing tradition. Majority of Indian, live in villages amid economic difficulties, which invite health hazards. But their ethical and moral values are serene. The ill of modern technological civilization is yet to corrupt their life style. The tribal societies with all types of rigidity still resist corrosion of tradition.

   Modern India suffers from global terrorism, internal insurgent forces and administrative corruption. The anthropologists are required to amend their traditional teaching and research curricula and address these emergent problems with efficiency, so that they can prove their relevance in spite of Governmental indifference to the academia.

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