The Bihar Post

Experts advocate for promoting eco-friendly housing style of India’s tribals

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PATNA—Experts have sought for extensively promoting the environment-friendly housing style of the tribals and formulating a policy which suits the life style of the nomadic community people.

According to them, the tribals love to live amid nature and hence this must be kept in mid while drafting the housing policy for them. Such things came up for discussion during a webinar organised by Society for Empowerment headed by Dr S Narayan yesterday.

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Addressing the function, he said typically the tribal houses are made entirely of mud or with red-tiled roofs. Soil has been used extensively since the Neolithic period as a building material for tribal houses. The soil required for tribal houses is taken from the plot itself.

The front part of the tribes’ house, he said, has a door and a small window. It has a lot of empty space known as “bayara”. There is a verandah next to the front door, which is used to sit like a meeting. The verandah has an earthen floor and it has multiple roles—it is used as a kitchen, seating purpose, courtyard.

“This explains how they love to live amid nature and with the society,” Dr Narayan said.

According to him, in the 60’s pucca houses were constructed for the near-extinct Birhors but they virtually abandoned them as they loved to live amid natural settings.

“Thus a huge amount of government money went to waste. So, the housing policy for the tribals must be prepared keeping all these factors in minds,” he asserted.

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He said the tribal houses are cold, keep the wind flowing, have enclosures for animals and the biggest thing is that they are made from the available materials around. Painting is very common in the tribal houses. “Tribal houses in the global environment are future houses, which adapt to the environment, he explained.

Professor MR Gangadhar from University of Mysore in his address said the tribals are comfortable in the forests. He said after 1985, the government started shifting the tribals and provided land outside the margin of the forest but the tribals were not comfortable with this and they constructed in the back a traditional house.

IAS officer AK Pandey said the tribals are environment friendly people. “Their life style is way ahead us. During adverse circumstances, they show more resilience to crisis as observed during the recent pandemic, where they were least affected because of high level of immunity,” he said.

National media co-head of the BJP Sanjay Mayukh said that the Tribal habitat is spread over 15% area of the country in vivid topography and ecological surroundings. According to him, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government had for the first time constituted separate Ministry for the Scheduled Tribes in 1999.

He added the government was undertaking a number of initiatives such as constructing roads, healthcare facility, toilets and opening schools in the tribal and rural India.

As per Census 2011, the total population of scheduled tribes in the country is 10.45 crore. STs constitute 8.6 percent of the country’s total population and 11.3 percent of the total rural population.

As per the report, there are around 700 Scheduled Tribes spread across different states. Out of these around 75 tribes are identified as primitive tribes. The heterogeneity among the tribes is distinct with each tribe different from the other in terms of language and dialect, customs, cultural practices and life style.

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