National Seminar on Halma and Other Community-driven Traditions of the Indian Tribes

Organizer: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in collaboration with National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Government of India

About the Seminar

  • When: June 2023
  • Call for Papers

The traditional communities of India have a rich socio-cultural life which provide a deep insight into the cultural heritage of the country. Community living and collectiveness form an inseparable part of this cultural heritage. The local knowledge systems and traditions practiced within these communities
have the potential to provide solutions to the myriad problems faced by our society today. One such age old tradition is ‘Halma’ – it is practiced by the Bhil and Bhilala tribal communities of the Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh. ‘Halma’ is a way of life for the people in Jhabua. It is a medium which brings
together the villagers to discuss the problems faced by them. The problems can either be individual or a predicament of the entire community. Once the problem has been identified, the community works together for a solution. ‘Halma’, thus, becomes one of the best examples of the role of community participation and social solidarity in the management of ecological and cultural resources. It also paves way for the promotion of sustainable growth and development.

The tradition of ‘Halma’ began with a purpose of helping the needy and its foundation was based on the concept of finding the solution for everyone with everyone. Over the years, the practice of ‘Halma’ has evolved and the motto of ‘community for individual’ is turning into ‘community for community’. At
present, the whole world is facing severe climatic and environmental issues and its effects are also visible in the villages. ‘Halma’ tradition is paving a way to combat these issues and it is now being used to preserve the natural elements of the village. In Jhabua, through ‘Halma’ the lakes and wells are being revived.

Subsequently, there has been improvement in the ground water level of this area. The increase in the moisture content of the soil leads to lesser soil erosion and the growth of new plants, which has an overall positive impact on the green cover of the region. ‘Halma’ is also being called by several villagers for their
agricultural fields. Hence, with the dawn of the new era, new meanings have been associated with ‘Halma’ as it is now being used for environment protection, water conservation, planting of trees, and promotion of forests.

As ‘culture’ plays an integral role in shaping a community’s worldview, it is crucial that traditions like ‘Halma’ exist which provide solutions that resonate with the local ethos. One of the important objectives of this seminar is to find ‘Halma’-like traditions from different tribal communities of our country and to
bring these traditional local knowledge systems to the forefront. The rituals and practices which promote community participation should be highlighted so that they can be determinants in the holistic development of the country. It is important that the traditional wisdom and patterns of livelihood of the tribals come in the public eye so that the whole country can benefit from their knowledge.

It is in this context, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is organizing a two-day national seminar in collaboration with the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. This seminar aims to provide an academic platform for the researchers/academicians/organizations to present their research work, share
and discuss on the following themes of research:

  • Worldview of tribes with specific reference to concepts of ‘development’, ‘progress’, and ‘modernity’.
  • Individual rights Vs. cultural rights/community rights
  • Social capital of tribes in India.
  • Traditional economic exchange practices
  • Natural resource management practices
  • Traditional dispute resolution mechanisms/practices
  • Local traditional knowledge systems with special reference to environment and ecology
  • Inter and intra-tribal relations
  • Role and contributions of NGOs/civil society in development of traditional communities of India
  • Impact of ecological changes on tribal cultures
  • Government interventions (development/welfare programs) and their impact
  • Any other community driven practices

This seminar aims to provide a platform to various scholars, academicians, researchers and all stakeholders to deliberate and discuss about other community driven practices making a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the tribal people. It will be an opportunity to highlight the local knowledge systems and self-sufficiency of the tribal communities along with the significance of social solidarity in tribal development. It will also enable us to study history, ecology, environment, and patterns of livelihood of the tribal communities. These knowledge systems can be a perfect example of how Intangible Cultural Wisdom can be turned into powerful instruments of growth and sustainability

Important Dates

  • Date of Seminar: June 2023
  • Last Date for Abstracts Submission: 20th May 2023
  • Communication of the Selected Abstracts: 26th May 2023
  • Full paper Submission: 15th June 2023

Abstract (not more than 300 words) of the research paper with brief introduction of the Author(s) should be sent to the email id:

For any further queries, please contact : 011-25446364, 9871765552

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *