Tata Steel nurturing tribal communities in Jharkhand
~ Steps to promote and preserve tribal culture ~
A prominent feature of the Company’s operational area is the large tribal community, who comprise some of the country’s most marginal sections of the society.
It is believed at Tata Steel that inclusive growth of all section of the society is necessary for overall growth of the state and the nation. It is also important that every members of the community in which Tata Steel operates are treated equally with creating opportunities for all who otherwise would not have right access. Following the legacy of its founder, Tata Steel has always believed in inclusive growth and created a social arm only for the development of the SC/ST community way back in 1974. Today it is under operation as the Tribal Cultural Society (TCS), which was registered in 1993 and has representation from SC/ST Community in the management committee.
The company has the Affirmative Action governance structure in place, the Apex Body of which is headed by the Managing Director and consists of the senior leadership in the organization. The Advisory Council, set up by the company in 2013, comprises 12 eminent experts from development sector of which one-third are champions of the Affirmative Action cause. The agenda of the meetings of the Advisory Council mainly focus on development of the tribal community.
Recognizing the special needs of the tribal community in almost all its areas of operations, the company has given due emphasis to nurturing and preserving their rich culture and heritage. Tata Steel has been working for the preservation of the rich tribal heritage and culture of the indigenous people in the state of Jharkhand.
Tata Steel has been organising several cultural events to promote tribal dance and music including ‘Samvaad’ – a pan-India tribal conclave. The 2015 conclave saw a conglomeration of 1500 plus tribal artists, thought leaders, eminent personalities and activists from more than 35 different tribes, from across 20 states in the country. This event featured panel discussions on tribal languages, cultural performances from around the country, film screenings, paper presentations and textiles and handicrafts.
Tribal languages and literature are intrinsic to the identity of tribes. Ol-Chiki and Warang Kshiti are the tribal scripts of Santali and Ho languages, respectively. In its attempt to spread awareness about tribal scripts among the new generation and to disseminate basic knowledge on the same, TCS runs a number of learning centres in the three districts of Kolhan region—East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan. TCS has also built a team to offer systematized and step-by-step learning for Warang Kshiti, the script for Ho language. A team of 190 people, including teachers and academicians, have been trained on adopting teaching approaches and methodologies in accordance with a three-tier course module for Warang Kshiti. The society has also launched a three-tier course module for Ol Chiki, the script for Santali language. The three-tier course module has been prepared by a panel of language experts from Pt. Raghunath MurmuAcademy, academicians and researchers. In the last five years, over 30,000 youth learned tribal scripts - Ol-Chiki and Warang Kshiti.
Company has also endeavored to revive tribal musical instruments that are on the verge of extinction by running teaching classes. Tribal music instruments like Banam, Tuhila and Mandar are being revived by teaching it to the youth and also promoting these instruments at regional and national forums. Recently, 13 villages of Noamundi were supported with 'Mandal' and 'Nagara', tribal musical instruments. Each village was given 2 mandals and 1 Nagara.
To promote tribal sports i.e. Kati, Sekkor, Chhur, Bahu Chor and Ramdel, Tata Steel has been organizing grassroots level tournaments in Jharkhand and Odisha. To promote Kati, tribal sport of Santhals, Tata Steel has been organising Kati Tournament for the last fifteen years. Sekkor, tribal sport of Ho community, has also been promoted in recent years.
Development of community sports is one of the key strategies of Tata Steel to empower youth in rural areas. By organising sports tournaments in hinterlands, the company intends to develop sporting talents in rural areas. Every year the company organizes community football, athletics, archery and hockey tournaments. Till date the Tata Group Community Football Tournament, being organised for the last three years, has registered an average participation of nearly 20,000 youth every year. More than 75% of the participating players belong to the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities.
Tata Steel organizes special sessions and meets to encourage tribal youth to take up sports as a career. It has Feeder Centres in rural areas to train rural sporting talents. Some of the events and activities that Tata Steel has been undertaking on a regular basis include the Sports Talent Search.