Major Revamp Planned for Academy of Tribal Languages and Culture Under 100-Day Initiative

The Academy of Tribal Languages and Culture (ATLC) is poised for a significant transformation as part of the 100 Days’ Plan outlined by the ST & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare (M&BCW) Department. The initiative, spearheaded by Minister Nityananda Gond, aims to create a dedicated mission for the preservation and promotion of tribal languages and cultures.

New Academic Centre and Language Laboratory

Minister Gond, who recently assumed his role, has directed the establishment of a new Academic Centre and Language Laboratory for ATLC. This facility will be developed soon at Gothapatana, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, near the proposed Adivasi Bhawan. The new centre will serve as a hub for meetings, conferences, and exhibitions related to tribal art, culture, and development, providing a comprehensive space for exploring and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Odisha’s tribal communities.

A Cultural Treasure Trove

ATLC, formerly known as the Academy of Tribal Dialects and Culture (ATDC), was established in 1979 and rechristened in 2007-2008. Located at the Adivasi Exhibition Ground in Bhubaneswar, ATLC is an autonomous institution under the ST, SC Development M&BCW Department. It stands as a central repository of knowledge and resources related to Odisha’s 64 tribes and 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).

For enthusiasts of tribal studies, ATLC offers a vast collection of folktales, culture, traditions, biographies, cuisines, and more. Its bestseller, “Tribal Atlas of Odisha,” provides a comprehensive look into the tribal wealth of the region. The academy also publishes dictionaries, songs, folk songs, novels, and educational materials that support multi-lingual education and empowerment.

Multi-Dimensional Engagements

Beyond research and publication, ATLC is involved in a variety of activities throughout the year. It provides guidance and consultancy services to scholars, filmmakers, writers, NGOs, and government institutions interested in tribal communities and cultures. The academy’s initiatives are designed to uncover and promote the best-kept secrets of tribal culture and traditions in Odisha.

ATLC has been actively conducting language training programs in various tribal sub-plan (TSP) areas, aimed at enhancing the language skills of field workers and teachers. These programs, currently organized by ‘Samhati’ under the SCST Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), play a crucial role in improving communication and education in tribal regions.

Celebrating Tribal Culture

ATLC is renowned for organizing the Annual Adivasi Mela, a popular event that fosters cultural exchanges at the state capital. Additionally, the academy hosts the state-level students’ festival ‘Sargiful’ to encourage tribal children in schools managed by the ST & SC Development Department. It also sponsors tribal cultural troupes for various national, state, and district-level festivals, promoting indigenous talent and traditions.

Honoring Tribal Achievers

One of ATLC’s major activities is the annual felicitation of outstanding tribal talents across various fields. Each year, the academy honors 10 tribal achievers at the Annual Adivasi Mela, recognizing their significant contributions in domains such as literature, social work, sports, and culture. Commissioner-cum-Secretary Roopa Roshan Sahoo emphasized that these recognitions not only celebrate achievements but also inspire others within the tribal communities.

In addition to honoring individuals, ATLC awards 50 top-performing SSD schools and 100 best students in the Annual High School Certificate (HSC) examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education, Odisha. This annual recognition takes place at the Adivasi Mela, celebrating academic excellence among tribal students.

Promoting Tribal Literature

Currently, ATLC is processing manuscripts from 172 tribal writers in nine different languages for publication. This effort aims to bring tribal literature to a broader audience and provide a platform for tribal writers. The academy’s annual souvenir, ‘Banaja,’ and the students’ magazine ‘Sargiful’ feature contributions from scholars and schoolchildren, respectively, fostering a vibrant literary culture.

The ATLC’s revitalization under the 100 Days’ Plan marks a significant step towards preserving and promoting the rich tribal heritage of Odisha, ensuring that the voices and stories of its diverse communities are heard and celebrated.

(With inputs from agencies)

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