savar tribe

Even mid-day meal has no attraction for Savar children

Jamshedpur: Believe it or not, even the much-acclaimed mid-day meal has no attraction for the children of Savar tribe and most of them do not go to school. Most of them choose to stay hungry instead of going over to the nearest school looking for a government-sponsored free meal.

It is clear that unlike children of other communities and tribes, the children of  Savar tribe show no interest in the meal offered by the nearest schools. It seems some study would have to be undertaken for finding alternative ways of attracting these children to schools.

And from the entire Sabar community in Tangrain village of Potka, East Singhbhum, only one child goes to school.

Yuva has taken up the task of educating Savar children despite the general indifference towards education and general ignorance of the Saver community about the outside world. Yuva is trying to take help from Asha for education in these efforts.

Savar tribe is one of the primitive tribes in India. Till date Savars has truly gained a place of prominence amongst the anthropologists. Although much is not known about the origin of this Savar tribe, yet according to the anthropological researchers, they are in India from ancient times, for thousands of years. These people lived in forests, or were nomads.

Gradually these Savar tribes have settled down in various parts of the forest areas of Chottanagpurpur plateau especially in Jharkhand and its adjacent states after migrating from some other place within the subcontinent of India. Similar to any other tribal community, this Savar family too is patriarchal following the nuclear family structure.

The Savar people earn their livelihood by doing various occupations. The traditionally forest-dwelling tribe is not used to agriculture, and relies on the forests for their livelihood. Some are engaged as labourers, herbs and fruit collectors and wine makers.

In 1871, the British Government of India "notified” certain tribes as "criminals" and passed the notorious "Criminal Tribes Act of 1871." Such people were notified, who, according to the British, were nomadic cattle grazers, wandering singers, acrobats, etc. and also those who resisted the British aggression from time to time.

The logic was simple. Only the criminals would do this and thus the Sabars were considered by the British as hereditary criminals. Due to the Criminal Tribes Act, the Sabar communities came to be known as born criminals. The local people and the police used to kill them. The have been tortured and been hounded like beasts of prey.

Even after the independence the Government of India in1952 officially "denotified" these stigmatized nomadic tribes without making any provisions for their livelihood, however the denotified communities are continued to be jailed, mob-lynched, tortured to death in police lock-ups. Villagers in general believe that Savars do not have human feelings like a normal man, that they are the born criminals who can commit all sorts of crime.

The stigma of the Savars as ‘born criminals’ is the curse of their life. Even at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Savars are denied all human rights because of their birth. The de-notified Savars live outside the society in the fringe of forests. Honestly speaking, they don’t have any right to anything. Among the caste divided Indian society, the tribals are lower than the Hindu lowest caste. Worst of all, even India's other tribals treat the denotified tribes like Savars as ‘expendable ones’.

The word "human rights" seems not applicable to Savars. They are deprived of the right to have a dignified living, proper housing, drinking water, education, electricity, communication, health facilities, right over the land, they are deprived of everything.

Having been denied fundamental human rights this tribe is shrinking in size and has become endangered tribal communities at the risk of being extinguished.