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Samvaad 2022 – why Tribes Matter

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The ninth edition of Tata Steel’s Samvaad- Heritage & Culture of Indian Tribes, in Jamshedpur is an ecosystem on tribal identity which enables dialogue on its key elements, and celebrates people and ideas exceptional in their aspirations, besides fostering an international peer group that drives positive change.

Bhagwan Birsa Munda is a name that is revered by tribals and Ranchi’s airport is also named after him. I recently had an opportunity to be part of Tata Steel’s Samvaad- Heritage & Culture of Indian Tribes that saw over 2500 people from 100+ tribes of India and beyond.

A tribal wears his identity proudly at Samvaad 2022
A tribal wears his identity proudly at Samvaad 2022

The Tata team has worked hard to revive relationships and bonds after the pandemic and convened more than 20 dialogues across India and met many communities for the first time in the remotest parts of the country in a manner which lends genuine depth to the discourse this year. 

The theme for Samvaad 2022 ‘Reimagine’ which recognizes that the world, today, is at a point of inflection and is recalibrating its understanding of the future and participatory exploration of what this reimagination means for tribal communities, what should be the legitimate place of tribal communities in the process and outcomes of reimagination for the entire planet, does the tribal way of life really need reimagination and how does reimagination done well look like is needed to be understood.

The event had a first-of-its-kind national collective of tribal healers who are zealously navigating the gap between tradition and science. The event also saw Rhythms of The Earth, a pan India collective of tribal musicians, release its first-ever album of original compositions. 

Traditional head gear at Samvaad 2022
Traditional head gear at Samvaad 2022

The Samvaad Fellowship, a cohort of over 30, release four original books and films on tribal heritage, including the first-ever dictionaries of two languages, by Samvaad Fellows at an action research workshop on tribal heritage conservation.

100+ tribal home cooks and the first-ever Aatithya Food Truck traversing Jamshedpur during Samvaad ensured all were well fed. The first-ever collaboration with world renowned indigenous festivals including the Hornbill Festival and the Festival of Perth is also being planned for contingents to mesmerize the town with their sounds.

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