Elwin, the champion of tribal rights

Dear Editor,
The article ‘Varrier Elwin: The architect of NEFA and defender of Indian tribal people’ was a beautiful piece written by Dr Razzeko Dele and threw fresh insight into the effort Varrier Elwin put in to protect the rights and values of the tribes of India. In fact, we, especially the people of Arunachal have failed to pay homage due to him. He had vociferously defended the land rights of the tribes of Arunachal erstwhile NEFA when we were most vulnerable to exploitation. It is to his credit that people in the State still have lands to call their own. Else, there are plenty of examples in India where the original land owners have been deprived and marginalized. Also, the absence of militancy problem in the State can be attributed to his foresight when he formulated ‘The philosophy for NEFA’. He had emphasized that the tribal people does not develop animosity towards the mainland Indians and government or have suspicion that government has come into the tribal areas to colonize or exploit. Loyalty for India that can be seen among the people of the State is due to this approach adopted by the Central government.
The policy formulated by Varrier Elwin at that time is as much relevant today as it was in those days. We still have to protect and preserve the rights, both land and political from exploitation by some with vested interest.
Michi Raju