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TISS venue for Birsa lecture

Victor Hugo had said, “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”

Some 100 students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), hailing from Jharkhand, are not just sticking to their roots but also spreading them by generating awareness about a variety of tribal issues at the Mumbai-based cradle.

Over 300 people attended the 2013 edition of Birsa Munda Lecture, which was organised at TISS auditorium on Wednesday. This year, the guest speaker at the session was Jharkhand’s noted social activist Dayamani Barla, who spoke on Land, State and Adivasi people: Movements against Marginalisation.

Speaking to The Telegraph from Mumbai, Barla said: “I am privileged to be a part of this lecture. In my speech, I highlighted the plight of tribals of our state. Most of them do not enjoy their basic rights and their lands have been captured.”

One of the organisers, Anant Kumar Padeya, who is pursuing a postgraduate degree in social work, said the lecture proved to be a great draw. “The auditorium was packed to capacity and every one appreciated Barla’s motivating lecture,” he added.

Sources from the organisers said the lecture initiative was started in 2011 by a bunch of students and research scholars from Jharkhand.

“Initially, a handful of students came forward and celebrated Birsa Jayanti on November 15. Later, we decided to organise a lecture session to turn the spotlight on tribal issues and discuss them in a public forum,” Padeya said, adding that the event drew a motley crowd of journalists, academics, students and general public.

Postgraduate student at TISS and an alumnus of St Xavier’s College, Ranchi, Atul Anand said many youths from Jharkhand were pursuing various courses at the Mumbai cradle and looked forward to attending such sessions.

“We want to remain connected to our roots. Besides keeping us informed, such lectures also help students from other states know about tribal hero Birsa Munda and the various issues plaguing the community,” said Anand.

The previous edition of the lecture was held on January 19, 2013. Social activist and JNU scholar Abhay Xaxa had spoken on Tribal Self-rule and Adivasi Marginality.

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