Jammu. 9th of August 2020
Tribal Gujjars-Bakerwals who are still practicing nomadic lifestyle are the main custodian of valuable traditional and indigenous knowledge about biodiversity, non-traditional food, forest-agriculture, herb-shrubs and local ecology of Jammu and Kashmir said noted Gujjar scholar, Dr Javaid Rahi, while interacting with community youth in a webinar, organized by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation to celebrate ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous (Tribal) Peoples’. He said, that traditional knowledge and practices of migratory communities needs urgent documentations and preservations for all times to come.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous (Tribal) Peoples was established on August 9 , 1994, by the United Nations to focus on issues related to approximately 476 million Indigenous Peoples worldwide, in over 90 countries.
In his address, Dr Javaid Rahi said, that indigenous people of Jammu and Kashmir especially Gujjars-Bakerwals owes traditional knowledge about the bio-diversity of J&K and can play a pivotal role in its use and conservation. They being local ethnic people can help in identification of plants associated with various ethnobotanical uses which can help researchers to do phytochemical studies.
He said, besides knowledge of biodiversity, they have their own tribal “traditional cultural expressions” – which borderly known as ‘Intellectual Property’ requires immediate preservation. He said the handmade textiles, paintings, stories, legends, ceremonies, music, songs, rhythms and dances of Gujjars-Bakerwals are disappearing rapidly which needs propagation, disseminations besides documentation at the earliest.
Since , Traditional knowledge typically distinguishes one community from another said Dr Rahi and added that the Gaddi and Sippi tribes of Jammu and Kashmir are also practicing indigenous traditions and requires special focus.
He said because of social exclusion there is no takers of tribal traditional knowledge added that they are still treated as primitive, uncivilized and unskilled which is away from the facts. They are the storehouse of indigenous knowledge and can contribute to society, he said.
He impressed upon Universities of Jammu and Kashmir, Tribal Department J&K, local non-governmental organisations , and researchers to focus on preservations and propagation of traditional knowledge and practices of tribes.