Thiruvananthapuram: A study report by the city-based Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) on the erosion of traditional knowledge among tribals has grabbed the attention of the Central Government and a follow-up action is expected on that, Rajya Sabha MP K. Somaprasad said on Monday.
Close on the heels of the publication of the study by IIITM-K, the MP had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha as a special mention on December 28, 2017. The IIITM-K study had quantified the erosion of traditional knowledge passed down across generations of the tribals in Kerala by their ancestors has suffered a massive erosion and is gradually disappearing .
During a recent visit to the IIITM-K, Somaprasad lauded its efforts and said the Centre should give financial assistance to the institution to conduct such kind of studies.
Dr. Saji Gopinath, Director, IIITM-K, Dr. Jaishankar R. Nair, Head of C.V. Raman Laboratory of Ecological Informatics; and other faculty, staff and researchers of IIITM-K officials were present on the occasion.
“After my special mention in the Rajya Sabha about the report, MPs from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states expressed their interest in associating with this issue”. It is a good sign, Somaprasad noted.
A first-of-its-kind study in India, it provides a quantitative estimate of traditional knowledge that is disappearing at an alarming pace. “The degradation of conventional knowledge is alarming,” revealed the study, conducted by C.V. Raman Laboratory of Ecological Informatics at the IIITM-K among eight tribal races in the Western Ghats.
The study was conducted among the Kurichyar, Kattunaikkar (Wayanad); Cholanaikkar, Paniyar (Nilambur); Irular, Kurumbar (Palakkad); and Kaanikkar, Malapandaram (Kollam) tribal groups. Statistical analysis of the compiled data has thrown unprecedented result in the form of estimates for erosion or retention of traditional knowledge within the communities.
The Kurichya and Kurumba triabls have lost more than half of their traditional knowledge, Cholanaikar and Malapandaram tribals have lost 33 per cent while Kaani and Kattunaikkar have lost 40 to 45 per cent. Malapandaram tribals have ‘very least traditionally-acquired knowledge before and now’.
It is a rare instance and distinct honor for IIITM-K when an academic study conducted by it was cited in the floor of the Indian Parliament Dr. Jaishankar. R. Nair led the study team, which comprised Dr. Saroj Kumar, V Sooraj. N.P, M. Somasekharan Pillai and Dr. Ram Boojh.