On the trail of the tribes

NIVEDITA N.

The Nehru Centenary Tribal Museum in Hyderabad gives you a glimpse into the lives of tribes in Andhra Pradesh.

Bullock carts may be off the roads and you may not have seen any. But, if you wish to see one, this museum is the right place to go to. The Nehru Centenary Tribal Museum in Masab Tank, Hyderabad, has a life-like cart on display.

Sneak peek

The museum brings together culture, lifestyle, customs and beliefs of the various tribes hailing from different districts of Andhra Pradesh. Some of the tribes represented here are Kondareddi, Bagata and Hill Reddi. The tribes constitute 6.59 per cent of the population of Andhra Pradesh.

The museum throws light on their heritage and a way of life which is simple yet vibrant. Stories are told through pictures, literature and the figurines that as displayed. The library is well equipped.

D. Satyanarayana, Curator, Nehru Centenary Tribal Museum, says, “We also have an audio-visual room where you can see how these people live. Most people are ignorant of how they became farmers from hunter-gatherers. Their customs and culture is also very different and fascinating.”

While at the museum, take a peek into the simple lives of the Chenchus. They are an aboriginal tribe. The members depend on the forests for their livelihood. The depiction of the bows and arrows they use, and how they extract honey, is telling.

Moving ahead, you come to an arrangement that has people dancing around a fire. This is a depiction of the ‘Dhimsa’ dance by members of the Bagata and Khond tribes to celebrate the harvest season.

The two-storeyed museum, takes you through the various stages of development that the tribes have witnessed over time. Agricultural equipment over a period of time is a case in point. Lif-like figures at the tribal ‘haat’ or weekly market are captivating as well.

A life without music is incomplete. An exhibition of the different musical instruments made of wood like the  ‘dappu’ speaks of the various traditional instruments that play a vital role in the tribal culture. Tribal masks, jewellery and household articles complete the picture. The tribal bazaar at the museum allows you a taste of nature’s best. Occasionally, shows are organised and the tribal people dance or play music that represent their culture.

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Author: madhubaganiar

Madhubaganiar loves to write on social issues especially for downtrodden segment of Indian society.

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