The nomadic & denotified tribes (NT-DNTs) form a major pillar of our society – their contributions to labor force, arts, culture, technology are immense but unrecognized. It is our responsibility to stand with them. Anubhuti was the first organization to recognize the severe impact of COVID on these communities and worked with them throughout the lockdown. Based on this, and the fact that founder Deepa is herself from a nomadic community, we are being invited to speak at various platforms.

On 13th November, Deepa Pawar was invited to speak about Anubhuti’s observations and learnings over the past year by Karmaa Talks. This had been our first relief work experience, and undoubtedly, we observed that it is these communities who keep themselves alive despite massive challenges. Not just in the current pandemic but over generations of disasters they face regularly.

What can we do to encourage their existing ground leadership – honed over centuries of struggle? How can we as mainstream society ensure their sustainable growth, without appropriating their achievements? Why is it our responsibility to stand with them – like they have always stood by us – building, maintaining and servicing villages and cities that never truly accepted them as equal citizens? Many such issues were addressed during the interview.

Bekhauf Aawaz: the fearless voices group led a panel discussion by inviting persons from different spheres to talk about their struggles for education through the lense of Caste and Gender. On the panel were Deepa along with Thampatty- a PhD Scholar, Nazam Nazeer Chikkanerale- a medical student and activist in the progressive movement of Karnataka, Adv Mayuri Keerthi- MBA MCA LLB who is currently working with Nagpur youth for Ambedkarite political awareness and unity. The session was stimulating as all shared their experiences to set a more equitable culture of education.

Another live interview was held on Adivasi Lives Matter Instagram page on which Deepa shared NT-DNT lives’ stories, their struggles, history, Constitutional Rights and contributions.

Kiran Sonawane of Max Maharashtra took an interview with Deepa Pawar to discuss the issue of NT/DNT community persons living in Ambernath Circus Ground. There are close to 530 families living in tents on this ground since 25 years, having taken a historical stand to not live a nomadic life anymore and settle down. Forced migration was one of the indignities forced onto these tribes as a fallout of the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 by the British – rendering them landless and homeless. Deepa spoke on why we should speak up against forceful displacement of such communities and and instead support their settling. She also spoke about various challenges and struggles that the community people go through in terms of their education, employment and daily living.