Reaching out to The Madia & Gond
Photo and Craft Exhibition at Ravindra Bharathi~
In the race to live and compete we
conveniently forget that we live in a society
we belong to some nation that there are fellow
humans who are not as privileged as we are.
One such unprivileged race is that of the
Madia-Gonds. These primitive adivasis live in
the dense forests of Dandakaranya in central
India. The region has raw beauty with thick
forests of native tree species, creepers and
other plants. Mere survival is a struggle for
them; illiteracy is almost total, medical care
is unheard of it was very rare for a madia to
live beyond 50. Shifting cultivation was the
only kind of agriculture that they knew.
Their sole contact to the outside world was
through forest contractors and forest guards
who spared no opportunity to exploit
In December 1973 a band of young men led by Baba
Amte set up camp at Hemalkasa, a small village
near Bhamragad in Gadchiroli district of
Maharashtra. In 1974 Dr. Prakash and his wife Dr.
Mandakini Amte, a young doctor couple along with
sister Renuka joined the project. They constructed
a small hut for themselves and a bigger for the
patients. Initially the tribals were totally
suspicious of the new settlers they had no trust
in people ‘with clothes’ as it was this notorious
clan who had looted them at every possible moment.
Language too was a barrier; madia language had no
script of its own no resemblance to either Hindi
nor Marathi. The LBP volunteers learnt their
language to at least start conversing with the
madias. An epileptic patient had fallen into the
fire and got severely burnt, Prakash had dressed
his burns and he had recovered, and became sort of
walking advertisement for the Lok Biradari Prakalp.
Slowly madias started trusting Dr. Prakash
and would come to him for treatment.
Acute illiteracy among the madias was the main
reason for their exploitation. Baba and Dr.
Prakash decided to start a school for the madias.
Gopal Phadnis a lecturer of English joined the
cause and headed the school till his retirement.
He and Dada Panchal along with other volunteers
would go from village to village inviting parents
to send their children to school.Today the
school is a residential one with 650 tribal
students, 6 medical graduates, lawyers, many
teachers, policemen, forest guards etc.
The Madias are skilled craftsmen, LBP trains them
with skills like bamboo work, metal casting,
welding, plumbing, etc. many young drop-outs from
schools have been provided with and opportunity to
earn their livelihood.
Do visit the exhibition and feel blessed that you
are endowed with much more than a perfect life and
at the same time knowing the fact that some of our
brothers are not as lucky and mere existence and
survival is a fight for them. They need your love
and attention, endorsement from you that they too
exist and have the right to live and be happy just
The same exhibition has already been taken place
in Pune, Nashik, Mumbai, Dombivli , Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Sangli and got really overwhelming
response from people. Around 25,000 – 30,000
people visited the exhibition and took interest in
understanding the work with Madia & Gond tribal.
Photo and Craft Exhibition.Date: 13th to 17th March 2009
Timing: 10.30 A. M. to 8.00 P.M.Venue: ICCR ART GALLERY
RAVINDRABHARATHI, Opposite Legislative Assembly,
Reachout's News Bureau