Conference Panels

HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL PROFILES OF INDIGENOUS AND URBAN COMMUNITIES IN SOUTH ASIA AND BEYOND [IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology]

Co-convenor: H. M. Maralusiddaiah (contact person), Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Government of India
Email: patel.anthro@gmail.com
Co-convenor: Rajasekhara Reddy, Anthropology, Manasa Gangotri, University of Mysore
Email: krsreddy@anthropology.uni-mysore.ac.in
Co-convenor: H.M. Ganesh, Anthropology, Manasa Gangotri, University of Mysore
Email: hmganesh@anthropology.uni-mysore.ac.in

India is an underdeveloped country and 50 per cent of the population lives in urban areas in conditions well below the below the poverty line. Significant sectors of the population are facing massive challenges relating to health and education. For example, as migrants are lured by massive industrialization, economic and educational opportunities in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi are overcrowded, statistics say that about one-fifth live in slums. Urbanization is one of the indicators of development. However, very fast proliferation of urbanization in developing countries has created problems of proliferation of slums. Slums have become the unavoidable and evil symbols of industrial and urban growth. The rate of urban growth cannot match housing, educational and health service facilities, including drinking water and sanitation.

The Adivasis or Indigenous populations of South Asia, some of whom are inhabitants of the urban slums mentioned above, also face numerous similar challenges in their home communities. The health profiles of ‘tribal’ communities in India in the rural areas are assessed by finding the haemoglobin count, blood pressure and blood sugar etc. Interestingly, compared to urban populations that invariably show a high incidence of hypertension in both the male and female segments of the population, in rural ‘tribal’ populations, the incidence of hypertension is considerably less, and among urban migrants from ‘tribal’ populations it is only a little higher. However, these populations do face major health problems related to malnutrition, skin diseases, coughs and colds, high incidence of low haemoglobin counts and tuberculosis. They are facing problems due to drinking unsafe drinking water, scarcity of nutritional food and of medical care, etc. The traditional and Indigenous medical practices often cannot contribute to improving health due to insufficient access to medicinal plants and herbs. Now, most of the Adivasis are receiving ration card foods provided by the government. In most areas they are not getting their seasonal fruits, roots and tubers and forest products, which formerly were abundantly available in the forest.

This panel invites papers that seek to evaluate the conditions of such dependent populations as slum dwellers and Indigenous inhabitants in both urban and rural contexts. It seeks to assess the impact of urbanisation upon both city dwellers and countryside inhabitants not only in South Asia, but in rapidly urbanising contexts throughout the world. This panel seeks papers that treat the impact of such factors in these contexts as the accessibility of health and educational services and the resulting profiles of health and education for inhabitants, including both those who have migrated to metropolitan cities in search of livelihoods and those who have remained in rural communities. Papers may examine such factors as the salience of perceived employment opportunities as a cause of urban migration in relation to economic constraints and such factors as changing educational opportunities, growing inequalities, decreasing farm work opportunities, landlessness and land appropriation in rural settings, resettlement, spontaneous migration from forest areas, development programs, dam construction, forest policies, including scheduling of protected areas as wildlife sanctuaries, game sanctuaries and biosphere reserves. Papers may deal with the impact of such factors upon the health of and education of such populations as urban migrants and remaining rural inhabitants seek to adapt to conditions of livelihood stress. The panel also seeks to assess the impact of both national policies and globalisation on the health conditions and health practices of Indigenous and urban populations, both in South Asia and beyond.

  • SESSION 1     Room: G62 ARTS     Wed 6/7/2011     Time: 11.00-12.30     Room Location Map
    • Paper 1: Ethno Medicine and Health Care Practices among the Hakki Pikki Tribe in Urban cities.
      • Suresh Patil, Anthropological Survey of India
    • Paper 2: HEALTH AND HYGIENIC PROFILE OF URBAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES IN KOLKATA
      • Pandey Digvijaynath, Anthropological Survey of India
    • Paper 3: Morphological and Demographic Changes in the Rural-Urban Fringe of Port-Blair Town.
      • Umesh Kumar, Anthropological Survey of India
    • Paper 4: Health Profiles of Dhimals: A Little Known Indigenous Community of Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India
      • Subir Biswas, West Bengal State University

SESSION 1

Chair: Rajasekhara Reddy

Paper 1: Ethno Medicine and Health Care Practices among the Hakki Pikki Tribe in Urban cities.

Suresh Patil, Anthropological Survey of India

In this paper an attempt is made to highlight the role of ethno-medicine and health care practices among the Hakki Pikki tribe in urban cities. Healthy condition of the body is the gift, of the god. Hard work from dawn to dusk make healthy according to them. The traditional occupation of the Hakki pikki tribe was bird hunting and trapping and selling the medicine and giving the treatment to diseases for the both rural urban population. Among the tribes the sickness is cured by administrating ethno-medicine, otherwise known as folk disease. The local experts are paid something either in cash or kind as reward for their services rendered. The ethno-medicine consists of herbs, application of oils and mixtures. Their treatment was largely restricted to rest, diet and exercise rather than drugs. The ethno-medicine and health care practices among Hakki pikki is more both in urban and rural areas. In the recent trend the people still believe in ethno medicine, allopathic, homeopathic and other kind of treatment in both rural and urban cities. The Hakki pikki are call them as a medicinal man and they have knowledge of curing the diseases. In this paper I am trying to highlight the health care and practices of Hakki pikii tribe.

Paper 2: HEALTH AND HYGIENIC PROFILE OF URBAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES IN KOLKATA

Pandey Digvijaynath, Anthropological Survey of India

By tracing its way through people’s earlier understanding and perception about health, disease and its determinants the present talk evolves to the level of sharing of glaring vital statistics affecting health of individuals inhabiting developing countries, including India. The role of socio-cultural, behavioral, ethnic, and environmental factors in the context of people’s health have been highlighted. The concern regarding substantially higher rates of mortality and morbidity encountered amongst individuals. In this paper I am trying to bring the health and hygienic profile of Muslims and other populations in urban and rural areas in Kolkata metropolitan city in terms hemoglobin count and blood pressure and other diseases. Urban populations have invariably high incidence of hypertension in both populations. Interestingly hypertension is more common in Muslim females than males in both urban and rural areas, but it is other way in case of Muslims invariably have high hemoglobin count in both sexes and locales. The findings have been discussed in relation to their family income, family size, education, migration etc.

Paper 3: Morphological and Demographic Changes in the Rural-Urban Fringe of Port-Blair Town.

Umesh Kumar, Anthropological Survey of India

Some important development have taken place in the urban settlements of India during the past several decades. With the rapid increase of population, the built-up area have spread into the unincorporated suburbs and in areas surrounding the large towns and cities. The most startling incongruities between acts and administrative fiats are found in the border zones of growing urban centres. Here urban residences and functions have greatly spilled far beyond the political bounds of urban centres/cities. It demonstrates that the built-up urban centre/city is not necessarily coterminous with the political or municipal urban centre/city. This sprawl of urban centres outside its corporate limits has been made possible by availability of mechanised transportation and of facilities like electricity etc. The transition zone between rural and urban landscape is known as rural-urban fringe. This transition zone is always in flux and presents problems of adjustments between rural and urban ways of life. The present paper endeavours to study the morphological and demographic changes taking place in the rural-urban fringe of Port-Blair town.

Paper 4: Health Profiles of Dhimals: A Little Known Indigenous Community of Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India

Subir Biswas, West Bengal State University

Health status of adult can be assessed differently; among them Body Mass Index (BMI) is most widely used because of its non-invasive technique, inexpensive as well as suitability for large scale surveys. The present paper is an attempt to explore health status of Dhimal, a little known indigenous community of northern part of West Bengal, India. Two hundreds persons including 100 male and 100 female were selected for somatometric measurements to understand health status. To identify health status of children a set of 88 boys and girls were taken for Somatometry of health interest. Health or nutritional status was evaluated using World Health Organization BMI guidelines as well as BCIMS classification for Asians; whereas for children it was NCHS/WHO normalized reference values for age and sex.