Tribals pay tribute to Austrian anthropologist couple

 Telangana | Written by : Suryaa Desk Updated: Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 11:24 AM

Marlawai: Hundreds of aboriginal tribals, locally known as Adivasis, paid rich tributes to their adored anthropologist Prof Von Furer Haimendorf and his wife Elizabeth on the couple’s 31st death anniversary at Marlawai village in Jainoor mandal on Thursday. They performed traditional rituals as per customs of their community.

Raj Gonds, Kolams, Pradhans, Thotis and others belonging to various parts of erstwhile Adilabad district flocked to the tiny habitation from early Thursday morning. They ceremonially observed the death anniversary by conducting certain rituals at tombs of both Haimendorf and Elizabeth, by taking out a precession and playing traditional instruments of the tribals. They paid floral homage to the duo at their statues.

On the occasion, they recounted the role played by the anthropologist couple in uplifting their communities. Some of the participants recalled his stay and accounts of their experiences with him. They asserted that Haimendorf had contributed greatly to the welfare of Adivasis by detailing lifestyle, culture, and customs of the tribals with great precision and by establishing educational institutions in certain parts of the backward region.

They opined that his extraordinary anthropological work had paved way for introducing reservations to ethnic tribes. They hailed the couple for transforming lives of the tribals dwelling in erstwhile Adilabad and elsewhere of the country. They remembered him for bringing out this rich culture and religious affairs to the external world.

Later, students of Ashram Schools performed traditional dance at a programme held on the premises of a government school, enthralling audiences. Certain tribal folk artistes also performed on the occasion. Around 2,000 tribals gathered at Marlawai and took part in the anniversary.

Asifabad MLA Kova Laxmi, Collector Prashanth Jeevan Patil, Adilabad Collector D Divya, Asifabad SP Kalmeshwar Shingenawar, ITDA Aboriginal Tribal Welfare Advisory Committee Kanaka Lakke Rao, Haimendorf Youth Association K Ambaji Rao, Switzerland’s Linguistician Mark Penny were few among those who attended the event.

By staying along with his wife at interior Marlawai, Haimendorf had carried out the anthropological study of lifestyle, culture, and traditions of Adivasis inhabiting in integrated Adilabad during 1945 and 56. He was appointed by the then Nizam for finding out reasons to the unrest in tribal habitations following the martyrdom of Tribal legend Kumram Bheem at Jodeghat valley in Kerameri mandal in the 1940s.

The couple had gelled with locals and adapted their way of living over a period of time. He had named his son after Lachchu Patel, the then elder of this sleepy village, situated 5 kms away from Jainoor mandal centre.