AnSI protects unity in cultural diversity: Dr Dhar

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 May 2018 10:06:51

AnSI protects unity in cultural diversity Dr Dhar Dr Ratna Dhar

By Rajendra Diwe,

“We all are human beings. We all are connected with each other. Despite social, cultural, political, geographical, religious, traditional diversities, we are all connected genetically with each other,” said Dr Ratna Dhar, Superintending Anthropologist, Head of the office of Central Regional Centre, Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI).
Expressing concern over growing intolerance in the country between communities, Dr Dhar stated, “Anthropology is a science of understanding human beings. This science teaches us to consider man as a social and biological animal. If one understands one’s nature, one starts tolerating others.

This science helps people to understand importance of harmony and respect for each other.”
Dr Dhar explained the contributions of AnSI as, “India is a country known for its unity in diversity. People in this country are separated by the clashing interests of ethnic, cultural, and religious affiliations. AnSI has identified the need to bring harmony, to find ways and means for the aboriginal and disadvantaged social groups to suitably adjust to the changing conditions in and outside the country, without jeopardising their ways of life. AnSI had accepted the challenging task for India and conducted research of understanding the people of India across the length and breadth of the country.”Prior to join as a head of Central Regional Centre of AnSI in city, Dr Dhar worked at Dehradun, Kolkata and Udaipur.

She had conducted research in socio-cultural anthropology. She spoke in length about the Maniyar community in Rajasthan. She said, “If one wants to understand what the tolerance is, he must study the traditions, customs and culture of Maniyar community in Rajasthan.”

Dr Dhar got her doctoral degree on research on ‘Pabuji Ki Phad’. She mentioned, “Pabuji Ki Phad is a religious scroll painting of folk deities, which is used for a musical rendition of the only surviving ancient traditional folk art form, Phad painting in the world of the epic of Pabuji, the Rathod Rajput chief. The Phad canvas is usually of 15 by 15 feet (4.6 m x 4.6 m) sheet cloth, on which are painted (or sewn) miniature scenes depicting the life of Pabuji and his adventures.”

Central regional centre of AnSI association with Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) Bhopal recently organised a special exhibition showcases the Bio-cultural History of the people of India entitled as ‘People of India’.

“AnSI launched a project on People of India on October 2, 1985. The objective of the project was to generate a brief, descriptive anthropological profile of all the communities of India, the impact on them of change and development processes and the links that bring them together. The bio-cultural research among different population groups was conducted at all its eight regional centres. In the first step, AnSI was able to identify 6,748 communities. This list was taken to the field, tested and checked, and finally 4635 communities were identified and studied, of which 635 were tribal communities. There were about 750 dialects classified into one of the following three language families: Austro-Asiatic (AA), Dravidian (DR), and Tibeto-Burman (TB),” Dr Dhar added.

AnSI is the only Government organisation which conducts anthropological research. Its genesis was from the Zoological and Anthropological section of the Indian Museum, which became the Zoological Survey of India in 1916. In 1945, Anthropology section of the Zoological Survey was carved out to become the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) with Dr BS Guha as the founding Director, in 1946. The head office was shifted from Banaras to Calcutta in 1948.It has eight regional centres and Central Regional Centre situated in Nagpur was established in 1955.

International Museum Day on May 18

Museum is a place to know India in real sense, said Dr Ratna Dhar. Museum of Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) in city is one of the best museums in India. AnSI has museum in each regional centre. The museum in Port Blair (Andaman), Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra) are the best museums in the country, she added.

AnSI is celebrating International Museum Day on May 18. Elaborate arrangements have been made for the people to watch the museum. Drawing and painting competition for school students has been organised on this occasion, Dr Dhar said.