Devidas Gaonkar I am a tribal from the Velip community. Tribal people are self-dependent – we need to buy very few things from outside. People usually think of us as jungle folk, wearing no clothes and living by hunting. We are not given much respect. They think we live like animals, but this is not true and I want to show the truth through the videos I make.
The government neglects tribal communities, except during the elections when they want votes. As there are reservations for Scheduled Tribes, many tribal people have taken up government jobs and do not keep their tribal identity. Tribes are slowly mixing with the general crowd and we are losing our ways. I wish there was some way we can preserve our traditions, because they are powerful and they keep our history. Development in the outside world has affected the tribals too – illegal mining is destroying our environment and our livelihoods.
I had to drop out of secondary school because there was no money. But I loved reading and painting, and I learnt how to make crafts from polystyrene so I started earning a little on my own. Then, during a workshop, I met a journalist. I started writing articles for the local newspaper in my village. I want to excel in writing and video-making, this is my passion.