Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 11 November 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Community, Culture and Curriculum in
the Context of Tribal Education in Orissa, India

Mahendra Kumar Mishra, Ph.D.

'All men are intellectuals, one could therefore say: but not all men have the function of intellectuals in society.(…) There is no human activity from which every form of intellectual participation can be excluded: homo faber cannot be separated from homosapiens" Antonio Gramsci

Two Programs under Scrutiny

This paper aims at exploring two community-based programmes adopted in Orissa as the outcome of 'principles' put in to 'practices', to ensure an equitable quality education.

One programme is "Multilingual Education" which aims at imparting mother tongue based multilingual education to linguistic minority children of the state at primary stage through thematic approach based on the philosophy of National Curriculum Framework 2005. Tribal communities have contributed their knowledge in framing the curriculum and preparing instructional materials for their children studying in 500 schools of the state. Some case studies have been presented to examine that how community knowledge can be the better instrument for cognitive development in classroom with a foundation of children's cultural contest, ad community's intellectual participation in school.

Another programme is "Srujan" (creativity) - a cluster approach to education introduced in tribal areas where the school and community members provide a space for the children to express their creative ability through community culture and connect this knowledge in school curriculum.

The Focal Theme of This Article

The focal theme of the paper is to establish that intellectual activity of the community can be more appropriate for the children who live in different cultural context where the parents and community as a whole can contribute their culture in shaping the education and learning of their children, thereby reducing the gap of school and community.

On Defining Community in Indian Context

Community has been defined differently in different contexts by the theorists and practitioners. While western sociologists define community in their socio-cultural context, community in the Indian context has its own characteristics.

Defining the community, McIver and Charles H Page say, "Whenever the members of any group, small or large, live together in such a way that they share, not this or that particular interest, but the basic conditions of a common life, we call that a group or community"(1962:8-9).

Maine Arts Commission defining the community says, "Every place has its own sights and sounds, its own smells and cycles that condition the way we see the world and how we interact with our community. Over time, community members sift through those environmental elements and develop ways of integrating them in to their lives. What makes sense in one community may not make sense in another. The things we see every day, the language we use, the way we earn our living and the history of our shared experiences all influence us in a way that, added together, creates a community."

It is necessary to understand community from the Indian point of view.

Since India is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multicultural country, the concept of community needs more elaboration in terms of language, ethnicity and religion. In the Indian context, the word community is used by the development agencies to signify the target groups and the beneficiaries involved in different programmes.

In the Indian school context, it is accepted that community comprises a whole village irrespective of religion, language and ethnicity.

Territorial Aspect of Community

Indian sociologists define community on the basis of its complex social formation. Prof Yogender Singh, discussing community in the Indian context, says that there are 4,635 major communities in India which cut across religion, ethnicity and regions. He further explains that the notion of community in the Indian development paradigm is terrtorial.

In Orissa, for example, a community in a tribal area can be formed by:

1. Territories with only one tribe (Bhunjia, Bonda, Juang, Kamar, Gadaba, and Lanjia Saura) settled in one locality with the tribe being dominantly monolingual.

2. A settlement of more than one tribe (Gond and Bhunjia, Kamar and Halwa, Kondh and Paraja, Munda and Kol, Santal and Bathudi)

3. Tribal and nontribal settlement: Tribal and non-tribal people live together and sustain themselves on agriculture.

Linguistically Orissa is a land of three language groups. These are

1. Austro-Asiatic language group,

2. Dravidian language group and

3. Indo-Aryan language group.

The Austro-Asiatic and Dravidian language groups constitute one-fourth of the total state population. But their language and culture are historically neglected both in social domain and academic domain.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Attitude towards Mother Tongue - A Study of the Tribal Students of Orissa | Computer-mediated Communication in a Bilingual Chatroom | Compensation Strategies for Speaking English Adopted by Engineering Students of Tamil Nadu - A Study | Acquisition of English Intransitive Verbs by Urdu Speakers | Community, Culture and Curriculum in the Context of Tribal Education in Orissa, India | Auxiliary Verbs in Modern Tamil | Getting Around 'Offensive' Language | Noun Morphology in Kuki-Chin Languages | A Plea for the Use of Language Portals in Imparting Communication Skills | Advances in Machine Translation Systems | A Comparative Study of the Effect of Explicit-inductive and Explicit-deductive Grammar Instruction in EFL Contexts | Lexical Choice and Social Context in Shashi Deshpande's That Long Silence | The Voice of Servility and Dominance Expressed through Animal Imagery in Adiga's The White Tiger | Phonological Analysis of English Phonotactics of Syllable Initial and Final Consonant Clusters by Yemeni Speakers of English | Effective Use of Language in Communicating News through Political Emergency | Helping the Limited English Proficient Learner Learn the Second Language Effectively through Strategy Instruction | P.S. Sri's The Temple Elephant: A Bestiary with Socio-Political and Spiritual Message | Papers Presented in the All-India Conference on Multimedia Enhanced Language Teaching - MELT 2009 | A Phonological Study of the Variety of English Spoken by Oriya Speakers in Western Orissa - A Doctoral Dissertation | HOME PAGE of November 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Mahendra K. Mishra, Ph.D.
State SC/ST and Minority Education Coordinator
Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority
Unit V
Bhubaneswar 751001
Orissa, India

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