Church of North India Tribal Awards 2013

Church of North India Tribal Awards 2013


Durgapur Diocese of the Church of North India, is a predominantly tribal Diocese, with more than 70% of its members hailing from the Proto-Australoid group of Santhal Tribes. The tribal people of India have always been a major factor in our national life. India, before and after the independence can never be properly understood without recognizing the invaluable contributions that the tribal people or Adivasis, who are regarded as subalterns, made in our national life. In social, cultural and political life of India the Adivasis have always played important roles and have worked shoulder to shoulder with the non-tribal populace to take the nation to newer heights of excellence.

Jangal Mahal is very much in the news mainly because of its character and composition. It is a tribal region of West Bengal, mostly Santals live here. There is a tribal awakening and an uprising. Adibasis of this area have been neglected and greatly marginalized. Consequently, a vast majority remain illiterate and impoverished, suffering from all kinds of diseases. Such a situation has given rise to political restlessness and violence today. It is in such a socio-economic-political context, the diocese constantly strives to promote and strengthen social development and the serving ministry of God.

After becoming Bishop of Durgapur, on 21st September 2003, The Rt. Revd. Dr. Probal Kanto Dutta, apart from all the other challenges strongly felt a grave need to actively work among the Tribal communities in order to enhance their leadership, culture, literature and entire social gamut. The need for a Tribal Community Centre, where such activities could be carried out, was also strongly felt.

As a result of this in 2004, a project proposal was presented to the Global Ministries, USA through the respected Revd. Dr. James Vijayakumar. Following this, “To the glory of God and in solidarity with the subaltern, Shanti Griha (Tribal Peace and Reconciliation Centre) was inaugurated on the 6th of February 2005.

In order to encourage Santali writers and people who are involved in social development work amongst the Tribals, Shanti Griha initiated a Tribal Award Committee, to recognize and felicitate people who are not usually granted any recognition. Now every year since 2006, two awards are given, namely the Revd. P. O. Boading Memorial Award in the field of literature and Revd. J. P. Hastings Memorial Award in the field of social Development. The recipients of the awards are given Rs. 10,000/- cash, a Memento, a citation and a shawl. For the last two years another award is being given out for academics to a Santali boy who has gone for higher studies.

This year also the Tribal Award Ceremony of the Diocese was organized and celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm on the 2nd of February 2013 at the St. Michael’s School auditorium. Revd. Dr. James Vijayakumar, UCC Disciples Global Ministries Southern Asia Area Executive, USA, was the Chief Guest for the event. Mrs. Karen Drayton, daughter of the legendary missionary Revd. J. P. Hastings, was also present as the Guest of Honor. SUSWRIA – BAIDYANATH HEMBROM was awarded the Revd. J. P. Hastings Memorial Award in the field of social Development. And ONOLIW – SONA HEMBRAM was awarded the Revd. P. O. Boading Memorial Award in the field of literature. The ceremony was witnessed by more than a thousand tribals from all over the Diocese, friends from abroad and diocesan family members.