Kiran N Maske, A diploma holder in electrical engineering, has been travelling all over India by foot had visited P.G. Department of Social work, St. Philomena college, Puttur on 13-01-2014. During his visit he addressed MSW students as well as faculty members and shared his enormous and most valuable experience with them. As he never visits schools, colleges or addresses student community except social work students, it was his second visit to any MSW college in Karnataka, he said.
Maske, 46, left his home 21 years ago and journeyed across the country only by foot to live and learn about the original inhabitants of India. Maske started his journey from his hometown Ponda in Goa on June 5, 1992. He will be back in Ponda after he completes his visit in Dakshina Kannada district, on foot, of course.
Maske says he started his version of the Long March “to study the socio-economic condition of tribals in the country.”
The tribes he has visited range from Apatani in Arunachal Pradesh to the Koragas in Dakshina Kannada. He has been the guest of vanishing tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas, the Great Andamanis and the Sentinelis in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, to which he travelled by ship, the only time he did not walk.
He has also met the Dondis, Maliyas, Bhils, and Gonds in Maharashtra, and the Chenchus in Andhra Pradesh. He has stayed with a tribe from a few days up to three months. Before visiting a tribal settlement inside dense forest, Maske takes the help of forest officers.
After studying the condition prevailing among the tribals, he prepares a note on the development in the settlement, especially the infrastructure, and passes it on to the district collectors (deputy commissioners).
Koragas in Dakshina Kannada, says Maske, live in a more pitiable condition than their cousins in Dakshina Kannada. However, primitive tribes in Odisha and Chhattisgarh live in miserable condition. Only two states-Punjab and Haryana-have no primitive tribes, he says.
Original tribals are less in number today as compared to counterfeited tribals and the genuine tribals surely haven’t been benefited much from the various schemes of the government as their counterparts have been receiving, highly disgraceful, he said.
He was robbed five times in Odisha and twice in Uttar Pradesh, Maske feels that Sikkim is the most peaceful state in the country. “People in Sikkim villages do not lock their houses to this day.”
Maske says the Chola Naikars in Nilambur taluk of Mallapuram district in Kerala is the only tribe still living in caves.
The Hakki Pikki community of H D Kote taluk in Mysore has a unique custom of naming the child. The first word that comes to the mind of a man informed that his wife has delivered, is the name the child will bear. Hence, these community members have names like Post Office, Table, Chair, Deluxe Express, even British, he says.
He would bring out a book by recording all his incredible experience once he completes his journey, he says.
At the end of the session students and faculty members interacted in detail with Maske and obtained apt answer to most of their queries.
P.G. Department of Social Work organised this unique event and co-ordinator of the Department Mr. Prasanna Kumar welcomed all and also proposed vote of thanks.