Introduction

The Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh, Gujarat, has been the signature project of Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Baroda. The Bhasha Centre was established in 1996 as a Public Trust for initiating conservation and study of adivasi languages and culture. The Bhasha Trustís brief for itself was to established a premier institution of national excellence for creating Tribal Studies as a field of serious intellectual and social-action field. It was desired that the scope of activities of the proposed institution would extend to all adivasi and nomadic communities in India, and if possible to indigenous peoples in other continents as well. The institute was visualized as a combination of a university, a research centre, an activist-centre, a laboratory for experiments in development and a cultural expression forum, addressing all aspects of adivasi culture, history, society, rights and development.

The institution conceptualized by Bhasha Trust started developing as a Peopleís Institution, and is given the name Adivasi academy by the community of scholars and activists associated with it. The Academy was given a formal structure in 1999, and the first batch of Diploma students commenced on the 15th August 2000, to mark the first Independence Day of the new millennium.

It was natural for Bhasha Trust to choose an adivasi village for locating the Academy. Tejgadh, situated on the borders of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra was identified for this purpose. With its multidisciplinary approach to the field, and related interventions aimed at Adivasi development, the Academy is striving to combine academic excellence with serious activism. Since its inception in 1999, it has come to be seen by scholars involved in Tribal Studies, arts, craft, languages and Tribal Development, as well as adivasis and nomadic communities of India as an eminent forum for study, analysis, policy intervention and advocacy.

With its unique approach to education and development the Adivasi Academy, which was established by Bhasha, has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The Adivasi Academy is viewed by adivasi communities as a space for intellectual dialogue, imaginative expression and hope for a dignified future.