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The indigenous people in India are commonly known as Adivasi, which means the original inhabitants. They are recognized by the constitution of India as Scheduled tribes and approximately 90 million of the nation’s total population belongs to Scheduled tribes. The state of Maharasthra in southwest India has around 50 scheduled tribes. Residing in hilly areas, far away from the civilization, they have for centuries utilized the nature for survival and they still do to a large extent. The majority of the Adivasis are landless farmers. Their livelihood is majorly based on primitive agriculture and every year they are dependent on the sufficiency of rain to get enough food for the year. Though many of the tribal people have skills in areas such as agriculture, carpentry and ayurveda, they are unable to get a sufficient yearly income and supporting the family is a constant struggle.
A lack of awareness about education leads to a majority of children not completing their basic education. The schools in the villages are normally only upto 4th standard and the infrastructure and facilities are poor. This leads to a high percentage of school dropouts and the children start working at an early age. Poor living conditions, lack of basic utilities, bad hygiene, water scarcity and lack of health care are major issues, which contribute to the challenges which the Adivasis are facing today. 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas, but the state gives priority to urban development. In the hope of a better life, many rural poor are forced to leave their homes and migrate to the cities, which leads to overpopulation in the cities. Daily, around 20.000 people reach India’s financial capital Mumbai by train. They come from various parts of the country, all with dreams of a better future.
On The Other Side is an ongoing project about the backside of “India Shining”. Its about the lives of people who live in the shadow of the booming Indian economy.