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THE SAMANTHAS

  • Uploaded by Sathya on Jul 25, 2011
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(Note: The period of assignment of copyright of this film is expired. It is now a public property.)

This ethnographic film made by Sathya Mohan is a visual study of the socio-economic and the religious life of the Samanthas. The Samanthas or the Khonds of Vishakhapatnam agency in Andhra Pradesh, India are one of the few surviving 'primitive tribal groups' (defined by government of India). They speak the language called 'Kuvi' which is blended with Telugu in Andhra Pradesh. Slash and burn cultivation is the major source of livelihood for the Samanthas. They clear the jungle on hill-slopes, burn the trees and grow the crops in the ashes. This mode of archaic agriculture is not only a subsistence activity, but also a ritual and religious activity for the Samanthas.

They also collect minor forest produce to supplement their meagre agricultural returns. Most of their festivals are related to their agricultural operations. Their economic activity is greatly interwoven and inter-dependent with their religious life. Though the modern commercial exploitation of forests has restricted the areas available to the native tribesmen, there remains several tribal societies in India representing various modes of ancient farming which followed in time that of hunters and gatherers.

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