At flower show, a closer encounter of the tribal kind

At flower show, a closer encounter of the tribal kind

Submitted by Rashmi on Thu, 2017-01-26 08:13 Bengaluru: This year’s flower show at Lalbagh is not entirely about flowers, as the Horticulture Department decided to throw in an added attraction - tribal culture.Visitors to the show can get to know the life of Soliga tribe through replicas of tribal huts and other items. Shivanna, group head of Soliga Tribe from BR Hills in Chamaraja Nagar, says members of the tribe had come to the city on invitation of Sparsha Properties and Society for Tribal Rehabilitation, an NGO. “Our culture is shown as part of flower show. We build our homes with dry leaves and bamboo sticks and this way we see that we do not damage mother earth. We also worship our deity Shiva and nature during a particular festival called Rotti Habba. We worship animals and see that we do not harm them and also they should not harm us," says Shivanna.Shivanna says the produce they grow and collect (herbs, honey, millet) is sold to different organisations and government who sell it to people. “The profit is spent on the welfare of the tribal families who live in clusters in different places in Karnataka. There is a school facility given to children who belong to these families. After 5th standard, these kids are further admitted in nearby government school, " he says.Basavaraj, founder, Society for Tribal Rehabilitation, says they are paying tribe members daily wages to participate in the show. “We also provide food. When they go back, we still support them,” he says.But city comforts are not for Shivanna, who says that tribe members couldn’t sleep in the lodge. "We have never lived in concrete buildings. We did not feel like staying in rooms. Hence we are staying here in these huts."Apart from the huts, a replica of a watch tower has also been created at the show. "Every night, when families go to sleep, one man will be on watch duty to alert us if any animals are approaching. When he spots an animal, drums are beaten and the animals are chased. After that, a ritual is held to lord Maleya Mahadeshwara," says Shivanna.Campaign to keep flower show free of plasticThe flower show is also being used as an opportunity Beautiful Bengaluru, an association formed by the residents, to create awareness among residents to shun use of plastics. Veena Krishnan, a resident of Old Airport and a member of the organisation, said, "We tell visitors not to litter and use dustbin. We even show them where the dustbins are located.”Veena said volunteers had been working for plastic-free city for the past two years. Taking cautionFollowing two deaths, the horticulture department has installed warning signs asking visitors not to take selfies and throw stones at bee hives.Chandrashekar, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department, said, "We have put up boards in sensitive places inside the park asking people not to take selfies and also not to throw stones on bee hives. We have divided the park into nine divisions and have appointed enforcement officers.”