Adivasi Academy

Adivasi Academy is established by the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Vadodara, the Adivasi Academy is established to create a unique environment for the study and understanding of Adivasi communities.

Adivasi Academy is established by the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, Vadodara, the Adivasi Academy is established to create a unique environment for the study and understanding of Adivasi communities. The Academy is devoted to the study of Adivasi history, folklore, cultural geography, social dynamics, economy, development studies, medicine, music, arts and theatre. With its multidisciplinary approach and related interventional measures, the Adivasi Academy constantly strives to create new approaches to academics and social, cultural and developmental interventions.


The Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh, Gujarat, has been the signature project of Bhasha Research and Publication Centre. The Bhasha Centre was established in 1996 as a Public Trust for conservation and study of Adivasi languages and culture. The Bhasha Trust’s brief for itself was to establish 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 the Bhasha Trust has evolved as a people’s 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 15th August 2000, to mark the first Independence Day of the new millennium.

With its multidisciplinary approach to the field, and related activities aimed at Adivasi development, the Adivasi Academy strives to combine research and academic excellence with development interventions. Since its inception in 1999, it has come to be seen by scholars involved in Tribal Studies and Tribal Development, as well as Adivasis and Nomadic Communities of India, as an eminent forum for study, analysis, policy intervention and advocacy. The Adivasi Academy is viewed by Adivasi communities as a space for intellectual dialogue, imaginative expression and hope for a dignified future.

With its unique approach to the concerns of Adivasis, the role of the Adivasi Academy in developing a new perspective to Adivasi knowledge, education and development, the Bhasha Trust has been recognized as a ‘Center of Excellence’ by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.


To create a new outlook to development by underlining Adivasi values of self-reliance, a need-based life and ecological harmony; building their capabilities to survive against all odds by rescuing their dignity and respecting their cultural heritage through festivals, cultural performances, theatre, songs, dances, rituals, documenting folklore and promoting modernizing tools in their languages. All activities are taken in the spirit of welding together the aesthetic and socio-economic dimensions of tribal life.

Education Philosophy

As a place of research, learning and critical inquiry related to Adivasi communities, their history, culture, world-views, arts, languages, medicine, economy, development and traditions, the Adivasi Academy tries to combine the essentials of the views on education of Rabindranath Tagore, Shri Aurobindo, J. Krishnamurthy, Mahatma Gandhi, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Ivan Ilich and Paulo Friere, all of whom challenged the established pedagogic regimen. The views of these thinkers-practitioners on the confluence of social good and university education form the bedrock of the educational philosophy of the Adivasi Academy. The Adivasi Academy does make use of modern technologies, however, without unduly privileging the lexical traditions of knowledge. Oral traditions, performing arts, handicrafts and visual arts form the core portion of the studies at the Adivasi Academy. Any study, training or programme at the Adivasi Academy is designed to help participants to enhance their awareness and sensitivity, improve their skills and level of knowledge in their respective area of management, planning, production, social work, etc. in relation to Adivasi communities.

The Adivasi Academy allows experiments in designing programmes relevant to ‘down-to-earth’ realities of Adivasis. The Adivasi Academy does not follow a single track academic or development agenda. Therefore, it is not a specialized place of research, study and reflection in any one single discipline or subject. Research and Training Programs are created from group to group or project to project depending on the needs perceived for conserving Adivasi identity or promoting development in Adivasi areas. Hence, the Adivasi Academy engages in nothing that is not of use to the Adivasi.


  • The stated goals of the academy as laid down in its Constitution are:

  • To become an institution of quality research and education in relation to ivasi development and social dynamics;

  • To translate the study and research undertaken at the Academy into erventions for empowerment of marginalized communities;

  • To nurtur a community of Adivasi thinkers and new thought processes so to facilitate social transformation;

  • To become a national institution for research, reference and the study f social dynamic.

Governing Members

The legal holding of the Adivasi Academy lies with the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre. The Adivasi Academy is governed by an Advisory Board that presently constitutes the following members:

1. Ms. Aditi Mehta (Retd. IAS), Udaipur

Formerly Jt. Secretary to Govt. of India, Jt. Secretary in PMO, Department of Women and Child Welfare and Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India.

2. Prof. Banani Chakravarty

Sociolinguistics, presently Associate Professor at Gauhati University, Assam.

3. Dr. Madan Meena

Director, Adivasi Academy and Trustee, Bhasha Research and Publication Centre. Artist and folklore researcher.

4. Prof. Ruhi Gala

Academician and practicing architect based in Baroda. Was involved in setting up of Bhasha’s Himlok Museum in Kyelang, Himachal Pradesh.

5. Ms. Sandhya Gajjar

Eminent art critic from Baroda and Independent Consultant at Navrachna University. Among the Founding Trustees of Bhasha.

6. Shri Top Dan

He is, Served for RBI & NABARD. Cultural researcher from Lahul-Spiti of Himachal Pradesh. Published books ‘History and Religions of Lahul’, ‘Mahakappina the King of Kuluta’ and the ‘Kinnaras of the Himalaya’.

7. Shri Uttam Parmar

Educationist from Surat in Gujarat. Presently Managing Trustee of Kim Education Society and Sadhana Kutir Hospital. Has been part of some of the progressive movements in Gujarat.

Academic Council Members

The Adivasi Academy has an Academic Council consisting of eminent scholars, academicians, artists, film-makers, designers, architects, writers, poets and archivists. This body is meant to hold various thematic programs at the Academy. Presently eminent journalist and founder of PARI Prof. P Sainath is its Chairperson. This consists of some 30 members listed as under:

1. Ms. Aditi Mehta

Chairperson of Advisory Board of Adivasi Academy. Retd. IAS (Rajasthan cadre).

2. Dr. Aditya Sondhi

Senior Advocate practising in the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Karnataka and has served as Additional Advocate General for Karnataka. Holds a PhD in political science and is a debutant playwright.

3. Ms. Ekta Mittal

Filmmaker and founder of the Maara, a media arts organisation in Bangalore. Works in community media, public art, activism, with a focus on migrant workers. Films include In-Transience (2011), Distance (2009), Birha/Absence (2018), Presence (2012), among others.

4. Dr. Harvinder Negi

Field linguist by training and part of the Himachal Pradesh volume of the Peoples Linguistic Survey of India. Presently Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics at GLA University Mathura.

5. Ms. Jagada Rajappa

Eminent textile expert and revivalist from Hyderabad. Works with the traditional weavers, dyers and hand block printers for revival of various traditional textile techniques and designs.

6. Prof. Kanji Patel

Eminent Gujarati writer and poet, and former Director of the Adivasi Academy. Editor of the Gujarat volume of the Peoples Linguistic Survey of India. Established the Kaleshwari Mela at Lonawada in North Gujarat, to mobilise DNTs.

7. Dr. Madan Meena

Artist and Folklore Researcher. Hon. Director, Adivasi Academy, Tejgadh. Trustee of Bhasha.

8. Ms. Niharika Gupta

Has a background in Anthropology and Literature and has worked with Sahapedia and the Tibetan House in Delhi. Presently with the India International Centre, New Delhi.

9. Dr. Nishaant Choksi

Linguistic Anthropologist who works on scripts and languages of South Asia. Presently Assistant professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Gandhinagar-Gujarat.

10. Prof. Om Damani

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. Trustee of Bhasha.

11. Prof. P Sainath

Eminent journalist, columnist and author devoted to Rural India. Author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought and founder of the Peoples Archive of Rural India (PARI).

12. Prof. Rahmath Tarikere

Eminent award-winning Kannada writer and critic. Has published books on Muharram, Sufism, Nathism, Shaktism and other local mystic cults of Karnataka. His research includes works in literary criticism, multilingual texts, poetics and cultural studies on Kannada literature.

13. Mr. Rahul Roy

Independent documentary filmmaker whose work has focused on communalism, labour and masculinities. Films award-winning include When Four Friends Meet (2000), The City Beautiful (2003), Till We Meet Again (2013), Majma (2013) and The Factory (2015). Author of A Little Book on Men (2007).

14. Dr. Rashmi Devi Sawhney

Cultural theorist and Associate Arts Professor at New York University, Abu Dhabi. Writes on cultural dynamics in South Asia. Author of The Vanishing Point: Moving Images After Video. Trustee of Bhasha.

15. Mr. Rohan Shivkumar

Architect, urban designer and Dean of the Kamla Raheja School of Architecture, Bombay. Has worked on the Churchgate Revival project, the UDRI Tourist District project, and undertaken studies on slum rehabilitation and open space regulations in Mumbai. Is one of the editors of Project Cinema City.

16. Dr. Rustom Bharucha

Dramaturg, writer, cultural theorist and leading scholar and practitioner of intercultural theatre. Was project director of the Arna Jharna museum in Rajasthan. Author of Theatre and the World (1993), The Question of Faith (1993), Chandralekha: Woman/Dance/Resistance (1995), In the Name of the Secular (1999), The Politics of Cultural Practice (2000), Rajasthan: An Oral History (2003), Another Asia:Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin (2006) and Terror and Performance (2014).

17. Ms. Sandhya Gajjar

Eminent art critic from Baroda and Independent Consultant at Navrachna University. Among the Founding Trustees of Bhasha.

18. Dr. Shubha Chaudhary

Linguist and Director of the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology since 1982. Former board member of the International Council of Traditional Music (ICTM) and Vice President of the International Association of Sound and Audio-Visual Archives. Co-author of Archives for the Future and Bards, Ballads and Boundaries: an ethnographic atlas of the Music of Western Rajasthan.

19. Ms. Shweta Bhattad

Visual, performance artist and farmer. She is founder of the Gram Art Project Collective in a village near Nagpur, Maharashtra.

20. Dr. Sonal Baxi

Bhasha’s Academic Coordinator. Associated with Bhasha’s projects related to Tribal education and Denotified and Nomadic Tribes.

21. Ms. Subasri Krishnan

Filmmaker and head of the Media Lab at the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS). Her films are on various themes concerning contemporary politics and include This or That Particular Person (2012); What the Fields Remember (2015); Dance of the Butterfly (2019).

22. Mr. Sudhir Horo

An Alumni of NID-Ahmedabad, he is a designer, founder of the Tribal Design Forum and has a brand with the name Red Design.

23. Prof. Sundar Sarukkai

Philosopher of science and founder of Barefoot Philosophers. Author of several books including Translating the World: Science and Language, Philosophy of Symmetry, Indian Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, What is Science?, JRD Tata and the Ethics of Philanthropy, and two books co-authored with Gopal Guru – The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory and more recently, Experience, Caste and the Everyday Social. He is also a playwright and theatre director.

24. Ms. Swati Dandekar

Documentary filmmaker and Head of the Film Programme at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Founder trustee of Vikalp, Bengaluru. Films include Water and a City (2008) and Neeli Rang (2015), on indigo craftsmen.

25. Dr. Tanuja Kothiyal

Academician and historian of nomadic communities in Rajasthan. Assistant Professor of History at Ambedkar University, Delhi. Author of Nomadic Narratives: A History of Mobility in the Great Indian Desert.

26. Mr. Uttam Parmar

Educationist, social worker and well-known Gujarati writer. Member of the Adivasi Academy Advisory Board. Managing Trustee of Kim Education Society and Sadhana Kutir Hospital. Involved with various progressive movements in Gujarat.

27. Mr. Venkat Srinivasan

Venkat is Director of Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR) in Bengaluru. Prior to this, he was a research engineer at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University.

28. Mr. Vinod Raja

Graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, with a specialization in Cinematography. Part of the Grass Roots Media film collective. Films include Toli Chinuka (1990), The Bee, The Bear and the Kuruba (2001) and Mahua Memoirs (2007).

29. Prof. Y. S. Alone

Professor in Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Writes on Ancient and modern Indian Art, Neo-Buddhist Visual culture, Dr. Ambedkar's critical frame work, and is engaged in the conceptual critique of 'protected ignorance'. Among other books, author of Early Western Indian Buddhist Caves: Forms and Patronage (2015).

Contact Us

Anything that will improve the lives of Adivasis in India, anything that will increase the awareness of the distinctiveness of Adivasi culture in the country, and create respect for the difference, is a contribution to the Adivasi Academy. Monetary help is necessary, but that alone is not enough.

You may write to us at:

Adivasi Academy
At and Post Tejgadh 391156
Taluka and District Chhotaudepur
Gujarat, India

Or drop a mail at

For immediate communication, please contact Shri Naginbhai Rathwa, PRO, Adivasi at 09879250378.


Know about Adivasi Academy Campus

Vaacha Museum

Know about Vaacha: Museum of Voice

Library and Education

Find about Adivasi Academy Library and Education


Find about research and studies at Adivasi Academy

Arts & Culture

Find about arts and culture of Adivasi Academy


Learn about Prakruti and Ayurved health care centres


Find about projects happening at Adivasi Academy