Traditional knowledge passed down several generations of the tribals in Kerala by their ancestors has suffered massive erosion and is gradually disappearing now, reveals a study conducted by city-based Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K).
A first-of-its-kind study in India, it provides a quantitative estimate of traditional knowledge that is disappearing at an alarming rate.
“The degradation of conventional knowledge is alarming,” revealed the study, conducted by C.V. Raman Laboratory of Ecological Informatics at the IIITM-K among eight tribal races in the Western Ghats.
The study was conducted among the Kurichyar, Kattunaikkar (Wayanad); Cholanaikkar, Paniyar (Nilambur); Irular, Kurumbar (Palakkad); and Kaanikkar, Malapandaram (Kollam) tribal groups. Statistical analysis of the compiled data has thrown unprecedented result in the form of estimates for erosion or retention of traditional knowledge within the communities.
The survey was designed in such a way as to elicit binary mode of response as ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The information was gathered on the basis of a simple questionnaire and it was assessed scientifically. The questions covered areas including honey collection; knowledge about herbs and their usage; prevention of blight in paddy fields; finding of edible leaves and potatoes; worship of rain, turmeric, hibiscus and paddy; umbrella making; treatment for venom; and various tribal arts and handicrafts.
The knowledge of the participants was segregated in 10-25, 25-50 and above 50 age groups. During the study, it was revealed that the dwindling of traditionally-inherited knowledge is mostly finds among youths, especially among men.
The Kurichya and Kurumba triabls have lost more than half of their traditional knowledge, Cholanaikar and Malapandaram tribals have lost 33 per cent while Kaani and Kattunaikkar have lost 40 to 45 per cent. Malapandaram tribals have ‘very least traditionally-acquired knowledge before and now’.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Jaishankar. R. Nair, Head of C.V. Raman Laboratory of Ecological Informatics, said the study on traditionally-inherited knowledge was conducted among the tribals living in the Western Ghats as it is included in the UN’s World Heritage Site.
“The diminishing of traditional knowledge is detrimental to the existence of geo heritage sites. The study manifests the need for preserving this traditional knowledge at any cost,” he added.
The survey and research team comprised Saroj Kumar, V Sooraj. N.P, M. Somasekharan Pillai and Ram Boojh.
Leading Digital Technology Services Company UST Global is set to launch the UST Global Cyber Centre in partnership with the state government’s Cyber Dome, along with the State Police Department in Thiruvananthapuram in 2018. The announcement was made by the company’s CEO, Mr. Sajan Pillai, at a press conference today.
“It will be a world-class security operating centre and it can monitor all the things required for the Central and state governments. This is primarily our cybersecurity capabilities from UST Global Israel. We believe the cyber security defence launch will be a huge opportunity for Keralites,” Mr. Pillai pointed out.
“UST has become the first billion dollar technology startup from Kerala after 18 years of its inception. Retail and healthcare were our original domains to start with. Now we have expanded that to banking and financial services, technology and telecommunications. These are the four major verticals we are focusing on,” Mr. Pillai told a press conference.
These four industries are getting heavily disrupted by the digital changes. The world over print media is getting challenged by other forms of media like social media and digital media, he noted.
Launched in 1999, UST Global is one of the pioneers of IT startups in Kerala.
“Every year UST Global has been attracting more than 200 visits from global companies. Senior executives visit here, and it has created visibility for Kerala. As the startups are from Kerala, we want to ensure that these startups are consumed by these companies as we have created a massive ecosystem,” Mr. Pillai explained.
The executives of the company are looking at attracting 50 million USD for start-up companies, in a bid to give a massive fillip to the startup culture in Kerala. Every fifth startup being set up in India is from Kerala, Mr. Pillai told a press conference. The company also has a series of plans to provide training programmes for new entrepreneurs.
Commenting on the recruitment process of UST, the CEO said, “The type of talent that we are hiring also has changed. Now we are pushing the academics and urging them to get them ready for the job. We are planning to work with the universities and schools here to facilitate the training.
“So when they graduate, they can be employed without the long cycle of waiting and waste of time and money. We find that this approach is beginning to yield very good results. We believe that this can create a lot more employment in Kerala.”
Citing the huge opportunities of technology, he mentioned the e-governance programme, “e-Nagarapalika”, launched in Madhya Pradesh by the UST Global. Another application “U Safe”, a key solution that uses IoT (Internet of Things) was also launched by the company. The U-Safe app that enables alerts to be sent to the police ensuresthe safety of women as part ofthe company’s commitment to society.
An MoU has been signed between technology firm Intel, UST Global and the Kerala government to set up a laptop manufacturing unit in Kerala. The master plan will be finalised in January regarding the setting up of the hardware manufacturing unit.
UST Global is hosting its annual Global Developer Conference, D3,in Thiruvananthapuram. D3 is one of its avenues to create intellectual IP in transformative technology solutions. The Developer Conference is designed to invest in the technology ideas of the employees and also invest in them. The event will also feature speakers from all over the world.
In a bid to build a pool of technology intelligence and tapping into Kerala’s young talent, the firm has joined hands with APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) in the state for its internship programme “Bridging the Digital Divide.” In 2018, UST Global also plans to expand its innovation centre Infinity Labs to other countries and cities they operate in.
Alexander Varghese, Chief Administrative Officer; Anoj Pillai, Chief Architect; and Manu Gopinath, Chief People Officer, were also present.