NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised tribal communities for saving forests and continuing a tradition of an eco-friendly lifestyle, saying that when it comes to protecting their rights and land, the tribes fight back.
Addressing the 49th episode of his radio programme "Mann Ki Baat", Modi acknowledged tribal cultures that believes in protecting "environment, trees and tigers".
"This is a fact that the tribal community believes in very peaceful and harmonious co-existence but, if somebody tries to harm and cause damage to their natural resources, they do not shy away from fighting for their rights," Modi said.
He said that while countries, including India, were searching for solutions to environmental protection, the solutions lies in the "glorious past", for which understanding the lifestyle of tribal communities is required.
Recalling tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda and his struggle against the British, Modi said that no wonder India's foremost freedom fighters were people from the tribal community.
"The nation is indebted to the tribal communities for saving country's the forest land", he said.
Naming communities from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Maharashtra and others, Modi said that tribals know how to lead a sustainable life in consonance and closed coordination with nature.
The Bhil tribes of Central India and especially those in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, worship peepal and Arjun trees religiously. The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan has shown us a way of environment protection.
"Mishmi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh claim their relationship with tigers. In Nagaland, tigers are seen as the forest guardians... Warli community in Maharashtra considers tigers as their guests and sign of prosperity. Kols in Central India believe if the Tigers do not get food, the villagers will have to face hunger," he said.