Asssam Institute of Research for Tribals and Scheduled Castes popularly known as -Tribal Research Institute came into existence following a decision of the Government of India during the Third Five Year Plan that a Tribal Research Institute will be established in each State where tribal population is one million or more. Accordingly the TRI in Assam was established in the year 1963 with its head quarter at Shillong which was the capital of undivided Assam (consisting of Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram). It had six District Research Officers posted at Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Diphu, Aizawl, Shillong and Tura, under the administrative control of Tribal Area Development Department of Assam with a (100 %) hundred percent financial grant from the Government of India through the Ministry of Home Affairs Department. The District Research Officers were posted under the Deputy Commissioner of the respective districts. After creation of the States Meghalaya and Mizoram, the Institute was also divided. Only three numbers of District Research Offices remained with the Government of Assam, i.e. District Research Office, Guwahati, District Research Office, Dibrugarh and District Research Office, Diphu.
The basic objective behind the creation of the Directorate of TRI was to contribute towards the intellectual aspect of Government of India’s Policy of upliftment of the Tribal and the Scheduled Castes people to the status of the general categories of the population. Initially, the Tribal Research Institute was a Government organization under the centrally sponsored scheme on matching contribution of 50:50 basis. Its benefits have been extended to all sections of the ST/SC people of the entire state. Being a premier research institute of the Northeast, it has been working as a Nodal TRI for the Northeast region as declared by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. The State Government with a view to widen the functional scope, renamed the institute as “Assam Institute of Research for Tribals and Scheduled Castes”(AIRT&SC) in the year 1990. Today, this institute has become a premier research and training institute of the Government of Assam working for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and other disadvantaged and deprived communities of Assam in particular and the Northeast India as a whole. The objectives that the AIRT&SC is pursuing are listed briefly below.
Baseline and other surveys on communities.
Creating awareness regarding sensitivity to tribe
Collection and preservation of Tribal artifacts and show casing
The Directorate of the Institute is functioning from its own building since 2nd January, 1992. The building complex apart from providing office spaces for the officers and staff engaged in the administration and research, also accommodate a library, a colourful museum and the training wing along with hostels for the trainees.
The area of the office campus is approx. 3 Bighas (43200 Sq. Feet) and plinth area of the 3 storied office building is approx. 880 Sq. meter. The office building is consisting of a Library measuring 1375 sq. feet, an Ethnographic Museum measuring 2240 sq. feet and 34 seat capacity training hostel. There are also two Grade IV quarter building in the office campus for eight families. Recently with the initiatives of Chief Secretary, Assam, the complex is also providing spaces to the Directorate of Welfare of Scheduled Castes to raise a seven storied building for capacity building. Within this building it has been agreed upon (kindly refer Annexure-I) that the ground floor (car parking slot) and the conference room will be common for both this Directorate and the capacity building centre while and two more floors will be allotted to this Institute for use. The remaining floors will be utilized only for research and training related activities. The detailed particulars of the office campus of the Directorate are presented below.
|Total area of Institute’s campus||3 Bighas (43200 Sq. Feet)|
|No of Buildings of the Institute||2 Wings 3 storied|
|Total area of the building||2400 Sq Feet (Floor Area)|
|Size of Library||1360 Sq Feet.|
|Size of Museum||2240 Sq Feet.|
The Institute has hostel facilities for conducting residential training programme. The hostel complex is attached to the Administrative building. It contains 17 nos. of double seated rooms with attached bathroom and other facilities. There is a dining hall in the hostel which can accommodate more than thirty-five persons at a time.
However, the training hostel needs to be renovated to be at par with latest standards and state of the art facilities, and the initial process is going on.
The 1st floor of the office campus contains a round table conference room with seating capacity of 20. The room has facilities of audio-visual conference with projection facilities under fully air-conditioned environment.
There are 3 air conditioned training halls, all well equipped with projectors and other teaching aides, each with a capacity of 25-30 seats.
As stated earlier, the capacity building centre for conduct of training and seminar to be used jointly by the Directorate of Assam Institute Research for Tribals and Scheduled Castes and Directorate of Welfare of SC, Sarumotoria is now under construction in the vacant land available at AIRTSC premises. The fund is provided by the Directorate of Welfare of SC, Sarumotoria for empowerment of socio-economically backward communities of the State.
The ethnographic museum of Assam Institute of Research for Tribals & Scheduled Castes was set up along with the other wings of the institution in the year 1977. The infant museum was converted to a full fledged museum after a good collection of museum artifacts from the entire length and breadth of Assam, the cultural cauldron of North East India. At present the ethnographic museum displays a good number of exhibits belonging to the indigenous tribes of North-East India, particularly Assam.
The material culture of tribes of Assam such as Tiwas, Karbis, Rengmas, Hmars, Dimasa Kacharis, Rabhas, Bodos, Misings, Sonowal Kacharis, Tamangs and some other tribes are housed in the show cases of the gallery in a tribe-wise manner. Moreover, a section showcasing rare and exquisite ethnic jewellery of the tribes of Assam is maintained in a separate room for exhibiting the same.
This Directorate has also endeavoured to portray the life and culture of some indigenous tribes of Assam in the museum gallery. Picturesque landscape and sculptural figures of the Karbi tribe, the Bodos, Dimasa Kachari, Karbi, Tiwa and the Mising tribe are represented in the dioramas.
There are altogether more than seven hundred (700) artifacts in the ethnographic museum in the Directorate of Assam Institute of Research for Tribals & Scheduled Castes. The Ethnographic museum is now focusing in modernizing the museum through digitization and thematic display. The Institution has published a number of brochures, pamphlets and a catalogue. There is a plan to bring out other published works on its exhibits.
The Ethnographic Museum during the year 2014-15, has acquired the following artefacts-
|Museum artefacts (Garo, Tiwa, Karbi)||Rs. 148850.00|
|Museum artefacts (Bodo Tribe)||Rs. 46000.00|
|Making & repairing of Museum showcases||Rs. 411700.00|
The Museum showcases were also painted which are used for exhibiting Tribal Jewellery.
The Office campus of AIRT & SC, houses a reference Library, on the 1st floor with more than 10,000 copies of books on various subjects like Social Science, Languages, Biological Science etc. It also subscribes more than twenty Bulletin, Research Journals from various Ministries, Institutes and Organizations. There is also a reading room facility in the library along with reprographic facilities to the readers to note down references from various books of the library and have done the data entry for library automation software. During the year 2014-15 Automation of office library is done and following items are procured -
i. Computer- 2 Nos.
ii. Copier (Xerox) Machine- 1 No.
iii. Automation software (SOUL) and
Total 3 nos. of documentaries (Audio-Visual) were produced during the year 2014-15. The title of the documentaries are-
i) Documentation on Tiwa Language
ii) Documentation on Life and culture of Dimasa Kachari of Assam
iii) Documentation Life and Culture of Khamtis of Assam.
Renovation and repairing of Ground Floor – Creation of working space for academic as well as administrative activities by renovation and repairing of the building under the project “Infrastructure development and modernization of the AIRT & SC building” executed through PWD, PCC Division.
Since inception AIRTSC has been trying to provide a platform for the convergence between the Government, various other research organizations, professionals and other stakeholders on the issues related to development of disadvantaged and deprived communities of the state and beyond. It has also transformed its functioning so as to provide quality research, consultancy and information service to all its stakeholders including Government and civil societies. As a part of this process it has been working in collaboration with Tate Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati in organization of Training and Seminar since the year 2012. A number of faculties from TISS have been involved in various training and seminar organized by AIRTSC. This Directorate has also involved academicians from various universities, faculties from foreign universities, scientists from ISRO- Bhopal, Scientist from ICMR- Bangaluru, IIT- Guwahati, faculties from NIRD-Guwahati, IIBM-Khanapara, IIE- Lalmati, Guwahati, AIM- Bamunimaidam, Guwahati, Centre for Micro Finance & Livelihood, Guwahati, Gauhati University, National Scheduled Tribes Finance & Development Corporation, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India, Government Officers etc. as resources persons.
It has also doing collaborative research work with Institute of Research and Documentation of Indigenous Studies ( IRDIS ) a civil society organization known for its work in Research and documentation work on the issues related to indigenous people of Assam.
Being a nodal Institute for Ministry of Tribal Affairs, New Delhi it has also enhanced its function with other Tribal Research Institute of N.E. in the field of cultural exchange and data/information sharing etc.