Vadodara ~ India
G.N. Devy is a cultural activist with a particular focus on the Bhil and Rathwa tribal peoples of his native Gujerat State who have been oppressed and exploited. A distinguished academic, linguist, writer and literary critic, he has dedicated enormous energy to research into their history and ethos. He has sought to raise awareness of their economic and social problems, their dying cultures and the threat to their languages. Devy is secretary general of the Denotified and Nomadic Tribes – Rights Action Group; Head of the Bhasha Centre which promotes and supports research and publications in tribal languages; founder of the Tribal Academy in Tejgadh and director of a project on literature in tribal languages and oral traditions. He has carried out pioneering work documenting tribal languages and specially recording cultural and social histories from nomadic folk storytellers; translating, interpreting and recording tribal epics which provide uniquely fresh insights into alternate understandings of shared Indian cultural heritage such as the classic Bahabharata. As well as his research, he has become totally involved in the communities and was instrumental in the building of a community centre where workshops and community programmes are held. G.N. Devy provides a safe haven for these denigrated cultures and has been a major force in regenerating their tradtional knowledge and skills.