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Exposing Mulugu’s Secluded Tribals to the World Outside Through Sports

It’s a fact that even after seven decades of Independence, many sections of Indian society are still marginalized, one of them being the tribals. Although both the union and state governments are putting in lots of efforts on various fronts to improve their lots, the real picture is, the tribal communities are not just deprived of basic necessities like roads, electricity and education, but they also lack exposure to the outside world. Connecting them to the mainstream is still a big challenge. 

Under such circumstances, an IPS officer in Telangana has taken up the challenge and is successfully integrating the tribals into the mainstream through sports. Dr. Sangram Singh Patil, a 2015-batch IPS officer, is currently the SP of Mulugu district in Telangana. He has taken up various measures on multiple levels, from education to sports, to maximize the exposure of the local tribal community to the outside world. During an exclusive interaction with Indian Masterminds, he talked about these community policing initiatives. 

TRIBAL OLYMPICS 

The Gotti Koya community residing in Mulugu were deprived of even the basic necessities. After providing them healthcare through medical camps, the doctor turned IPS officer focused on maximizing the exposure of tribals to the outside world. Tribal Olympics was held in the district where mandals and tehsils formed teams and participated. The Olympics started with a marathon where the participants ran from one area to another bearing a torch. Women and girls also showed great enthusiasm and participated in the sports. 

Various competitions were held and the first prize winner got the opportunity to visit Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. The third prize winner went to see the Singareni mines and took a tour to know how the mining is done. The second prize winner visited the UNESCO heritage sites including some temples in the district and nearby areas. 

Talking about it, Dr. Patil said, “We wanted to show them the world outside their forest and localities. All the prizes were kept with a focus to provide them exposure to urban scenario and see the changes. We hoped that this will create a desire to know and learn more. Also, we hope this would encourage them to try and get out of the conditions in which they are living.” 

PROVIDING TRAINING

Besides the exposure to the outside world, Dr. Patil and his team is also focusing on providing them with education and livelihood opportunities. The team has identified certain groups of youth which includes 10th and 12th dropouts. They are helping them in appearing for the recruitment exams for constables. Not only are they giving specific tuition but also providing them with lodging. Many have already qualified in the exam. 

Before Covid hit, the Mulugu police was also conducting a programme called ‘Mulugu Merudu’. Under this, the children and youths were called to police station every Sunday. They would start their day with physical training which included PT, drills and march. The police also provided them with basic meals and provided guidance on subjects which they felt are difficult. 

Under Mulugu Merudu, the young batches also interacted with police personnel and learned their way of working. Dr. Patil says that due to Covid, the programme took a break, but he is planning to resume it shortly, as it created a huge impact on the local tribal people and they felt connected to the world outside. 

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