It was on the basis of a Resolution adopted in the Second Conference for Tribes and Tribal (Scheduled) areas held at Lohardaga (in the erstwhile undivided State of Bihar) in the year 1953, that the government of India took up a policy decision of setting up Tribal Research Institutes in all the States of the country inhabited by Scheduled Tribe communities. Based upon this Policy, the Cultural Research Institute was created by the Government of West Bengal primarily to look into the affairs of the Scheduled Tribes of this State.

The Institute is presently functioning from Ambedkar Bhavan at P- 1/4, C. I .T. Scheme-VIIM, V. I. P. Road, P.O. Kankurgachi, Kolkata - 700054 as the Scientific & Technical Wing under the Backward Classes Welfare Department, Government of West Bengal. It is performing its activities through various sections viz. Research & Planning, Statistical, Library, Audio-visual, Museum, Training and Publication. With the help of Hon'ble Chief Minister with Tribal Women applied research and evaluation studies/surveys, the Institute helps the Department to take up various programmes for comprehensive development of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes of West Bengal.

Aims & Objectives :

Apart from the Scheduled Tribes, the Institute presently undertakes detailed Planning & Research initiatives on Scheduled Castes & Other Backward Classes including their Socio-cultural, Ethnographic, Economic aspects and Educational status. The main objective is two-fold. Besides helping them by preserving and promoting the pristine glory of their heritage, attempts are being made to improve their economic and educational standards, to such as extent that they may get a fair chance to become at par with the other comparatively less backward sections of the mainstream society. It was thus envisioned that this Research Institute would play an active role in effectively assisting the State Government in formulating various developmental projects & policies, in consonance with the socio-cultural mode of existence of these communities.

Activity Areas :

         Some of the major areas of activities of the Cultural Research Institute (CRI) are as follows :

Research & Planning :

  • CRI conducts ethnographic studies on different Communities on a regular basis.
  • Supplies and provides specific recommendations for identification of various SC/ST/OBC Communities
  • Initiates Research Projects on different aspects of Tribal Life and Culture ofSC/ST/OBC
  • Conducts Evaluation Studies on various schemes and programmes undertaking by the Department of Backward Classes Welfare for development of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
  • Helps the Department in preparing documents on the SC/ST/OBCs of West Bengal
  • Undertakes various Community Research bases intensive studies as and when required by both the State Government and Government of India.
  • Provides opinion/commentson identification of caste/community status of disputed cases forwarded by the Certificate issuing authorities.
  • Supplies information in regard to the questions raised in the State Legislative Assembly and the Parliament.
  • Undertakes Research Work under recommendation for the Commission for Backward Classes, West Bengal National Commission for Backward Classes.
  • Organizes various activities related to the promotion of art & crafts and the culture ofSC/ST/OBC.
  • Provides Success Stories and Photographs to the Department as well as to the Ministry ofTribal Affairs, Government of India.

Museum : Collection and Display of Ethnographic specimens from different parts of West Bengal are done through the Museum. The Museum of this Institute has nearly five hundred composite types of specimens for display in the showcases. Most of the specimens are bio-degradable, which requires more attention and appropriate care. Specimens of the Museum help to provide a panoramic view of lifestyle of various Backward Communities of West Bengal. In the Museum, Preservation as well as storage is done for many artifacts along with suitable explanatory notes. The Museum is being modernized with the help of digital technology. A permanent Exhibition Gallery is also annexed to the Museum Internship Training programme for Post-Graduate students of Museology were also conducted. A unique Boat Museum has also been completed as part of the modernization project. Recently a Exhibition Hall on Kantha and a Puppet Gallery have also been added to the CRI Museum unit

Audio-Visual Unit : The Institute has a wide collection of photographs and around 25 documentary films related to various aspects of socio-cultural and economic patterns of life prevalent among the various ST, SC and Other Backward Classes of West Bengal. Among these 16 Documentary Films have been restored and converted into DVD-Format. A dedicated Website for CRI has also been launched.

Library : The Library of the Institute, mainly utilized for in-house Research, Study & Reference purposes, currently has an approximate collection of above eight thousand five hundred books and journals of National and International repute. The panorama of the books include different aspects of tribal life and associated factors. Different journals are also received in the Library through exchange programme.

Publication : A Quarterly Bulletin of the Cultural Research Institute is published since 1962. The Institute has also published a number of Books and Monographs on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of West Bengal for ready official reference of the Department & its linked offices.

Cultural Activities : Organizing & Participation

  • Primary Level Bhawaiya Sangeet Competition and the Santal One-Act Drama Competition (Regional Level) are organized by the Department every year.
  • Support is extended to organize the Departmental Programme on observance of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's Birth Anniversary, Hool Divas (on Santal Revolt), Tribal Folk Festival, Promotion and Dissemination of Tribal Folk Art, Felicitation of Tribal Eminent Personalities and Observance of World Tribal Day, Dignity, Arts of Banga etc.
  • Co-ordinates and attends "Exchange of Visits" Programmes of different Tribal Research Institutes.
  • The Institute organizes and actively participates in Seminars/Workshops on the different problems and development initiatives of the SC/ST/OBCs both at the State and National level.
  • Training Programmes are organized and conducted periodically on relevant issues for the field level staff of the Department.

Infrastructure & Manpower Development:

Procurement of new books & periodicals are being made both with State & Central Government funds. Under the administrative approval of the Department, the Institute has procured four new Digital photocopiers from a reputed OEM at DGS & D rates with CSS funds. As a part of manpower of development, Two Cultural Research Officers and Five Research Investigators have been newly appointed in CRI with assistance from the Administrative Department, Public Service Commission, West Bengal (WBPSC) and Staff Selection Commission, West Bengal (WBSSC).

Major Activities : 2018-19 :

Apart from continuously addressing a large number of Caste Identification cases related to the SC, ST, OBCs which are currently under various stages of examination and against which detailed clarifications are periodically provided to the Backward Classes Welfare and the Tribal Development Departments, activities of the Cultural Research Institute undertaken during 2017-2018 include the following:

  1. Information pertaining to various sectors of development and present status of the STs was provided to the NITI Aayog, Govt. of India.
  2. Caste Identification Report on various ST communities of West Bengal, namely, Kharia, Bhumij has been submitted.
  3. Reports on the following CSS Projects of the year 2016-17 have been prepared:
    1. A Bio-Social Study on Health Status of Tribal adolescent girls in West Bengal
    2. Continuity and change among some Tribal communities of Sub-Himalayan West Bengal
    3. A study on the situation of the Tribal people living near Industrial Areas of West Bengal
    4. Education and Development among the Scheduled Tribes of West Bengal
    5. Migration among the Scheduled Tribes of Sundarbon, West Bengal
    6. Ethnography of Garo and Karmali Tribes
    7. Evaluation of Pre-Matric and Post-Matric scholarship for the tribal students
    8. Hostels for Scheduled Tribes in West Bengal: An evaluative study.
    9. Evaluation of Self Employment Schemes for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under SCA to SCP and SCA to TSP
    10. Documentation of Tribal sports
    11. Tribal festival
  4. A publication on the Forest Rights Act in Kurukh language is published.

Special Activities:

The Annual cultural event of Bhawaiya Sangeet Competition and the Tribal One Act Drama Competition were successfully conducted.

Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS):

CRI formulated plans for Central Sector Schemes for the next Financial Year 2018-2019; Technical consultancy was provided to review/discuss the Action Plan of TRIs, FRA and TSP both at the Central Level with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India. Under centrally sponsored schemes following research projects have been undertaken by CRI during 2017-18 and these are different stages of completion:

  1. Base line survey of Lodha community in West Bengal
  2. Consumption of alcohol and its consequences among Scheduled Tribes of West Bengal
  3. Study on school enrollment and dropouts among tribal population of West Bengal
  4. Tribal labour force in stone crushing work of Birbhum, West Bengal
  5. A study on the educational status of tribal women of 4 districts of West Bengal
  6. Socio-economic and health determinants of teenage pregnancy among tribal population of West Bengal
  7. Base line survey and traditional healthcare practices among Toto and Birhor tribe of West Bengal
  8. Ethnographic studies on Chero, Hajong, Khond, Kharwar, Korwa tribes of West Bengal
  9. Evaluation of tribal development schemes taken up for women empowerment
  10. Impact of Technological Development in the Tribal Community of West Bengal
  11. Traditional food practices of Oraons of West Bengal

CRI has also formulated following project proposals for the year 2018-2019 and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India has approved these projects.

  1. Traditional health care practices of Scheduled Tribes in West Bengal - Documentation and Preservation
  2. Demographic study of Bhutia, Sherpa, Dukpa, Kagatay, Tibetan, Yolmo- Documentation and Preservation
  3. Indigenous knowledge on agriculture and Handicrafts of some tribal communities of North Bengal- Documentation and Preservation
  4. Study on weekly market in some tribal areas of West Bengal
  5. Occupational shift and its impact on social life: Study on Oraons of tea garden areas
  6. Changing perspective of the Toto in West Bengal
  7. Socio-economic determinants on Diabetes Mellitus among tribal adults of Northern West Bengal
  8. Ethnography on Gond, Chik Bariak,Chakma and Mech - Documentation
  9. Evaluation of mid-day meal programme among tribal children (6-14 years) of ITDA blocks in seven districts of West Bengal
  10. Evaluation study of state TSP funds and Central Ministries TSP project for period 2015-2016, 2017, 2017-18,2018-19 in randomly selected villages in few tribal majority districts.
  11. Dress and ornaments used by some Scheduled Tribes in West Bengal
  12. Audio-Visual documentation of traditional food practices among Santals of West Bengal
  13. Preservation and promotion of Ho and Lepcha language
  14. Training cum Awareness programme on menstrual health and hygiene among the Tribal school children of West Bengal
  15. Training cum Awareness programme on Alcoholism and drug addiction for the Scheduled Tribe Youths and SGH members
  16. Workshop on Research Methodology
  17. National Seminar on Tribal education and development in West Bengal
  18. National seminar on Health status and health care practices of Scheduled Tribes in West Bengal