Ruby Hembrom, Founder & Director of Adivaani (meaning voice of adivasis), is an archiving and publishing outfit of adivasis and is working to bring adivasi tales back into public discourse.
Ruby gave up her job with IBM to do something to give back to the adivasi community she belongs to. After attending a publishing course, she came up with the idea for archiving tribal tales. She started collecting and collating folklore of the Santhals that have been orally passed down generations and which are in danger of being lost.
She came up with two books – We Came From Geese and Earth Rests On A Tortoise – mythical stories about the origin of Santhals.
Now, there are organizations in tribal areas that are taking Hembrom’s help in developing an English language skill programme for tribal children. Her books are being used as a resource for such programmes.
In 2013, she has instituted Adivasi Pickle, a prize for indigenous ideology, thought and knowledge. She calls on adivasis to share unpublished stories of their lives, struggles and triumphs, which are then published.
Like most other niche publishers, distribution is Adivaani’s biggest obstacle, but Ruby is happy that she has been able to sell most of her books and more importantly that they have been received well by the adivasi community.