logo
  New Login   
image

Enriching Adivasi/Tribal Studies in India


Arvind Kumar

SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND ADVERSE INCLUSION: DEVELOPMENT AND DEPRIVATION OF ADIVASIS IN INDIA
Edited by Dev Nathan and Virginius Xaxa
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2012, pp. XXII 335, Rs. 750.00

THE ADIVASI QUESTION: ISSUES OF LAND, FOREST AND LIVELIHOOD
Edited by Indra Munshi
Orient Blackswan, New Delhi, 2012, pp. XI 408, Rs. 800.00

VOLUME XXXVII NUMBER 4 April 2013

The term ‘tribe’ was used by the colonial administration to codify or denote a group of people who were not fit to be categorized as ‘Hindu’ or ‘caste’. Their very location and habitation, which was usually outside the village or township, near river basins or in the hilly tracts, their demographic size, their indigenous linguistic and cultural traits, etc., essentially led them to be referred to as being primitive, backward and uncivilized. Several other Indian words like adivasi, vanvasi, vanyajati, janjati, and anusuchit-jati are used to describe them; the last was the administrative category meaning ‘Scheduled Tribes’ (STs) in English and has been used since the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950 (Munshi, p.1). ‘Scheduled Castes’ (SCs, which account for about 15 per cent of the Indian population) is another administrative category that includes ati-shudras usually described as ‘ex-untouchables’. Both shudras and ati-shudras had long sustained anti-caste movements in colonial as well as postcolonial India, under the able leadership of leaders like Phule, Ambedkar and Periyar, to name a few.   There has emerged a rich scholarship on issues of discrimination, exclusion and humiliation which has resulted in a robust discourse known as ‘Dalit Studies’ in both academic and political circles. The STs on the other hand have remained outside the purview of the mainstream academic discourse. In postcolonial India too, the adivasi/tribal question has not generated enough debate for a simple reason: even in the electoral sense, the adivasis do not generate much political clout as they aggregate only eight per cent of the Indian population, and usually distributed as minorities among other communities (Nathan and Xaxa, p. 4). The first volume under review is an outcome of a seminar deliberation on a topical theme ‘Adivasis/ST Communities in India: Development and Change’, organized by the Institute for Human Development, New Delhi. The editors of this volume refer to three seminal works in the field of Advasi/Tribal Studies: Tribal Situations in India (1972) edited by K.S. Singh; Tribal Society in India: Continuity and Change (1993) edited by Mrinal Miri; and From Tribe to Caste (1997) edited by Dev Nathan. All these landmark volumes emerged out of seminars organized by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Unlike earlier volumes on the issue, one third of the contributors in Social Exclusion and Adverse Inclusion: Development and Deprivation of Adivasis in India are adivasi scholars and thinkers. The Politics of Belonging in India: Becoming ...


Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article
«BACK

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.