India′s Tribes : Unfolding Realities 2020947767, 9789353886608

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Table of contents :
Bulk Sales
About the Series
Preface and Acknowledgements
Section I: Actors
Chapter 1 The Scheduled Communities and Social Change
Chapter 2 Reflections on the Current Debate Concerning the Indigenous Peoples
Chapter 3 Endangered Tribals of India: Booby Trap of Development
Chapter 4 Mining and Women: The Case of the Maria of Chhattisgarh
Section II: Institutions
Chapter 5 From Ethnicity to Organized Complexity in Tribal Customary Laws
Chapter 6 Bringing Culture Back: Traditional Agricultural Knowledge, Food Production and Sustainable Livelihood among Chuktia Bhunjia of Orissa
Chapter 7 Socio-cultural Life of Trans-border Tribes: A Case Study of the Baites
Chapter 8 Indigenising Christianity: Politics of Conversion among the Sumi Naga
Section III: Change
Chapter 9 Inter-generational Social Mobility: A Study of Konyak Naga Tribe
Chapter 10 The Jharkhand Movement: Retrospect and Prospect
Chapter 11 Tribal Resistance Movements and the Politics of Development-induced Displacement in Contemporary Orissa
Chapter 12 Development, Displacement and Labour Market Marginalisation: The Case of Jharkhand Tribal Population
Chapter 13 Indian Tribals and Search for an Indigenous Identity
About the Editors and Contributors
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India′s Tribes : Unfolding Realities
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SAGE was founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge by publishing innovative and high-quality research and teaching content. Today, we publish over 900 journals, including those of more than 400 learned societies, more than 800 new books per year, and a growing range of library products including archives, data, case studies, reports, and video. SAGE remains majority-owned by our founder, and after Sara’s lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures our continued independence. Los Angeles | London | New Delhi | Singapore | Washington DC | Melbourne

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Copyright © Council for Social Development, 2021 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. First published in 2021 by SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd B1/I-1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area Mathura Road, New Delhi 110 044, India SAGE Publications Inc 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, California 91320, USA SAGE Publications Ltd 1 Oliver’s Yard, 55 City Road London EC1Y 1SP, United Kingdom SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd 18 Cross Street #10-10/11/12 China Square Central Singapore 048423 Published by Vivek Mehra for SAGE Publications India Pvt. Ltd. Typeset in 10.5/13pt Bembo by Fidus Design Pvt. Ltd, Chandigarh. Library of Congress Control Number: 2020947767

ISBN: 978-93-5388-660-8 (ePub)

SAGE Team: Rajesh Dey, Syed Husain Naqvi, Madhurima Thapa, and Rajinder Kaur Cover Photo Credit: Anthropological Survey of India.


About the Series Foreword by Manoranjan Mohanty Preface and Acknowledgements Introduction

Section I: Actors Sectional Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2

Chapter 3 Chapter 4

The Scheduled Communities and Social Change Nirmal Kumar Bose Reflections on the Current Debate Concerning the Indigenous Peoples K. S. Singh Endangered Tribals of India: Booby Trap of Development Amar Kumar Singh Mining and Women: The Case of the Maria of Chhattisgarh Sonali Mukherjee

Section II: Institutions Sectional Introduction Chapter 5 Chapter 6

Chapter 7

From Ethnicity to Organized Complexity in Tribal Customary Laws Prabhat K. Singh Bringing Culture Back: Traditional Agricultural Knowledge, Food Production and Sustainable Livelihood among Chuktia Bhunjia of Orissa Bhubaneswar Sabar Socio-cultural Life of Trans-border Tribes: A Case Study of the Baites

Chapter 8

Chungkhosei Baite Indigenising Christianity: Politics of Conversion among the Sumi Naga Avitoli G. Zhimo

Section III: Change Sectional Introduction Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Inter-generational Social Mobility: A Study of Konyak Naga Tribe Amenla Nuken and L. Ladusingh The Jharkhand Movement: Retrospect and Prospect Ram Dayal Munda Tribal Resistance Movements and the Politics of Developmentinduced Displacement in Contemporary Orissa Binay Kumar Pattnaik Development, Displacement and Labour Market Marginalisation: The Case of Jharkhand Tribal Population Tanushree Haldar and Vinoj Abraham Indian Tribals and Search for an Indigenous Identity Walter Fernandes

About the Editors and Contributors Index

About the Series

Social Change in Contemporary India is a series of thematic volumes carrying selected articles from the journal Social Change, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee. They are offered as important contributions capturing the momentous experience of the people of India and their institutions since Independence. Social change in Independent India has gone through three distinct phases. The first two decades saw the impact of the freedom struggle in most arenas, where policymakers and the common people shared some perspectives to initiate concrete steps to reduce poverty, hunger and scarcities, with the objective of making progress towards the goals enshrined in the Constitution of India. Planned development with a focus on industrialization, the Green Revolution in agriculture, the construction of educational institutions of high quality and, above all, the promotion of democratic institutions and procedures to meet the aspirations of all sections of society, characterized most of this era. The pluralistic character of Indian society, culture and polity was acknowledged, and some important policy initiatives emerged. But by the late 1960s, the crisis of this model had already surfaced. Food riots in 1966, the Naxalbari uprising in 1967 and the beginning of non-Congress governments in many states were symptoms of the emerging environment. That heralded the second phase, from 1970 to 1990, which witnessed the unfolding of the most major contradictions in the Indian Republic. The assertion of the rights by ethnic groups in different parts of the country was responded to by a certain centralization of power by the Union government, which in turn was challenged by the emergence of strong regional parties and movements. Poverty eradication was prominent on the agenda, but progress was tardy. Education and health facilities expanded, but not to the extent needed. An Indian middle class did emerge but was increasingly alienated from the masses. Challenges accumulated leading to mass movements and the Republic saw the declaration of Emergency followed by the rule of alternative forces and the return of the Congress to power. In the process, civil society organizations pursuing citizens’ rights emerged and the struggle for democratic rights continued to expand. Internal disturbances, communal riots and atrocities on Dalits, minorities and women occurred from time to time. But the democratic structure continued to get consolidated and people’s consciousness to defend constitutional values continued to grow. In 1991, neoliberal economic reforms were launched in the wake of a serious economic crisis. At that time, India was also experiencing a social upsurge over the rights of Dalits, backward classes, religious minorities and women. By this time, environmental issues had

also acquired much attention. Thus, the third phase began. The Indian elite, cutting across the dominant political parties, accepted the agenda of globalization, liberalization and privatization. Mobilization on caste and religious issues took a new turn, with Hindu nationalist forces becoming stronger. Initially, through its alliance of parties, the Congress was able to stem this trend. For a decade, they handled contradictions by a strategy that promoted rapid economic growth, tried to provide rural employment and food security to the poor and addressed the grievances of minorities. But corruption and inefficiency made them unpopular and a BJP-led government came to power. This third phase of neoliberal growth, steered by Hindu nationalism, is in full swing, though alternative forces have continued to occupy a significant space. This story of Independent India is captured by scholars and commentators as it unfolded during the past 50 years as contributions to the Council for Social Development’s social science quarterly, Social Change. They narrate the multidimensional dynamics of social change experienced by various sections of people at the local, regional and national levels, as well as in the global context. We have decided to share these contributions on specific themes in several volumes with a wider readership for good reasons. First, Social Change is a unique, interdisciplinary journal that covers not only research papers in social sciences but also policy analysis and reports from the field in areas of social development. Right from the start, Durgabai Deshmukh, the founder of the Council of Social Development, wanted theory, policy and ground-level experience to be integrated, each benefitting from the other. So each volume in this series has papers by authors defining concepts, explaining theoretical frameworks, analysing policies and presenting survey results and other evidences from rural, urban and tribal areas. Second, the journal carried contributions from not only senior scholars such as Nirmal Kumar Bose, B. N. Ganguly, T. N. Madan and B. K. Roy Burman, policymakers like C. D. Deshmukh and social activists such as Devaki Jain but also from a large number of young academics from all over the country who used the forum to present their findings from their most important research projects. Some of them later became eminent academics and important policymakers. The contributions by these writers over a 50-year period can help us identify key points in the history of policymaking as well as discourses during the three major phases of contemporary India. Some contributions clearly impacted public discourses and the policy process. Thus, we are able to capture shifts in policy in the early 1970s, when the state took many active initiatives, and also the big change in 1991, when a new role of the state was visible in the economy, giving a substantial role to the private sector. That trend continued in the first two decades of the 21st century. We may note the changing perspectives and linkage with global processes not only on theoretical issues of social development but also on policy debates concerning questions such as the privatization of health, education, rural development, forestry and environment. Their implications for people’s welfare and human rights were also dealt with by many authors in recent years. Third, an equally important consideration underlying these volumes is the fact that the Council for Social Development has a mission to serve the interests of marginalized groups:

its research, publications, advocacy and, indeed, this journal reflects that commitment. Therefore, the volumes carry articles on selected themes such as health, education, poverty, agriculture with special focus on the marginalized groups, including Adivasis, Dalits, minorities, women, and urban and rural poor. Each of these volumes reflects what has been done in respect of the specific marginalized groups and analyses the nature of the development experience from the vantage point of the marginalized. Each volume is edited by an expert who has done considerable work on the subject. A major and substantive introduction by the editor of the volume not only puts the papers in perspective but also identifies the strengths as well as the gaps in the treatment of the subject. The editor’s ‘Introduction’ also addresses current concerns in theory and policy, discourse and practice, and presents suggestions for further thinking and action. These volumes are designed as studies on a theme for ready reference and use by students, researchers and general readers. Besides the ‘Introduction’ presenting the current state of knowledge on the subject, the volume carries an extended bibliography, further adding to the volume’s utility. Manoranjan Mohanty Series Editor


This volume on India’s Tribes: Unfolding Realities is the first offering of selected articles from the pages of Social Change published over the last 50 years. It presents the contributions by some eminent scholars and policymakers of Independent India, including stalwarts such as Nirmal Kumar Bose, B. K. Roy Burman and Ram Dayal Munda, who have contributed greatly to the thinking and policy on the tribal question in India. This book gives us a fairly comprehensive picture of some salient aspects of this significant sector of Indian society, ranging from conceptual and policy issues to movements and researches that have captured the changing realities in tribal areas over the decades. What makes the volume even richer is the ‘Introduction’ written by the editor of the volume, who is one of contemporary India’s leading anthropologists, Vinay Kumar Srivastava, former professor of the University of Delhi, currently Director, Anthropological Survey of India. This volume as a whole and the ‘Introduction’ in particular seek to take the discourse on the tribal question in India to a new level of thought and action. Many conventional beliefs on tribal society, which have dominated not only public opinion but also much of academic research and government policy, are being reopened and alternative perspectives are presented in this volume. As the ‘Introduction’ puts it, this section has to be seen as a part of the people of the world where the world is conceptualized as one that has ‘enormous diversity, each society endowed with the vitality to live’. Thus, tribal society and tribal people, like other societies and people, have a distinct character and may be different from other societies and people. Like other societies, they too have vitalities and vulnerabilities. This understanding of tribal people in a framework of differences and vitality breaks the tradition of treating people in gradations of ‘civilization’ by putting tribal people at a ‘lower level of civilization’. This premise lays down a new vantage point for tribal studies treating tribal people as a community with its own culture and civilization. Like all other people, they, too, had experienced change throughout history. The ‘tribal world was always dynamic, never “isolated,”’ points out the editor. The ‘isolation’ of the tribal society has been a constant refrain in the understanding of tribal people. Therefore, from colonial times till today, attempts have been made to ‘integrate’ them into ‘mainstream’ society. Roads and railways were built to facilitate this process. But the fact is that they were never isolated. There were unique ways through which people from different regions and cultures both in forests and plains interacted. Much of literature and art, as well as the economy and lifestyle everywhere, presented enough evidence on this. The assumption that

the knowledge of non-tribals was superior to that of tribals was so strong in the minds of colonial rulers that they set up networks of a particular kind of schools where selected children of tribal communities were put in large numbers for many years to make them inculcate ‘mainstream’ values, attitudes and skills. In Canada and Australia, this practice was in force in the early 20th century, where children of the ‘first nations’ in Canada and the ‘aborigines’ in Australia were taken away from their families and put in these training camps to grow up with white European values. These experiments of the past came under severe condemnation in recent years, and the Parliaments of Canada and Australia passed resolutions regretting this policy and apologizing to the indigenous people. Many attempts have been made in India to impart intensive education to tribal children under schemes such as ‘ashram schools’ or large residential campuses for tribal children. Such programmes have come under serious scrutiny in recent years. The enthusiasm shown in such attempts often rests on the mistaken belief that tribal society was historically isolated and that their culture was ‘backward’. The contributions in this volume emphasize the fact that, as other sections of society, they were not and were always part of a dynamic process. They possessed a knowledge system which is as rich as any other society. Like any other community, they too had practices which may appear irrational and unjust today. Educational initiatives concerning tribal children will be very different if the mistaken assumptions on their isolation and stagnation are removed. That the process of exploitation engulfed the tribal world is analysed in detail in many chapters, like the one on land rights, which argues that ‘Tribal rights over land, water and forests were established from antiquity’. This is an important formulation presented here that has still not found universal acceptance. Against this notion of community’s long-standing usage and dependence on natural resources, slowly rulers started restricting tribal community rights. The kings and then the state proclaimed their ‘eminent domain’, asserting that the properties not owned by anybody belonged to the state. That only deprived the tribal community of their traditional access to forests and other natural resources. This was part of the accumulation process carried out by the rulers who declared that forest and mineral resources were needed for ‘national interest’ and ‘larger social good’. In pursuit of this, the rulers had no hesitation in using force to establish control over the regions and to acquire resources. As a result, especially during the past century and more, the process of dispossession and disentitlement of tribal people over their land and forests went on for a long time with little resistance. People’s struggles for restoring the rights of tribal people gradually gathered momentum as a reaction to this process. During the past few decades as a result of this, many new policies and laws were enacted, and institutional initiatives were taken showing greater sensitivity to the rights of tribal people. Despite this, the situation remains volatile and the debates on the search for policies in tribal areas go on. We get the accounts of this history from the colonial period to the present day in this volume, and the nuances of the policies and their effects are captured very well by the editor. The ‘Introduction’ is a most comprehensive essay throwing new insights that challenge much of the prevailing thinking on the question of tribal people, suggesting an alternate way

of thinking on this subject. It reflects the editor’s lifelong research on the subject and its deep sensitivity to people’s rights. We are grateful to Professor Srivastava for putting this volume together and presenting a challenging perspective in his ‘Introduction’. I sincerely thank Social Change’s Managing Editor Mannika Chopra for her valuable editorial support to this project. At a time when Adivasi awakening is a glaring phenomenon in India and the world, and there is a rising wave of assertion of rights and dignity of tribal people, and when movements for self-governance and ‘right to earth’ are in full swing, scholars and policymakers have new questions to ponder over in a new framework. This is an important contribution in that direction. Manoranjan Mohanty Council for Social Development New Delhi

Preface and Acknowledgements

This book is a collection of 13 papers selected from the issues of Social Change, published during the past five decades. The procedure of selecting these papers has been summarized in the ‘Introduction’ to this book. The articles included here have neither been updated nor edited except to correct spelling mistakes, if any. An attempt has been made to keep intact the original flavour of the articles. I am extremely grateful to the Council for Social Development, New Delhi, for considering me worthy of editing this volume on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Social Change. My indebtedness to Professor Manoranjan Mohanty, editor of this series, is eternal. He taught me the nuances of social science and the merits of an interpretive approach. Further, he also reposed faith in me as one of the editors of Social Change. I shall consider myself as one of the select few if I am able to live up to his expectations. In the preparation of this volume, Ms Mannika Chopra has played a significant role. If I am able to complete this venture, it was singularly because of her efforts of reminding me of the deadlines. Her editing skills are exemplary. She knows how to make a piece inelegantly written lucid and readable. I owe her a debt of gratitude for editing the manuscript of this book. Finally, I am thankful to the authors who have permitted me to reproduce their articles here.


1 The publication of Social Change began in 1971, with its three numbers comprising the inaugural volume.1 In the first issue, one of the contributors was Nirmal Kumar Bose, a wellknown anthropologist and Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary in the mid-1940s. Bose’s paper has been included in this compendium of selected articles on tribes of India that appeared in Social Change during the past five decades. During this period, 133 articles appeared in Social Change on tribal communities. Barring one, on the tribal wars in Rwanda (2001, Vol. 31, Issue 4), the rest dealt with tribes in India. Besides these, examples from the tribal world in India were unequally distributed in the articles that discussed issues of inequality, poverty, malnutrition, exclusion, education and drop-out rates, political mobilization and gender in case of the other strata of Indian society. Here, tribal examples were often used for comparative purpose. During the stipulated period that this collection covers, Social Change carried out reviews of books on tribes, some of which were truly discerning. However, our concern in this volume is only with the material that appeared under the rubric of ‘articles’ and that too on tribes in India.2 Social Change brought out its first ever Special Volume in 1988 (Vol. 18, Issue 1), which was on tribal people, giving an inkling that tribal issues would occupy an important place in its future deliberations. Perhaps it was because the then editor, Amar Kumar Singh, a psychologist, had a vast experience of working with the tribal belt in territories that today are included in the state of Jharkhand. He promoted team researches; it was during his time that some articles in Social Change, in which he was one of the authors, had as many as five more co-authors, a rather uncommon practice in qualitatively pursued researches in the social sciences. He was thus able to build up a group of junior scholars who had committed themselves to an objective study of tribal people. Since Singh was able to develop good ties with the other tribal experts in the country at that time, it was easier for him to execute the Special Volumes on the Indian tribes, and he succeeded in this venture, as we shall see. Titled ‘Tribal Studies in India’, the first Special Volume had eight articles and a bibliography on tribal studies. Those from the pre-internet era know full well how useful these bibliographies were those days when the research act meant dusting the stacks of books and journals to excavate relevant information! The next number (1988, Vol. 18, Issue 2) was titled ‘Social Tensions in India’, which had two important papers on the Jharkhand

Movement. In fact, 1988 was the year of Special Volumes, the third (1988, Vol. 18, Issue 3) was on ‘Indian Women’ and the last (1988, Vol. 18, Issue 4) was on ‘Urbanization and Slums’. These two did not have any representation of articles on tribal India, though the scope of doing so existed. One can understand this, because soon there was a Special Number on tribal women. Tribes remained unrepresented in a volume on urban studies, chiefly because studies of tribes in cities and their adjustment to urban milieus were almost non-existent at the time; and even now such researches are scanty. The next Special Volume (1991, Vol. 21, Issue 2) on tribes was titled ‘Studies on Tribals in India’, which consisted of 11 articles. The combined number (2 and 3) of 1993 (Vol. 23), called ‘Status of the Tribals in India’, was a mega-volume—it was almost like a book consisting of 26 papers, some of which were contributed by the best specialists of tribal issues at that time, such as K. Suresh Singh, B. K. Roy Burman, Walter Fernandes, N. K. Behura, K. K. Misra, P. K. Bhowmick, K. K. Mohanti, Samira Dasgupta and R. K. Kar. The following issue that year (1993, Vol. 23, Issue 4) was named ‘Status of Tribal Women in India’, comprising 13 articles, besides a Report on the National Workshop on the Status of Tribal Women and a bibliography of the researches on tribal (and also non-tribal) women. In 1994 (Vol. 24), the combined number (1 and 2) was on Jharkhand (called ‘Studies on Jharkhand’) which, along with other papers, had seven articles on tribal matters. The last Special Volume on tribes was a combined number (1 and 2) of 1997 (Vol. 27), known as the ‘Endangered Tribals of India’, which included 11 papers. In all of these five Special Volumes of tribes, 69 articles appeared, which is 51.88 per cent of the total number of papers (133) on the tribes that appeared in a span of 45 years. Later, one of the combined numbers (3 and 4) of 1999 (Vol. 29), which was not given any thematic title, carried 12 articles on the tribes. Thus, from 1971 to 1999, Social Change published 113 articles on tribes, that is, 84.96 per cent of the total articles, and from 2000 to 2015 only 20 papers (15.04%) appeared. It was perhaps a matter of coincidence that in the last 15 years, articles on tribal communities were under-represented in Social Change.

2 From this, one should not surmise that researches on tribes have declined. On the contrary, today tribal studies are not just confined to anthropology, as was the practice in yesteryears. At one time, it was said that what distinguished anthropology (particularly social anthropology) from other disciplines was its concern with the study of tribal people, for whom unpleasant synonyms such as pre-literate, simple, primitive, uncivilized and many other pejorative terms were used. Today, anthropologists have actively moved into the study of non-tribal people, approximating their primordial definition as the study of man in time and space. The other social sciences, which were often castigated for being Eurocentric and urban-focused, moved into the study of tribes, thus becoming more comparative, and also responding to the charge of being elitist and restricted to Western provincialism. As anthropologists put it, tribal studies in contemporary times have become decentred, meaning

that they are distributed all over the academic world. Even natural and biological sciences and applied disciplines (such as engineering, medicine, nursing and pharmacy) have gradually cultivated a respectable attitude towards the tribal community, as they are eager to document the facets of their indigenous knowledge that could present an alternative to the Western thoughts and procedures. In a world where academic interest in tribal communities has steadily increased, it is not difficult to guess that research papers on tribes have multiplied. A journal on molecular genetics has a paper on ancient DNA, where blood samples of a relatively less contacted tribal community were collected for analysis; a book on architecture includes a chapter on the ecologically suitable and sensitive residential structure of tribal people; a text on psychiatry gives respectable treatment to tribesmen’s ways of treating behavioural disorders among people and gender studies try to answer why the sex ratio is much better among the tribes and why their women enjoy greater freedom than their non-tribal counterparts. Examples of such researches can be multiplied. A cross-disciplinary survey substantiates the point that today tribes, though marginal in social and economic terms as compared to other strata of Indian society, are certainly not marginal when it comes to their study, as no discipline can afford to ignore them. Thus, research works, both published and unpublished, are progressively increasing on tribes; and so it was a matter of happenstance that Social Change published 20 articles on tribes in the last decade and a half, but these articles addressed such important contemporary issues that seven of them (i.e., 35%) have been included in this volume, whereas the other six come from the rest (113), that is, 5.30 per cent. It may however be noted that after 1997, Social Change did not make an effort to come out with a Special Volume on tribes in India. That could have generated a number of articles on tribes as Singh did in the past. Before drawing a sample of 13 papers from a universe of 133 (i.e., 9.77% of the total universe), the first step was to classify them according to their respective themes (Table I.1). Easily identifiable were 17 themes, and in case there were multiple articles within a theme they were grouped into sub-themes.3 For instance, under the theme of economy, 17 articles relating to labour, relations between landlords and landless workers, farmers, employment, regeneration of economy, credit, land alienation, poverty, land rights, agricultural knowledge and entrepreneurship were classified. Some themes, such as law, the concept of endangered tribes, the revitalization movements and religion had a single contribution each. In descending order, looking at articles in double digits, the maximum articles were on tribal women (20), followed by health (18), economy (17), development (13) and education (11). Of the 133 articles, 24 did not fit easily into any category; they touched upon the profiles of certain tribes, their population, a general account of a tribe, contribution of tribes to civilization, tribes as indigenous people, their crises and accounts of change among them. One article was on the similarity between the undeciphered script of the Indus Valley and the motifs that the Santal drew on the walls of their huts, leading to some speculation that the contemporary Santal might be the descendants of the authors of the Indus script. These articles, covering variegated themes, have been clubbed together under the general category.

Table I.1 Themes in which Articles Published in Social Change may be Classified

Source: Author.

The intellectual context of time conditions the choice of topics for investigation. Certain fields of enquiry, which are of great importance today, were rather less represented in Social Change; for example, land alienation was the subject of only one paper; displacement and rehabilitation were taken up in two articles only and subjects such as social stratification and the emergence of classes among tribes, tribal children and children’s experiences of poverty, exploitation of women and children, tribal protests and ethno-political movements, Left-wing extremism in tribal areas, particularly of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, ethnicity and cultural revival, rejection of world religions and return to native cults and the local knowledge of people, to enumerate some of them, remained rather unrepresented. These topics could be suitable for future Special Volumes of Social Change in case they are planned. For arriving at a set of 13 articles that comprise this compendium, the method adopted was to funnel down, which was a step-by-step elimination of the articles till a stipulated number was reached. The articles were selected on the basis of the novelty that each one of them offered in terms of theoretical insights, the methods adopted or experimented with, the ethnographic landscape covered, the arguments offered and the conclusions reached. These papers were split in three sections—the first to introduce tribal people; the second to introduce their institutions and practices and the last to introduce changes surfacing in tribal communities and issues of their ethnicity and integration with the outside world, including

non-tribal people, modern institutions and the state. The world exterior to the tribes is often designated as mainstream of Indian society. Here, one line of thinking submits that the ultimate goal of development among the tribal people is to integrate them with, that is, make them part of, the Indian mainstream. The last section of this book takes care of these concerns.

3 An expectation from a book on tribes is that it will attempt to define the concept of tribe in terms that will help in grasping contemporary reality, where it is often difficult to distinguish tribal from non-tribal people (Béteille, 1992). None of the articles that appeared on tribes in Social Change have attempted to have a critical look at the definition of tribe and the criteria of classifying a community of people as tribal in unambiguous terms. This lack of concern is in fact common to a large number of articles and research papers on tribal communities that have appeared in various other journals and books as well. Many authors have also noted, as Atal (2016) thought, that the attempt to define a tribe may be a futile exercise, for actually no one definition will fit all of them. In fact, such an attempt will lead to a Pandora’s box, a diversion of our energy from the pressing issues confronting these communities, which the state has classified as Scheduled Tribes (STs). Thus, when the authors speak of tribes, they mean STs, the communities of people numbering 735, comprising a population of 104.5 million people, constituting 8.6 per cent of India’s population and 11.3 per cent of the total rural population of the country.4 Incidentally, when the Anthropological Survey of India concluded its People of India study in the early 1990s, it counted 461 communities of STs out of a total of 4,635 communities in India. It clearly states that in the last three decades or so, 274 communities have been added to this list, and a number of petitions submitted by people from different parts of the country for inclusion in the list of STs are pending before the state and, in some cases, the demand for the conferment of a Scheduled Tribal status has been expressed boisterously, leading to a fierce display of sentiments.5 In the future, therefore, the list of the STs is likely to increase. Against the backdrop of these facts, a relevant question arises as to the status of the communities prior to being notified as STs. At that time, were they ‘tribal’? If they were, and obviously have to be, for an authentic submission of their claim, in what terms were they tribal? Table I.2 Tribes in India: Distribution and Percentage

Source: Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2018).

In a nutshell, the question about the concept of a tribe is as animated today as it was in the past. Important documents that are read today, such as the Draft of the National Tribal Policy, 2006 (henceforth, Draft), and various comments on it, and the Report of the High-Level Committee on Socio-economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal Communities of India, May 2014 (Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India; henceforth, HLC) have expressed the need to take up the issue of defining tribes, keeping in mind the changes that have taken place globally, with the consequence that the different communities of the world are part of the interconnected whole. It was also noted, not only by these reports but also by several other writers on tribes, that in these times of blurred genres, where morphological distinctions between communities get effaced in favour of increasing uniformities in dress, manners, residential architecture, food habits, language of inter-community communication, occupational engagements, participation in the same institutions and several other dimensions, there are, of course, subtle differences that draw boundaries around communities, set one apart from the other and cultivate in people an astute sense of ethnocentrism. In other words, here is a situation of unification and segregation—tribes are part of the world, but each of them also maintains their own distinctness and identity, and expects the state to pay heed to their demands (Xaxa, 2008, 2016). Today, the scenario has phenomenally changed.6 Each tribal community now awaits an equalitarian treatment from the state towards it. It is now well aware of the fact that in the past the political state and its ruling as well as well-to-do people treated it with prejudice. Episodes from the past, narratives of exploitation and the diminution of the people, carried over generations, fill them with anger and remorse. It is not an exaggeration to say that, in many parts of tribal India, monographs written by colonial scholars on local people, which at that time were regarded as authentic, are today being read by English-educated tribal people. Two sets of responses surface to such readings. First, people are filled with loathing on discovering that they were wrongly portrayed, and their culturally sanctioned, sky-clad living was a matter of prurience and entertainment for Western readers. From my field studies, I learnt that many students from the Northeast wanted to study social anthropology so that they could research their own community and produce factual ethnographic accounts that would lay to rest misconceptions about them that were in vogue because of colonial ethnographies, most of which were uncritically perpetuated by their readers. Second, the process of discovering past traditions (particularly, religious beliefs, customary laws, ethno-medical practices) of a community is also taking place. For this purpose—‘how their ancestors lived in the past’, ‘what was the then glorious past’—anthropological monographs are avidly read. Today, people’s thought patterns and their subjective alignments —the group with which they identify, to which they are sentimentally attached—are far more important than their apparent similarities and differences. The issue of identity, the social category with which they are associated, has priority over the diacritical markers of their culture, such as a distinct dialect, folklore, a religious pantheon, traditional clothing and food. They know that the latter are bound to change when they live in a plural society that, in

course of time, develops its own overarching culture, cutting across different communities. The specific dress of a tribe, its dances and its competitive sports, food and drinks, and demeanours are proudly displayed when it organizes a cultural meet or a ritual performance. For a correct construction of the past, which defines the identity of people, anthropological literature is greatly useful. For instance, students from each tribal communities of the Northeast studying in Delhi have founded their own respective associations. During the festivals that their communities celebrate back home, which are linked to the annual functions they conduct in Delhi, members come in their traditional attires, participate in their local sports, plays and enactments, and make speeches peppered with words of wisdom in their own language. Sometimes on these occasions, a souvenir comprising information on the history and culture of the community is also released. Interestingly, some of those engaged in carrying out these activities—creating tribalism in an urban metropolis—are students aspiring to become civil servants, bankers, university teachers and entrepreneurs. This is the reality of the contemporary tribal world in India, barring some relatively less contacted tribal people living in the Andaman Islands. Against the milieu of present-day reality, the anthropological concept of the tribe appears to be infructuous and wanting.

4 The origin of the word ‘tribe’ lies in the Latin tribus, which means one-third; it designates one of the three people who united to found Rome. The Romans later applied this word to the ‘thirty-five people who became a part of Rome before 241 BC’. The term was later used for the Roman and Germanic communities, in which each was a confederacy of patrilineal families, had a name by which they identified themselves and were identified so by other such coalitions, occupied a common territory on which they had traditional rights and bore allegiance to a common authority (Seligman, 1934, p. 98). As the term ‘tribe’ entered into the anthropological word list, it came to be defined by these characteristics. When some direct contact was made with these communities, though fieldwork, as we understand it now, emerged much later in the first two decades of the 20th century, it was found that these people organized themselves on the lines of kinship. Thus, tribal society came to be defined as a congregation of people who are related by ties of consanguinity (blood) and affinity (marriage). For maintaining the purity of their blood, they do not allow matrimonial alliances (and also, mating ties) with any other community. Marriages were permitted between different units of the same tribe called clans. An oftenquoted statement reveals: clans are exogamous; tribes are endogamous. Marriage integrates clans and works towards uniting the tribe. In this context, the British jurist Henri Maine ([1861]1960) said that the modern state has a territorial foundation, whereas the kinship is the basis of tribal societies. The facts of birth (i.e., status) are important for tribes, and not the relations among people because of their qualifications and achievements (i.e., contract) which are at the basis of modern societies. Lewis H. Morgan ([1877]1964), acclaimed as the

founder of kinship studies, was in close contact with the Iroquois Indians (he was handling the legal aspect of their land right cases) and said that a tribe has a social and not a political organization; and kinship is the principle of their social organization. When tribal people transformed, amalgamated in modern societies, their kinship systems were relegated to the back seat. The kin group that had a primary place in modern society was the family. That would explain why anthropologists devoted their attention to the study of kinship and sociologists to family because the latter studied modern, urban-industrial people, where extended kin bonds had broken down and the nuclear family had emerged as the main alternative. Further, a well-integrated kinship system is coupled with the observation that a tribal community is a bounded entity.7 For instance, a tribe is often conceptualized as selfsufficient, meaning that it does not depend upon other communities for its survival. It is able to both collect and produce its food since it needs it for its survival rather than for an exchange with others or for a marketing venture. That is why a tribal society is understood to have a subsistence economy. People work for less number of hours since they do not have to worry about a surplus. It has been observed that foragers (hunters and food gatherers) have a lot of time for leisure, which they devote to their aesthetic and expressive activities, making little innovations in their technology (Sahlins, 1972). A tribe is culturally closed in the sense that it has its own dialect, folklore, customs, beliefs and practices, mechanisms of social control and rules of behaviour to which all its members adhere. Because it does not have any contradictory norms and a consensus exists with respect to rules for interpersonal relations, a tribe is likely to have a low incidence of social deviance. That was the reason why anthropologists, in their studies on tribes, gave primacy to the question of how does order come in these societies, rather than to investigate if any conflicts existed and the impact of the magnitude of the change. The empirical justification of anthropological functionalism came from the first-hand study of tribal societies, which were closed, relatively enduring with the same ways of life and striving to maintain their cultural purity. And, obviously, the functional theory started breaking down when it was applied to an urban context and a situation of fast acculturation of tribal people, because it was partisan, accounting for order rather than change, consensus rather than conflict, coherence rather than inconsistency, wilful compliance rather than coercion.

5 Observation that a tribe is culturally isolated invariably in all cases and, in some cases, may also have geographical insulation (because of its habitations in deep forests, hills, islands, coasts, relatively inaccessible areas) has received support from field ethnographers. Even when two or more tribal communities occupy the same territory and may have relations of barter, they still maintain their respective cultural identities, linguistic distinctions, rules of marriage and conviviality and a discernible sense of ‘we-ness’; and so unmistakably, each of them is defined as a discrete group. The legendary case of silent or dumb barter that existed

in Sri Lanka between the Bintenne Vedda and the Sinhalese comes to mind (Brow, 1978; Seligman & Seligman, 1911). It was so named because the communities engaged in it did not have any interaction but had carried out an exchange of goods, leaving them at a designated place and collecting the reciprocated ones. The 1901 Census Commissioner, Herbert Risley ([1908]1915), tried to explain why the tribes were able to maintain their identity. He said that as the castes were endogamous units, each maintaining its purity of blood, ruling out any métissage (or miscegenation), the marital absorption of tribes in castes was ruled out. As the castes were able to retain their characteristics, in the same way the tribes succeeded in keeping alive their primeval form. This thesis further justified the ‘separateness’ of the tribes. The methodological implication of this idea was that a tribe could be studied as a whole, in itself, without referring much to the outside world, which was not the case when one studied societies that were connected to the neighbouring people. Tribes were viewed to have negligible to scanty relations with the external realms, which had no serious consequences on the organization of their lives and thoughts. This was the meaning of the idea that a tribe was a cultural isolate. The aphorism that a tribal society was a closed society was also used for it. The distinctness of the community had its origin in its past—in the processes of its evolution and change. Since the historical material on these communities (which were placed under the rubric tribal) was meagre, available only as sporadic entries in administrative records in case a matter of some significance came up before the rulers of the time, and later in the uneven travel writings and official notes of the itinerants, missionaries and soldiers who happened to visit the abodes of these people because of work requirements or sheer interest, it was difficult to construct their past with authenticity. As tribes were pre-literate, coming into existence before literacy began and continued to be so even afterwards, it was not expected they would have kept a written account of their lives and migrations. Some affluent tribes, and also castes (such as the Rebaris) which were also bereft of the traditions of reading and writing, had their genealogists (called by different names in different parts of India, such as Rav in Rajasthan, Jagga in Haryana and Bhai Bhat in Uttar Pradesh) keep records of the community they served. Thus, today, what most tribes know of their past is through their oral tradition, transmitted over generations, which they happily share with field anthropologists working with them for a length of time, during which they have won over the trust of their respondents. Events of the past get mired with the strands of imagination. The distinction between facts (history) and imagination (myth) is blurred, and this collective whole is presented as a tradition handed down from the past. Further, it does not remain unchanged. With each creative individual, and with each generation, the past is interpreted, new imagined episodes may be added and, of course, some may be deleted or conveniently forgotten. Because the reliability of oral tradition is suspect, a piece of research concerned with the past of pre-literate societies is expected to be entangled in conjectures, untenable and unreliable statements and thus unscientific. That was the reason why, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, those concerned with the study of tribes, which were then named pejoratively with labels such as primitives, savages

and barbarians, denounced the practice of contemplating tribes from the viewpoint of the highly prejudiced and stereotypical literature of travellers and their ilk. Instead, they resolved to have a first-hand experience of living with tribal people in their natural habitat, and to observe their life as it was unfolded each day. This was the beginning of the method of fieldwork, which has become today the soul of anthropology. One who has not lived almost uninterruptedly for a long period of time, ordinarily not less than one year, with a community of people in perhaps the most trying of circumstances, and has not published a monograph on the basis of their first-hand fieldwork, does not qualify to be called an anthropologist! Anthropology certainly did not begin with the study of tribal societies. Its central objective was to delineate the stages of human evolution, both biological and sociocultural. To build up the sequence of sociocultural evolution from its inception, the early evolutionists, who today are credited to have founded the discipline of anthropology, liberally used the empirical material that travellers to the non-Western world collected on local people. The assumption of these evolutionists was that these contemporary primitives were survivors of the past, so their study was going to tell us how our ancestors led their lives in prehistoric times. This postulation has been rejected on the ground that present-day tribes live in the company of highly developed communities with variegated ways of living, whereas during archaeological times there was no cultural differentiation as there is now. The forces exerting on the communities during those times were different from what they are now. The focus thus shifted from the past to the present, the tribes as they are, here and now, rather than what they were in the past about which reliable information on their social life and non-material culture is unavailable, and will never be accessible because it was unrecorded and it was lost with time. From the late 19th century, first-hand studies of tribes, the so-called in situ studies, began which both challenged and reinforced the earlier concept of tribe. A tribe exists, but it does not exist in the form it was conceptualized earlier.

6 It was the administrators and social workers and later fieldworkers who introduced people to an extraneously introduced term ‘tribe’. It is from them that these forest and hill dwellers, the small communities that led, relatively speaking, an insulated existence, came to know that they were ‘tribal’ and hence different from other communities, such as ‘caste’. They were told their abodes were in villages and hamlets, so they were ‘rural’, but they were different from those who lived in multi-caste villages. They were also told that though some of them were cultivators of land, they were not full-fledged agriculturalists dependent on monsoon showers. Of course, differences between communities were always known. Diversity and the policy of laissez-faire were intrinsic to ancient and medieval Indian society. Thus, the hill people distinguished themselves from the plain dwellers; the villagers (gaonvasi) considered themselves different from the forest-settled communities (jangalvasi). But during the British rule, this distinction between tribe and caste was starkly reinforced and opposed, latently

sowing seeds of animosity between communities that otherwise led an amicable life with a level of interdependence that was possible under prevailing circumstances. The compendia on social groups that the British and English-educated Indian scholars prepared from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, which are still consulted and have also been reprinted several times in Independent India, attempted to divide the country neatly into castes and tribes, presuming that they were nearly immutable categories. The ground-level reality was ignored for it disrupted the logic of an unambiguous taxonomy (Cohn, 1987). Once the word ‘tribe’ was introduced to the administrative lexicon, its equivalent in the local vernacular also crept in, including forest-dwellers (girijan, vanvasi, vanyajati), pristine people, aboriginal, original, indigenous (Adivasi), community of people (janjati) or some disparaging ones like kaliparaj (black skinned). These terms were freely used in written literature, and local people also used several other labels so heavily stereotyped, pejorative and loaded that they need not even be mentioned here. Of these, the term ‘Adivasi’ received a wider acceptance, gaining endorsement from Mahatma Gandhi as well. During the debates of the Constituent Assembly, which was entrusted with the task of drafting the Constitution of the Republic of India, one of its members, Jaipal Singh, a tribal leader from the Munda community, wanted the translation of the term STs to be Adivasi, as he believed that this word ‘has a grace’; he also described banjati (forest inhabitants), a term much in vogue, as an ‘abusive epithet’. In course of time, ‘Adivasi’ has become the accepted rubric of tribal sentiments and identity, an insignia of their political struggle, a ‘political term of self-reference’ (Ministry of Tribal Affairs, 2014, p. 25; Xaxa, 2008). However, two observations need to be mentioned here: first, the term ‘Adivasi’ is not in the language of the Northeast, where the numerous tribes of the region prefer to be called by their respective names, occasionally suffixing it with Naga, if they are located in Nagaland or the areas that are supposed to constitute the Naga Hills. In other states, tribes are known by their names, without any suffix, including janjati, which is the official translation of the ST (Anusuchit Janjati). Second, many educated young tribal boys and girls are not happy being called Adivasi, as they feel this portrays them as backward, archaic and oldfashioned. This term, they think, counters to their march towards modernity and their competition for coveted positions with others. A fact not to be missed here is that the terms Adivasi or janjati, by which the tribes are designated, are not indigenous. It is the outsiders, including social workers and institutions, which have identified tribes with these names. Given the absence of these, with which nomenclature do tribal people connect themselves with? It is unexceptionally their name, which in many cases means nothing but ‘human’/‘man’ which in mainland India may be suffixed with the Sanskrit term jati, meaning kind or genus. One of its uses is in the context of caste, but that is not its exclusive application. In fact, any group comprising elements that share common characteristics may be called a jati. Tribes, thus, are as much a jati as is the whole universe of mankind (manav jati) or the entire kind of males (purush jati) or females (stri jati). When the Oraon of Kamre, a village in Ranchi, introduced themselves to me in December 1971 as belonging to Oraon jati, they distinguished them from other ‘kinds’ in

their village, such as Munda, Rajput and Brahmin. Confusion is likely to surface in our minds when we expect the Oraon to introduce themselves to us as janjati rather than jati, but then what is natural to them is that they are a conglomeration of people who share many characteristics in common, which is why they are together, for which the term jati is used: there are several other such assemblages in their village and in all the other settlements in their neighbourhood. The British administration and the compendia authors paid scant attention to the ethnographic fact that, for people, their world is divided into a myriad of groups, some of which are less dependent on other groups because of their geographical locations away in forests and hills, whereas others are more interdependent. However, those who today are relatively insulated, having limited interaction with the outside world, may tomorrow come closer to others and becoming part of the interconnected and reciprocal world. Changes are taking place quietly. When a tribal woman comes to a multi-caste village in Udaipur, Rajasthan, to barter or sell wooden toys for children, or a man comes to exchange herbal medicine or to provide a shamanic cure, they are both agents and recipients of change. To comprehend these situations, colonial writers divided the social universe into caste and tribe, as if they were un-blurred and non-overlapping.

7 Parliament under the British passed the Government of India Act, 1935, in which reservation for the depressed classes, as lowly placed and marginalized communities, both castes and tribes were then called from the 1850s, was incorporated. Coming into force in 1937, the Act introduced the term Scheduled Caste (SC) and communities were distinguished into two categories: those which were the victims of discrimination, the scourge of untouchability and those whose problems resulted from their isolation, living far away in inaccessible locations with really poor connectivity. While the discriminated lot were the castes, the isolated ones were the tribes. These two concepts, discrimination and isolation, became the diacritical markers of their identification (Atal, 2016). Besides these social indicators, both these communities generally led an impecunious life, falling into straitened circumstances, the result of low agricultural productivity or shortage of forest game, thus needing special protection. After Independence, the Constituent Assembly continued with the prevailing distinction between tribes and castes. With Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution of India, the President of India was expected to endorse a complete list of SCs and STs. A new community of people could be admitted to the list only with presidential notification. The complete list was made through two orders: The Constitution (SCs) Order, 1950, and The Constitution (STs) Order, 1950. The tribes have seen many avatars of the nomenclature used for them in different censuses. In 1891, they were called forest tribes; in 1901, animists; in 1911, tribal animists; in 1921, hill and forest tribes, in 1931, forest tribes and from 1941 onwards, they continued to be called tribes. It was in Article 366(25) of the Constitution that the term

‘Scheduled Tribe’ appears for the first time, but it is defined nowhere. Confusion abounds when the term ‘tribe’ is also used in the definition of SC in Article 366(24) to denote one of the communities that may be considered SC. One would like to know here the distinction between the tribe and the caste—where one ends and the other begins. Confusion does not only rest here. First, it has been pointed out time and again that the list of the STs contains communities that are unambiguously classified as castes, and that the same community in one state is caste, while in another it is tribe. During my fieldwork with the Rabaris (also called Raika) of Rajasthan in 1989–1991, one of the demands that these people had was their inclusion in the list of STs, as was the case with their brethren in Gujarat. This demand was not conceded, and indeed it was given up a few years later when they were included as an Other Backward Class (OBC). Second, the relationship between the tribe and the ST is complicated. Anthropologists have maintained that the tribe is a social and cultural category, which at one time was like a honeycomb, implying a well-demarcated and a happy-unto-oneself system. But it could not remain like this forever since it came into contact with the outside world. Acculturation continued unabated, with tribes gradually giving up many of their habits and picking up, voluntarily or under a fiat, the lifestyle of outsiders, technologically advanced and with instruments of sanction and violence. This was the beginning of their de-tribalization and their imbalanced and uneasy incorporation into the outside world, for which many social scientists used the word ‘integration’. Tribes did not remain tribes; they were tribes in transition or, historically, tribals having some remnants of their erstwhile tribal existence. Against this milieu, it was boldly stated that, anthropologically, tribes do not exist; what exists are those who were tribal at one time and are now fast metamorphosing. Thus, for an unambiguous assertion of a community as tribal, just to rule out castes or their sections which are on hoard claiming tribal status, the need to scrutinize their historical past is essential. But a rejoinder to this approach is that at one time, all societies of today led a tribal existence. It is not surprising, therefore, that James Todd (1829, 1832) in his work on Rajasthan called both Rajput and Jat ‘tribal’. Today, when writers speak of Indian tribes, they have in mind either the STs or the abstract concept of tribe. The latter has two components. The first is that the tribe is a stage in the evolution of human society, from the band to the horde to the tribe, to chiefdom to the tribal states, and finally to the nation. With each stage, the complexity of society increases and political power becomes more centralized. While a tribe may be headless (without a chief or lord, technically called ‘acephalous’), a chiefdom and tribal state are invariably centralized. Third, a tribe is a type of society, contrasted with two other types of society: first, a peasant society, a society of producers, which is connected to the city markets, for it does not produce everything for its survival and has to depend upon the city for various items of use and also for the selling of its produce; and second, a caste society, which comprises an interdependence of occupational groups, each specializing in a particular skill. If a peasant society is ‘part society with part culture’, as Kroeber (1948) said, because it is a fragment of the city, a tribal society is a ‘whole society’, with a part-time specialization. If for

understanding a peasant society, we have to examine its engagement with the wider world, for a tribal society, no such requirement exists. That was the reason why for the study of tribal societies, as we noted earlier, the functional approach was found to be most suitable. For the peasantry, historical facts were important because, being a part of the city, that is the centre of civilization, facts about peasant life and economic transactions must have been recorded. The approach for the study of peasantry was known as ‘historical-civilizational’, in which the main protagonists were American anthropologists. As the relation of tribe with peasantry is of interest to international anthropology, its relation with caste has become an absorbing commitment of Indian social scientists. Similarities and differences between them have been elucidated, but what has been of concern is the transformation of tribe into caste. The opposite, however, does not take place, because caste provides a more stable and developed system of production that can support a large population, by contrast to a tribe that is a small-scale society. Only isolated cases are reported where members of a caste (or its section) moved to, relatively speaking, an uninhabited area and settled down there; the case of the Badaga of the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu is often cited here. Otherwise, tribe as a stage in social evolution moves ahead; the movement is from simple to complex formation, and the process is irrevocable. So when the castes started claiming a tribal status, so that they became eligible for the policy of ‘protective discrimination’ for the STs, it was a ‘reverse process of returning to the roots and of preferring to have the tag of the “primitive” ’ (Atal, 2016, p. 32). That tribes were becoming part of multi-caste villages, sometimes by taking up the identity of a caste, forming a new one, or becoming a section of an already existing caste, was substantiated with many cases. Surajit Sinha (1958) reported the case of the Bhumij, who on taking up the identity of a warrior caste called themselves Bhumij Kshatriya, which they later renounced when they thought it would conflict with their status as a ST. On realizing the political and administrative advantages of continuing to retain their primordial identity as a tribe, the tribes are consolidating their ethnic moorings, revisiting the traditions they proudly possessed, which since may have been lost, and forging ties with other tribal communities to exert more pressure on the state. In this, two processes are noticeable: first, tribes are refraining from claiming caste status, though they may be participating locally in the system of interdependence with other castes. Second, as a result of acculturation, they may have lost several of their recognizing characteristics, such as dialect, dress, folklore, house types, customary laws or even beliefs and rites, and may have imbibed several other aspects of the external world with which they are dealing with and, at the same time, are overwhelmingly conscious of their identity. They are now, for themselves, a tribe, rather than just a cultural and statistical category, terms that ethnographers have described in the past. Tribalism is rising; tribal society is on the wane. A palpable sense of unity crystallizes from the feeling that they are one, though today they are culturally different. Socially, they may not be in their traditional geographical territories and have been dispersed as opportunities have come their way. It may be hypothesized that the political sense of unity, which is called tribalism, is not dependent upon the congregation of cultural traits, but these definitely in a

latent manner reinforce a sense of belongingness. A definition of tribe needs to be evolved, keeping these changes in mind, and closely examining the proposition that today a tribe is more a political category than a cultural one. But so great is our concern with the classification of a tribe, the claims of the communities for scheduling, that the central issue of what is a tribe is pushed to the back seat (Xaxa, 2008). Thus, there are tribes in this sense that have not yet been scheduled; that was the reason why the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2014, p. 24) extended its scope beyond the politico-administrative category of STs to include several others which may be developing tribalism but are not on the list of beneficiary communities.

8 Since the criteria for the designation of a community as tribal for the policy of positive discrimination were not spelt out in the Constitution of India and the confusion prevailed as to which community was to be designated as tribal or not, the Department of Social Security, Government of India, constituted an Advisory Committee under the Chairmanship of B. N. Lokur. The Report of the Advisory Committee was made public on 26 August 1965. It delineated five criteria, later repeated in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Bill, 1967 (p. x), for the designation of a community as a ST. Since then, these criteria have been used uncritically, notwithstanding the fact that several government reports have unequivocally observed their gross limitations. We now come to the criteria set out by the Lokur Committee for the inclusion of communities as STs, which were primitive traits; a distinct culture; geographical isolation; shy of contact with the community at large and backwardness, particularly economic. Each of these criteria have been exploded, both in government reports and in private publications. The most vociferous critique was found in the December 2007 report of the High-Powered Committee, which examined Gujjars’ demand (the Gujjars had initiated a mass protest from 28 May 2007 and demanded that they be removed from the OBC status to that of the ST). It found the criteria ‘outdated and obsolete’ (Mayaram, 2015). In fact, our concern, as was noted previously, has been with the classification of tribes, rather than the critical examination of the classification criteria, and coming up with an operational definition of tribe that would be congruent with current situations. Close reading of the report on Gujjars suggests that communities clamouring for ST status have attempted to identify, from their ways of living or to build up from their imagination, those characteristics that satisfy these criteria. It amounts to fitting one’s culture and society (even if with difficulty) into the requirements of the Lokur Committee. For instance, a community may claim that it has a developed system of herbal and animal medicine to show its distinctive culture; or that it cultivates firm beliefs in witches and spirits to show its primitive nature. It has been repeatedly stated that tribal societies, irrespective of their geographical location, are rapidly transforming. With a phenomenal increase in population, hitherto un-surveyed territories are being colonized for resources, settlement of people and construction of dams

and industries. Sensing the potential, external agencies are encroaching on tribal lands, and local communities are being forced to move out from their traditional habitat as resources are depleted and insecurities escalate. The effect of climate change on the economy of tribal people, howsoever remotely they might be placed, cannot be ignored. Global environmental changes have impacted communities. The government of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, having adopted a hands-off, eyes-on policy that disallows visitors to the North Sentinel Island, may imply that the people living there are safe and sound in following their traditional lifestyles, but we forget how ubiquitous ecological changes, and not-so-infrequent natural disasters, have exercised a huge toll on these islands. As the world gets more and more interconnected, the cause of tribal destitution can be seen in the effect of globalization on their natural, cultural and human resources. Tribal culture is changing. The effort to keep it distinctive is rendered in an endogenous manner by its leadership, with social and political gains in mind. Calling tribal traits primitive is one example of our ethnocentrism. Anthropologists have completely stopped using value-loaded terms such as primitive and savage for tribal people. The communities that were earlier called Primitive Tribes after the Fifth and Sixth Five-Year Plans have now come to be termed Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs; Table I.3). In fact, some anthropologists also feel that the word ‘tribe’ is no longer a neutral term; it implies a stereotyping, generating unwarranted images in people’s minds, often annoying those for whom it is meant. Keeping in mind these observations, and the fact that the word ‘tribe’ has become anachronistic in today’s world, K. Suresh Singh has suggested that instead of continuing with terms such as ‘caste’ and ‘tribe’, we could switch to the Hindi word samudaya, meaning community (Jenkins, 2003). His work has also showed difficulties in keeping a distinction between the tribe and the caste in all contexts. Table I.3 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in India

Source: Prepared from Annual Report, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, 2017–2018, pp. 79–81, 292–293.

‘Tribes are shy’, we are often told. I remember a field visit made in November 1987 with a group of my students to a Baiga settlement of village Tantar located in Bajag tehsil, Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. On reaching the hamlet, we did not find anyone in any of the houses we visited, though in some of them, it was clear that food was being heated. We waited for someone to appear. Slowly, people started returning to their homes. When normalcy returned after a couple of hours, we learnt that people had run away to the forest, because they thought we were inoculators, coming to inject them with a drug that would make them infertile. What is labelled shyness is an inherent fear of the outsider who has always looked down upon tribals, treating them in an undignified manner. Of the five criteria, the demerits of four have been stated earlier, and indeed in many other publications. The criterion of backwardness, particularly economic, however, is of great importance in the evolution of the definition and perspective on tribal societies. The definitions hitherto given are unexceptionally cultural, taking into consideration the elements of their living. These definitions are inelastic; confounding visitors to tribal areas who encounter a situation dramatically different from the descriptions that textbooks on tribes provide. They are all horror struck by poverty and lack of resources in tribal areas. Images of polluted, drying water bodies, parched earth, skeletal bodies of both humans and animals, uninhabited houses, indicating that people have moved out of them and grim stories of pain and exploitation disturb them profoundly. This tribal world is far removed from the monographs that were written from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century and its portrayal in films like the 1954 Hindi film, Nagin. In these narratives, tribals were shown as

happy people, surrounded by the forest’s bounty, galloping in cascading water streams, untouched by problems emanating from the external world. The current reality, though, is that in all the indices that are used for calculating the human development index, the tribes find themselves at the lowest rung. We commit a synecdochic fallacy if we assume from the relatively well-off pockets of tribal people, whose children’s name appear in the list of candidates selected for civil and provincial services that all tribal people are affluent and empowered. Deprivation and poverty levels are so apparent that, for any conceptual formulation on tribes, aspects of their changing economy necessarily deserve a pre-eminent place.

9 The tribal world was marked by a difference, in contrast to the Western world. Itinerants discovered this universe, and missionaries and soldiers followed them. The experience of being present in tribal company has been fleshed out in travel accounts. Their peculiar practices, habits, beliefs and customs have found a central place in these descriptions, not their daily lives. But the practice of writing travelogues became more scientific and less sensational when rigorous field studies began. Then detailed ethnographies, some of them voluminous, began to replace travel writings. Many of the latter began to be dismissed as apocryphal, and any theoretical writing built on them was rejected: it was one of the reasons for debunking the classical evolutionism of the 19th century. It was dubbed a ‘limbo of conjectural history’ and ‘pseudo-historical’. The early ethnographers did not miss out on these oddities of people. In fact, they looked out for these—keen to know what was unique to these non-civilized people. But unlike travellers to tribal areas whose fleeting visits did not give them an opportunity to know people thoroughly, ethnographers looked closely at their social organization. It was in this context that they tried to explain their institutions, though some of which they found bewildering and loathsome, such as body mutilations, head hunting, branding of the body and savage raids. However, in their studies, they never censured the tribes for their ways of living which was the result of a culmination of myriad historical factors and their social and natural habitats. This was the beginning of the methodological standpoint of cultural relativism, that is, things are meaningful in their respective cultural contexts; once out of context, these are rendered meaningless. Cultures were neither inferior or superior, nor was there a universal yardstick according to which cultural traits could be measured. However, the distinction between passive and active cultures was kept—the former showing the least evidence of change, they persisted with their traditional ways of living, whereas the latter were rapidly changing. Tribal societies fall into the first category; Redfield (1953) has called them ‘pastoriented’ in comparison to ‘future-oriented’ societies. What emerged from tribal studies was the idea that the world has enormous diversity and that each society is endowed with vitality to live unless it is jeopardized as a consequence of acculturation, which has unfortunately been asymmetrical in all cases, leading to a forcible

imposition of cultural traits, despoliation of biodiversity, suppression of dissent and even cases of ethnocide. Lévi-Strauss (1987) said that when anthropologists embarked on the study of tribes, they had already been ‘mutilated’ by European colonialism and imperialism, beginning from the 17th century. Tribal territories had been invaded for their precious resources, local people had been enslaved for manual labour and dissenters had been injured. Stripped of their freedom, control over their land and water, ridiculed for their beliefs and values, and coerced to comply with the demands of the plunderers of their territory, the tribes lost their zest of living. In the process of their colonization, they shrunk demographically not only because of the dispossession of resources on which they had traditional rights but also because of dwindling forest wealth, water pollution and being alienated from their land. Unforgettable too was the disease and infection introduced by outsiders to the hitherto insulated tribal population, against which they had not developed any bio-genetic immunity. The classic case from India is that of the Andamanese, also known as the Great Andamanese, who numbered around 5,000 in the mid-19th century and were reduced to 21 in 1961. They were decimated by foreign diseases that came with the entry of outsiders, in this case convicts from penal colonies, soldiers and officers to their areas. A heavy toll took place on the 10 tribes that comprised the Great Andamanese, leaving behind the descendants of only three. While epidemics such as pneumonia (1868), syphilis (1876), measles (1877) and influenza (1892) were largely responsible for this reduction in population, the indiscriminate felling of forests and the exposure of indigenous people to strong winds and sun were another factor. Today, with the concerted efforts of the Andaman administration which has rehabilitated them in the Strait Island, a sort of tribal reserve, their number has increased to 71, though there have been cases of marriages between the Great Andamanese and some non-tribal settlers on the islands. Such cases of tribal depopulation have also been reported from other parts of the world. It was against this background that the category of Primitive Tribes was created, the first criterion of this was grouping was a near-constant or declining population. Lévi-Strauss (1987, p. 11) noted that in Brazil, between 1900 and 1950, nearly 90 tribal groups had disappeared, the causes of which were famine, mining operations, construction of nuclear power plants and experimental rocket ranges. Added to this was an unending demoralization and a sense of insecurity that became apparent because of the unchecked and unwarranted entry of powerful outsiders, land grabbers, resource-looters and entrepreneurs. Observers of tribal life in the first half of the 20th century, those who did not shirk from telling the truth to the British government, spoke of the disastrous changes that would have had an impact on the tribes because of the short-sighted administrative policies that were being implemented: prohibition of traditional brewing liquor practice; legislation against practices such as ‘marriage by abduction’ and a general latitude towards land grabbers and businessmen to gain a foothold in tribal areas. The marginalization of tribal people had begun. The lords of hills and forests became serfs in their own land. Some observers said that the tribes seemed to have lost all interest in their lives; ‘no more did they dance, sing, or laugh.’ They seemed to be suffering from thanatomania, ‘…the desire to live had almost ceased among them.’ J. H.

Hutton (1921, 1965), the political agent of the Naga Hills, argued that the way to save tribal people from their cultural anomie was to give them autonomy to manage their own affairs. It was extraneous intervention—moral policing and unwarranted impositions—that was imperilling tribal people. At the receiving end, tribals often endured these injustices as mute sufferers. When they could confront their adversaries, they did so valiantly as could be seen in the Ho Rebellion in Singhbhum (1820–1821), the Great Kol Resurrection (1831–1832), the Ganga Narain Revolt in Manbhum and Singhbhum (1832–1833), the Birsa Movement (1895–1900), the Tana Bhagat Movement (1914–1919) and the Warli Adivasi Revolt (1945–1947). Even before Gandhi and the other national leaders were actively involved in India’s Independence movement, some tribes had given the call for self-rule. Birsa Munda’s slogan, for example, was, Abua raj seter jana, maharani raj tundu jana (Let the kingdom of the queen be ended, and our kingdom be established). In a similar vein, the Tana Bhagats (among the Oraon) interpreted their defiance of the tax scheme of the colonial government as their act of noncooperation. When the tribes thought they needed to reform themselves, give up their customs and practices, since it was resulting in poor living conditions, they started to make endogenous efforts. The Haribaba movement in Singhbhum (1930–1931), the Kripa Sindhu religious movement of the Ho (1937), the Revitalization movement among the Hos (1950–1970) are some examples of such thinking.

10 The lives of many tribes have been one of constant ousting, displacement, evacuation and encounters with the ‘unknown other’—peasants and farmers, urban neighbourhoods, local social and political bodies, such as councils, revenue departments and law-enforcing institutions, which have scarcely made any honest effort to absorb them within the matrix of their respective societies. Not only that, these migrants were often chastised as intruders of local peace; they were stigmatized as child-lifters, thieves and those who had committed a big crime before they absconded to a fresh physical location to repeat their misdemeanours. Obviously, they were treated unkindly, denied basic hospitality and badgered to desert that area. Tribal rights over land, water and forests were established in antiquity. The physical areas they cleared, made habitable, were theirs, in the sense that they continued to stay there with their kin till such time the resources were still adequate for their survival. When they found that food sources were nearing exhaustion, resulting in a tough living, they simply folded up their belongings, which in any case were few, and moved to a new location. Whether or not they were nomadic, they were always prepared to move out to newer areas because of depleting resources at home. These conditions were not always resource linked. There could be certain unforeseen circumstances, such as the tyranny of contiguously situated dominant communities, or the

excommunication of the community, which compelled them to abandon their settlement forever and shift to another one. The availability of land, with no specified or defined ownership, was another important factor facilitating their migration to fresh sites. During my fieldwork in Rajasthan, I came across a practice—not confined only to tribal communities— of denouncing settlement by installing a stone tablet engraved with the sketch of a donkey at its entry point. Below it was written the name of the community that had left the settlement forever, and through the tablet, warned other community members never to settle down there; and if they did, they would be donkeys! The practice was euphemistically called gadha ropna (installing a donkey). One of the findings of the People of India project was that almost every tribal community has preserved a rich folklore of their migrations from the point of their origin, and each of these spatial movements was in search of ‘greener pastures’. In some cases, they also believed that their pantheon was still located in the place of their origin. Once their lot improved, they would like to revisit that place. However, as part of a constant diaspora, they established replicas of their deities in places they settled in during their journeys. When the tribes estimated that fighting the superior foe was an unintelligible move, they quietly moved in small groups to other sites they considered safe. Retreatism, where both goals and ends are rejected, has been a coping strategy to deal with the highly unfavourable and oppressive situations they have encountered. Tribal areas have large tracts of land, rich in mineral wealth, forests and water resources. People have been squatting on them, not knowing their commercial value, and not knowing that tomorrow they could be ousted from their own lands to make way for the commercial exploitation of resources. Massive amounts of lands are needed for a number of development projects such as mining, setting up industrial townships, dams, laying down railway lines, power plants, roads, new cities, housing and settlement projects like settling refugees; and building houses, national parks and zoological gardens. Most of this land has been the result of acquisition from tribal people. These projects, justified in the name of rapid economic growth, have been delineated, falling under an eminent domain, in which private property can be legitimately seized in the public interest. It is worth recounting here what Jawaharlal Nehru said in 1948 to the villagers about to be displaced by the Hirakud Dam, ‘If you are to suffer, you should suffer in the interest of the country.’8 It has been estimated that of the 60 million people, both displaced persons and projectaffected persons, who suffered variously from the development-induced displacement, 47 per cent have been tribal, mostly from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. The rest are from other disadvantaged communities, such as SCs and OBCs. Dams have displaced the largest number of people (77%) of which 38.5 per cent are tribal. The Hirakud Dam alone displaced 22,000 families, of which 12,700 were STs and SCs. For tribes, the loss of land resulted not only in an economic deficit but also in a social deficit. Besides being a source of livelihood, the land was a source of their ethnic identity. It was an irreplaceable entity. Its alienation became a source of their collective depression; it made them feel rootless and culturally impoverished. Moreover, land was communally

owned and recorded as government land. Thus, its expropriation remained uncompensated. In many cases, displacement meant living away from the forests on which tribesmen were dependent for many things, besides food and medicinal plants. Resettlement did not compensate for a traditional lifestyle, of which an important component was their cosmological belief system. The forest-dependent tribes believed that their deities dwelt in the woods and going away from them, whether voluntarily or forcibly, would deprive them of spiritual blessings and might cause bad luck, illnesses, penury and even death. The damage of these beliefs further accentuated their cultural loss. Although the loss of residence and farmland, and habitat can never be truly compensated, state agencies usually favoured monetary compensation, simply because of its ease. As tribal land was typically located in distant locations, away from modern facilities and transport, its evaluation was low. The compensation amount was low, usually spent on the settling of outstanding loans, recklessly exhausted by buying certain luxurious gods or on holding longpending religious feasts. With the money squandered away in a few months, the tribes were in a state of destitution. With no land to fall back on, they were left with no option but to migrate to towns and cities, looking for whatever unskilled occupation came their way. What multiplied over time were poverty levels, food insecurity, increased morbidity and social dysphoria of the tribes (Fernandes, 2001). If a census of domestic help and security staff in gated communities, vendors, rag-pickers, rickshaw-pullers and loaders in cities and townships, and a large number of people working in the tertiary sector of economy, is done, one will see a sizeable population of tribespersons. People who were victims of development had been forced to migrate because they lost their means of survival as a result of massive development projects positioned on their territories. The best way to compensate such displaced persons was to give land of an equivalent quality in place of the land expropriated for development work. Since this was a cumbersome process, and most of the land available was situated in the wilderness, far off from the place they were to be shifted from, this mode of compensation was given up in favour of monetary compensation. Moreover, since tribal people were indebted, moneylenders compelled them to opt for money as this would settle the pending loans. After settling with the moneylenders, the tribesmen were left with a measly sum, inadequate for beginning a new life. The other option was to employ a family member of the displaced units in a government job, but that was equally difficult to organize as tribal society, being kinship oriented, had a number of claimants. In many cases, this proposal led to a dispute within families. Envisaging potential problems that might surface in implementing any other option, the easiest was to go ahead with money compensation, albeit it had many social and cultural consequences. The agencies knew fully well that many tribal people were not familiar with the idea of a monetized economy, and that the money would soon slip out of their control, yet they went ahead. Their fears came true. Displaced tribespersons fell into the ranks of poverty. They had to opt for manual employment in towns and villages, if they were able to find it, or live the life of scavengers. If nothing came up, they would indulge in petty offences, becoming known as communities with a criminal record in course of time.

An important question that should be raised here was: should not we think in terms of a design of non-displacement development?

11 One of the least desirable practices rampant among the tribes of India is that of witchcraft, locally called dayan (churail, tohni) pratha, a complete belief in the existence of witches. For decades, the community has been targeted for these beliefs. According to the India’s National Crime Records Bureau, between 2000 and 2016, more than 2,500 people, mostly tribal, have been tortured, maimed and killed—all accused of practising black magic. The fact that an overwhelming majority of them were women is supported by a large number of reports. For instance, between 2001 and 2017, of the 193 people who were branded as witches and killed in Assam, 114 were women and 79 were men related to women who were killed. Another report says that in India, between 1991 and 2010, about 1,700 women were killed for practising witchcraft. Most cases of witchcraft come from Jharkhand, but are also reported from at least 11 other states of India: Bihar, Haryana, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Cases from non-tribal areas have also been reported (e.g., in Haryana, which does not have a tribal population), but statistical trends point towards their widespread prevalence in tribal areas. Accusations (and brandings) are made not just by non-tribal people against tribals, but by tribals against their own community members. Cases of witchcraft are relatively few from the states of South India and tribal groups in Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, though the belief in the evil eye is almost universal. It may also be kept in mind that a large number of cases of targeting of witches go unreported. Those families marked for allegedly practising witchcraft often suffer in silence, fearing that their accusers, inevitably rich and politically powerful, will seek revenge causing immeasurable harm if the authorities are alerted. Interestingly, cases of witchcraft in Chota Nagpur are almost confined to patrilineal and agricultural communities such as Munda, Ho and Santal, and are almost absent among nomadic, foraging communities such as Birhor, Eranga and Munda (Sinha, 2006, 2019). This suggests that communities where women are consuming members, they have a low status becoming vulnerable to gender oppression, which is, however, not the case where they are producing members. In hunting and foodgathering societies, women are food collectors, and much of their livelihood comes from women’s collections, because hunting expeditions are unpredictable and the hunter may return home without any game. Tribal people, like other traditional communities, have their own ethno-medical specialists whose job is to provide an explanation of illness-causation (or misfortune-causation) and suggest remedial techniques to restore normalcy in life. The cause of misfortune and illness is sought from the realm of supernaturalism. Called materia magica in the anthropological lexicon, it is held that wicked spirits cause different kinds of suffering (of mind, body, family and even community) by acting through certain persons whose bodies they harbour. It is

further believed that as these spirits especially look for submissive and compliant individuals to carry out their nefarious deeds, they cannot find anyone better than the bodies of old women, particularly widows. Supernatural specialists, locally called gunia, ojha, siyana and jankar, perform different kinds of rituals to identify these evil mongers. Once the witch has been identified, a kangaroo court swings into action. Not only is the individual physically tortured, but her family also bears the brunt of punishment and stigma. Although superficially it appears to be a case of justice, the reality can be different. Oftentimes this may be a strategy to forcibly acquire the assets and property of the victim, either by killing her or forcing her family to move elsewhere, because of unabated episodes of oppression and marginalization at the hands of their accusers. The stories of the treatment meted out to those alleged to be witches and their kin are brutal. Kangaroo courts resort to the most nauseating punishments against the ‘witches’, completely reversing the human order: parading the witches nude with tonsured heads; blackening their faces in the public spaces of the villages; forcing them to eat faecal material; branding their bodies with red hot iron rods and even mutilating body parts. These accounts completely counter the images of tribal people being a communitarian, egalitarian and convivial community. Witchcraft then inverses the social order. To combat the menace of witchcraft, India does not have a specific and particular national legislation. Different sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, take care of crimes that are committed; for instance, Section 302 deals with murder, Section 307 deals with attempt to murder, Section 323 deals with hurt, Section 354 deals with the outraging of the modesty of a woman and Section 376 deals with rape. The first state to enact the Prevention of Witch (Daain) Practices Act, 1999, was Bihar. Jharkhand followed with the Witchcraft Prevention Act, 2001; in 2005, the Chhattisgarh Tonahi Pratadna Nivaran Act (Act 17) was passed and Rajasthan came out with the Rajasthan Dayan Pratadana Nivaran Adhiniyam, 2015 (Rajasthan Prevention of Witch-Hunting Act [Act 15]). The Government of Assam passed the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015, which received the approval of the President of India in July 2018. The other states are also giving serious thought to legal measures to control the peril of witchcraft, hoping to wipe it out altogether. However, tribal activists feel that any legal methods should go hand-in-hand with other steps, such as exploding people’s beliefs, making the masses aware of the real intentions behind the witch accusers and educating them on the inverse relationship between witchcraft and the human development index. Endogenous ways to initiate changes are far more lasting. In this endeavour, civil societies can play an exemplary role. I wish to return to a point made earlier. Today, as Lévi-Strauss (2013) observed in his posthumously published essays, the West is turning towards a close study of tribal scholarships available in the form of classical ethnographies to get an understanding of alternative ways of living that could also help in identifying the ills of modernity. Whether it is the value of amity among people, a just and equitable distribution of resources, a respectful attitude to nature or their knowledge of plants and animals, the other, that is, the West and the non-tribal world have a lot to learn from the tribal world.

However, contemporary anthropology says that it would be wrong to assume that tribal people are not ignorant of many aspects of their environment and living. The assumption of anthropologists that the people they study are a treasure trove of knowledge is only partially correct. There are several questions the answers to which the tribes do not know (Mair et al., 2012). The fact is, as is the case with all societies, that each society is knowledgeable on certain issues and not on others. Second, certain tribal practices, such as witchcraft and accusing so-called witches, and subsequently brutally torturing the accused, have been criticized on ethical grounds by many observers. Also condemnable is the institution of head-hunting that used to exist among some Naga communities. This custom allows the severed head of the enemy to be brought home as a trophy: the last reported case occurred in 1969 from the community of Konyak Nagas. Some African tribes, as well as non-tribals, are notorious for practising female genital mutilation, a custom which does not exist among Indian tribes. Among the Dani of Papua New Guinea, female relatives and sometimes older male relatives of the deceased are expected to chop off a part of their finger. Cultural relativists attempt to explain each of these practices, which outsiders find shocking, as completely normal for tribal people. And anthropologists have stated clearly that cultural relativism is not ethical relativism, which means that when they provide an explanation of the practice which may be disturbing and antithetical to human rights, it does not mean that they are supporting or promoting its spread. After they have arrived at its causative factors and supporting structural features, they take up the matter with the community, explaining the negative outcomes of the practice, how it thwarts progress and how these practices are actually anachronistic in contemporary times. The belief in action and applied anthropology is firm in initiating a dialogue with people, confronting them with issues that surface with their lifestyles and preparing them to change themselves. The change that begins from below lasts, as has been pointed out earlier.

12 The articles in this volume attest to the fact that the tribal world has always been dynamic. It has never been insulated. Even insulated, ‘un-contacted’ people, like the Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands, are likely to be affected by environmental and climate changes that are taking place. In other parts of the country, tribes have come into close contact with non-tribal people. In the Northeast, tribes have been able to retain their rights over their lands and other resources because they were largely protected against external unscrupulous elements. This largely happened because of the legal requirement to obtain an Inner Line Permit before one entered these areas combined with an inaccessible geographical terrain (Fürer-Haimendorf, 1983). In the rest of the country, particularly central India, the tribes had to face a hostile army of outsiders who had usurped their land and had converted the local people into their menial workers. Against this unabated exploitation, some numerically dominant tribes were able to rise up in protest, but many smaller groups were simply crushed and assimilated by outsiders. The result is that in all indices of survival today, tribes find themselves at the

lowest level, whether it is poverty, literacy, health or longevity. This volume also indicates that though we tend to use umbrella term ‘tribes’ to include all these communities, the truth is that the tribal world is highly diverse. Over time, tribal people have become aware of their identity, their separateness from others and the history of their oppression and neglect. They have also become conscious of their political power as an interest and a pressure group; as well as the power to unite with other tribal people going through the same quandary. It is because of this that inter-tribal skirmishes have declined significantly, the best example of which can be seen in the tribes of the Northeast. Notwithstanding academic and administrative problems with the use of terms such as ‘indigenous’ and ‘Adivasi’, both of these coinages have today become the titles of their unity. And both of these terms contain the history of their marginalization. As we have seen, the intensity of exploitation of the tribes has varied from one ecological area to another. Obviously, lands rich in forest and mineral resources were most sought after, witnessing a large influx of outside entrepreneurs thronging there for their fortunes. While migrants became more and more rich, local people started to sink into impoverishment. Their survival became a Herculean task. People suffered from food deprivation, denial of freedom, loss of interest in life, with the worst sufferers being women, children, the infirm and the aged. Outsiders were considered to have caused this crisis. They were reviled as symbols of tribal exploitation. Called diku (outsider) in Bihar and Jharkhand, they were (and are) a heterogeneous category, including not only land grabbers but also government officials, teachers, social activists and even anthropologists, all of whom were supposed to be colluding to gain control over tribal lands and their people (Sengupta, 1980). The exploitation of tribes continuing for decades sowed seeds of discontent that various political groups, particularly the Left wing, reaped to their advantage. Having its genesis in the Telangana movement in 1948, it was in the mid-1960s that the Naxalite movement started gaining strength in the country’s backward districts, most of which had tribal habitations. Tribal land had already been alienated during colonial rule, a process that continues today. Tribal people had already been pushed to the wall because a number of development projects were installed where they lived. With economic liberalization, the entry of private corporations into tribal areas, and the changes that started surfacing with globalization, the future of tribes became gloomier (Government of India, 2008). This was the backdrop for the growth of Left-wing extremism in tribal areas, which the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh described as the ‘single biggest internal-security challenge’ (The Hindu, 24 May 2010). The Left-Wing Extremism Division, which the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) created on 19 October 2006, identified 11 states (Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala) where extremism was evident. All told, 90 districts of the country, the maximum in Jharkhand (19) and the minimum in West Bengal (1) were affected by significant violence related to extremism.9 In 2009, MHA noted that out of 626 districts, 223 were variously affected by Maoist influence, though 90 districts were a matter of concern (Gupta, 2010). Of these, 30 districts were the most affected, for which in 2018–2019, ₹60 million were

sanctioned for their holistic development and security-related interventions (Press Information Bureau, 2019). Information about these districts, as gathered from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2014, p. 30), points out that they have been seriously neglected and deprived. Beset by widespread poverty, poor health and educational status, traders and moneylenders have fleeced them, and the administration has been ineffective in protecting the interests of people. Moreover, they have been victims of development projects, displaced and far from being rehabilitated. With respect to the rise of Left-wing extremism, three perspectives can be discerned (Ministry of Tribal Affairs, 2014). The first is that it is principally an issue of national security that needs to be dealt with by military means; the second is that the strongholds of Left-wing extremism are development deficit tribal areas and the third is a combination of the first two factors. To these, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2014) added a fourth perspective. The emphasis of the state has been on development and not on enhancing the protection of tribal people. The benefits of development were capitalized on by the rich, mostly the investors. For this reason, the laws were subverted by ‘both government and corporations in order to appropriate tribal resources’ (Ministry of Tribal Affairs, 2014, p. 32). The failures of the state and lack of trust have provided a fertile ground for the entry of Left-wing extremists into tribal areas. It is high time, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2014) observed, that resolute efforts should be made to build confidence among the masses, as they have already lost faith in the law and the commitment of the administration to solve their problems. The volume submits that knowledge about tribes, their survival strategies and their contribution to the building of contemporary society and civilization should be made known to all strata. The tribes have the right to preserve their culture and language, and they should decide what is to be kept alive and what is to be weeded out (Mohanty, 2017). The tribal economy deserves the state’s full attention. The rights of the tribes in land and forest resources are incontrovertible. They have traditional rights over their habitat; they were the first to clear and colonize tracts of land for their settlement. They may have mineral wealth under their habitations and vast natural resources around them. The volume argues that these tribal possessions should not be alienated against their will. If the land they dwell on is necessary for the development in the national interest, the tribes should be taken into confidence and a given share in the gains generated. The National Mineral Policy, 2019, recognizes tribal rights and contemplates on this issue in terms of compensation.10 It is the approach of ‘participatory self-governance’ (Ministry of Tribal Affairs, 2014, pp. 31–32) that will help tribes survive with dignity, confidence and respect.

NOTES 1. Later, one more number was added, so each volume of Social Change had four numbers. Sometimes a few numbers were combined and a joint issue was released. In recent years, however, this practice of amalgamating issues has been given up. 2. Not included in our survey are sections such as Notes and News, Book Reviews and Review Articles, Comments and Rejoinders, Obituaries, Editorial Notes, Bibliographies, and Documents and Indexes. Some of these were a regular feature of the journal, while some appeared intermittently. However, I have referred to this material as well wherever it

3. 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

was needed in the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Sectional Introductions’. The words ‘article’ and ‘paper’ have been used interchangeably. Sometimes I have also used the words ‘research articles’ or ‘research papers’. Table I.1 here does not include the sub-themes. Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2018, p. 25). See Table I.2 on the number of STs in India and their distribution. This table has been developed from Annexure-5B in the Report (pp. 203–2015). The Ministry of Tribal Affairs (2017) has recorded that 89 proposals from various states and union territories were pending for inclusion in the list of STs. Some of these proposals were pending for years. One proposal, for instance, from Jharkhand for the inclusion of the ‘communities of Khetauri and Ghatwar/Ghatwal’ in the list of STs was pending for more than 15 years. Indeed, most proposals were pending with the offices of the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes. This delay is due to the fact that the government has not fixed any time limit for these institutions to accept or reject proposals. Further, when proposals are sent back to the respective states or union territories for clarification, they also take a long time for submitting their replies. See articles contained in Sundar’s edited volume (2016). Wilson and Wilson’s ([1945]1965) statement often echoes the anthropological writings on tribes: ‘…tribal societies are supremely ethnocentric.’ Quoted in Roy (2002, p. 35). Roy had earlier (1999) called the displaced people ‘refugees of an unacknowledged war’. ~:text=About%20the%20Division,in%20the%20LWE%20affected%20States.&text=of%20India%20in%20LWE%20affected%2 See Minutes of the Third Meeting of the Committee constituted to review the National Mineral Policy, 2008, held on 26 September 2017 ( Also Ministry of Mines (2019).

REFERENCES Atal, Y. (2016). Indian tribes in transition. The need for reorientation. Routledge. Béteille, A. (1992). The concept of tribe with special reference to India. In A. Béteille (Ed.), Society and politics in India: Essays in a comparative perspective (pp. 57–58). Oxford University Press. Brow, J. (1978). Vedda Village of Anuradhapura district: The historical anthropology of a community in Sri Lanka. University of Washington Press. Cohn, B. S. (1987). The census, social structure and objectification in South Asia. In B. S. Cohn (Ed.), An anthropologist among the historians and other essays (pp. 224–254). Oxford University Press. Fernandes, W. (2001). Displacement induced development and sustainable development. Social Change, 31(1–2), 87–103. Fürer-Haimendorf, C. V. (1983). Modern development and traditional ideology among tribal societies. Fourth D. N. Majumdar Lectures. Ethnographic and Folk Culture Society. Government of India. (2008). Development challenges in extremist affected areas (Report of an Expert Group to Planning Commission). Government of India. Gupta, S. (2010). The state at the doorstep. Outlook. Hutton, J. H. (1921). The Angami Naga, with some notes on neighbouring tribes. Macmillan. The Hindu, 24 May 2010. Hutton, J. H. (1965). The mixed culture of the Naga tribes. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 95(1), 16–43. Jenkins, L. D. (2003). Another ‘People of India’ project: Colonial and national anthropology. The Journal of Asian Studies, 62(4), 1143–1170. Kroeber, A. L. (1948). Anthropology. Harcourt, Brace & Howe. Lévi-Strauss, C. (1987). Anthropology and Myth. Lectures 1951–1982. Basil, Blackwell. Lévi-Strauss, C. (2013). Anthropology Confronts Problems of the Modern Society. Harvard University Press. Maine, H. J. S. ([1861]1960). Ancient law. Dutton. Mair, J., Kelly, A. H., & High, C. (Eds.). (2012). Making ignorance an ethnographic object. Palgrave. Mayaram, S. (2015). Pastoral predicaments: The Gujjars in history. Markere Institute of Social Research. 1526554749pastoral%20Predicaments%20the%Gujars%20in%20History.pdf Ministry of Mines. (2019). National Mineral Policy, 2019. Government of India. Ministry of Tribal Affairs. (2014). Report of the High-Level Committee on Socio-economic, Health and Educational Status of Tribal Communities of India. Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs. (2017). Sixteenth Lok Sabha, Forty-Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment (2016–2017). Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India and Lok Sabha Secretariat. Ministry of Tribal Affairs. (2018). Annual Report, 2017–18. Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. Mohanty, M. (2017). Adivasi swaraj is the answer to violence. Economic & Political Weekly, 52(21), 66–70. Morgan, L. H. ([1877]1964). Ancient society. Belknap. Press Information Bureau. (2019). Naxal affected districts. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. relid=188075 Redfield, R. (1953). The primitive world and its transformation. Cornell University Press. Risley, H. H. ([1908]1915). The people of India. Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. Roy, A. (1999). Lies, dam lies, and statistics. The Guardian (5 June). []. Accessed on 27 September 2020. Roy, A. (2002). The Algebra of Infinite Justice. Penguin. Sahlins, M. (1972). Stone Age Economics. Aldine, Atherton, Inc. Sengupta, N. (1980). Class and tribe in Jharkhand. Economic & Political Weekly, 15(14), 664–671. Seligman, E. R. A. (Ed.). (1934). International encyclopaedia of social sciences (Vol. 15). Macmillan. Seligman, C. G., & Seligman, B. (1911). The Vedda. Cambridge University Press. Sinha, S. (1958). Tribal cultures of Peninsular India as a dimension of little tradition in the study of Indian civilization: A preliminary statement. The Journal of American Folklore, 71(281), 504–518. Sinha, S. S. (2006). Adivasis, gender and the ‘evil eye’: The construction(s) of witches in colonial Chotanagpur. Indian Historical Review, 53(1), 127–149. Sinha, S. S. (2019). The idea of ‘witch’ in central India. The Svasthya-Rasa-Bodhini CSP Public Lecture on 23 July 2019. Sundar, N. (Ed.). (2016). The Scheduled Tribes and their India. Politics, identities, policies and work. Oxford University Press. Todd, J. (1829). Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press. Todd, J. (1832). Annals and antiquities of Rajasthan (Vol. 2). Oxford University Press. Wilson, G., & Wilson, M. H. ([1945]1965). The analysis of social change, based on observations in Central Africa. Cambridge University Press. Xaxa, V. (2008). State, society and tribes: Issues in post-colonial India. Pearson. Xaxa, V. (2016). Tribes and Indian national identity: Location of exclusion and marginality. Brown Journal of World Affairs, 23(1), 223–237.

Section I

Actors Sectional Introduction The first section of this volume comprises articles that introduce people called ‘tribals’. As an anthropological concept, tribe refers to a community of people that happens to be relatively isolated from other such communities and the others that are quite largely interconnected (like multi-caste villages). In the last century and a half, the aloofness of the tribes has shrunk as they were constrained to come into contacts of varied kinds with outsiders, who were technologically better equipped and were in searching for the natural wealth that could be appropriated for their own progress. Unable to counteract these impetuous forces, exogenous in nature, the tribes responded in three different ways. The first was to physically confront the outsiders, their malicious intentions, with their catapults, clubs, and bow and arrows; and often these confrontations ended in a severe loss for the tribesmen, for they were unable to withstand the might of the invaders in their land. The outcome was expected: the tribesmen were killed, imprisoned, tortured, dispossessed of their resources and left to languish an existence of misery. The second reaction was to surrender before the exploiters, accept the kind of treatment that was meted out to them without a wince, to become what Michel Foucault ([1975]1991) called ‘docile bodies’ and, through this docility, to try to carve out a niche for them in the new world. And the final response was to abandon their traditional habitats and escape to lands that seemed relatively free and undisturbed so that they could live in peace and dignity. However, the last strategy was short-lived, for areas thought to be safe soon witnessed an influx of outsiders. The global history of the tribes has been one of oppression, exploitation and subjugation. To this, as Amar Kumar Singh says in his paper included in this section, in post-colonial times, the mantra of development was added. It was argued vociferously that the erstwhile colonies should try their best to quicken their progress, reducing deprivation and poverty at home. In this endeavour, they had no option but to seek the assistance of nations that were

well known for the strides they had made in science and technology. Colonial rule had been liquidated, but dependence on high-income countries (some of which were ex-colonial masters) continued for what was honorifically called ‘transfer of technology’. It created a new kind of suppression. In his article on ‘endangered tribals’, Singh exposed the class bias of development. The gains of development were not equitably distributed. Richer and politically powerful sections of society were able to keep aside for them a major portion of the profit, thus ensuring a further multiplication of their wealth. Singh asked, ‘Who was “sacrificed at the altar of development?”’ His unambiguous answer was ‘the tribal person, whose land was “taken away for development projects,” and from the status of a farmer, he became a ‘wage earner’. In lieu of his land, which was alienated for development work, he might get an unskilled job, while the other members of his household remained unemployed. Since the industrial sector demanded skills that the tribespersons did not possess, they were ‘redundant’. Referring to Susana B. C. Devalle’s (1992) work on ethnicity in Jharkhand, Singh wrote: ‘…village communities which were reserve of labour have become the graveyards of unwanted tribal workers.’ The plight of the tribes is documented in a number of papers published in Social Change. They show the incursion of non-tribal people into tribal areas, with the result that their population gradually grew. The richness of resources in tribal areas attracted outsiders. Further, these resources were well preserved because tribesmen either did not know that they existed (like minerals) or, even if they knew of their existence, did not need them for their living. Also, they used the resources frugally, only the quantity they needed for their existence. In other words, the resources were plentifully available which greedily attracted outsiders to tribal areas. In these areas where outsiders went, particularly Chota Nagpur, urban industrialization increased, leading to the prosperity of outsiders, but several ills accompanied it, such as deforestation, land alienation, indebtedness and unemployment, spoilage of the local habitat and its ecological balance, and all this severely affected the tribal population. First, in their own land, tribespersons were outnumbered. It was not just a demographic imbalance, but outsiders, who were technologically advanced, established their economic dominion, setting up industries and recruiting tribal people as unskilled labour force. The tribesmen were also forced to migrate to Assam tea gardens, where there was a ‘demand for cheap labour’. The intense exploitation of the tribes that went on unabated for years laid the hotbed for a series of unrest, which, in course of time, gave birth to a more organized movement. Tribal people started to think that they were in the ‘golden period’ when outsiders had not intruded their land. The outsiders introduced them to the ‘evils of modernity’, cajoled them to abandon their beliefs and customs, to adopt a new faith and to lead a life different from what they had led earlier. This period of acculturation not only alienated people from their resources on which they held traditional rights but also denuded them from the cultural capital they had built over generations with great thoughtfulness. Once tribal people realized the vacuity of their existence, they decided to revive their past culture. This inaugurated the

beginning of what Linton and Hallowell (1943) called the ‘nativistic movement’, a return to the past. It was also a rejection of the things associated with their exploiters; for example, the Oraon rejected the use of bicycle, which they otherwise found useful, because it was a symbol of their marginalization in their own land. Protests intensified under the aegis of an association called Adivasi Mahasabha, for autonomy in Chota Nagpur, and this accounted for a sense of sub-nationalism among the tribes. How industrialization causes the emergence of classes in a tribal community can be gauged from Sonali Mukherjee’s paper, included here, on mining and women, which is a case study of the Maria of Chhattisgarh. Because of the coming of National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), many Maria lost their land, for which they were given compensation money and a job. Some took the job with the NMDC, whilst others did not, as they were uncomfortable with the concept of wage labour. With time, two groups emerged within the same community: those who were industrial workers and those who were not. The former had slowly cultivated urban worldviews and lifestyles, whereas the latter continued to be traditional. If, on the one hand, the Maria industrial workers distinguished them from the traditional brethren, on the other hand, they were distinguished from the migrants. The crises were for the Maria workers who wanted to ‘move away from the Maria roots and find space in the outside world’, but it was not an easy proposition. Thus, they were left in a state of limbo. With the attempts to forge a new form of identity, the Maria NMDC workers saw a ‘haemorrhaging’ of the ‘bonds of [their] collective life’. By contrast, the Maria of the interior villages continued to have a strong spirit of belongingness to the community. An important finding of Mukherjee’s work is that industrialization has introduced new notions of patriarchy. In the traditional system, besides the sexual division of labour, ritual prohibitions were imposed on women. With industrialization came a further curtailment of women’s sexual freedom and movements. In addition to the ‘patriarchal exploitation’ by their own men, the Maria women were vulnerable to sexual advances by outsiders. Thus, industrialization, instead of raising the status of the Maria woman and freeing her from the traditional shackles of discrimination, exclusion and inequality, had further debilitated her. Against the backdrop of these three papers, which starkly showed the plight of most of the tribes in India, the need of a new, non-romantic definition of tribes was often felt. The message was what the tribes were before their contact with colonial rule, and what they were after is crucial for understanding the tribes today. Freedom and autonomy enjoyed by the tribes before colonial rule, when they could be conveniently defined as ‘isolated or relatively isolated’, was a ‘far-fetched luxury’ during colonial times. J. H. Hutton, a former government official, wrote: ‘Far from being of immediate benefit to the primitive tribes, the establishment of British rule in India did most of them much harm than good’ (Quoted in Elwin, 1943, p. 14). Because of these aspects of tribal history in India, K. S. Singh, in his article included in this section, says that the concept of indigenous people, as it has been given in ILO Convention 107 of 1957, does not ‘fit in with the historical situations of the old world, of India and other

parts of Asia or even Africa’. Further, he says, ‘This colonial and pre-invasion experience appears to be critical to the definition of indigenous people.’ Delineating the shortcomings of the concept of indigenous people as applied to India, Singh says that the Scheduled Tribes form a major section of the early settlers in the country. They have a great deal of diversity, but they show a remarkable continuity with non-tribals. The People of India project, which was done under his guidance, found that anywhere between 85 per cent and 93 per cent of cultural traits were shared by both tribal and non-tribal people. Further, tribes in India have greatly contributed to the formation of states in pre-colonial times. They have defended their rights on their resources. In some parts of the country, they have been dominant. Thus, Singh says that the term ‘indigenous people’ is understood in terms of the distinction between the original people who had been living for years and the outsiders who invaded the local territories. Both of them (the insiders and the outsiders) belonged to different racial stocks, as was the case in America or Australia. This certainly was not the reality in India. Thus, in India, the following aspects must be kept in mind while defining tribes. First, the tribes are the earliest colonizers of the land, though they may not be the original settlers. Second, by comparison to other communities, they are relatively isolated and comparatively less developed. Third, they have preserved their culture, language and customary laws. Last, they have made an important contribution to the building of Indian civilization. The other paper included here is by Nirmal Kumar Bose on scheduled communities and social change. Bose refers to Article 46 of the Constitution of India, which lays down that the weaker sections would be protected from ‘all forms of exploitation’. Ruefully Bose notices that, unfortunately, this has not happened because the ‘productive organization itself continues to remain in its old condition’. Society continues to remain divided between those who work and produce wealth, but do not enjoy its fruits, and those who consume the products and gains thus accrued. Bose says that our concern for building an ‘exploitation-free economy is far weaker’. The irony is that the communities (including the scheduled) clamour for a share in the power structure or a rise in the status hierarchy rather than making an ‘effort to marshal the progressive forces in India in the common task of ending all forms of exploitation’. Bose further writes: ‘Very few leaders seem to make a specific demand for the complete abolition of the productive organization associated with caste in rural areas.’ The need of the time is to build, Bose asserts, an economic system based on justice, equality and self-sufficiency.

REFERENCES Devalle, S. B. C. (1992). Discourses of ethnicity: Culture and protest in Jharkhand. SAGE Publications. Elwin, V. (1943). The aboriginals. Oxford Pamphlets on Indian Affairs (Series No. 14). Oxford University Press. Foucault, M. ([1975]1991). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Penguin Books. Linton, R., & Hallowell, A. I. (1943). Nativistic movements. American Anthropologist, 45(2), 230–240.

Chapter 1

The Scheduled Communities and Social Change* Nirmal Kumar Bose

The special concern for the development of economically or politically backward minorities of India began with the case of the Muslims. In 1909, they were granted separate franchise by the British Government of India so that, by the use of political leverage, the condition of the comparatively backward Muslims could be raised, and they would be able to enjoy the same privileges as were being enjoyed by a section of the Hindus who had already taken to Western education, and aligned their interests, more or less, with those of the rulers. Under the Reforms of 1935, the British rulers discovered that there was a large group which was not only economically but also socially depressed. These were designated as the Depressed Classes. They were formed by the so-called ‘low’ castes within the Hindu society, and also by the numerous tribal folk who lived on the outskirts of that society in regions where economic advancement had penetrated rather inadequately. The original plan of the rulers was to establish a separate electorate for the Depressed Castes as had already been created in respect of the Muslims. But Hindus reacted strongly against this, and under the leadership of Gandhiji, an agreement was arrived at between the leaders of both the ‘high’ and ‘low’ castes that seats in the Legislatures would be reserved for the latter, but on the basis of a joint electorate. The British Government had to consequently withdraw its proposal for a separate electorate for the Depressed Classes. When, after Independence, the Republican Constitution came into operation in 1950, the arrangements made in the 1935 Act were carried over. It was decided that seats in the Central and Provincial Legislatures would continue to be reserved, but on the basis of a joint electorate. In each state, the local government would name the communities who needed special treatment, and the president of India would place them under a schedule. It was thus that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes came to be marked off from the rest of the Indian population for special treatment.

It was laid down under Article 46 of the Constitution that ‘The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.’ It was evidently the object of the framers of the Constitution that, through education and accession to political power, new leadership would arise from the Depressed Classes, which would help in leading their own community out of their present backward condition and bring them up to the level of the rest of the population. As the adult franchise had been accepted as the basis of our democracy, it was also hoped that this would give the Scheduled Communities a new opportunity for participation in political life and the power to build up a society, free from the inequalities of the past. It was originally proposed that the special reservation would end after 10 years, that is, in 1960. But, as the requisite amount of progress was not made, the period was extended, first to 1970, and then to another 10 years. In conformity with the reservation of seats in the Central and State Legislatures, it was also decided by the government that there should be a reservation in governmental services, and also in educational institutions, in accordance with the proportion of the Scheduled Communities in the total population. In the latter class of institutions, scholarship would be awarded to students and to special hostels established for them, so that they might come up in level as quickly as possible. The experience has, however, been that the Scheduled Communities have not been fully able to avail themselves of the special facilities given to them. For instance, in Class I service, though the reservations are of the order, roughly, of 14 per cent and 5 per cent for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, respectively, the actual figures for 1966 stood at 1.77 per cent and 0.52 per cent only. Consequently, there has been a constant demand in the Parliament and the State Legislatures that more vigorous and effective steps should be taken so that the full benefits of the reservation may be made available to those for whom it is meant. If one pursues carefully the proceedings of the Legislatures, and also the demands or agitation often initiated by political parties, especially organized by the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, a striking feature becomes noticeable very soon. In Article 46 of the Constitution, it has been clearly laid down that the ‘weaker sections of the people’ should be protected from ‘social injustice and all forms of exploitation’. It is true that various forms of social or economic practices, such as untouchability or bonded labour, have been made penal offences. As a consequence, some sections of the Scheduled Communities have indeed been straightening up their backs where they could afford to do so. But when we look more closely at Article 46, we find that the key to the whole situation lies in the last phrase, namely that the weaker sections should be protected from ‘all forms of exploitation’. This has, unfortunately, not taken place so far. The reason is simple. Exploitation arises out of a system, or the social arrangements in the productive organization under which people live. If we have to end the exploitation of one class by another, it cannot be done separately for either the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, so long as the productive organization itself remains in its old condition. So long as society itself is divided into those who labour

and produce wealth, but do not enjoy the full fruits of their labour, and another class which enjoys privileges in excess of what they contribute by means of their own labour, one particular section among the people cannot be freed from ‘all forms of exploitation’ as long as their co-workers who do not belong to their own caste or tribe continue in their old condition. The only reasonable way to enfranchise the Depressed Communities can be by ending exploitation for all. But one will, at once, admit that this cannot be achieved by any administrative fiat. It cannot also be achieved in a minute. Yet, fast or slow, we have collectively to guide our steps towards the goal set by Article 46 of the Constitution. Unfortunately, as one scans the demands for political rights or educational facilities, or even the demands in employment made from time to time, one notices that the concern for a joint endeavour to build up an exploitation-free economy is far weaker than the demand for a place among the comparatively more privileged class under the existing arrangement of things. The upper castes and privileged classes have so long been in the enjoyment of power. There is a stronger demand among the new leadership of the Scheduled Communities for a share of this power rather than an effort to marshal the progressive forces in India in the common task of ending all forms of exploitation. One of the distinguishing features of the social movements among the Scheduled Castes has been that they have been claiming a higher place and a loftier status within the caste system itself than has hitherto been accorded to them by the rest of the Hindu society. Thus, the Namasudras of Bengal have been claiming that they are actually Brahmans. Dr B. R. Ambedkar had tried to prove in one of his scholarly theses that the Sudras were originally Kshatriyas, subsequently degraded by the machination of Brahmans. The Bagdi caste of Bengal, another Scheduled Caste, renamed itself as Byagra-Kshatriya. The Barber caste, though not scheduled, produced copious literature in order to prove that they were Brahmans in the past. In this way, the social movements for the upliftment in the rank of the castes, which has been one of the results of their educational progress and their incorporation into the ranks of professional, urban people or of the bureaucracy, have given rise to a desire to rise higher than at present within the existing framework of caste. Even if they do try to rise in rank, the demand for doing away with the distinction between, say, Brahman and ‘low’ castes is far stronger than the effort for doing away with the distinctions between one Scheduled Caste and another. Very few leaders seem to make a specific demand for the complete abolition of the productive organization associated with caste in the rural areas. In an interview that the present writer had with members of the Leather-working and Sweeper Caste in some parts of India, it was apparent that both wanted to rise in rank and receive the benefits of education and economic assistance offered by the government, but they were not equally eager to move out of their hereditary occupation or to welcome other unemployed people to share the monopoly which they had so long been enjoying in their hereditary occupation. As has already been said, there is a desire to rise in rank, but not an equal desire to equalize the conditions between leather-workers and sweepers, for instance.

This arises out of a short-sightedness of policy alone. Not that the so-called ‘low’ castes do not wish to change their occupation, but because, under the uncertain economic conditions of today, they cling to whatever advantages of economic security (of a very low kind) has so far accrued to them under the rules of caste. They do not, at the same time, want to live under the social degradation to which they have been subjected under that system. Under the new economic order that is slowly being built up in India, it has not yet been possible for the government or private employers to find work for all those who wish to move out of their ascribed, caste-based occupations. Even after nearly 200 years of British rule and two decades of Independence, the number of workers in modern industries forms 4.2 per cent of India’s total working force, while 6.2 per cent live by household industries, some of which are modernized and some are of the old, caste-based type. Total 52.8 per cent of the working force again is in cultivation, for there is a field in which the unemployed from every bankrupt caste or profession can easily drift and yet ensure for themselves a feeling of security through an occupation that will, at least, stay the fear of starvation. The extreme demand for land and the increasing reliance upon agriculture as a source of living may be taken as a token of lack of confidence in the government and the existing economic order to cater to the needs of the growing demands for work among all those who are unemployed or only partially employed. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that those who want to elevate themselves in social rank will continue inwardly to profess their loyalty to the system of caste that has preserved them for so long? That is the reason why they want to shift their place within the caste system rather than bring about its total destruction. There is a small band of urbanized, Western-educated men and women who do not rely any longer on a caste-based economy. It is interesting that they try to move out of the clutches of Hinduism by converting to either Buddhism, Christianity or, less so, to Islam. Undoubtedly, this is an escape from the bondage of subordination designed by caste. But the economy into which they slide out is also, up to now, not an exploitation-free economy. Human dignity has undoubtedly been assured to the converts than was given to them within the Hindu society; but who can say that there is no class division, high and low, privileged and unprivileged, among Buddhists, Christians and Muslims? Caste may give place to class. It may bring some relief to those who have suffered long from one kind of social torture; but it does not bring about the end of torture. The world has yet to build up a productive organization and a social system based on justice, equality and economic sufficiency. Mere economic prosperity does not bring about equality or justice, as is amply proved by the predicament in which the prosperous nations of the world find themselves today. In India, we do not, in the alternative, want to establish equality and justice at the level of poverty. We have to face squarely our problems of inequality and of poverty. And when the Scheduled Castes and Tribes of today join hands with the rest, and even lead them in the making of a prosperous and egalitarian society only then the present injustices will end. If, however, they want to retain roughly the old economic order, with a few social amendments, inequalities will remain as long as the old order

persists, even if it survives in a new garb.

* Social Change, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1971.

Chapter 2

Reflections on the Current Debate Concerning the Indigenous Peoples* K. S. Singh

This article addresses itself to the (a) problems arising out of the definition of indigenous people and their application to many countries; (b) some other issues raised in the debate on indigenous people and (c) the problems and difficulties that are articulated in the implementation of the course of action being discussed today. The definition of indigenous communities contained in ILO Convention 107 of 1957 reflects the historical context of the New World. In fact, all three ingredients of the definition have been taken over from that historical situation. For example, first, it is in the New World that the ‘Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those’ which had a ‘historical continuity with pre-invasion and precolonial societies that developed in their territories’. Second, it was in the New World, again, that the indigenous people ‘consider themselves distinct from other sectors of societies now prevailing in those territories or parts of them’. Third, here the indigenous people form at present ‘non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories and their ethnic identity as the basis of their continued existence as people in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system’. These three ingredients in the definition of indigenous people do not exactly fit in with the historical situations in the old world, of India and other pans of Asia or even Africa, where colonialism has ended in its political form and apartheid is on the way out. The colonial encounter in India affected not only tribal but also non-tribal societies. This colonial and preinvasion experience appears to be critical to the definition of indigenous peoples. It should be noted that though colonial experience has been equally savage all over the world, there was a measure of difference in this historical experience between the New World and India. Colonization in the New World involved the annihilation of people, the uprooting and destruction of a whole civilization and of a stable cultural system. Both in Australia and

the New World, indigenous people were exterminated in many parts. Their populations declined. Mixed populations came into existence on a large scale. The encounter was not as bloody except probably at the battle of Aberdeen in the Andaman Islands in 1858, where 5,000 Andamans were mown down by British guns. The colonizers had entered into agreements with the chiefs or indigenous people in the New World, who were in control of large territories, and had evolved a distinct polity. This has no parallel in India, except probably in the case of the Khasi Syiems who entered into a treaty, and the Dang Bhil Chiefs who executed a lease agreement with the British authorities. Most of the tribal people of India had already been integrated into the political system of the pre-colonial period when the British took over. British India was conquered and princely India was brought under the system of subsidiary alliances and treaty relationships. Second, India has been rightly described as a melting pot or fishing net into which have been drawn people of all races, speaking different languages, where, through a strange alchemy, most of them became highly mixed people, interacting closely, sharing a great deal and contributing to the composite culture of the Indian people. The tribal people of India have played a historical role in the development of languages and culture, anti-colonial struggles and post-colonial transformation. Tribals remained relatively isolated but they were never very distinct from or independent of all other communities. For political and administrative reasons, some sections of tribal people were notified as the Scheduled Tribes, who have been considered relatively backward and isolated from the more advanced sections of the Indian people. The tribals’ relative isolation is in terms of distance, cultural, physical and even genetic, and from the so-called mainstream of populations and the development process, and not the all-pervasive, almighty market. Tribal development and tribal integration with the so-called mainstream is a matter of national responsibility, accepted by all political parties. Traditionally, tribals do not form ‘non-dominant sectors of society’ everywhere. They are fairly dominant in some parts of the country, where tribal states have been functioning very well. Elsewhere also, where they are in majority or fairly large numbers, they have a share in political power and/or are engaged in collaboration with many non-tribal segments in the struggle to achieve a measure of autonomy or even separate statehood within the constitutional framework of the nation-state in order to manage their resources. In this connection, the following issues may be considered. First, the Scheduled Tribes in India today who are aptly called the Adivasi, the old settlers, do form a major section of the early settlers in the country. They are drawn from all four racial stocks, the Negro, the ProtoAustraloid, the Mongoloid and the Caucasoid. There is considerable variation in terms of morphological and genetic traits among the various segments of the Scheduled Tribes. They speak languages belonging to the major language families. They belong to all stages of economic development, ranging from hunting and food-gathering to relatively developed stages as peasant, entrepreneurs, skilled labourers, craftsmen and artisans. Data collected under the People of India project suggest that the extent of sharing of cultural traits between tribes and non-tribes is as high as 85 to 93 per cent in all regions.

Second, the tribes in India have been involved in major historical processes, particularly those relating to the formation of states in the pre-colonial period, which initiated the processes of both fission and fusion in tribal society, created a stratum of tribal aristocracy, introduced new technology of production and brought in the people to manage it, such as peasants and artisans, while the tribes were spared the strain of surplus generation. Third, the tribes revolted more often than other communities in defence of their rights on land and forest, which came under alien control in the colonial period. Their struggles in the post-colonial period, centring on their rights in their resources and their identity, are equally known, as the pressure on their resources mounted, and they increasingly perceived the threat to their identity. Fourth, the democratic and federal polity of India has absorbed a great deal of tension. Appropriate strategies have been framed and constitutional devices have evolved to create states and confer greater autonomy on tribal people. This process is on. Ultimately, the solution to many problems will have to emerge from within this national body politic. The definition of the term ‘Indigenous people’ is thus much too restrictive. It does not reflect the specificities of many countries’ historical situations where tribals form a significant section of the population. The definition should consider the following facts: (a) tribals are among the earliest settlers, if not original settlers, in many parts; (b) tribals are relatively isolated; (c) tribals are relatively undeveloped; (d) tribals preserve a good deal of their culture, customary law and control over the last 50 years and (e) tribals have been part of the larger civilizational world of India, and have closely interacted with other communities. Another dimension to be taken into account is the tribals’ own perception of themselves, others’ perception of tribals and the tribals’ role in the history or culture of the country to which they belong. Therefore, while the term ‘Indigenous people’ as it has been framed does not entirely apply to historical situations like ours, in Asia, and elsewhere, there is a need for the redefinition of the concept of indigenous people in the context of larger colonial and post-colonial historical experiences, so as to encompass people who have shared almost similar experiences. Any new, enlarged and universal definition of indigenous people should take into account the specificities of each country’s history, experience, current ethno-social situation and its political system and so on, which have been briefly described earlier. Cultural relativism cannot be ignored.

II Apart from the definitional problems, we may also consider certain other issues raised by the current debate on indigenous people. The meaning of the term ‘indigenous’ given in the dictionaries ranges from people originating in a country to people who are born in a particular region. If we go by the term ‘original’, then there are hardly any indigenous people in the world. Therefore, the term ‘Indigenous people’ is not supported by the findings of modem

archaeology and prehistory. None of the four races was indigenous to India. Our own term ‘Adivasi’ is more appropriate than that. As mentioned earlier, it refers to the old settlers in the hills, forests and remote areas, of which the tribals form a significant part, as mentioned earlier. Australoid appear to have been spread beyond Australia, and some of the historical sites discovered in India in the north-eastern region are reportedly older than those of Vietnam and Thailand. The Proto-Australoid, from which most of the populations of India, including the Scheduled Tribes, have been derived, are said to have migrated from Southeast Asia. The Indo-Mongoloid moved around 10,000 BC along the Himalayas and into the northeast. The migration of the Negro to the islands and other parts of the country was part of a much larger migration of these people from South Africa and Madagascar to the islands of Southeast Asia and even beyond, across the Pacific in the prehistoric period. The Caucasoid are believed to be the latest arrivals. Even the issue of the old settlers in a particular area has to be seen in the context of waves of migration that have been very common in India. The Gond are said to have migrated from the south of Godavari to Narmada and spread to northern UP and Bihar. Their settlements in two states are not old. The Nicobarese migrated to the islands many centuries ago from Southeast Asia. The Santals moved from their mythological homeland, Chai-Champa (in Hazaribagh) into Santal Pargana, West Bengal, Orissa and Bangladesh. The Mizos came from Burma 200 years ago. Attempts have been made to interpret prehistoric myths in terms of the colonial conflict between the settlers and the indigenous people. Thus, mythological battles between the Devas and the Asuras are now represented as colonial encounters. What is not understood is that in all such conflicts of which mythological accounts are available, there was no notion of race. As Dr B. R. Ambedkar says, even a section of the Sudras was Aryans. There was invasion, conquest and destruction. There were contemptuous references to darkcomplexioned and snub-nosed people—as there were to various castes in later literature, but later a composite culture developed with the assimilation and integration of populations in terms of linguistic, biological and cultural traits. This never happened in the New World, where colonialists and old settlers remained in a state of conflict for a very long period of modern history. As populations were mixed up and cultural systems stabilized, the tribes were accepted almost as equals in the Indian subcontinent. Epic traditions refer to this particular phase. As Valmiki says, “At proper time, the charioteer, Summantra, seeing Gulaka said to Bharata benignly that Gulaka, the most honest man, the king of the Nishada, surrounded by thousands of relatives, is a friend of your brother Rama. He knows all the details about Dandakaranya. He must be knowing where Rama and Lakshmana are at the present” (Valmiki, Ramayana, Canto B4, Ayodhya Kand, Shloka 11–14). Then, again he says: “There (in the hermitage of Agastya) the Devas, the Yakshas, the Nagas, and the Bird-like community live together restricting their food habits for the sake of cultivation of religion” (Valmiki, Ramayana, Aranyakhand, Canto 11, Shola, 91). The finest tribute to the Kirata of the Himalayas occurs in Kiratar Juniyam: “The Kirata king is a

master in the martial arts. Do not disregard him as a mountain dweller. Indra, the King of Gods, entreated him to be the resident of Himalaya for the protection of the earth” (Bharavi, Kiratar Juniyam, Canto 13, Shloka 67, 6th Century A.D.). The question as to who is an aboriginal and who is not was also discussed in the Constituent Assembly in the course of the debate on the Fifth Schedule. The then Adivasi leader, Jaipal Singh, quoted Rajendra Prasad as having said at Chakradharpur in Bihar that “for the last six thousand years Adivasis had been struggling for their izzat (honour) and for their self-respect, and for eternity they will see to it that the honour of India does not in any way get impaired” (p. 994). Bishwanath Das from Orissa joined issue with him in the following words: “My honourable friend, Mr. Jaipal Singh referred to history six thousand years ago. I have not come here to discuss history with him. But it is far wrong to suggest, knowing as we do, history and Puranas that he talks of theories long exploded….” Das recalled that “there were jungle Brahmans in Orissa called Aranyas and that he was himself as much an Adivasi (original) as Mr. Jaipal Singh” (Constituent Assembly Debate, 2 August to 7 September 1949, pp. 994-6). The legend has it that once during the battle between the Andhras and Oriyas, it became necessary for the Oriyas who were facing defeat to catch hold of some tribal people, bestow sacred threads on them and parade them before the Andhra army which retreated before the new Brahmans. The term Aranya Brahman was derived from the tribal people. The ethnographic accounts of many communities of India are replete with the references to their tribal origin. Many of the castes and ruling lineages arose from tribal matrices. Even the founder of the great Maurya empire, Chandragupta Maurya, was the son of a Mura woman. Mura is still the name of the Mundas in Bengal.

III And yet the Scheduled Tribes, i.e. those communities which have been listed as such over the past 45 years or so have been a distinct constitutional category. In spite of wide ranging variations among them, in terms of biological, linguistic and cultural traits, and their affinity with non-tribal communities in various regions, the Scheduled Tribes today are a distinct political community, which is keen to preserve and develop its identity. This community is marked by the twin characteristics of remoteness and backwardness, as mentioned above. The notion of ethnic identity is applied to this community. This community of the early settlers, the Adivasi, does share with peoples in other parts of the world, similarly situated, a number of ethno-social features. The first is the world view based on the notions of harmony, peace, order, and egalitarianism. Their rapport with environment has been a source of inspiration to environmentalists today. Some of the most touching statements on mankind’s relationship with environment, to earth, water, plants, have come from the Amerindian leaders. Nothing comparable to this corpus of these people’s perception exists anywhere in India. However, material is still to be documented, but the following piece from Munda poetry on the loss of

land may be considered: The land is a whirl; It is spinning round. It is whirling round like the cotton-gin; The handle of the spinning wheel broke down; The handle of the cotton-gin went to pieces. The cowherd laments; The goats cry. The tribes live in harmony with their environment. Gandhi’s famous saying, “Nature has provided enough for man’s need but not for his greed”, applies appropriately to tribal society before it came into conflict with colonialism. The second point of similarity is their increasing loss of control over resources and the long tradition of struggle waged in defiance of rights on resources such as land, water, and forest in order to maintain their integrity and identity. There are the experiences that a large segment of tribal people, if not all of them, share with most of the indigenous people in the New World and elsewhere. The experience has been reflected in a new genre of literature, with its evocative idioms. Poetry, autobiographies, and new history have poured these out in recent years. A few of the poignant moments in their story have been truly exploding. The paintings of aboriginal Australians and some of our own tribal artists have attracted notice. The third is underdevelopment, the slow response to the new challenge, pace of change, and progress. The fourth and last point of similarity relates to their culture, their sense of distinct identity, which has sharpened with modernization. The international movement of the indigenous peoples has developed in recent years, as it has tried to forge links across the globe and raised the issues of rights and identity at the international forums. It should be mentioned, however, that the nation states have emerged from long and bitter anti-colonial struggles which involved, as in case of India, all communities including tribes and are in the process of further development and consolidation. The past struggles have made the nation-state sensitive to any suggestion of intervention from outside by forces which have their eyes on the immense natural resources of the Fourth World. The plural societies in such nation states are slowing moving to a position of accommodation of various segments in the polity, as the realization is growing that a few dominant communities cannot be permitted to corner all benefits. It is easy to describe some of the nation states as countries of strong governments but weak societies. Ultimately, all segments of the nation state have to sort out their problems in their societal contexts and within the framework of their constitution and nation-state. The international movement of indigenous peoples has however, thrown up many issues concerning land, forest, water, environment, pluralism, and identity. Those should be considered in a balanced and constructive way, without undermining the nation state formation, or without ignoring the problems faced by the oppressed people including the


* Social Change, Vol. 23, Nos. 2 and 3, 1993.

Chapter 3

Endangered Tribals of India* Booby Trap of Development Amar Kumar Singh

Tribals in India are the most adversely affected ethnic group due to developments in postIndependence India. The new economic policy is likely to worsen their condition. Efforts can be made to salvage and improve their socio-economic condition within the possibilities and constraints of their existential realities, which inter alia include ruralness, illiteracy, poverty, ill health and unproductive agriculture.

1. INTRODUCTION 1. In post-Independence India, national development and tribal deprivation (Fernandes, 1992) have become synonymous. Tribals have become refugees of development and victims of swadeshi (internal) colonization (Devalle, 1992; Fernandes, 1995; Singh, 1994). Development, deprivation and discontent (Singh & Jabbi, 1996) have become linked in tribal regions. The situation is bad enough; it is going to be worse with the implementation of the New Economic Policy, increasing the usurpation of tribal lands and forests and the enslavement of tribal labour (Sharma, 1995b). 2. The present chapter discusses the adverse consequences of development on the tribals in post-Independence India, the possible consequences of the implementation of the ‘New Economic Policy on the Tribals’, and suggests measures to improve their socio-economic conditions and protect their human rights and dignity. 3. But before we attempt this, it seems appropriate to highlight some of the main characteristics and existential realities of the tribals of India, which they share despite their heterogeneity. This will provide a perspective to the possibilities and constraints of the action plan.

2. MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TRIBALS IN INDIA 2.1. Magnitude of the Tribal Population in India India, with 67.8 million (1991 Census) tribals, has the largest tribal population in the world (Singh, 1995, p. 14). India accounts for about 25 per cent of the total tribal population in the world (Pathy, 1989, p. 15). The tribal population in India far outnumbers the tribal population in any other country. It has almost as many tribals as all tribals taken together in 19 countries in the world with a sizeable population (Table 3.1, Durning, 1993, p. 83). Myanmar has the second largest tribal population of 14 million, which is about four times less than that of India. Mexico, with 10.9 million, has the third largest population in the world, which is six times less than that of India. The tribal population in India is more than the population of France or the United Kingdom. If all the tribals in India had lived in one state, it would have been the fifth most populous state. Table 3.1 Estimated Population of Indigenous Peoples, Selected Countries, 1992

Source: Durning (1993). * Generally excludes those of mixed ancestry.

** According to the 1991 Census the tribal population of India is 67.8 million, constituting 8.1% of the national population.

2.2. Distribution of the Tribal Population in India Although tribals constitute about 8 per cent of the total Indian population, they constitute a majority in several states and Union Territories (UTs) and substantial numbers in others. They constitute an overwhelming majority in Mizoram (94.75%), Lakshadweep (93.15%), Nagaland (87.70%) and Meghalaya (85.53%). Even though tribals constitute a majority in these states/UTs, they contribute only a small proportion of the total tribal population of India. On the other hand, the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal account for 83 per cent of the total tribal population, even though the non-tribals constitute the majority populations in these states (Tables 3.2 and 3.3). Table 3.2 Share of ST Population to Total Population and General Population, 1991

Source: Census of India (1991).

Table 3.3 Tribal Population in India: Demographic Characteristics

Source: Author. The States of Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi and Pondicherry do not have tribal population. Goa has negligible number. * Excludes Jammu and Kashmir. STP – Scheduled Tribe Population UP – General Population RST – Rural Scheduled Tribe

2.3. Tribals Are Overwhelmingly Rural The tribals are overwhelmingly rural. About 93 per cent live in rural, forest and mountain areas. Thus, they are called vanvasi (forest dwellers) and girijan (mountain dwellers). In many states/UTs, the percentage of rural residents is more than 90 per cent. In most

state/UTs, the tribal population is more than 85 per cent.

2.4. The Tribals in India, the ‘Indigenous Population’ or the ‘Earliest Settlers’ The tribals are called Adivasi in Sanskrit and Hindi, which literally means the original settlers. The fact that most of them still live in rural, forest and mountain areas proves that they have been living there from the beginning or from very ancient times. The Government of India, however, does not recognize tribals as ‘Indigenous People’ and has not signed the ILO Convention 169 of 1989, which restricts the displacement of tribals, demands adequate rehabilitation and safeguards tribal culture (Fernandes, 1995, p. 63). Several Indian scholars have expressed their disagreement with the UN definition of the ‘indigenous people’ (Roy Burman, 1995; Singh, 1995). It has been pointed out that none of the four races in India are indigenous. The People of India Project has demonstrated sharing of 85 to 93 per cent cultural traits between tribes and non-tribes. Chandragupta, the founder of the Maurya Empire, was the son of a Mura tribal woman, which is still the name of the Munda tribe in West Bengal (Singh, 1995, p. 36). The UN definition, inter alia, recognizes the right of selfdetermination and the right of obtaining international cooperation. This has expectedly given rise to misgivings in India because of the history of the secessionist movement in the northeast tribal region with international borders and Britain giving political asylum to its leader. The UN declaration is also discriminatory. It does not include the Gypsies, the Basques, the Catalans in Europe as indigenous, because Europe was never under colonial rule (Roy Burman, 1995, p. 46). Despite the politicization of the term ‘indigenous’, there is no disagreement that tribals are among the earliest settlers, if not the original settlers. They have preserved a distinct ethnic and cultural identity (Singh 1995, p. 32). The large-scale land alienation of tribals, especially in post-Independence India, has been fully documented by NGOs and even by government statistics.

2.5. Main Occupations of the Tribals Because of their location and habitat, a large majority of tribals are engaged in agriculture and forest-related occupations (Tables 3.4). In 1991, 87 per cent of tribal men and 93 per cent tribal women were cultivators, agricultural labourers or engaged in forestry and livestock. Data on household employment for 1987–1988 indicate that self-employment is lower among SC/ST as compared to ‘other’ households. However, a larger number of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) are self-employed in agriculture than the Scheduled Castes (SCs; Tables 3.5). The number of self-employed is less in the STs and SCs compared to non-SC/ST category. More STs are self-employed in agriculture than the SCs. According to a survey in 1980–1981 and 1985–1986, the average size of land operated by the STs was larger than that of the SCs. However, access to net sown area was higher for the SCs than the STs. Because of the quality of soil and non-availability of irrigation, the agricultural productivity in the lands of the tribal is very low. One study has reported that the tribal region of Chota Nagpur

Plateau in Bihar has hardly 47 per cent irrigation during the kharif and about 2 per cent during the rabi season. Table 3.4 Industrial Classification of Tribal Workers

Source: Computed from the reports of the 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1991 Census. * Excludes Assam ** Excludes Jammu & Kashmir.

Table 3.5 Households by Household Type and Social Group, India, Rural Areas, 1987–88

Source: Sarvekshana (1991).

Table 3.6 Work Participation Rates 1971–1991

Source: Prepared from Census reports for General Population Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, 1971– 1991.

2.6. Work Participation Rate among the Tribals The work participation rate among tribals is higher than among the SCs and the general population (Table 3.6). Work participation rate of tribal women is higher by almost twice than that of women of general category. In fact, tribal women, without exception, are working women, contributing significantly to family income in addition to household management.

2.7. The Tribals Are Poor Despite the long hours of work they put in, the tribals are very poor. In 1987–1988, a large percentage of tribals (52.6) was below the poverty line than the total population (33.4) and even the SCs (44.7%; Singh, 1993, p. 34; Table 3.7). The relative greater poverty of the tribals, compared with the SCs and the ‘Other’ category, is also reflected in the per capita expenditure in rural areas in 1987–1988 (Table 3.8). In all the household types, the STs had lower per capita expenditure than the SCs and the ‘Other’ category. The poverty of the STs is also reflected in the percentage of ‘Very Poor’ persons, that is, those with monthly expenditure of ₹215 or less (Table 3.9). The expenditure, perhaps, does not indicate the consumption of self-produced items. Even giving an allowance for this, the percentage of 96 in the category of ‘Very Poor’ cannot be reduced much to suggest a level of living to meet the minimum basic human needs. Table 3.7 Percentage of Population below the Poverty Line

Source: Singh (1993).

Table 3.8 Per Capita Expenditure Class by Household Type and Social Group, India, Rural Areas, 1987–88

Source: Sarvekshana (1991).

Table 3.9 Per Cent ‘Very Poor’ People by Occupational Category and Social Group, India, Rural Areas, 1987–88.

Source: Sarvekshana (1991). Note: ‘Very Poor’ = Expenditure per person per month = ₹215 or less.

2.8. The Tribals Are Illiterate Despite the increase in literacy rate in post-Independence India, tribals have a lower literacy rate (23.6%) than the general population (52.2%) and also lower than the SCs (30.0%; Table

3.10). Tribal women, like women in other social groups, have lower literacy rate (14.5%) than men (32.50%). Rural tribal female has the lowest literacy rate (12.7%) of all social groups in India (Table 3.11). The dropout ratios in tribals are higher than the SCs and the general population in classes I–V and also in classes VI–VIII (Table 3.12). The literacy rate of various tribal groups differs widely. There were several tribal groups in 15 states/ UTs with a zero literacy rate. This also includes the state of Kerala with the highest literacy rate in the country where Malla Malsas tribe is totally illiterate. There are about 78 tribal groups in India with zero level of literacy. The literacy rate among tribals with a population of 500,000 or more is also very low. In several tribal groups, rural female literacy is just about 1 per cent. It is less than 1 per cent in the Bhils of Rajasthan. In Santals, one of the numerically large tribes in Bihar, Bengal and Orissa, the rural female literacy rate was 4– 5 per cent (Table 3.13). On the other hand, a few tribal groups, mainly Christian, have higher literacy rate. Nagaland has a literacy rate of 40. Table 3.10 Literacy Rates Among General, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Population

Source: Prepared from Primary Census Abstract for General Population, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, 1961–1991.

Table 3.11 Literacy Rates Among the Scheduled Tribes, 1961–91

Source: Census Reports (1961–1991).

Table 3.12 Dropout Rates

Source: Government of India (1993).

Table 3.13 Literacy Rate Among Scheduled Tribes with 500,000 Plus Population, 1981

Source: National Commission for Women, New Delhi, Working People.

2.9. Health Status of Tribals in India

The popular image of the tribals in India being healthy and happy has been formed on the basis of misinformation spread by anthropological studies glorifying and romanticizing the Noble Savage image of the tribals and their way of life permeated by singing, dancing and drinking. But the empirical studies on the health of the tribals have reported a high prevalence of disease and malnutrition. A review of the studies on the health of the tribals, including those done by the Jabalpur ICMR Regional Medical Research Centre, the Nutrition Foundation of India and the Post-Graduate Department of Psychology, Ranchi University, has concluded that tribal population has a very low health nutrition status which is due to their ruralness, illiteracy and poverty. Eleven surveys, covering a total sample of 6,051 cases, collected in Chota Nagpur and Santal Pargana region of Jharkhand and Bihar have reported very low levels of knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to physical and mental health, diet and nutrition, family planning and childcare, health habits and physical conditions of living. The grim health statistics from two rural tribal blocks of Ranchi district have exploded the ‘Myth of the Healthy Tribal’. It reported that only 8 per cent of children were immunized, two-thirds of under-65 children were malnourished, 40 per cent were severely malnourished and 71 per cent took khaini (made of raw tobacco leaves). A comprehensive review of the health status of the tribals has reported higher IMR in the tribals, lower life expectancy and higher fertility rates than the national average. Tribals also had low nutritional status and high incidence of sickle cell disease (HBss) and Glucose-6Phosphate Dehydrogenase Enzyme Deficiency (G-6-PD). In Chota Nagpur and Santal Parganas of the Jharkhand region in Bihar, an overwhelming majority of tribals are addicted to drinking country liquor. The ‘Myth of the Healthy Tribal’ study reported that 89 per cent drank haria (from rice or mahua flowers). Several other studies in Jharkhand have confined the drinking habits of the tribal. The drinking habit is found in almost every tribal group in India. It is sanctified by religion and by custom. It is served on every festival and every social occasion. This is one of the most important social evils of tribal society, causing ill health, work inefficiency, indebtedness and wife-beating.

2.10. The Tribals Are Deeply Attached to Their Lands and Forests Land and forest are not only a source of livelihood to the tribals, which indeed they are; they are also sacred to them. They worship the trees in the Karma festival, and they offer respect to their burial grounds. Nehru’s Panchsheel for tribals included respect for the tribal rights on land and forests (Elwin, 1955). But the Government of India and the state governments have not honoured this commitment. On the contrary, they have pursued an anti-tribal policy despite their hypocritical sympathetic pronouncements. The Forest Policy is an illustration of this. The 1894 Forest Policy of the colonial government was the first onslaught on the rights of tribals on their forests. The rights were converted into concessions. Tribals were allowed forest lands for cultivation. There was no state control over the private forest of the tribals. There was no restriction on free grazing in forests (Behura, 1995, p. 104). The 1952 Forest Policy of the Government of India withdrew the concessions given to the tribals by the 1894 policy.

The 1983 National Forest Policy prohibited jhum or shifting cultivation because of its alleged adverse effects on the forest environment and land productivity. Several scholars have argued that jhum cultivation with 18–20 year cycle is environmentally friendly. Jhum (shifting) cultivation was practised by at least 109 tribes in 233 blocks of 62 districts spread over 16 states affecting 1 million hectares. Together with jhum, minor forest products contributed 50 per cent or more of the food of forest dwellers (Fernandes, 1995, pp. 39–40) and the alienation and destruction of tribal lands and forests disrupted the very basis of tribal life. The Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in 1961 report had complained that more and more rights of the tribals were being taken away. The government did not pay any attention to this (Chopra, 1989, pp. 340–342). The National Commission on Agriculture had suggested that all the rights of the tribals on land be taken away, leaving a few concessions to them, that too on the will of the state (NCA, 1976, pp. 354–355).

2.11. Tribals Accustomed to Informal Economy Traditionally, tribals have been accustomed to an informal economy on the basis of oral tradition and the word of honour. Linked to this is their concept of property right. Land and forest were considered to be a community resource. Some tribals in Bihar have special rights on Khunkatti lands, which were cleared from the forests by them. Tribals in every part of India share the belief that common lands, wastelands, forests, ponds and gardens are common property resources. ‘The individual had only usufructuary rights over them’ (Fernandes, 1995, p. 26). Individual ownership is an alien concept to tribals. It has been superimposed on them by non-tribals. It has been bitterly opposed by numerous tribal revolts in the Jharkhand region (Singh, 1994) and also in other areas where traditional institutions are as strong as, for example, Nagaland. Collective ownership of land prevents its alienation. ‘The land alienation is a possible consequence only if ownership is individual’ (Sharma, 1995a, p. 17).

2.12. Tribals Are in Different Levels of Development Tribal groups differ greatly in their present level of development. They are hunters and gatherers, as in the pockets of South and Central India and the Andamans. They are settled agriculturists on a par with other peasant communities in many parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa. West Bengal and other states. And they are urban industrial workers (Behura, 1995, p. 101). On one extreme are people like Jarawas with almost no contact with the outside world. On the other extreme, there are workers in the industrial cities of Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Rourkela and Bhilai. The span between the most ‘primitive’ and the most ‘modern’ is about 10,000 years (Sharma, 1995, p. 17).

2.13. The Profile of a Tribal Person Thus, the profile of an average tribal person is characterized by the following: • Rural residence

• Engaged in agriculture and agriculture/forest-related occupations • Poverty • Illiteracy • Ill health and malnourishment • Accustomed to an informal economy • Deeply attached to land and forests Empirical studies in different parts of India have demonstrated that the health, education and employment status of tribals is very low, lower than other social groups, including the SCs (Singh & Jabbi, 1996).

3. ABHIMANYU-VADH OF THE TRIBALS IN THE DEVELOPMENTAL CHAKRAVIYUH A tribal chow dance in Singhbhum depicts a tribal being attacked and killed by moneylenders, forest contractors, government officials and other agents of development in the same way as Abhimanyu was killed by seven great warriors in the epic Mahabharata. The tribal in India, like Abhimanyu, is fighting an unequal war. Teenaged Abhimanyu had entered the chakraviyuh knowingly and willingly. But the tribal has been trapped in the developmental chakraviyuh unwillingly. Several papers in the book entitled Tribals in India: Development, Deprivation and Discontent (Singh & Jabbi, 1996) documented large-scale developmental deprivation. Substantial literature on this topic is now available. We will briefly highlight a few major aspects.

3.1. Development and Displacement Tribals constitute only about 8 per cent of the total Indian population, but about 40 per cent of displaced persons due to big modern developmental projects. Truly, they are the victims and refugees of development. The international human conscience is justifiably disturbed by the victims and refugees of war. But ironically, the international and national conscience is not disturbed at all by the refugees of development. It has been estimated that about at least 185 lakh persons have been displaced by developmental projects between 1951 and 1990. This is about 2 per cent of the total Indian population. Only 30 per cent were resettled till 1970 (Table 3.14; Fernandes, 1991, 1995, p. 69). About 20 per cent of the tribal population has been uprooted and displaced in less than 50 years (Sharma, 1995b, p. 22). According to a Government of India estimate, which is always an underestimate, between 1981 and 1985 the coalmine alone had displaced 180,000 persons and provided one job per family to only 36 per cent (Table 3.15). In Jharkhand, tribal land alienation and displacement have been going on from 1907 with the establishment of the Tata Iron Steel Company. The magnitude of the land and the number of displaced persons has been increasing since then (Table 3.16; Singh,

1994). Table 3.14 Displacement by Development Projects, 1951–1990

Source: Fernandes (1991).

Table 3.15 Displacement and Rehabilitation by Coal Mines, 1981–1985

Source: Government of India (1985), quoted in Fernandes and Thukral (1988).

Table 3.16 Magnitude of Displacement by Developmental Projects

Source: Adivasi Yuva Sangh (1994).

3.2. Development and Genocide of the Tribals in India Three decades ago, in 1965, Nirad Chaudhuri, with his characteristic cynicism, described the blast furnaces of the TISCO as the gigantic funeral pyres of the primitives and predicted the inevitability of the destruction of the tribals. He wrote (Chaudhuri, 1965, p. 80): As one travels by train at night, from quite a long distance, its blast furnaces can be seen shooting up flames. As immense glow lights up the sky and that red glare seems to rise from the gigantic unquenchable funeral pyre, of the primitives. Nobody knows better than I how pointless it is to regret this. I would say, it is almost foolish to denounce it. The motives, ideas, and forces which are ranged behind the modern onslaught on the aboriginals belong to an amoral world, where neither ethics nor aesthetic has any say. In an industrialised India, the destruction of the aboriginal life is as inevitable as the submergence of the Egyptian temples caused by the dams of the Nile.

Devalle (1992, p. 98) has described the process of gradual genocide of the tribals in India caused by development and modernization. The land of the tribal is taken away for the developmental projects. From a farmer, he becomes a wage-earner. The entire family was engaged in cultivation. Now only one member gets an unskilled job in lieu of the land. The other members of the family become unemployed. The new jobs in the big development projects require skills which the tribals don’t have. So they are redundant for modern sectors, and are unwanted labour force, expelled back to the villages. Thus, the village communities that were reserved for labour have become the graveyards of unwanted tribal workers. In the Jharkhand region, before the development era, tribals constituted the labour pool for tea plantations of West Bengal and Assam. When development came to Jharkhand in the shape of modern industries, unskilled tribal labour was not suited for the jobs that were grabbed by the outsiders (Singh, 1994). The gradual genocide is not the result of any official policy, but of working out of social and economic forces and administrative negligence. Gradual

genocide for Adivasis takes place by means of starvation and illnesses arising from the growing pauperization caused by the decline in land production due to the effects of industrial waste, the neglect of irrigation and the curtailment of alternative sources of subsistence like forests.

3.3. The New Economic Policy and the Tribals in India Most big developmental projects in post-Independence India have been located in the tribal areas because of their mineral, forest and water resources. The New Economic Policy will attract more projects in these areas resulting in (a) usurpation of national resources; (b) exploitation of plentiful manpower and (c) creation of a captive market for its merchandize (Sharma, 1995b, p. 99). The New Economic Policy is the last phase of an open assault on the tribals in India (Sharma, 1985b, p. 24). There has been a virtual rejection of the tribal subsystem which was promised by Nehru in his Panchsheel for the tribes. The habitat and the community concepts have been finally spurned. The concept of individual right has been superimposed on the tribes who believed in community ownership of property. The new modern developmental activities will take away the residual support the tribals still have from their forest, land and water resources. The support from the forest resources has already become very small. The forests will be commercially exploited by the Forest Development Corporation, or even by multinationals. The ‘degraded forests and wastelands’ will be the first in the commercially exploited with a readymade rationale. The tribals have always lost a great deal of their agricultural irrigated lands. The tribals cannot afford the modern methods of agriculture with costly inputs of fertilizers. As it is, agriculture has become non-viable. Agricultural income is less than the salaried jobs. The rush for low-profit agriculture to wage employment has already begun. The tribals will have hardly any choice between nonprofitable agriculture and attractive wage employment. Resourceless and landless, the tribals will join ‘the crowd of casual wage-earner’ (Sharma, 1995b, p. 34).

4. RESOLVING THE DEEPENING CRISIS IN THE TRIBAL AREAS 4.1. Indian Attitude to the Tribals in Early Post-Independence India The tribals in India were not treated with the cruelty and harshness they were subjected to in the USA and Australia. The tribals were exterminated in the New World and Australia destroying their civilization and culture. There were no bloody encounters in India with the exception of Aberdeen in the Andaman Islands where 5,000 tribals were mown down by British gun in 1858 (Singh, 1995, p. 29). India also did not have the social isolation policy of reservation for the tribals, as was the case in America where the tribals (Red Indians) were restricted to the reserved areas. The Constitution of India promised that ‘The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice

and all forms of exploitation.’ The Panchsheel of Nehru had assured that: The tribal will be encouraged to retain their traditions, art and culture and will have right to develop along the lines of their own genius. Nothing will be imposed on them. Tribal rights on lands and forests shall be respected. They shall be assisted to build up a team of their own people for administration and development. Though technical personnel from outside will be needed, particularly in the beginning, introducing too many outsiders into the tribal territory should be avoided.

4.2. The Fifth and Sixth Schedules for the Tribal Areas The Fifth and Sixth Schedules provided safeguards to tribals. These Schedules vested the extensive powers to the executive making them almost ‘A Constitution within the Constitution’ (Sharma, 1995a, p. 51). But history took a different course. The Sixth Schedule conferred legislative powers to the District Councils on matters relating to management of land, forest, health, education, civil and criminal matters. The Sixth Schedule areas have a three-tier political and administrative system, as opposed to the two-tier system elsewhere. In these areas, no central and state law can be extended without the approval of the District Council. This decentralization of power at the local level effectively protected the tribals in these areas. In the Fifth Schedule areas, there is no provision of the third tier, that is, the District Councils. The executive in the Fifth Schedule areas is vested with unlimited powers to be used on discretion to protect tribal interests and rights. Sadly the discretionary powers have mostly been used against the tribals. Most of the post-Independence developmental projects have come in the Fifth Schedule areas.

4.3. Improving the Status of the Tribals The existential realities of the tribals provide constraints as well as possibilities for the improvement of the status of the tribals. It has been noted that the tribals are rural, illiterate, unhealthy, poor, attached to land and forest, engaged in agriculture and forest-related occupations and are at different levels of development. The malaise of the tribal situation is now fully understood. The motives and forces behind tribal exploitation are also clearly identified. The resolution logically lies in removing the causes. It is also clear that such removal is not easy because of the powerful vested interests backed by national and international support. Yet there is no alternative than to continue the battle for the human rights of the tribals. The resolution of the crisis essentially demands, on common-sense basis, two-pronged action plan, both taken simultaneously: (a) political and (b) HRD. The action plan has to have a strategy suited to the realities of the tribal situation. 4.3.1. Political Empowerment of the Tribals by Legislation The tribals have lost their rights because of their political powerlessness. Their authority over their resources needs to be restored. These will include the following (Sharma, 1995b, p.

139): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Revision of the Fifth Schedule Introduction of the panchayat system Prevention of tribal land and forest alienation Restoration of tribal customary rights on community resources Fifty-one per cent share to the tribals in the industries established on their lands Rehabilitation of the entire family displaced by developmental projects, and not only of one or two members. 4.3.2. HRD in the Tribals

The status of tribals, or any other social group, cannot be improved with illiteracy, ill health and poverty. The extremely low levels of literacy education and health nutrition status of the tribals put a constraint on improving their economic status. Agriculture in tribal areas is mostly unproductive and incapable of providing adequate employment. In short, tribals, like all other social groups, need and are entitled to these human rights: • Universal education up to the secondary level at the village level • Health nutrition and mother–childcare coverage at the primary health care centre/subcentre • Vocational training appropriate to the local situation at the village/block level 4.3.3. Strategies for the Empowerment of the Tribals Participation of the Tribals in the Projects Successful experiments in the tribals share one common strategy: participation of tribals. In Bankura (West Bengal), about 2,000 tribal women procured 450 acres of wasteland from the men of their communities and raised 1 million Arjun and Asan trees to rear Tasar silk cocoons. They have earned assured income of about five to six months. Their Nari Bikash Sangha is a federation that interacts with government functionaries and has ties with women panchayat members (Department of Women and Child Development, 1995, p. 64). The Chakriya Vikas Pranali (CVP) in the backward district of Palamu, Bihar, has transformed unproductive wasteland into a productive asset by the adoption of simple agriculture technologies appropriate to wasteland. With the participation of the people, CVP has become commercially viable in the production of vegetables and fruits (Ministry of Rural Development, 1994). In Gujarat, the Lift Irrigation Co-operative mobilized the tribals and gave them technical know-how. The production increased from 4/5 Qtl/acre to 15/18 Qtl acre (Barik, 1991). In Mizoram, the Mulling Collective Farming Society organized landless tribal labourers and trained them in improved agricultural practices. They now own an asset worth about ₹5 lakhs in land livestock agricultural implements, etc. (Mahalingam, 1991). In Udaipur, Rajasthan, the Watershed Resource Society, aided by technical know-how, has increased the per capita income from ₹598 to ₹1,735 (Singh et al., 1995).

Target-group appropriate occupational skills: Tribals differ in their habitat and also in their levels of development. Therefore, programmes of occupational training skills need to be tailored to the specific tribal group. Tribal groups also differ in their receptivity of development programmes. In the Midnapur district of West Bengal, the Santal and Munda were more receptive than the Mahali, because the first two tribal groups were settled cultivators, whereas the Mahali were mainly landless labourers engaged in basket making (Bhowmick, 1995). The Sherpas in Darjeeling, West Bengal, have found mountaineering a profitable occupation, especially after 1953, when Tenzing Norgay stood at Mount Everest (Mitra, 1993). Role of NGO: The non-government organizations (NGOs) have emerged as friends of the tribals and the Dalits in India. The Government of India have also acknowledged the important role of NGOs. But the government wants NGOs as their agents and not as their critics. In fact, the state and central governments have been patronizing the governmental and courtier NGOs and are hostile to independent free-thinking NGOs. The voice of dissent is being suppressed with unashamed barbarism. Dr B. D. Sharma, a former commissioner of SCs and STs and former vice chancellor of NEHU, was stripped and paraded in the streets of Jagdalpur because he was protesting against the establishment of a steel factory on tribal lands, which he thought was against the interests of the tribals. An elderly internationally respected environmentalist, Sunder Lal Bahuguna, was forcibly taken away from Tehri where he was on fast against the building of a dam that he considered harmful to local people. He could obtain his freedom only on the intervention of the Allahabad High Court. Ms Medha Patkar, the leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan, has been arrested several times, taken to hospital for force-feeding and treated without respect and courtesy to her. These are only a few examples. If such treatment is given to Sharma, Bahuguna and Patkar, one can imagine the treatment received by the workers of such protest movements. Voluntary organizations have done more than the government. For example, in Jharkhand area, the Christian Missions and Ramakrishna Ashram have done more than the state or the central governments. The Christian Missions have been criticized for the conversion of the tribals to Christianity. But what does it matter if one is a Hindu or a Christian, if he is not a human being? The Christian Missions have given the tribals health and educational facilities that have given human dignity to their lives. Those who criticize the Christian Missions beg of them for admission of their sons and daughters to their educational institutions and have more confidence in Mission hospitals than in government ones. In addition to Christian Missions and Ramakrishna Missions, several voluntary organizations have been doing dedicated service in tribal areas, such as Adim Jati Sewa Mandal, Bhartiya Adim Jati Sevak Sangh and Nagaland Gandhi Ashram (Panigrahi, 1993). The efforts of voluntary agencies are more economical than government departments and involve greater people participation.

4.4. Epilogue Despite aberrations, India is committed to human democratic values. The political elite in post-Independence India have abandoned the ideals and values enshrined in the Constitution of India. However, a voice of protest and dissent has emerged and is gaining strength. This gives hope that about 68 million tribals cannot be sacrificed at the altar of God named ‘Development’ which has failed. Nor they can be allowed to become a pawn in electoral politics, as is being done in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

REFERENCES Barik, B. C. (1991). Tribal farmers, lift irrigation and rural development. Social Change, 21(2), 39–47. Behura, N. K. (1995). Tribes in India: Planned development. In A. K. Singh & M. K. Jabbi (Eds.), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 98–117). Har Anand. Bhowmick, P. K. (1995). Tribal development under similar ecology. In A. K. Singh & M. K. Jabbi (Eds.), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 134–146). Har Anand. Chaudhuri, N. C. (1965). The continent of Circe. Jaico. Chopra, K. (1989). Forty years of resource management: The gainers and losers. Social Action, 39(4), 333–334. Department of Women and Child Development. (1995). Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing (1995). Ministry of HRD, Government of India. Devalle, S. B. C. (1992). Discourses of ethnicity: Culture and protest in Jharkhand. SAGE Publications. Durning, A. T. (1993). Supporting indigenous peoples. In L. R. Brown (Ed.), State of the world. A World Watch Institute Report on Progress towards a Sustainable Society (pp. 3–16). W. W. Norton. Elwin, V. (1955). A philosophy for NEFA. Oxford (Foreword by Jawaharlal Nehru). Fernandes, W. (1991). Power and powerless: Development projects and displacement of tribals. Social Action, 4(3), 243– 270. Fernandes, W. (Ed.). (1992). National development and tribal deprivation. Indian Social Institute. Fernandes, W. (1995). Planned development and tribal deprivation. In S. G. Deogaonkar (Ed.), Tribal panorama in India (pp. 19–58). Inter India. Fernandes, W., & Thukral, E. G. (Eds.). (1988). Development, displacement and rehabilitation: Issues for a national debate. Indian Social Institute. Government of India. (1993). Education for all. The Indian scene. Department of Education. Ministry of HRD. Mahalingam, S. (1991). Economic regeneration of landless tribals in Mizoram. Social Change, 21(2), 54–58. Ministry of Rural Development. (1994). People’s protection programme through Chakriya Vikas Pranali: A case study. Department of Wasteland Development, Government of India. Mitra, A. (1993). Economic transformation of Sherpas in West Bengal. Social Change, 23(2/3): 223–226. NCA. (1976). Report of the National Commission on Agriculture (Vol. IX Forestry). Ministry of Agriculture. Panigrahi, D. K. (1993). Voluntary agencies in tribal development. In A. K. Singh and M. K. Jabbi (Eds.), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 147–158). Har Anand. Pathy, J. (1989). Indian state and the tribal question. In J. P. Singh and N. N. Vyas (Eds.), Tribal development: Past efforts and new challenges (pp. 15–26). Hirnanshu Publications. Roy Burman, B. K. (1995). Tribal development in world system perspective. In A. K. Singh & M. K. Jabbi (Eds.), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 39–49). Har Anand. Sharma, B. D. (1995a). Resolving the deepening crisis in tribal areas. In A. K. Singh and M. K. Jabbi (Eds.), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 50–61). Har Anand. Sharma, B. D. (1995b). Globalisation: The tribal encounter. Har Anand. Sharma, R., & Dayal, H. (1993). Deprivation of female farm labourers in Jharkhand region. Social Change, 23(4), 95–99. Singh, A. K. (1993). Tribes and tribal life: Approaches to development in tribal context (Vol. 3). Sarup. Singh, A. K. (1994). Jharkhander Katha: Swadeshi colonisation. Social Change, 24 (1/2), 286–290. Singh, A. K. (1995). Development, deprivation and discontent of tribals in India. In A. K. Singh & M. K. Jabbi (Eds), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 13–28). Har Anand.

Singh, A. K., & Jabbi, M. K. (Eds.). (1996). Status of tribals in India: Health, education and employment. Har Anand. Singh, K. S. (1995). Reflection on the current debate concerning the indigenous peoples. In A. K. Singh & M. K. Jabbi (Eds.), Tribals in India: Development, deprivation and discontent (pp. 29–38). Har Anand. Singh, P. K., Singh, J., Mahanti, S. C., & Modi, S. (1995). Watershed approaches in improving the socio-economic status of tribal area: A case study. Journal of Rural Development, 14(2), 107–116.

* Social Change, Vol. 27, Nos. 1 and 2, 1997.

Chapter 4

Mining and Women* The Case of the Maria of Chhattisgarh Sonali Mukherjee

INTRODUCTION Development strategies in Independent India have continued the pre-Independence strategies of management and exploitation of natural resources, including coal and iron ore, which implies that the benefits from these resources do not reach the indigenous populations who have for centuries inhabited these lands containing them. The early phase of the mineral extraction process ignored the condition of the tribals and they were ruthlessly displaced from their place of origin and separated from their livelihood sources. Until the 1980s, development was a top-down process which paid little attention to the potential benefits for the people affected by it. Economic growth was of primary concern. Since the development process was exclusionary in nature, a number of grassroots mobilization of the marginalized masses began in the 1960s and 1970s for equitable distribution of resources such as land and employment opportunities. Then in the 1980s, ‘the intellectual debate about development turned its attention away from structures of production, industrialization of national economies and the international markets and trade, to the analysis of development as a discourse’ (Graulau, 2008, p. 148). The new field of enquiry began to include power equations between different groups, effective representation, ideology and praxis. Grassrootslevel participation in development projects came to be considered necessary and desirable. NGOs were expected to play a proactive role in this regard. Some excluded groups were included but the system as a whole did not become truly inclusive as the actions taken were not affirmative enough for policy implication. However, over the decades, policies, though lacking in implementation, have shifted towards more humane concerns of social justice, rights, sustainability etc., stressing the importance of indigenous knowledge and alternative people-centric development practices.

Once again, it was commonly accepted that the process of development would benefit all people—a monolithic category devoid of any caste, class and gender differences. Therefore, its differential effects sometimes amounting to complete exclusion of poor women were lost sight of. Women play an important role in the economic institution of any community (Agarwal, 1994; Boserup, 1970; Goody, 1976). This has been long established by the feminist political economists, yet women were not seen as distinct from men. Their needs and aspirations were thought to be merged with their men folk. Therefore, the ‘welfare approach’ adopted by development economists, planners and the United Nations treated women as passive recipients of development rather than as participants in the development process. The approach therefore at best is of relief or aid for socially vulnerable groups, including women. Feminist development scholarship discussed the asymmetric gendered division of labour within and outside the family. Recognizing the origin of women’s subordination in the family, the ‘capabilities approach’ (Nussbaum, 2000) emphasized that women experience oppression and subjugation differently according to race, class, colonial history and the contemporary position in the existing economic order. The capabilities approach targets the capacity of women to increase their self-reliance and internal strength. Increase in women’s self-reliance can be achieved by enhancing their ability to acquire control over crucial material and non-material resources. This approach maintains that women will have to challenge oppressive structures and situations at different levels. The discourses in anthropology (Dube, 1997; Dube et al., 1986) have not only led to the acceptance of gender as a legitimate area for meaningful discussion but also recognition of it as an organizing principle of society. Also, growing awareness of the importance of preservation of the world’s natural resources and environment has given an impetus to women’s issues and the increasing realization that there exists a strong bond between tribal women and nature: addressing women’s issues would also help the preservation of nature. Women are the world’s most important food producers and possess valuable knowledge about their environment, soil, vegetation and crops. For centuries, tribal women have been primary gatherers of forest produce such as fuel, food and fodder. They also tend to various agricultural processes. They play a major role in the economic life of their community. They apply various strategies to negotiate within the given space of their home and forest to assert their importance and also to find a better position within the given structures of dominance (Borooah et al., 1994; Palriwala & Dube, 1990; Walby, 1986). Assessment of gender roles assumes further importance in the present era of globalization. The forces of globalization are affecting the world and India is no exception to this. Transnational flows of ideas, commodities and information are causing perceptible changes at the local and regional levels. Even before the onset of the process of globalization, several waves of modernization and industrialization (Lamphere, 1986) have brought about changes in local cultures. The process of globalization is further facilitating industrialization. A greater success of new industries (Areeparampil, 1989; Badgaiyan, 1974; Dube, 1988), new ideas and new value systems influences and changes local cultures. Such changes get

acclimatized in the era of globalization. Thus, it becomes important to study the impact of industrialization—an important component of development—on women’s lives. Currently, the dominant Bretton Woods Institutions primarily rely on the market and private ownership of the means of production. Neoliberal economic reforms favour the retrenchment of the state from traditional mineral policy, and lead to the capture of the mineral-rich areas by private investors. Rampant misuse of natural resources has exploited the natives creating tiny elites at the top which typically amasses wealth without caring a penny for the tribals. Most development projects, whether in the past or the present, exclude the tribals and especially their women from social and economic benefits. Some new economic opportunities are passed onto the men but women are invariably left out. Reasons that are often cited for such discrimination include lack of education and skills. But even more basic concern is the women’s lack of ownership of land and women’s contribution to alternative livelihood strategies. The rehabilitation and resettlement process for displaced persons is directly linked to the possession of land. Hence, women are neither able to sustain their traditional livelihood nor are they able to gain new livelihood opportunities through the development process. They are further pushed to the margin (Ahmad & Lahiri-Dutt, 2006). Earlier, it was assumed that women were victims of development, but, as Young (1997) puts it, the nature of the debate has changed. Women are active agents, not passive recipients of development, but this does not assume that women completely understand their social situation, that is, they may be aware of their subordinate position but do not know the structural roots of discrimination and subordination. The focus in the gender and development discourse is not on women per se but on gendered relations, that is, the relations between women and men in a variety of settings. Some of these relations are ascribed and some are achieved. Both these relations are interlocked with various other relations based on class, race, ethnicity religion, etc. Therefore, a holistic perspective is missing which looks at the totality of social organization, and economic and political life in order to understand the shaping of particular aspects of society as well as gender relations.

FIELD METHODS This work is an analysis of the changes due to mining and industrialization on the Maria community with special reference to their women in the Bailadila region of Dantewada district of Chhattishgarh State. The Bailadila Hills run along the western boundary of the Dantewada tahsil of Dantewada district. The Maria have been one of the very important tribal communities in central India due to their distinctive social structure and inaccessible habitat. Due to their physical isolation, there was a tremendous degree of continuity in their traditional social structure. This article is based on an ethnographic study1 of the field situation. This entails prolonged fieldwork, especially in unfamiliar terrains. Anthropologists, by and large, have used a few techniques of data collection, especially suited for studying traditional societies. The present chapter has also been conducted by using well-established techniques of social anthropology.

The study was conducted in the surrounding villages of Bacheli and Kirandul, the two small industrial townships that came up due to the mining activity of the National Mining Development Corporation (NMDC). Visits were paid to 11 villages to pursue a particular case or to collect some specific information. However, data pertaining to their population composition and their distribution in different villages are to provide a broader picture of the Maria community in the region. Out of these 11 villages, the village Bade Bacheli was selected for in-depth study. The village Bade Bacheli is a big village being divided into 11 paras. Out of the 11 paras, two of the paras had the maximum population of Maria. Also in the absence of any other mode of transport, an easily approachable area had to be chosen; hence, these paras were selected. The paras were Badepara and Patelpara with 66 and 53 households of Maria, respectively. Household census forms were administered in these two paras of Bacheli to collect demographic and socio-economic details. Using the observation method, the daily lives of the villagers, including their various activities they performed, were studied. Interviews which were conducted during the preliminary study were of an unstructured type but later on, during the in-depth study, they were based on guidelines formed for this purpose. The questions were put to the person in an easy and casual manner while watching a particular event or happening. The best way was to let the informant speak on their own without interrupting them. Then they would give some relevant information on their own, which was not asked for. Gender-based division of labour, freedom or restriction of space, women’s reproductive rights, etc., were also understood through these interviews. The group discussions were very interesting. They were helpful in identifying clues regarding various issues such as violence, incest and adultery, which normally a villager would not like to speak about. Investigation of these issues was pursued in the due course of the fieldwork. Genealogies were noted and were helpful in giving information not only on the lineage to which a person belonged but also about the composition of the household. They also gave information on relationship on the basis of affinity, age at marriage, age at death, cause of death, fertility rate, age at first pregnancy, etc. In addition, historical method was used. This helped in building a complete picture of the mining in the region, the available resources, the traditional lifestyle of the tribals, infiltration of outsiders into the region, etc., and how these factors have changed over a span of four decades. For this, the record room of the NMDC, which contained various documents pertaining to the official and administrative measures taken during the history of mining, was consulted. Information was also collected from district gazetteers, district census handbooks and the record room of district collectorate at Jagdalpur.

The Maria Gonds constitute the main bulk of the tribal population in Bastar. As classified by Grigson (1949), Bison-horn Maria, a scheduled tribe, which is a section of the Gonds, mainly inhabit Dantewada2 district of Chhattisgarh state. This area has a number of other tribal groups (e.g., Halba) and communities (e.g., Bhatras, Maharas, etc.). But it is the Maria who are not only

one of the less studied but also one of the most affected by the mining activities in south Bastar. The anthropological studies of this tribe are few, namely that of Grigson (1949) and Elwin (1943). According to the Census of India, 2001, the total number of Gonds in India is 1,022,021,300. From the Godavari gorges in the south to the Vindhya mountains in the north, the Gonds are neither racially, nor culturally, nor linguistically a homogeneous population. They describe themselves as Gonds or as Koitur who speak Chhattisgarhi Hindi. Teleguspeaking Gonds are better known as Koyas in the literatures of Furer-Haimendorf (1979). According to Sharma (1984, p. 10), ‘the original terms used for Gonds by Gonds themselves is Koya, which is now retained only in northern Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Orissa.’ In the study area, tribals identified themselves variously, such as Muria, Maria or Dandami Maria. They knew they belonged to Gond population. According to them, it was the census enumerators who defined them as either Gond or Muria or Maria, without giving any serious thought to their identity. Even the other tribes and castesmen of the village knew them as either Gond or Muria or Maria. Some even categorized Gond higher than the Muria and Maria. This corroborates Elwin’s findings in the book Kingdom of the Young (Elwin, 1968, pp. 5–6) where he writes: The word Muria is used in Bastar to mean, generally, a tribesman. In this sense it has long been applied by State officials to all the tribes except the Maria of the Abujhmar. In recent years the people themselves have also widely adopted it. Throughout the south (of Bastar) many of the people whom Grigson calls Bison-horn Maria returned themselves as Muria at the 1941 Census.

The undivided district of Bastar was known as the homeland of several tribal communities (Jagdalpuri, 2000). Out of them, the Muria of northern Bastar (and also parts of western regions), the Hill Maria in the west, especially in the areas of Abujhmarh, and Dandami Maria in the south are popular in anthropological literature. Elwin’s (1943) work on Muria, Jay’s (1970) work on Hill Maria and Srivastava’s (1990) work on Dandami Maria have reported that they all belong to the common generic stock, the Gond. There are many areas of Maria cultural life which resemble that of the lifestyle of other sections of Gond. These Maria are distinct from the Gond of other parts of Bastar due to the special head gear which they wear on ceremonial and ritual occasions. This has given the Maria of south Bastar, the name Bison-horn Maria, which is quite popular in anthropological literature. These people sometimes call themselves Dandami Maria due to their distribution mainly in the Dandakaranya region.3 The Maria speak Gondi (Grigson, 1949), but they are quite comfortable with Halbi and Hindi. They are agriculturists, practising settled cultivation and also dependent on forest for food and medicine. The Maria are a patrilineal and patriarchal tribe with patrilocal rules of residence. They practise preferential marriages, that is, mother’s brother’s daughter or father’s sister’s daughter is always preferred as a spouse for a male. However, marriages outside the preferential category also take place. After marriage, sons, other than the eldest, establish a separate hearth, construct a new house adjacent to the parental one and move out. They own the land collectively until the father’s death. When the father gets older, he might

divide the property among his sons and himself. The Maria are scattered in different hamlets which are called paras. The Maria have a distinct identity of their own. Their autonomy is expressed in terms of kinship and political organizations, matrimonial relations of alliance and commensal and dining behaviour. However, in terms of religious ideas and cultural values, sense of belongingness and their ability to historically relate themselves with others, they identify themselves with other sections of the Gonds. Thus, it is clear that they have differential levels of social grouping in different contexts which in turn provides them differential identity. The Maria have a strong sense of dependence on the supernatural powers. Their numerous propitiation practices reflect a sense of dependence and a desire to ingratiate. They believe in the existence of ancestor’s spirits, and deities of the family, clan, village and the total earth. Misfortunes, accidents and illnesses are explained on the basis of supernatural annoyance which provides meaning to these events. The Maria world consists not only of tangible objects that are visible in nature but also the intangible entities. The invisible realm consists of beings that have tremendous impact on the Maria life. This realm is entered into by specialized professionals who have the power to communicate with these supernatural beings. The specialized professionals are the perma (village priest) and wadde (clan priest) and sira (shaman) who see and hear them in trance and dreams. Sira is also the medicine man. There is another person involved in magical performances, who is called pangnasira. Mining activity has also affected the beliefs associated with the world of supernatural. In Maria cosmology, hills, rivers and other natural objects are often deified and worshipped. One such principle deity is Nandapraj, who is believed to regulate the flow of wind and control rains. The hill where mining is taking place is the abode of Nandapraj. Since mining has led to large-scale deforestation, it is believed by the Maria that their God is terribly annoyed. His anathema has led to scarcity of rainfall and crop failure in the village. The villagers of Patelpara strongly feel that the failure in their hunting expedition in the last few years is primarily due to the curse.

Brief History of Mining in the Area Bastar region has been described variously as rich in mineral resources. In 1938, H. Crookshank (cited from Crookshank, 1963), Superintending Geologist, Geological Survey of India published his work, The Iron Ores of the Bailadila Range, Bastar State. In 1963, another manuscript for the Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India (Vol. 87) was prepared by him. These popularized the rich iron ore reserves of this area. He has identified the principal ore deposits and numbered them. These deposits are, till date, identified by these numbers only. The Indian Bureau of Mines decided to exploit the vast reserve of iron ore in 1961 (Census of India, 1961; Joshi, 1967). The NMDC took over in 1963. The Bailadila range of hills was developed for the first time, by setting up a mine at Deposit-14, which went into production in 1968. In fact, the first township was set up at the base of the Bailadila hills where Deposit-14 is located, in the village named Kirandul. The colony which was set up near the mining area was named Kailashnagar. The Kirandul

railhead for the mine is 423 km by road from Raipur and 475 km by rail from the port of Visakhapatnam (in Andhra Pradesh) through which the ore is exported to Japan. To meet the full quantities under the long-term contract entered into with the Japanese Steel Mills in 1970 for supply of iron ore to Japan between April 1971 and April 1980, a second deposit (No. 5) at Bailadila was taken up for exploitation. The mine went into production in January 1977. After Kirandul, another township has been set up at village Bade Bacheli at the base of the hill where Deposit-5 is located and the colony near the mining area was named Akashnagar. Mining operations brought about a series of new changes in the area, such as forests were destroyed, roads were built and huge machines reached that area as the mining activity started (Sharma, 1975). Urban centres that were developed to cater to the needs of the project staff facilitated the entry and settlement of a new category of merchants and entrepreneurs who mainly came from outside. The mining activity required a large number of skilled, semiskilled and unskilled workers, majority of whom came from outside. Some of the local tribals were engaged as unskilled labours. Families of the project staff moved in, schools for their children came up and adequate healthcare facilities were also developed in the project town. The new urban centres received items of modernity, luxury and fancy, which were otherwise unheard of in that area. The Maria, who have been living in the traditional habitat of Bastar, got exposed to the forces of industrialization and modernization which reached their locality in the form of mining and allied activities. Economic development of the area began with large-scale exploitation of the natural resources. The mining industry earned foreign exchange for the nation. Whether this development has uplifted the tribals or adversely affected them would be understood by analysing the changes taking place in the traditional social structure of the Maria. The natural environment comprising the forest, water, land and the mountains, on which the day-to-day life of the Maria is greatly dependent, is changing rapidly. The following analyses shows the changes in the economic and sociocultural domains and how they have greatly impacted the lives of Maria women.

TRADITIONAL RESOURCE BASE AND DIVISION OF LABOUR Land is the most valuable asset for the Maria but a Maria woman has absolutely no right to it. Vulnerability due to lack of control over assets is something she shares with other women in a cross-cultural context (Agarwal, 1994). Customary laws among the Maria favour the transference of property, movable as well as immovable, through the male line. This renders the woman helpless and at the mercy of the man who tends to use the resources to claim a socially higher position than the woman, a strategy deployed by men over generations and across terrains (Kabeer, 2000). Patrilocal marital residence endows women with specific duties and obligations. Although Maria women perform the toughest field operations, such as weeding, transplanting, harvesting and ploughing, they are deprived of any right over land. They tend to the management of livestock but this also does not belong to them. The only bit of property

which women get is given out of benevolence or as a favour, rather than as their right, that is, jewellery received from their mother. This can also be disposed of by the husband, as and when he likes. Women take on the responsibility for all the household chores, whether they are a daughter or a daughter-in-law of the family. The division of labour is dependent on the age of the woman and also the role she plays in the house. For example, an ageing mother-in-law is not able to do much housework but she can make her daughter-in-law do most of the work. Household chores include obtaining wood, cleaning the house (i.e., sweeping and mopping the floor with a mixture of cow dung and water), fetching water, cleaning utensils, cooking, etc., besides looking after the children. Women have always carried the burden of making ends meet as the men are almost always under the influence of intoxicating drinks. They drink various intoxicants such as mahua liquor, landa, sulphi, etc. It is under the impact of such drinks that they commit all kinds of crime, especially murder. In fact, as Elwin (1943) has reported, it is the combined effect of various drinks taken together that they commit murder. Maria men thoroughly exploit the labour of their women. It is not a case of shared responsibility between couples to raise their children. The burden is disproportionately larger on women.

DEPLETION OF RESOURCES AND NEW ECONOMIC PURSUITS The Maria practice settled agriculture, in which rice is the primary crop. In the study area, the quality of the soil is not very good for cultivation as the soil is of marhan type. Water retention of this soil is very low; therefore, it has to be left fallow after two–three cycles of crop production. The soil needs a solid or steady source of irrigation. There is a stream which was earlier used for irrigation. But it can no longer be safely used as it has been polluted by the industrial waste released from the loading and screening plant of the NMDC. In the absence of any other sources of irrigation in the area, agriculture is mostly dependent on the rainfall. The Maria economy was hugely dependent on resources from the forest before their denudation due to the Bailadila Project. Traditionally, the forest provided the ground for hunting and foraging activities. Minor forest produce (MFP) such as tendu leaves for beedimaking, chironji as a food product, phulbehari for making brooms, tamarind as a spice, tora oil made from mahua seeds, liquor obtained from mahua flowers, oil obtained from the fruits of sal and karunj, honey and other economically valued products were obtained from the forests. The forest also had animals such as bison, deer and wild boar, which are eaten by the Maria. However, these are getting terribly depleted. From time immemorial, the Maria have a communal right over forests and their management is done at the level of community. In fact, forest, common land, ponds, rivers and many other resources used by the community were collectively owned. These resources are used by the entire family. But it is mainly women who gather the forest resources. Unfortunately, this gendered problem is not looked into by the government. Women now

have to walk longer distances and struggle harder to obtain these resources from the forest than in the past. The older people of the village nostalgically remember their childhood days when they could collect plenty of dry wood from the neighbouring forest area. Now there is a shortage of fuel wood. Earlier, bamboo was available in plenty in the forest having multipurpose use in Maria economic life, such as house construction and fencing. Small bamboo pins are used for stitching sal leaves into plates. Bamboo strips are used for making cot and other furniture. But bamboo grooves have decreased and the household economy has suffered a loss. Women can no longer practise mat-making, a domestic industry which used to be one of their sources of income. Shortage of sal leaves has also affected the economy. The Maria used to stitch plates or bowls out of these leaves. These are used for various purposes by the people—the most common usage is in the form of a vessel used for drinking sulphi (sweet sap obtained from the cut spadix of the sulphi tree [Caryota urens]). landa (rice beer), etc. They used to sell these leaf plates in the weekly market, thereby earning some money or getting something in return when the barter system existed. These days they are forced to buy leaf plates or use aluminium plates and glasses bought from the market. Most of the forest produce/products were collected/made and sold by women. They now earn much less through the sale or barter of these items. Another problem which plagued the sale of MFPs is the emergence of middlemen or touts who have gradually got a hold over MFP economy. They offer locals a nominal price and make the maximum profit. Women are also involved in the distilling of liquor which they prepare labouriously and sell in the weekly market or haat. Men enjoy the fruits of the women’s labour and engage themselves on the market day in gambling or simply watching cockfights. Wednesday being the market day is meant for economic transactions in which the Maria women become busy. They sell vegetables produced from their kitchen garden, which include chillies, coriander, spinach and other leafy vegetables. They also make brooms, which they sell on this day. The money that is so earned is spent in meeting household expenses. The occupations which are available to these tribals typically resemble those in urban shanty towns where the people are engaged in all sorts of employment, which is devoid of any form of human dignity and social security. Unskilled work does not even offer them minimal wages. The Maria situation is also no different. They currently work for shopkeepers, dhaba owners or construction contractors on daily wages. Except the construction sites, all these spaces are marked by gender discrimination. Maria women rarely venture into these job areas, but they do seek employment at the construction sites. Except for a few marginal farmers and the landless, not many are proactively involved in agriculture. They till land and grow crops on other’s lands. They share the produce with the landowners. Of course, women in all these households work harder to make ends meet. They try to cultivate their lands provided they are able to get some help from the men of their households. Maria men are not tenaciously involved in economic activities. There are two probable reasons for this. First, apathy which the Maria men have developed towards life in

general keeps pushing them towards intoxicating drinks sapping their energy to work; second, availability of cash has made it easy for them to meet their immediate demands/eeds for survival. Hence, these people can be exploited without much resistance. Also, same reasons are responsible to a great extent in dispossessing tribals of their lands, thanks to mining activities. Many Maria lost their lands when the new industry was being set up. Those people were given compensation money and offered a job with the NMDC. Many of them did not take up the job; therefore, after losing their land, they had to resort to the work of a wage labourer as the compensation money was soon exhausted. The concept of wage labour was very new to the area. So the tribals got to work on terms dictated by the contractors. As new employment opportunities opened, many came forward slowly to earn wages. The new income brought out certain consumerist practices. But very little money was saved. Some Maria even took up jobs with the NMDC. In the true sense, employment opportunities did not get enhanced, they only decreased. Lack of livelihood strategies with rising impoverishment has led the tribals to a stage of sheer frustration. This has debilitating effect on the psychology of the people who were further pushed towards intoxicating drinks. Some of the locals pointed out that the Maria habitually consume these drinks, especially landa (rice beer) as the carbohydrate in the drink provides them with required energy to perform tedious jobs. This is a practice followed over the generations. But the current practice of consuming liquor is a pointer towards a weakening morale which is an outcome of the mining process. State processes facilitate the access and hoarding of higher quantities of liquor by these tribals. These are tactics to placate these hapless people so that they remain in a subservient position on the fringes of their native region.

RESTRICTION OF SPACE AND EXPRESSION Some Maria women are interested in taking up work in the labour market, but are unable to do so in the absence of their husbands’/fathers’ permission. This is explained by some local influences of casteism. It could also be the result of the practice4 of concubinage which goes back to the 1960s and 1970s. Barring a few wives of NMDC officers who are schoolteachers, most of the non-tribal women are housewives. They are responsible for rearing their children. So the few Maria men, who are aware of the importance of education and send their children to school, want their wives to stay at home and at least make the children study. This influence works against women, especially those who are living in NMDC staff quarters. The restriction on the movement of women limits their access to economic resources, which results in lesser power (Dube et al., 1986). However, for the purpose of fulfilling their personal needs and social responsibility as a wife, or any other role, the women can move to nearby places such as the forest, water sources and local market. To work as a wage labourer, she needs the consent of her husband and other senior male members, which means her contact with outsiders is keenly observed. This in turn implies that her sexuality is kept under

a check. Her freedom of mobility increases with age. The Maria woman was not just economically disempowered, even her individuality as a woman who has her own bodily needs came under the control of her male relations. The prevalence of premarital relationships does not bind Maria women to any particular person before marriage. Virginity was not given importance at the time of marriage. But unfortunately, due to the exposure to the values of caste societies, an outcome of the coming of outsiders into the area, the tribals adopt values and practice (considered part of upward mobility) which further lower the position of women with regard to sexual freedom. Traditionally, Maria society follows preferential form of marriage, in that the girl is supposed to marry her father’s sister’s son or her mother’s brother’s son. Although this rule is not binding, she has to marry within the specified affines. Marriages are fixed with the consent of the woman. But once married, she no longer has any right over her sexuality. Her body becomes the property of her husband who has the sole right over it. Infidelity is a serious offence and a lot of crime takes place because of this. Divorce is also demanded and granted on this ground. Reproductive rights of a Maria woman are also under the control of her husband or senior male relatives, especially until the time a son is born to her. As they have a patrilineal form of descent and property inheritance, the male child is a treasure that the Maria men refuse to give up. This is one of the major reasons why women feel rejected when they are unable to bear a male child. But at the same time, the identity of a woman is established when she is able to give birth to a son. So motherhood is more of a social recognition than a personal aspiration. This again is an indicator of the subservient status of women. Prohibitory religious sanctions also place Maria women in a lower status in contrast to men. In all rituals, whether they are at the level of clan or the family, it is the men who make all the offerings to the Gods. Also it is the male ancestors who are worshipped during all rituals and festivals. The feeling of inferiority is inculcated in women with regard to their body. Their menstruating blood is regarded as polluting. They are made to believe that evil spirits would destroy or cause some harm to their families, if they do not remain isolated during menstruation. All these practices result in a negative self-image.

MARGINALITY IN POLITICS In traditional Maria society, enforcement of customary behaviour was the responsibility of male village elders, locally referred to as the siyan. In every village, there are several paras (hamlets), each headed by a para-mukhia, who in the earlier times used to exercise considerable influence over the community members. His exercise of authority is discreet and subtle. The siyan and the para-mukhia are always chosen from the category of senior males. Traditionally, Maria women have always remained outside the sphere of power whether in the domestic or politico-juridical domain. The role played by women in the political life of the community is conspicuously negligible as compared to other domains. In matters pertaining to divorce, adultery and violation of matrimonial codes of conduct, the

rules are more stringent for women than for men. If a woman commits adultery, she is punished more seriously than men who commit adultery. Traditional political order functioned on the principle of gerontocracy and patriarchy which subjugated women. With the introduction of statutory panchayat institutions and participation of women in the democratic process, the political scenario has undergone certain perceptible changes. Although it is marked with more participation of youth, the influence exercised by traditional elders still persists. Women have been elected as ward members, but their influence in the public domain is yet to be felt. Whenever there is a meeting of village panchayat, the women members either stay away to be represented by their husbands or, in case they are present, play a marginal role, even though they might occupy powerful positions in the political structure which at times are higher than of the sarpanch. The political leadership of Maria women, if at all they have any, are yet to bear fruit. A woman ward member of the gram panchayat is unable to assert herself by taking a stand. But there is a singular case of a Maria woman, Kumari Ganga Bhaskar,5 who is holding the office of Janapada Sadasya. She is educated up to class 10th. She participates in the block-level meetings held at Dantewada. She represents three villages: Ganjenar, Molesnar and Bade Kameli. Her role is to assess the local needs of these three villages and present a report at the time of meeting. She is articulate and quite confident. She enjoys the confidence of senior political leaders; therefore, male leaders of lesser influence feel threatened by her political clout. Her political aspirations are high. She knows that once the women’s reservation bill for parliamentary elections is passed, there would be many opportunities for her to advance her political career. She is also aware of the fact that there is a dearth of educated women leaders coming from a tribal background.

ROLE OF ADMINISTRATION Electricity came only to the mining area and its adjacent residential township when Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board approved it in 1968. The rest of the area remained in darkness for long. Badepara, which is located on the other side of the township of Bacheli, got electrified much later in December 1998 and others got electrification subsequently. The government had provided the villagers with wells and tube wells. Wells in the study area had dried up. Most of the tube wells reportedly stop functioning after a while and they were not repaired by any agency, whether government or the NMDC. Since it is a hilly terrain, the water level goes down in summer and villagers are deprived of a continuous source of water. Spread of formal education in this area has also acted as an important factor of change. There were three schools where Maria and other neighbouring communities enrolled their children. Most of the schools had non-tribal teachers. According to the informants, these teachers neither had understanding nor consideration for tribal norms and values. Hence, students never bonded with them and were not keen to attend the school. Also the staff strength and infrastructure were not sufficient enough to support a proper education system. A lot needs to be done to ensure the participation of children in the entire schooling process

as the dropout rate is high during the tendu leaf collection season and other crop harvesting seasons. More number of girl children drop out as they get involved in other household activities such as cooking, cleaning and looking after younger siblings. The names and location of the three schools are as follows: 1. Sasakiya Saraswati Purva Madhyamik Sala, Badepara, Bade Bacheli 2. Government Primary School Patelpara, Bade Bacheli 3. Government Higher Secondary School, Old Market, Bacheli Exposure to formal education has brought out certain changes in the outlook of the local tribals. Thirty-one households of Badepara and 25 households of Patelpara have enrolled their children in one of these schools. They are in different classes and they seem fairly regular in attending schools. From the generation of parents who are presently sending their children to school; 15 men and 7 women from Badepara, and 10 men and three women from Patelpara have received some education up to the primary level from a government school located 6–7 km from their hamlets. Two men from Badepara have passed the middle school as well. Currently, the schools are within the hamlets; hence, it has become easier for the Maria children to access education. Like any other tribal belt, health remains a neglected sphere among the Maria as well. Industrialization has added to the worries of the tribals in the study area as the mining effluents containing chemicals and heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and zinc, which are extremely hazardous for humans and have polluted their streams. Maria indigenous medication does not have cures for ailments arising out of the pollutants from mining. The Maria do have access to a private hospital, Apollo, opened by the NMDC in the Bacheli township but they do not get themselves treated there often. Instead, they continue to believe in the cure of Sira. Modern medicine is relied upon for some treatments, but for maternal health and delivery, many of them still preferred the delivery at the hands of a local midwife, thus compromising the health of the mother. Here again, women’s vulnerability is greatly heightened by this arrangement. Fifteen households of Badepara and 11 households of Patelpara reported to have visited the hospital for some treatment in the period from 1997 to 2002.

CONCLUSION The impact of industrialization on a community is complex and has many dimensions. The recurrences of partial and unsympathetic treatment towards the tribal communities in the post-industrialization period have been documented by many scholars. However, only a few recent studies have touched upon the gendered impact of industrialization on these communities. Mass mining activities are on in this area since 1962. These operations were a huge intrusion into the lives of the indigenous population staying there. It not only shattered their livelihood strategies but also their social structure. Changes in the traditional social structure have been brought about by forces which are

external to the system as well as by forces which are internally present. Change is a continuous process. It is the dynamic quality of change which makes it complex to comprehend. On the other hand, it is a major challenge to forge alternative strategies which can benefit the people. Cultural contacts and interactions, unequal outcome of industrialization are bringing about changes in the internal dynamics of Maria society. New notions of patriarchy have emerged which curtail women’s movement and impose strictures on their sexual freedom. These restrictions together with earlier perceptions of the sexual division of labour, and ritual and religious prohibitions associated with women, are all instrumental in further subordination of women. However, these areas have remained outside the vista of developmental initiatives. A logical consequence of this is the exclusion of women from the benefits of development. The new consciousness associated with structural social change has also given rise to class hierarchy wherein the Maria NMDC workers are able to distinguish themselves from their brethren who are not NMDC employees. The former are more aligned towards urban world view and lifestyles than their rustic brethren. At the broader level of society, these new NMDC employees are yet to socialize at the personal or familial level with the migrant workers. They are looked down upon as ‘junglees’ who are not only boorish in their behaviour but also backward in their customary practices. In totality, the emerging picture is one of identity crisis for these new workers who want to move away from their Maria roots and find space in the outside world. The tribals who are non-workers have to negotiate with many values and practices with which they are not familiar. Under the prevalent power dynamics, the newer value systems prevail upon the natives of the region. The tribals are almost becoming strangers in their homeland and the migrants are becoming the new natives. These new forms of identity are almost disintegrating the culture of collectivism or community life which the tribals are known to cherish. They do not partake in any of the local rituals which enhance community feelings or a life of togetherness. The spirit of togetherness in celebrating various festivities still continues among the Maria living in the interior villages. But the profit-driven market has haemorrhaged these bonds of community life and promoted individualism with personal needs and aspirations. These needs and their fulfilment are also market driven under the new economic policies which have subordinated these tribals to the outside world. They, like their counterparts in caste society, have started believing in bodily identities such as ‘fair’ complexion and adornments such as lip colour and nail paint. The sheer physicality of these expressions is overbearing. It can be easily discerned that, through them, the tribals have created a new baggage of liabilities. They have walked into the trap of consumerism without having the means or income to sustain it. Market has created new needs and wants, but has not created enough livelihood opportunities. The gap between the two has created further resentment towards the forces of ‘development’ and change. Some local privileged groups have emerged who seemingly garner benefits for themselves acting as brokers between the management of the NMDC and their own people. Management, which is well trained to deal with trade union leaders, has to just dangle some

carrots in front of these new leaders to co-opt them. Without state intervention to prevent the marginalization, they have been pushed from the core to the periphery of society. Patriarchal global order has reiterated the supremacy of the men who have effectively monopolized the earlier non-gendered spaces. Women work harder than before, but do not get the fruits of their labour in terms of money and status. This situation is detrimental to the psychological well-being of the Maria women who have borne the brunt of sexual exploitation by outsiders, livelihood exploitation by the miners and now new forms of patriarchal exploitation by their own men. Patriarchal dominance does not allow Maria women to have any kind of autonomy as far as their labour and income are concerned. Maria men are heavily under the influence of intoxicating drinks; therefore, the burden of food security falls mostly on women. But there is a double whammy; the women must ensure food security without any autonomy. The current economic slowdown has further debilitated women. The disenabling factors responsible for the perilous state are manifold. First, she is responsible for household chores which do not leave her with much time to work outside. Therefore, she has no choice of work. Second, she has to seek permission to work outside. Third, she does not have much control on the expenditure of the income she generates. Fourth, lack of skills disables her from getting employment in the mining industry. Also, the nature of the work is often referred to as masculine. Strategically, she is deprived of formal training which would enhance her ability to earn wages in the new economic environment. The absence of a coping mechanism or support system within society made Maria women vulnerable to stress. This vulnerability further grew with new forms of development. These not only snatched women’s livelihoods which were dependent on the forest but also deprived them of new forms of employment available to their men. In a situation where women’s mobility is restricted and their survival strategies have been compromised by mining practices, they face a herculean task of providing food security for the family. Gender insensitivity at the level of planners and administrators has aggravated the situation. Without appropriate state initiatives, Maria women’s chances of survival and their ability to improve their lives to a dignified humane level will be undermined. Currently, Chhattisgarh is facing huge turbulence due to militant left radicalism, generally termed as Naxalism or Maoism. This has seriously impacted the lives of the tribals and their economy. Their livelihood has been disrupted and basic necessities of life as well as crucial amenities fail to reach them due to collapse of state governance structures at the local level. This conflict has also prevented implementation of development projects because of the insecurity resulting from perceived fear of Naxalites by the implementing agencies. This has worsened the condition of tribals who were already suffering from impoverishment and malnutrition. Mining activities have resulted in alienation from their land, deprivation of access to common resources and breakdown in their community feeling of helping each other in need. So there is a differential impact of this vulnerability on men and women. Many of the Maria men, especially landless labourers, opted to migrate out of the state in search of work but women could not do so. They suffered the most in these conditions because they are

left with the burden of securing food to the family who are left behind and also look after the little share of property in terms of land or livestock. Even if some of the women could migrate out, they were subjected to multifaceted exploitation; much of it was sexual in nature. Therefore, in the given circumstances, addressing the gender concerns would necessarily imply creating enabling circumstances for them to survive better. Dominant discourse on mining needs to focus on the gendered relations in private as well as the public sphere of life. It should have a clear agenda for the tribal population, especially their women as their lives are intrinsically linked to forests. Newer economic opportunities should use the existing skills of women and provide them with ample support in adjusting to the new environment. In such a situation, special measures need to be undertaken to sustain human life. Added to this political instability, new forms of mining activity are wreaking havoc. There has to be a clear human right agenda in each of these endeavours which should make tribals equal partners in the development process wherein every form of social security is assured for the marginalized groups. Women’s needs and aspirations should be clearly looked into as this would ultimately benefit the entire community.

NOTES 1. The fieldwork for this study was done in the period 1997–2002. 2. Erstwhile Bastar district has been divided into three districts, namely Kanker, Bastar and Dantewada in the year 1998. These districts still form a part of Bastar region. Therefore, in this text, reference to Bastar is with reference to this region. 3. Dandakaranya is a broader area including parts of South Bastar and portions of Koraput district of neighbouring state Odisha (both Bastar and Koraput refer to the undivided districts). 4. Many Maria women got lured by outsiders and became their concubines and rejected the traditional Maria way of life. Unfortunately, these women later became destitute as they were rejected after being used as a commodity. They could neither assimilate with the outsider’s culture nor come back to their own culture. 5. Although she belongs to the Maria clan barse, she writes Bhaskar which sounds somewhat similar to barse, but it is an upper caste surname. She, being a little educated, wants to ride the ladder of sanskritization or upward mobility.

REFERENCES Agarwal, B. (1994). A field’s of one’s own: Gender and land rights in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. Agarwal, B. (Ed.). (1988). Structures of patriarchy: The state, the community and the household. Zed Press. Ahmad, N., & Lahiri-Dutt, K. (2006). Engendering mining communities: Examining the missing gender concerns in coal mining displacement and rehabilitation in India. Gender, Technology and Development, 10(3), 313–339. Areeparampil, M. (1989). Tribals of Jharkhand: Victims of development: A story of industries, mines and dispossession of indigenous people. Indian Social Institute. Badgaiyan, S. D. (1974). Sociological study of the effects of industrialization of Bhillai on the surrounding villages (Thesis, Sociology). University of Delhi. Borooah, R., Cloud, K., Seshadri, S., Saraswathi, T. S., Peterson, J. T., & Verma, A. (Eds). (1994). Capturing complexity: An interdisciplinary look at women, households and development. SAGE Publications. Boserup, E. (Ed.). (1970). Women’s role in economic development. George Allen and Unwin. Census of India. (1961). District handbook of Bastar. Government of India. Crookshank, H. (1963). Memoirs of the geological survey of India (Vol. 87). Geology of Southern Bastar and Jeypore from the Bailadila Range to the Eastern Ghats. Government of India Press. Dube, L. (1997). Comparative perspectives on gender in South and South-east Asia. SAGE Publications. Dube, L., Leacock, E., & Anderson, S. (Eds.). (1986). Visibility and power: Essays on women in society and development.

Oxford University Press. Dube, S. C. (1988). Modernization and development. Vistar Publications. Elwin, V. (1943). Maria murder and suicide. Oxford University Press. Elwin, V. (1968). Kingdom of the young. Oxford University Press. Furer-Haimendorf, C. V. (1979). The Gonds of Andhra Pradesh: Tradition and change in an Indian tribe. Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. Goody, J. (1976). Production and reproduction: A comparative study of the domestic domain. Cambridge University Press. Graulau, J. (2008). Is mining good for development?: The intellectual history of an unsettled question. Progress in Development Studies, 8(2), 129–162. Grigson, W. V. (1949). The Maria Gonds of Bastar. Oxford University Press. Jay, E. (1970). A tribal village of middle India. Anthropological Survey of India. Joshi, M. M. (1967). Bastar: India’s sleeping giant. People’s Publishing House. Kabeer, N. (2000). Resources, agency, achievements: Reflections on the measurement of women’s empowerment. In S. Razavi (Ed.), Gendered poverty and well being (pp. 21–35). Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Jagdalpuri, L. (2000). Bastar: Itihas evam Sanskriti. Granth Academy. Lamphere, L. (1986). From working daughters to working mothers: Production and reproduction in an industrial community. American Ethnologist, 13(1), 118–130. Nussbaum, M. C. (2000). Women and human development: The capabilities approach. Kali for Women. Palriwala, R., & Dube, L. (Eds.). (1990). Structures and strategies: Women, work and family. SAGE Publications. Sharma, B. D. (1975). Economic development of extremely backward tribal regions. In perspectives on tribal development and administration. National Institute of Community Development. Sharma, B. D. (1984). Planning for tribal development. Prachi Prakashan. Srivastava, A. R. N. (1990). Tribal encounter with industry. Reliance Publishing House. Walby, S. (1986). Patriarchy at work. Polity Press. Young, K. (1997). Gender and development. In N. Vishwanathan, L. Duggan, N. Wiegersma, & L. Nisonoff (Eds.), The women, gender and development reader (pp. 35–42). Zed Books Limited.

* Social Change, Vol. 44, No. 2, 2014.

Section II

Institutions Sectional Introduction Articles comprising this section (titled ‘Institutions’) pertain to the practices and ways of living of tribal people in India. Surely, not all institutions could possibly be covered in this book, for articles on some of them were published in Social Change, but not on others. Moreover, in the series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Social Change, edited volumes on health, education, gender relations, land and economy, and polity are expected to be published in due course of time and are likely to have articles on these special themes which have an explicit tribal focus. Thus, some articles that could have been accommodated in this book have been set aside to find a place in other such volumes. Our submission, therefore, is that this book may be read in conjunction with other future volumes. One of the papers included here is an example of the study of one’s own community. It renders a brief account of the Baite, a community scattered in the north-eastern states of India (such as Assam, Manipur and Mizoram) and parts of the Sagaing and Chin provinces of Myanmar. This article is also an example of a typical anthropological writing, the aim of which is to introduce a lesser-known community to readers. Written by Chungkhosei Baite, the article argues that tribes have responded differently to integration and assimilation processes. While the larger tribes were open to learning from non-tribal outsiders, thus initiating the process of integration with the wider world, the smaller tribes resisted assimilation with the larger community and were able to preserve their age-old customs and practices. Although the Baite are subsumed to be a branch of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo group, ‘there are many nuances in the life of the Baite that distinguish them from other groups.’ For example, among other trans-border tribes (such as the Zos, Paite, Thadous, Vaipheis and Gangtes), the property of the father is passed on to the primogeniture, but among the Baites it is passed on to the youngest son. Further, in other communities, women cannot initiate a divorce, but the Baites have given this right to women. Baite’s paper does not deal much with change occurring in the community, for its main

focus is on the boundary-maintaining mechanisms that eventually define the identity of people. The next paper in this section is on the Chuktia Bhunjia of Odisha. Its author, Bhubaneswar Sabar, is concerned with the efforts that people are making to bring in their traditional agricultural practices in spite of the changes that have been introduced in their society by external agencies. The agricultural practices of the Chuktia Bhunjia are closely connected with forest resources. The technical instruments they use for various agricultural operations are made from wood that comes from the forest, so does natural biomass and organic manure that enhance soil fertility, thus promising to yield good production. Both men and women possess a good knowledge of agricultural practices. The farming practices of people not only enable them to survive sustainably but also help them manage their biodiversity and soil degradation. The author of this study discusses the role of the Chuktia Bhunjia Development Agency in initiating several development schemes and programmes for people. However, the Chuktia Bhuiyan hardly accept the suggestion of opting for chemical fertilizers and mechanized technology, because their ‘life experiences’ with the traditional system have been so good that they want to continue with it. The paper examines the factors that cause a violation to the indigenous knowledge of the people. An important distinction made in legal science is between customary and codified laws. The former are a characteristic of traditional-simple societies, whereas the latter are found in modern-complex societies. The distinction between the two types of law is in terms of the separation of laws and legal institutions from the other social and cultural rules that regulate the behaviour of people in that society. Customary laws are called so because here ‘customs’ and ‘laws’ merge into each other; and when these two separate, the former, remaining confined to the realm of society, come to be known as ‘customary laws’, and the latter build up the legal system and are termed ‘codified laws’. The codified laws are distinctly delineated; in many cases, they are written down and their anomalies are removed. They are enforced cutting across different strata and groupings of society (Deva, 2009; Pospisil, 1971). Prabhat K. Singh’s paper, included in this section, distinguishes between the ‘customary laws’ of the tribes that have evolved over time for regulating their behaviour and the ‘laws that the state has enacted for them’ once they had become ‘state subjects’. Even when the pace of acculturation has hastened, tribes are struggling to keep intact the values of collectivity on which their customary laws are founded. However, they are worried that in years to follow, individualism will be a fact to be reckoned with. Today, the ownership of resources (land, forest and water) is with the collectivity, but in times to come, the patterns of individual ownership will gain strength. Till the time, the land is held collectively (i.e., lineage ownership), the chances of its alienation are almost non-existent, but when the land is owned individually, the possibility of its slippage increases manifold, because the decision to sell or mortgage is taken by the person concerned rather than by the entire lineage. Singh shows that the state laws, when imposed, increase the problems of tribal people. In such a situation of ‘duality of laws’ (customary and codified), it has been observed that the offender of an act is punished twice, once by the state and the other by the customary laws

severely enforced by the ‘community council’. In the case that the offender does not abide by the decision of the council, he and his family are excommunicated. Needless to say, in a traditional society, the highest punishment that can be given to anyone is the cancellation of their membership and that of their family in the community, for this will jeopardize their social standing and reciprocal relations with others. Singh suggests that a fertile area of research in legal anthropology is the conflict between customs and state laws when a community is acculturated. One of the institutions that has been studied with great interest and in depth is the complex of magico-religious beliefs and practices. In fact, in the formative years of the growth of anthropology, a lot of attention was given to the documentation of the customary laws and the supernatural practices of the ‘primitives’, the word then used for tribal people which now stands repudiated. A survey of these two institutional practices led to the description of tribes as ‘exotic’. Before the term ‘tribal religion’ came into fashion and acquired a respectable place in the census category, tribals were said to be firmly holding their faith in the souls and spirits for which the term ‘animism’ (coined by E. B. Tylor) was used. However, when empirical investigations were carried out, it was found that tribes had a motley of beliefs and practices, some of which were clearly not animistic. They fell under the rubrics of animatism, totemism, faith in the existence of an impersonal power (called mana in Polynesia) and reverence to nature (naturism). Often, instead of reposing their faith in any one ‘faith system’, the tribespersons followed a ‘pluralism of faiths’, without ever experiencing an element of contradiction between them. The great change, with tremendous futuristic implications, came when the tribes confronted one or the other world religions (such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism or Islam). An important area of research in Northeast India is the history of Christianity. Two recent significant contributions in this direction are the analytical ethnographies that Vibha Joshi (2012) did on the Angami Nagas and G. Kanato Chophy (2019) on the Sumi Nagas. Included in this section is Avitoli G. Zhimo’s paper, which explores the ‘intricate fusion’ of Christianity with the traditional religious practices of the Sumi Nagas. From 1903, the year that heralded the advent of Christianity among the Sumis, till today, Christianity has made a profound impact on the lives of people. For instance, the Sumi hierarchy of people was relegated to the back seat once the Christian missions preached the values of human equality and freedom from oppression. Schools were established in different parts of the Sumi land, which not only ensured upward social mobility but also made people aware of the values of health and hygiene. Certain social practices were given up, such as excessive drinking, premarital and extramarital relations and elaborate marriage customs. This, however, does not imply, as Zhimo shows, that all traditional practices have collapsed with the Sumis embracing Christianity. The significant social fact is that Christianity has adapted itself to the local tradition, a process that Zhimo would term the ‘indigenization of Christianity’. She gives instances of several Sumi practices that have fruitfully survived amid the unswerving commitment to Christianity. Cultures are resilient. At the same time, they are

fairly malleable and able to thrive even when cataclysmic social and cultural changes have occurred. Thus, it is unsurprising that Angami Nagas are proud of their gate-pulling ceremonies or observe several prohibitions (genna) that their traditional culture has legitimized (Marwah & Srivastava, 1987). I remember that in November 1985, on the occasion of the Baptist Centenary Celebrations in Kohima (Nagaland), several tribal communities came together to participate in the function in their respective traditional dresses and pageantries. Each one of them gave a performance of their respective dances and extraordinary feats, showing that, irrespective of the changes that have come, making their cultures amalgamated, their traditions are as strong as they ever were. Resemblances between cultures exist along with the core characteristics of each of them. The ‘Introduction’ to this volume carried a succinct discussion of the rise of Left-wing extremism in central and eastern India, which has greatly affected both tribal and non-tribal communities living there. Two reasons are regarded as primary for this state of affairs: first, the loss of local control over resources (particularly land) and, second, the alienation of this area from the benefits of development that have brought about a positive change in the lives of several other communities. Land alienation has been going on unabated, earlier the rapacious landlords were the culprits, and now tribal and rural land is being appropriated for development purposes. I recall in the early 1980s, an anthropologist doing her fieldwork in Chota Nagpur, narrated her interaction with a local man. When she asked him why he was a Jharkhandi (someone bearing allegiance to the Jharkhand Movement), his answer was, ‘You help me in getting my land back and I’ll not be politically active.’

REFERENCES Chophy, G. K. (2019). Constructing the divine. Religion and world view of a Naga tribe in North-East India. Routledge. Deva, I. (Ed.). (2009). Sociology of law. Oxford University Press. Joshi, V. (2012). A matter of belief: Christian conversion and healing in North-East India. Berghahn Books. Marwah, I. S., & Srivastava, V. K. (1987). Khel gate and social structure: A study of their relationship and a note on the place of material culture in anthropology. Indian Anthropologist, 17(2), 63–99. Pospisil, L. (1971). Anthropology of law: A comparative theory. Harper & Row.

Chapter 5

From Ethnicity to Organized Complexity in Tribal Customary Laws* Prabhat K. Singh

The chapter makes an attempt to evaluate the laws enacted for tribals. It observes that these have instead of ameliorating the conditions of the tribals have aggravated their problems. It analyses the land laws and important factors leading to the alienation of tribal land in the Jharkhand region of Bihar. The chapter also discusses the customary laws and the problems in their codification. Traditionally, tribal people were in close harmony with the land and the forest. The forest not only rendered them subsistence but also shelter. The tribals, after living a nomadic life and practising shifting cultivation, started their livelihood as settled agriculturists in the forest itself. They cleared them up and settled in villages. Gradually, they also prepared the land for cultivation and turned into agriculturists. The credit goes to them for making the land cultivable. This was done collectively. They become owners of the land collectively. They had the sole right over land. But they never over-exploited the forests. They were the preservers and protectors of the forests. They had a symbiotic relationship with them. From birth to death, they remained in close association with nature, and subsequently developed relations with the objects surrounding them. This relation formed their social system, which was reflected in their world view. Here, we may take the example of totemism. Totemism is a long association of tribal people with neighbouring flora and fauna. In other words, totems are named after a plant or an animal and foster a ritual attitude towards such objects. A totem symbolizes the collective sentiments of the group that has adopted it. The sentiment is expressed in several rituals that are attached to the totem. Even in the case of the non-totemistic tribes of the Andaman Islands, they express deep concern towards certain vegetations, particularly those which are very important and useful for their livelihoods. Therefore, totemism not only symbolizes a social group but also a way to preserve the natural objects as ‘to kill a totem in taboo’. Similarly, every tribal village has a sacred grove nearby,

which is known as sarana or jaherathan, etc., in the respective areas where the spirits and deities reside. The cutting of trees at sarana is a taboo. They preserve the grove, the sarana, which is the most important sacred place for the tribes where important ceremonies and rituals are performed. The mode of preservation of the valuable species of plants is based on their age-old experiences. The felling of trees is undertaken with the approval of the village council, and sometimes after the performance of the necessary rituals. Even at the time of marriage, several plants are required. Tree marriage is a unique feature found among some tribes. Mango marriage (aam biha) and Mahua marriage (mahua biha), etc., take place as mock marriages. Hunting and gathering are still practised. Every year, they arrange an annual hunting festival in different parts of the hilly and forested tracts of Chota Nagpur. It is a collective activity. Hunted preys are distributed among all participants. This is done not merely to procure prey but also to train youngsters in the art of hunting in dense forests. Tribal life is collective that provides solidarity and stability. This collectiveness is useful as they dwell in difficult terrain. At the functional level, their self-identity helps them to maintain their collectiveness. Customs bind them to the collectivity, who become the owners of land, forests and water. Today, they are threatened due to withering of collectiveness. In this chapter, an attempt is made to evaluate that the enacted laws are not always boon to tribal people, but that they have always aggravated problems. The first part takes into consideration a brief stocktaking of the situation till date, while the second part highlights grave situations. The third part is devoted to the customary laws followed by an analysis.

STOCKTAKING The British entered the tribal tracts through military expeditions. Their communication, trade and revenue administration stormed the tribal scenario of India. Between 1772 and 1850, a majority of the tribal population of Chota Nagpur, Central India and north-eastern hill tracts and Assam was subjugated and made subjects of the colonial empire (Danda, 1989, pp. 10– 11). This created problems in the administration of this region. The tribal land began to alienate and went into the hands of non-tribals. Discontentment brewed among the tribes due to the alienation of the land which resulted in several uprisings, the Mal Paharias of the Rajmahal Hills in 1772, the Chaur Revolt in 1774, 1780, 1794 and 1801, the Paharia in 1778 and 1783, the Cheros in 1800, 1814 and 1832–1833; the Kol in 1811, 1817, 1820, 1831 and 1833; the Bhumij in 1833, the Santal Rebellion in 1855 and the Birsa Movement in 1889, all against the encroaching new powers. Although the British Army pacified and subjugated the tribals, a need was felt to bring them under specially constituted non-regulation tracts to be administered by simple codes, directly by the agents of the Governor General in a manner suitable to the tribals. Revenue collection became difficult and impossible for the administration and, consequently, they moved for a permanent settlement of land in 1793. Incompetent zamindars, not giving revenues and taxes, were replaced. To be able to pay a lump sum, most of the tribal holder of the estate had to borrow from contractors at high rates of interest. In

the process, they often found their lands forfeited to the contractors as debt payments. Growing exploitation brooked no bounds. In 1798, the Panchet Zamindars lost their zamindari. The Kol Revolt of 1831–1832 resulted in the passing of the Regulation XII of 1833 under Bentinck, which ordered the exclusion of these tracts from the operation of the general regulation and formed them into a non-regulation province called the South-West Frontier Agency, which was to be administered by the Governor General Agent which, in 1780, was called the Ramgarh Tract (Chota Nagpur division). The Scheduled District Act was passed in 1874. This specified tribal areas all over the country into Scheduled Tracts. The division of Chota Nagpur, under the authority of a commissioner, was formed in 1854. To prevent the breach of peace, the government ultimately deputed a local zamindar and a sub-assistant commissioner to prepare a register of all the bhuinhari lands, which was completed in 1862. But it was more favourable for the landlords than the Bhuinhars. Disputes again broken out when the survey was discontinued. The government passed the Chota Nagpur Tenures Act in 1869 (Act 11 (BC) of 1869). Under this Act, special commissioners were appointed to survey and demarcate the privileged lands of the tenants (bhuinhari) and the landlords. Disputes continued one after another. This act was followed by the Chota Nagpur landlords and Tenants Procedure Act, 1879, with a view to protect the rights of the cultivating tenant, peasant against illegal enhancement and also to secure for the zamindars their fair rental. But this Act also belied the hopes of farmers and beneficiaries alike. Finally, the Chota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act, 1908, which gave this region a special land revenue and civil administration, provided the tribal’s customary system a statutory sanction (Reid, 1912). In post-Independence India, Chota Nagpur continues to be administered by a modified CNT Act, where all tenurial rights of non-tribal landlords have been commuted on payment of compensation (Kumar, 1970). Further, a provision in the CNT Act, enacted to enable the industrialization of the region, has rendered the Act important in protecting tribal lands. This provision is the Section 49 of the Act, which, ironically, was amended in the year of India’s Independence to allow the transfer of tribal land for mining, industrial educational and other public purposes (Das, 1992). Moreover, the khuntkatti and bhuinhari lands are also being alienated. Ownership and rights over these lands have been changing hands from tribals to district commissioners. A seminar on ‘Tribal Customary Laws and Rituals’, organized by the Bihar Tribal Research Institute, advocated the revitalization and reorganization of tribal societies, the further tightening of customary laws and the need of uniformly codified customary laws. It mentioned that, for want of codified laws, they were being deprived of justice. What one needs to probe are the reasons for a demand of codified law, the tribes to be included in one codified law, the basis of including these tribes, and where and how the code will be operated in a court of law or in the traditional panchayats. These are only some of the questions that come to one’s mind and may lead to great polemics. Tribal societies are changing, and changes are quite inevitable. Their culture is also dynamic and cannot remain stable as a

tradition forever as many factors are counteracting it. Moreover, in India today, the progressive forces are tending towards a uniform civil code. The country is also passing through a critical stage, and the issue of Muslim personal law has come to the fore as a matter of debate and controversy. The Indian population may be divided into a number of ethnic groups, castes, creeds, religions and languages. The unity of India lies in the diversity of its culture. In other words, India has a composite culture. If we take into account tribal groups, they will portray diverse groups; they lack homogeneity, and their economic development also varies. Tribes from the hunting gathering stage to the developed agriculturist tribes can be found. In Chota Nagpur, among the Oraons, to some extent, class formation has already started. There are some small industrialists and businessmen carrying on with their business besides a good number of white-collar persons in the offices and in the administration. In each ethnic group, an elite class has come up, which is steering the society and formulating its codes.

THE GRAVE SITUATION The tribals today are losing their identity. Their existence is also threatened. The struggle for their survival is intensifying which has brought them together. The life of the tribals depends entirely on the land. Agriculture remains the main means of production for their livelihoods, supplemented by forest-related activities. In spite of the laws being enacted, even today their land is being alienated, which poses a grave concern for them. Their land, life, culture and identity are interwoven through their traditional customs, which for long have regulated their lifestyle. Urban industrial growth and other alien factors have made an impact on their life. Tribal society is not fully equipped to keep pace with the technologically developed society, but it is also true that the glamour of technologically developed society has attracted them causing inequilibrium in their simple society.

LAND PATTERN: KHUNTKATTI AND BHUINHARI The khuntkatti and bhuinhari tenancy means the interests of khuntkattidar, who has acquired a right to hold cleared jungle land for the purpose of bringing it under cultivation by himself or by the male members of his family and includes the following: 1. The heirs in the male line of any such Mundari when they are in possession of such land or have any subsisting title thereto 2. As regards any portion of such land which has remained continuously in the possession of any such Mundari and his descendants in the male line No raiyat shall be deemed to have khuntkatti rights in any land unless they and all their predecessors in title have held such land or obtained a title there by virtue of inheritance from the original founders of the village.

LAND ALIENATION Some of the important factors of land alienation are as follows: 1. Chota Nagpur received streams of migrants when it was identified as the best site for industrialization. After Independence, it became the centre for large-scale industrialization, which resulted in the influx of population from outside. Its destiny was determined by its rich mineral resources. Such an extraordinary character of land forced the government to select it as a site for major industries, even with foreign collaboration. It led to a new scenario and life for the inhabitants, including the non-tribal. The Heavy Engineering Corporation, Central Coalfields, Bokaro Steel Plant and many allied industries attracted the people. Large plots of land were acquired for these projects, their offices, townships and residential colonies. This resulted in the alienation of tribal people from their land. 2. Industrialization also led to rapid urbanization. The consequences were reflected in the existence of a number of urban centres of different categories in this region, such as Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Bokaro. These urban centres were connected by metal roads, railways and airlines. A large number of migrants came to these urban centres in search of their livelihoods. These migrants in course of time settled down in this area. This resulted in the rapid alienation of land of the tribals. 3. Tribal indebtedness also remained a major factor for land alienation. For some reason, they would get entrapped in a heavy debit, and the only way left for paying it off was to sell their land. Often, the land also became non-remunerative as far as yield was concerned, and they sold it out for economic reasons to meet their needs. 4. Illiteracy, ignorance and simplicity were also the reasons for their land alienation. They did not understand the value of their land and were prone to fall in the net of land brokers who wanted to grab their land. They often became a prey to it because of their customary habit of drinking. They did not care for the future, which also contributed much towards alienating their land. 5. The insufficiency of the laws which regulates the land, including the CNT Act, also was another factor for the alienation of lands. The khuntkatti lands were being alienated from even the khuntkatti holders. 6. Acquisition of land by the government for various purposes, alienating their land in large chunks at a time was a principal contributing factor. For example, the government acquired 100 acres of tribal land under the Acquisition Act, for HEC, SAIL, Coal India and so on. The process of acquisition of land in Chota Nagpur is still going on a large scale. Several big projects are still in the process and many are being planned. The Subarnarekha project at Chandil is expected to displace 120 villages; the Koel Karo Project would displace 125 villages, whereas the Kharkai project would submerge 135 villages. It is to be kept in mind that the vast land to be acquired by these mega-projects is owned by rural and tribal people and is a source of their survival. These marginal tribal peasants are helpless today. There is no other way but to fight or lose lands, the only

means of production for their subsistence. 7. A recent trend has developed to marry tribal girls by non-tribals to acquire tribal land. Although a tribal girl does not inherit her immovable parental properly, she can acquire or purchase tribal land with the permission of the deputy commissioner. Thus, tribal land is being alienated to non-tribals.

THE CUSTOMARY LAWS The Government of India, vide its Notification No. 550, 2 May 1913, Home Department (Judicial) Shimla, stated that whereas the tribes Known as Munda, Oraon, Santal, Ho, Bhumij, Kharia, Ghasi, Gond, Khandh, Korwa, Kurmi, Mal, Sauria, and Pan dwelling in the province of Bihar and Orissa have customary rules of Succession Act 1865, and it was inexpedient to apply the provisions of that Act to the members of those tribes.

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 332 of the Indian Succession Act, 1865 (X of 1865), the Governor General in Council was pleased to exempt those aforementioned communities dwelling in the state from the operation of the provision of the Act retrospectively from the passing of the Act provided that the notification was not to be held to affect any person in regard to whose rights a decision contrary to its effect was already given by a competent court. Later, the Indian Succession Act of 1865 was repealed by the Indian Succession Act of 1925 and, under Section 3 of this Act, the state government of Bihar and Odisha, vide Notification No. 3563J dated 8 December 1931, was pleased to exempt the tribes known as the Munda, Oraon, Santal, Ho, Bhumij, Kharia, Ghasi, Gond, Khandh, Korwa, Kurmi, Mal, Sauria and Pan dwelling in the provinces of Bihar and Odisha from the operation of the following provisions of the Indian Succession Act 1925, namely Sections 5–49, 58–191 and 212, 213 and 215 to 369, respectively, from 16 March 1865. Thus, the aforementioned tribes are still being governed by their customary laws. The Scheduled tribehood under the Constitution is neither justifiable nor enforceable through a decree of any civil court of the country. A civil court may only interpret the legal position in this regard in keeping with the provisions of the Presidential Order under Article 342(A) of the Constitution of an act of the Parliament. The Scheduled tribehood is presently administrated by the collector as its agent. A great Constitutional and legal responsibility is entrusted upon the collector to administer the Scheduled tribalhood.

SUCCESSION OF PROPERTY The succession of immovable property of tribal society takes place patrilineally in the tribes of Chota Nagpur, where tribal societies are patriarchal. It is also to be noted here that, in some parts of India, matriarchal societies are also found where the inheritance of property is matrilineal and the female has the right to property and land. In Chota Nagpur, the inheritance of property is based exclusively on the blood relationship and patrilineal descent. The right of inheritance exists as long as there is any known agnate. Second, the property is

confined to the lineage first. Only afterwards any male member of another lineage of the village or khunt is entitled to get it. But this principle is followed by members of only such clans of tribals in which agnates have the right to succeed in preference to descendants in the direct line. Such a right is recognized among the lineage groups. Here the female has no right on her parental property. A tribal girl has all rights till she lives with her parents before her marriage. After marriage, she ceases to have any rights, and she holds rights at her in-laws’ place. After marriage, her totem becomes non-functional in her husband’s family. In tribal customary law, the land which is community property always descends in the same khunt or totem group. In her lifetime, a girl may acquire land of her own by purchasing it, and that property may go to her husband as she would stay with her husband during her lifetime, and ultimately may be inherited by her sons. Divorce may mean that she would return to her parents, and that she would get maintenance in the family or in the khunt, and similarly that a widow would be looked after by her in-laws’ family. A widow gets maintenance so long as she lives in her husband’s house and does not remarry outside. Thus, a tribal girl does not face any problem in surviving as society takes responsibility. If a tribal girl marries a non-tribal boy, she is treated as excommunicated and ceases to have all rights; and if a tribal boy marries a non-tribal girl, and if she is accepted into society, her sons would have the right to descent of property. Among the Oraon, sexual intercourse with a non-Oraon woman is an offence for which the person is excommunicated, though their readmission into the tribe is permissible. Similarly, discussing the status of offspring of non-Oraon mother and Oraon father, Roy (1915) remarks that the son of such a union has no share in the Oraon property. The Oraons are so much against Oraon and non-Oraon marriage that it is considered a matter of great ill luck, even if a sexual union between Oraon and non-Oraon were to take place. The debate is whether females should have a right on parental lands or not. Tribal customary laws prohibit it because there is total security of females in tribal society. In the customary law, there is nothing like the sale and disposal of land by will. But under the regional tenancy laws, there is no restriction regarding the will. In the case of Kishunikuer v. Andu Mahto, reported in 1929 Patna 734, it has been held that there is nothing in Section 46 of the CNT Act to prohibit an aboriginal to dispose of his property by ‘will’. Again, as tribal lands are the collective property of the khunt or the village, the sons have no right on lands till their father is living. This way, the old and aged father holds the highest place in society, and he is regarded and cared for by all. He is not a deprived and isolated person in society. He always remains the master of the household, contrary to other modern urbanized societies of non-tribals.

TO CODIFY THE CUSTOMARY LAWS Codifying the customary laws of the tribes of Chota Nagpur and Santal Pargana is not an easy task, considering the heterogeneity of their customs along with the regional variations in

culture and inter-ethnic variations. Furthermore, there are some ethnic groups which are not included in the Scheduled Tribes list but are still governed by their customary rules, as the aforesaid notification has exempted them from the Indian Succession Act, 1925, for example, the Kurmis of Chota Nagpur. They were reported as ‘animists’ in the Census report of 1921, ‘primitive tribes’ in the 1931 Census and backward tribes in the Government of India Act, 1935. The Kurmi and the Santal are kindred people historically. Each tribal community may have distinctive customs if they are kindred people. In the case of a tribal community, there may be local variations in customs. But the judicial practice of the Santal Court has been not to recognize local customs in variance with the overall single tribal practice. Whether all tribal groups that are patriarchal would prefer a single law of inheritance or customary laws, and whether it would help tribals in general in preserving their forest, land, culture and identity, is a big question. What has been found is that, with the enactment of laws, tribal people have always been pushed back to deprivation. Free living tribal people find themselves endangered today. In spite of all this, there are some positive movements also. In recent years, tribals of India in general, and of Chota Nagpur in particular, have associated themselves with international and world forums for their causes, such as with the World Council of Indigenous People, which has established a sense of international brotherhood. The International Year of the Indigenous People 1993 was celebrated at different places. But the question still remains how far this united, common struggle of the different groups of indigenous people would solve the basic problem of their survival.

REFERENCES Danda, A. K. (1989). Policies of tribal welfare in India. In M. K. Raha & P. C. Coomar (Eds.), Tribal India: Problem, development, prospect (Vol. 1; pp. 7–34). Gyan. Das, V. (1992). Jharkhand: Castle over the graves. Inter-India Publishing. Kumar, N. (1970). Bihar district gazettes. Government of Bihar. Reid, J. (1912). Final report on survey and settlement operations in the district of Ranchi: 1902–1910. Bengal Secretariat Book Depot. Roy, S. C. (1915). The Oraons of Chotanagpur. Crown Publications.

* Social Change, Vol. 24, Nos. 1 and 2, 1994.

Chapter 6

Bringing Culture Back* Traditional Agricultural Knowledge, Food Production and Sustainable Livelihood among Chuktia Bhunjia of Orissa Bhubaneswar Sabar

INTRODUCTION Agricultural sector plays very important role in the socio-economic development of a region. Thus, focus has been given to this sector by the government for increasing production not only to feed the growing population and challenge food insecurity but also to increase its gross domestic product (GDP). In India, particularly, the government is trying to boost its agricultural production through various ventures—largely after the Green Revolution—such as introduction of hybrid variety of seeds, technologies and methods. Besides, only to compete with global economy, India has been adopting Western policies of liberalism and globalization in the form of large-scale capital investment, agricultural subsidies, agricultural policies, research and so on, only to ensure agriculturalist communities for good production and GDP growth. Despite these, agricultural production in some states is reportedly decreasing. This is many times attributed to low rainfall (consequent to climate change), decline of agricultural land, decline of agricultural productivity and so on. These, therefore, are indirectly conceived as causes for starvation death, hunger and famine due to their effect on production and threat to traditional varieties of crops. However, these are theoretically occurred because of lack of people’s capability, political economy of food entitlement and accountability and transference of food distribution policies (Bedi & Shiva, 2002; Deaton & Dreze, 2009; Kumar, 2004; Patnaik, 2005; Sen, 1981, 1985; Williamson, 2001). The evidence of farmers’ suicide in many states too shows the failure of the agricultural production. As Singh observes that ‘after sixty years of massive investment of capital on this

sector, people are yet to agriculturally benefit as many have no adequate food supply’ (2000, p. 47). The failure of agricultural production is also evident from the farmer suicide in many parts of India that is many times attributed to the influence of capital-intensive agriculture (Bedi & Shiva, 2002). In continuation to adaptation of new agricultural technologies and agricultural policies in India, there is a fact that only to increase food production for global economic completion or larger GDP, Indian farmers are encouraged to adopt conventional agricultural technologies, which most of the rural farmers cannot afford to purchase and those who purchase cannot always manage, that is, the conventional agricultural has not trickled down the rural farmers rather than widening the gulf among them. Thus, given this critique of the conventional agriculture, both agricultural scientists and social scientists think of ‘alternative agriculture’ not only to challenge the concepts of ‘growth’, ‘capital formation’ and ‘liberalization’, which remain main notions behind conventional agriculture—supported even by the successive agricultural policies—but also to make agriculture sustainable and free from market orientation. The term ‘alternative agriculture’ here has been used interchangeably with indigenous agriculture, traditional farming, traditional agricultural knowledge and so on practised by tribal people. Before going into detail about how traditional agricultural knowledge helps growing food in a sustainable manner and enhances people’s livelihood at a micro level, let me clarify what traditional knowledge is. In common parlance, it is understood as the traditional way of life pertaining to the life support system that is passed down from generation to generation about the relationship of living being (including humans) with one another and with their environment (Berkes, 1993; Gadgil & Berkes, 1991) or how people view, document and use the natural resources (Berkes & Gadgil, 1993). However, there is no universally accepted definition of traditional knowledge. The definition given by Micheal D. Warren is largely used by scholars. He defines it as follows: …local knowledge unique to a given culture or society. It contrasts with the international knowledge system generated by universities, research institutes and private farms. It is regarded as the basis for local decision making in agriculture, pastoralism, food preparation, health care, natural resource management, and a host of other activities staying very close to the nature. (Warren, 1993)

It is named differently when applying to specific contexts. For example, when we analyse this knowledge in animal healthcare, it is known as ethnoveterinary, in agriculture, it is traditional agricultural knowledge and so on. According to Rajsekaran (1993), it is a systematic body of knowledge acquired by local people through the accumulation of experiences, informal experiments and intimate understanding of the environment in a given culture. The knowledge system of any communities is stored in people’s memories and activities, and expressed in their stories, song, folklores, proverbs, dance, myths, cultural value, beliefs, rituals, community laws and local language (Berkes et al., 1995, 2000; Gopalan & Reedy, 2006; Rajsekaran, 1993; Silliote, 1998). Local people, including farmers, local artisans and cattle keepers, are the custodians of this knowledge (Ellen & Hariss, 2000).

TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM: THEORETICAL CONSIDERATION The theoretical polemic of ‘traditional agriculture’ is understood as the embodiment of local agricultural practice, knowledge and meanings of the farmers concerned that embrace how they variously express, negotiate and share the meanings and relationships embedded in their soils, ecologies, cuisines and practices. Scholars view that it is based on the cognition approach of the practitioners and the practice that takes ‘local people’s view’ at the point of departure (Cernea, 2005; Chambers, 1980; McCorkle, 1989; Netting, 1993; Rhoades, 1983; Singh, 2000). Haverkort (1995) defines traditional agricultural practices as ‘agricultural production where technologies being used depend completely on local resources and have, over time, developed a wide range of site specific technologies embodied in the culture of the people in a certain area’ (p. 34). The rationality of indigenous/traditional agriculture leads to the assumption that farmers’ indigenous and traditionally based knowledge and technologies are always well adapted to their environments‚ that farmers are always capable of adjusting to changes‚ and therefore serves as the model for sustainable agricultural development (Srivastava et al., 1996; quoted in Cleveland, 1998, p. 335). Netting (1993) views that ‘traditional cultivators are more sustainable than commercial and industrial agriculture’ (p. 144) and ‘may be more vital and necessary to our future than we realise’ (p. 334). The studies on traditional agriculture show that the practice operates outside of the capital-intensive and high external input approaches (Cernea, 2005; Howes & Chambers, 1979; Rajsekaran, 1993; Rhoades, 1983) that include not only local adaptations and cultural values but increase yield as well (Crevello, 2004; Soleri & Cleveland, 1993). Further, this kind of agricultural practice, however, does not encourage growth in food production. The associated sustainable nature of the practice helps people to grow food sustainably that, in turn, helps in ecological restoration and natural resources management. A peculiarity of traditional agriculture is that the system works along with ‘culture’, ‘value’, ‘tradition’, ‘decision-making’ and epistemology of ‘knowledge’, some of which have been crystallized into stable structures, institutions and organizations (Brodt, 2001; Cernea, 2005; Richards, 1993). This type of agricultural practice, thus, can be called ‘culturally organised system of agriculture and food production’. In recent years, documentation of traditional wisdom or rural people’s knowledge—that has been ignored long—has gained significant attention worldwide due to its highly potential environmental concerns and sustainability—health, agriculture, food, pastoralism and so on (Rechards, 1989; Warren et al., 1994; Warren et al., 1989). Various dimensions of this wisdom have been studied at great length in academia and development in order to incorporate the knowledge into, say, for example, agricultural systems, health system, participatory development and so on, even by the local agencies working at the grassroots level. Studies made both in India and other parts of the world show the overwhelming importance of indigenous knowledge, both economically and environmentally. In the area of agriculture, a somewhat holistic perspective on traditional knowledge system has recently been developed to conceptualize both intellectual and material components of the local

setting; (a) concept, perception, beliefs, cosmologies; (b) attitudes; (c) practice, experiences, skills, technologies; (d) artifacts; (e) seeds, plants, crops and (f )institutions, procedures and processes used by a particular group, community or society in relation to agricultural food production and natural resources management (Slikkerveer, 1994). The existing literature provides us the importance of traditional agriculture in various dimensions of development. Scholars find the importance of traditional agriculture practice in maintaining and enhancing soil quality automatically pushing to higher production of crops (Crevello, 2004; Dialla, 1994; Jeeve et al., 2006; Oldfield & Alcorn, l991; Rhodes, 1983; Richards, 1985; Talawar & Singh, 1994; Warren & Rajsekaran, 1993) and thus becoming capable of supplying output of foods greater than energy. It also forms a sophisticated part of livelihood of the people practising it due to its cost effectiveness and climatic-resistant technologies (Mini, 2005) as opposed to mechanized agricultural practice, which is capital intensive, leading to informal credit, price volatility and farmer suicide. Thus, the traditional knowledge includes three aspects—environmental, economic and social —that can be achieved on a greater understanding of how different agricultural systems affect the environment‚ how humans perceive the environment and environmental feedback in response to their agricultural systems and how these perceptions affect values‚ knowledge and behaviour. The present chapter in this context deals with the agricultural system of the Chuktia Bhunjia tribe of Odisha, which perhaps is fitted into the theories described earlier. Also the intervention of conventional methods and technologies has negatively affected the traditional agricultural practice and, to some extent, rooted the culture out from agriculture that were earlier substantially providing livelihood to local people and was ecologically viable. So keeping the merits of traditional knowledge, there is a need to bring the culture back into agricultural practices in order to solve the problems that emerge due to mechanized agriculture and to make agriculture sustainable. This chapter has been divided into nine headings. The introductory section overviews the functional background of traditional agriculture in contributing major challenges to ecological degradation and food production. The next section only sketches the geographical location of study area and introduces the people under study. After the methodology section, an attempt has been made to understand the land use and cropping pattern of the Chuktia Bhunjias—the studied community—showing their preference of cultivation to ascertain crops procurement and future challenges. Their main agricultural practices—shifting cultivation and wet rice cultivation—have been described systematically along with the process, methods and technologies generally used in agricultural practices. The next section —between broadcasting and harvesting—details as to how the community protects the crops from different misfortunes anticipated during cultivation. The harvesting process and knowledge on preservation of seeds have been described in a separate section, followed by rituals and festivals associated with agricultural processes that make us clear about the sustainability. The concluding part raises debates on agricultural crisis in the face of failure of successive agricultural policies to integrate traditional knowledge with modern knowledge that could perhaps help local people to survive sustainably, given their extinction of

traditional knowledge system. Also, the lack of marketing has affected the marketing of their knowledge system. So this chapter supports integrating these two knowledge systems.

FIELD AREA AND PEOPLE The Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary is a newly created sanctuary located in the western part of Nuapada district (the erstwhile Khariar Zamindari of Central Province), bordering Chhattisgarh state (see Figure 6.1). It is situated between 82°20’ and 82°34’ north latitude to 20°24’ and 24°44’ east longitude and harbours a great diversity of flora and fauna. It is spread over a total of 600 sq. km combining both buffer and core areas. There are 64 villages within the sanctuary, out of which 34 are revenue villages and the rest are identified as encroached villages. Tribal communities such as Gonds, Bhunjia and Paharia have been residing interior to the sanctuary along with other communities such as Kultha (agriculturalists), potter, blacksmith, Goud (pastoralist) and Scheduled Caste communities, who are said to have migrated to the sanctuary during the 1970s.

Figure 6.1 Map of Nuapada District Source:

Bhunjia is one of the 62 tribal groups found in the state of Odisha. They are also distributed in Bindranawagarh and Dhamtari subdivision of Raipur district of newly formed Chhattisgarh state. In Odisha, they largely inhabit the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary but have a close affinity with the Bhunjia of Chhattisgarh. They are divided into two broad social groups: Chinda Bhunjia and Chuktia Bhunjia. Each division has its own moiety (got): Nitam and Markam. Each moiety is subdivided into a number of clans (Barag) and each Barag has

got a specific designation associated with a particular totemic object. Members of the same Barag (Dudhbhai) consider them as descended from same ancestor, due to worship of same deities and thus an endogamous group. Chinda Bhunjias, who are otherwise known as Odia Bhunjia, are found in and around the plain area, apart from the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary. They are called so because they follow the culture very similar to general Odia culture. The Chuktia Bhunjias, on the other hand, exclusively inhabit the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary along with other communities such as Kultha, Paharia and Gonds. According to a survey by the Chuktia Bhunjia Development Agency (CBDA) (2001), they inhabit 16 villages (nine revenue and seven hamlets) of the sanctuary comprising 519 households. Their total population is 2,174 consisting 1,085 (49.91%) males and 1,089 (50.09%) females. Their sex ratio is 1004. Out of the total population, 758 (34.87%) persons are literate constituting 559 (51.52%) males and 199 (18.27%) females. They are Kolahrian group (Russel & Hiralal, 1916) who speak their own dialect, Bhunjia (mixture of Odia and Chhattisgarhi), among themselves and use regional language for inter-group communication. The Chuktia Bhunjia family is nuclear in type. Their economy is forest based, shifting cultivation being the major source of livelihood supplemented by collection of minor forest produces. They also practise rain-fed rice cultivation, which is said to have been adopted in settled ways with the influence of CBDA and non-tribals who migrated to the sanctuary during the 1970s. Majority of them do not have authorized land and live on encroached ones. They practise the animism kind of religion and worship gods and goddesses, including their ancestral spirits and natural objects. Their festivals are mostly related to agriculture practices and minor forest produce collection. Goddesses Sunadei is the propitiate deity who is worshipped in every house of the Chuktia Bhunjias.

METHODOLOGY This study was conducted among the Chuktia Bhunjia tribe of the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary from May 2005 to December 2005 to explore and document their traditional agricultural knowledge, so as to analyse the sustainability of both agriculture and livelihood vis-à-vis the agricultural practice of the Chuktia Bhunjias. The villages exclusively inhabited by the Chuktia Bhunjias were selected for the study. While documenting their agricultural knowledge, different beliefs, rituals and festivals associated with agriculture were collected in order to develop a framework of how their agricultural practice can be better understood in terms of sustainable food production and how they manage their agricultural resources for food security. The data for this study were gathered through participant observation and interviews to selected farmers. Both male and female farmers between 25 and 70 years of age were interviewed to gather the information. As the wet rice cultivation has become the dominant form of agriculture among the Chuktia Bhunjias, this chapter describes more on wet cultivation intertwined with traditional practices to comprehend the ethics of agricultural sustainability. A few focus group discussions were also conducted to find out the universality of practice and perception on agriculture.

LAND TYPE AND CROPPING PATTERN Before narrating the agricultural practices of the Chuktia Bhunjias in detail, let me explain their landholding pattern in order to give a glimpse of land relations that can only support production function of agricultural land and land rights. It then validates the practice of traditional farming. Here, landholding refers to the land over which the individual or a family possesses permanent hereditary right in any capacity, as owner occupancy tenant or hereditary tenant and so on. The possession of the right to cultivate, the inheritance of land, is governed by law or custom. Under this framework, the landholding pattern of the Chuktia Bhunjias is determined by kinship and marriage patterns of the members. After marriage, the son establishes his own family of procreation, separating from his family of orientation and builds a separate household near his father’s house or in the same village. The land remains undivided so long as the father is alive. The land is cultivated by all the members of the household, and each member gets their individual share. Once all the brothers marry, the father’s properties, generally land, is equally divided among the brothers. The female members and widows do not get any share of the property. So among the Chuktia Bhunjias, the unit of landholding is neither a single person nor a nuclear family but rather a group or number of nuclear family tied by patrilineal descent. Also, by staying in wildlife sanctuary, the Chuktia Bhunjias get opportunities to encroach forest land for cultivation. Traditionally, some households have encroached some patch of land within the forest area that later became legally held by the owner. However, most of the households till date have no legalized agricultural land. Those who had occupied certain land in core zones of the sanctuary lost it due to the declaration of this sanctuary as a ‘tiger project’. The common land in this agriculture includes only grazing land and ponds that remain under the control of the forest department. They classify land on the basis of topography as aat (unbunded upland), berna/behli (bunded midland) and bahal (bunded high land). All these are again classified on the basis of location, soil colour, texture and the water retaining capacity, and specific land is used for some specific crops. Behli and bahal are always viewed in the form of shallow land (doli) having high water-retaining capacity (Figure 6.2). The methods and techniques used for cultivation also differ from crops to crops often cross-cutting with different crops. Figure 6.2 shows the type of agricultural land used by the Chuktia Bhunjias of the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary. The Chuktia Bhunjias, on the basis of water retaining capacity, classify land into two broad types: (a) sukha-jamin (dryland) and (b) bahal-jamin (wetland). The former does not have good water-retaining capacity and thus crops that require less water are cultivated, whereas the latter easily absorbs water and keeps water for longer time. They use this land for rice cultivation. It is also observed that the water-retaining capacity of soil too depends on the topography of land. For example, aat does not hold water for long time as bihali. They also use the term tipri, depending on the size of the bihali or bahal land. If these are small and located in low water-resistance zones, then only it is known as tipri; whereas large lands with high water-retaining capacity are called bahal-doli. In the study area, bahal-doli is generally observed beneath terrace land. They prefer to grow short-

duration paddies in tipri, whereas bahal-doli is preferably used for long-duration paddies. When land remains unploughed or uncultivated—could be due to the stony nature of the soil —they call it paria.

Figure 6.2 Land, Soil Types and Cropping Pattern Source: Author.

On the basis of soil texture, they classify land as belsu (sandy soil), mal (sticky land), darli (stony field) and rengtha gada (stony field). Belsu land is used for cultivating millets such as gurji (Setaria italica), kodo (Paspalum scrobiculatum) and rias (Sesamum indicum). Mal land is seldom used for cultivation (details have been described in the section on wetland rain-fed cultivation). They generally grow jute and rias in aat with mal texture. However, these days, local varieties of paddies are found cultivated by them. Rengtha gada are not suitable for cultivation due to lack of water-retaining capacity, so this is left for grazing. Darli land is, however, not suitable for growing crops; they apply cow dung to make it productive. They generally grow millets such as jandhla (Zea mays), khedjandhla (Sorguum vulgare) and pulses such as kandul (Canjanus cajan), semi, (Canavalia ensiformis), jhunga (Vigna unguiculata) and jutes on this kind of a soil. The Chuktia Bhunjias also classify the land on the basis of soil colour as (a) kalamet (black soil), (b) bhurbhuria (black soil with low texture), (c) khari (black with less texture), (d) ratamet (red soil) and (e) chhuimet (white). The first two are considered fertile, whereas the last two are not cultivable and are used for cultural purposes and splashing houses. Land use for shifting cultivation (bewar) is known as dehi, where they grow millets such as madia (Eleusine coracan), birhi (Phaseolus mungo) and pulses such as kulath (Macrotyloma

uniflorum), kandul (Canjanus cajan), junga (Vigna unguiculata), jutes and local varieties of paddy of short duration. So a kind of mixed cropping is practised in dehi. Kitchen garden (biar) is also an ecological and traditional land use system among the Chuktia Bhunjias, which involves multiple benefits involving the management of useful plants species for family consumption. They grow vegetables such as biagan (Solanum melongena), tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum), chillies (Capsicum annum), semi (Canavalia ensiformis), jada (Ricinus communis), kaker (Cucumis sativus), Batlakanda (Eulophia nude) and jhunga (Vigna unguiculata) in their kitchen garden. A few of them are also reported to cultivate medicinal plants for emergencies. They also decompose cow dung in their kitchen garden to make it more fertile.

AGRICULTURE AS A PRACTICE AND A SYSTEM The Chuktia Bhunjias generally practise both shifting cultivation and rain-fed rice cultivation. Both kinds of systems have been described here in order to show how agricultural practice is sustainable without disturbing the production capacity of the soil and crops due to its agro-forestry nature and also the culture of the Chuktia Bhunjias itself.

Shifting Cultivation Shifting cultivation (bewar) is an important form of livelihood among the Chuktia Bhunjias. Although the Forest Department has imposed restriction on shifting cultivation within the sanctuary, they still continue it due to the fact that it is the subsistence source for their economy and livelihood. The land used for shifting cultivation is known as dehi. Each household holds some patch of dehi both in core and the buffer areas of the sanctuary. The selection and preparation of dehi is greatly woven into their culture and belief. It is started only after Aamjatra/Holi (described in the section agricultural festival and sustainability) celebrated in the month of March–April. They cut all the thorny bushes, shrubs and trees found in the selected patches with axe. They select the land on the basis of soil colour; however, land with fewer trees and shrubs are obvious criteria for selection. It becomes easier for them to clear and prepare the land in a timely manner. The fruit-giving and religious trees are purposely left in the selected patches. The cut branches of trees are left there to dry. They bring the timbres home and these are used for house construction, furniture, fuel wood and so on. Once the braches left in the field are completely dried, they burn these in order to make the land fertile and productive. They often burn cow dung in the selected patches that they believe make the land fertile due to its compost component and rich source of nutrient. They believe that the burning of plants or cow dung too kills the pests that are believed dangerous for crops. In the first monsoon or asad (June–July), the Chuktia Bhunjias till the field with traditional plough and animal power. They remove the weeds and grasses grown in the field and sometimes keep the grasses in the land boundary. Then they sow different kinds of millets such as madia (Eleusine coracan), khedjandhla (Sorguum vulgare), jhunga (Vigna

unguiculata) and pulses such as birhi (Phaseolus mungo), kandul (Canjanus cajan), rias (Sesamum indicum) and jutes all together. They sometimes sow the aforementioned millets quietly separately but in the same field. Then again they till the land less deeper so that the seeds are covered with soil. They sometimes, depending on the rainfall, sow some seeds such as semi (Canavalia ensiformis), maka (Zea mays) and jhunga (Vigna unguiculata) into holes without tilling the field. The Chuktia Bhunjias, however, prefer mixed cultivation—madia (Eleusine coracan) is one of the most nutritious cereal crops grown in dehi, followed by maka (Zea mays), semi (Canavalia ensiformis), jhunga (Vigna unguiculata) and kandul (Canjanus cajan). They first grow the seedling (palha) for this cultivation. It is grown along with the millets mentioned earlier but not in mixed form. Once it becomes ready to plant, generally in the month of July–August, they pluck it. The same patch of land is then tilled with plough during moderate rains and the seedling is transplanted by people. The Chuktia Bhunjias opine that the cultivation of millets does not require much effort and care when being cultivated in dehi, which is perceived as rich in nutrients and fertility. They only visit the field to check for germ infection, if any, and to protect the crops from wild animals and birds. It is reported that, as there is no seed diversity among them, they generally rotate the same crops. In short, the crops cultivated in a year may not be repeated; rather they are preferred to grow them in alternative years in the same field due to the fact that crop rotation is believed to rejuvenate the soil nutrients. They prefer to grow, say, for example, khedjandhla (Sorguum vulgare), jhunga (Vigna unguiculata) and birhi (Phaseolus mungo) in a regular fashion. It is also found that when the crops grown in the dehi are over, they prefer to cultivate semi (Canavalia ensiformis), tomatoes, chillies, brinjal and so on for their own consumption. So a kind of crop rotation is observed in bewar. It is reported that a dehi is used for a maximum period of 5–6 years and when the yield begins to decrease, they move to a new patch of forest to repeat the same process and allow the abandoned land to recuperate. After some years, they return to the same field and continue the same process.

Rain-fed Wet Rice Cultivation As mentioned earlier, the Chuktia Bhunjia is a hunter-gatherer tribe with bewar as the main form of agriculture. It is said that they, however, started cultivating paddy in a settled way only by observing the non-tribal migrants to the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary during the 1970s; it did not affect their culture and methods of agriculture. In short, they still continue the practice of wet rice cultivation with the same traditional tools, technologies and methods followed by beliefs, rituals and festivals as in bewar. It is since the last 5–6 years that a few of them are cultivating modern varieties of paddies being provided by the community blocks and the CBDA but with same technologies and impetus used during dehi cultivation. It is also reported that since the establishment of the CBDA in 1994, they, albeit, were provided with a few hybrid variety of paddies for cultivation, they often consumed it or sold in the village shop. Now due to the intervention of both government and civil societies (NGOs), they cultivate rice both on the plain land (aat) and on shallow land (doli). The rice cultivation on

both kinds of fields has been discussed here. To the majority of the Chuktia Bhunjias, the cultivation of traditional varieties of seeds which are grown in short duration such as lachei, kalikhuji, jhuli and sakri are still predominately cultivated in each land. The Chuktia Bhunjias do not follow any norms regarding the first tilling of agricultural land —especially to doli—albeit, rice cultivation involves many rituals and festivals. They clean the field, only before monsoon, by removing stones and thorny bushes growing in the field. If any new land is converted to doli, a similar process of shifting cultivation is followed. They do not hire labour for it rather, if necessary, ask their son-in-law(s) and other relatives to help in a reciprocal way. As the study area is arid and low rainfall area, monsoon only lash their agriculture. The Chuktia Bhunjias till the land only in first monsoon, once or twice, according to requirements and that too depends on the soil texture. They throw out the weeds growing from field or kept in boundary. They perceive that the weeds grown in the field absorb the entire nutrients from the soil and affect the growing plants. The rice cultivation on aat is different from that on doli. The differences between these two is that the former type of land is used for shortduration paddies (locally called aatdhan), whereas the latter is specifically used for longduration paddies. The cultivation of rice on both the land requires rain but in varying degrees. For example, when they cultivate rice on doli they first close all the bunds to store the water for moisture, which is initially required for the germination of seeds. On the other hand, rice cultivation on aat does not require much water because they prefer to cultivate short-duration paddies, which do not require much water. Paddies cultivated on both kinds of land again require tilling of the land just before broadcasting of the seeds. An elderly male member of the family broadcasts the seeds by holding them in a basket, only after offering a handful of seeds to the earth goddess in a corner of the field. When they prefer to grow rice on sandy aat, they first clear the field by removing stones and unrequired materials like thorny bushes from the field. They too fist-till the field twice or thrice, depending on the texture of the soil. Then, after sowing the seeds, they again till the field in order to cover the seeds with soil. They do not till the land so deep that it may cause delaying of plants after which they level the field with a leveller, made up of either sal (Shorea robustas) or palsa (Butea monosperma) plant. There are two methods of broadcasting paddy (dhanbuna) among the Chuktia Bhunjias: 1. Khurdabuna 2. Upperbuna In the first method, they fist-till the land once or twice depending on the texture and weeds found. Then after sowing the seeds in the field, they again till the land using animals, and sometimes depending on the texture of soil they level the seeds only to cover the seeds. This method is mostly observed in bhurbhuria soil. The second method is observed only during heavy rainfall. When farmers are unable to till the land properly and the soil gets stuck in the plough during tilling, they adopt this method. In this method, they first close the bunds of the field around and till the field so as to soften the soil. Then they sow the seeds over it. They do

not till the field again as done in first method. This kind of method is generally observed when they cultivate seeds in sticky soil (malmet). They perceive that if the land is tilled again, the seeds get stuck in the soil and this affects their growing, or may even completely decompose the seeds. The Chuktia Bhunjias also cultivate rice by transplantation method. The paddies of long duration are cultivated in this method starting with the seedling (palha). They grow seedling in belsu aat that becomes easier for them to pluck. They first till the field twice. The land is then planed with a leveller (kapar), after which they broadcast the seeds and till the land again. They avoid tilling the land deeper, which they perceive may cause delaying of the seedling sprouting. A day before transplanting, they prepare the field. They close the entire bunds (phar) of the field to store the rainwater. They remove the weeds grown in the field and sometimes small thorny bushes are left there to decompose in the field, which the Chuktia Bhunjias perceive becomes good manure and helps in growing the plants. Due to small landholding, family members constitute the important labour force; however, the exchange of labour between families at village level is also visible. They also pluck the seedlings a day before transplanting. Before plucking the seedling, an old female member of the household pours a little milk in the east of the seedling field as an offering to the earth goddess and plucks two–three plants before allowing others to pluck. After plucking handful of seedlings, they tie these in paddy straw kept for this purpose. The tied seedling is called jhura. They first wash the jhuras so as to remove the soil attached with these. Before transplanting, they till the field twice or thrice to soften the soil. They dispatch all the stored water. It is observed that before allowing others to transplant, the head of the household offers a little raw cow milk, a coconut and liquor to Goddess Chorokhuten for good yields and then transplants two or three seedlings.

BETWEEN BROADCASTING AND HARVESTING It is observed that, unlike other farmers, Chuktia Bhunjia farmers take care of each and every crop grown in the field, starting from control of soil moisture to protection of plants from any kinds of diseases. They believe that crops grown in dehi need not much care because soil biomasses in dehi automatically maintain and enhance soil fertility and help in growing the crops properly. They only protect the crops from pests and wild animals by making temporary boundaries of their dehi. They make the land boundary by placing branches of different plant species such as Lawsonia inermis, Lantana camar, Dendrocalamus strictus and Vite nirgundo, often erecting an effigy made of paddy straw. They guard their crops both during day and night. Both male and female guard the crops, accompanied by children. They often construct a temporary hut in their agricultural fields to stay there for watching over the crops. Once the plants start procuring seeds, they start staying in crop field even at night to protect their crops from wild animals. As a majority of the Chuktia Bhunjias practise dehi cultivation in the hill slope, there is always a fear of soil erosion and soil fertility. They view that higher the intensity of slope,

greater is the soil erosion. They control soil erosion and fertility by certain traditionally adopted methods such as mulching, making bunds, growing of grasses in the boundaries, placing small stumps in the bunds and horizontal ploughing across the slope. They also construct trenches so that the run-off water goes out of the trenches without hampering the crops. They sometimes make hays at the end of the patch to dispatch the water through it, though the making of terraces is a predominating form of controlling soil erosion. In case of high rainfall, they make bunds to avoid the running of water through the crops field. On the other hand, paddies being the important subsistence product of the Chuktia Bhunjias, they always take care of paddy crops for more production. So in the first sight of their knowledge system, they balance the moisture of their crop field by traditional methods, which in fact depend on the soil texture and rainfall. When the plants become half feet tall, they store the rainwater which they believe necessary to keep the soil damp for a long time. Further, when the plants reach a feet in height, they tilt the land again to soften the soil. They believe that it helps grow the paddy faster and plants make bunches thereafter. This is known as bihida. During this time, they dispatch all the stored water to balance the moisture. The Chuktia Bhunjia farmers also know that proper moisture of land is a prerequisite for the proper germination of seeds and also proper growth of the plants. So they keep the land moisture balance before and after the broadcasting of seeds by various methods. They are of the view that excess moisture and lack of moisture are negative indication of seed germination or seeds may get destroyed. For example, before harvesting, they till the land twice or thrice in order to remove the excess moisture. On the day of broadcasting, they again till the land and sow the seeds after which they again till the land at required levels. Depending on the land texture, they level it with a leveller (kapar). It is also a fact that land moisture is dependent on the type of soil and the way the land is being tilled. If the land is tilled too deep, then there may be the possibility of keeping the moisture for a long duration. For example, bhurbhuria and kalamet keep the moisture for long time, whereas malmet, which is high-textured soil, keeps the moisture for very short periods due to its hard soil particle. It is found that the Chuktia Bhunjia farmers grow crops as per the length and degree of soil moisture. They experience that long-duration rice requires high moisture and shortduration crops need low moisture. They are of the opinion that in highly moistured soil, seeds are not sown until moisture decreases to desired levels. In such cases, they try to remove excess water from the field only in order to balance the land moisture. The Chuktia Bhunjias pray to many deities before and after the agricultural processes. Various rituals and festivals are found associated with their agricultural practices and consumptions of cultivated crops. They pray to God Bhima (rain god) and Chorokhutein (goddess of harvest) for good production, albeit Sunadei is believed to be the proprietary deity. They celebrate Asadkhena in August–September, meant for plucking weeds (bhata) found in the crop fields. This festival is otherwise known as Gangadi Jatra. It is because Goddess Gangadi is worshipped during this festival. They offer rice, local liquors and sacrifice hen and male goats to her for good yield and to protect the crops from diseases. It is observed that the Chuktia Bhunjias of the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary possess good

knowledge of curing diseases affecting crops both culturally and functionally. They apply both organic pesticide and religious methods to control the diseases. For example, after bihida crops are generally affected by insects (baki), the Chuktia Bhunjias commonly spray ash in the field, which they believe works as insecticide. Similarly, farmers fix a branch of bhelwa (Semacarpus anacardium) in the agricultural field on the day of lunar escape, which is also believed to work as both pesticide and insecticide. Most of the farmers also catch spiders (makra) and leave it in their agricultural fields, which they believe kill the insects. When the crops are affected by unknown diseases, they cure it by religious ways. In such cases, some elder members of the village, including the village headman, pujari and kotria remain on a fast for a day and ask all the elder members of the village to assemble at the Sunadei temple during night. They bring a leaf cup of rice and ghee with them, which they later mix. Each of them offers a fist of rice and wine in the name of important village deities to protect the crops from this misfortune. It is known as Jagar.

CULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES, HARVESTING AND PRESERVATION OF SEEDS Technologies play a very vital role in agricultural practices. Unlike other agriculturist communities, the Chuktia Bhunjias use different types of tools and technologies in their agricultural practice, starting from preparation of the field to harvesting and preservation of seeds as have been discussed in this section. The most visible agricultural tools of the Chuktia Bhunjias are plough, animal power, sickle, paddy straw (biat), ropes, leaves, branches of certain trees, ash, cow dung, basketries, and so on. The plough is either made of babul (bamur) or sal (Shorea rubusta) tree. The ropes used to tie the bullocks are made of jute. They use axe and spade in preparing agricultural fields. The Chuktia Bhunjias broadcast the seeds by holding these in a baskets made of bamboo. They apply cow dung abundantly to the soil to increase its fertility; however, a few of them have started applying modern fertilizers available in the market. The traditional good manure and fertilizers are made through the traditional method of decomposition, that is, they first decompose cow dung in their fields or kitchen gardens for 2–3 years. This decomposes into a fertilizer. Then before the monsoon, both males and females take that decomposed fertilizer to their own agricultural field and proportionally apply to their field. They cut the crops with sickle (hasia). Before cutting the crops, they offer raw cow milk and liquor, in a corner of the crop field, to the deities who are believed to protect the crops in all the ways. Then the owner of the crops cuts a few plants before allowing people to harvest. The harvested paddies are kept accordingly in space therein which are later bundled by tying the crops with ropes made of paddy straws (biat). The bundles are then brought to khala with a stick made of bamboo or teak. Khala is the place where the farmers separate the paddy from straw with the help of animal power. They fix a wood on the ground. Six-seven bullocks are tied with a rope (deie) to move around the paddy so that the seeds get separated from the straw. It is known as maden. They separate the pure seeds out by spinning (demara).

The cleaned seeds are then exposed to sunlight in order to remove the water content in it and then are directly preserved by packing the seeds for next use. The seeds to be consumed or marketed are stored separately from the cultivable seeds. Crops such as paddy, kodo (Paspalum scrobiculatum), gurji (Panicum colonus) and madia (Eleusine coracan) are sometimes harvested by these methods. The harvesting of pulses is different from that of paddies. In the former, they generally do not pluck or cut the whole plants, rather root parts of the plants are left there, which they believe may decompose and become good manure. They believe that the root part of the plants is rich in nutrients and helps in growing the plants in the subsequent cropping. They remove the seeds from pulses such as birhi (Phaseolus mungo), kandul (Canjanus cajan) and rias (Sesamum indicum) simply by striking them against a stick. Similarly, the seeds of jhunga (Vigna unguiculata), maka (Zea mays) and khedjandhla (sorguum vulgare) are simply separated out by hand. The Chuktia Bhunjias adopt various methods of seeds preservation that differ from seed to seed. They first expose the seeds to sunlight to remove the water content. They preserve kodo (Paspalum scrobiculatum), gurji (Panicum colonus), madia (Eleusine coracan) and so on in the bag made of paddy straw (pura). The quantity of seeds in a pura varies from 10 to 20 mann (1 mann = approx. 5 kg). After keeping the required amount of seeds, the pura is made airtight to make it insect free and that becomes usable in the next crop. They often preserve the pulses such as birhi (Phaseolus mungo), kulath (horse gram), leher (Cajanus cajan) in this method, albeit, always storing these in leaf bags by applying lim (Azadirachta indica) leaves and ash. The bags are then made airtight to protect the seeds from germs and insects. They also store the grains and pulses in baskets (kunli) after plastering its outer and inner surface with cow dung so to make it airtight. After keeping some grains, they firmly close the opening of the bags with Tectona grindis leaves. The Chuktia Bhunjias also preserve their forest produces such as tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), chahar (Buchnania lanzan) and mahul (Madhuca indica) in leaf bags made of sial (Bauhinia vahlii) or palsa (Butea monosperama) only after exposing these to sunlight. They firmly close the opening of the bag with the same leaves. The bags are then hung over the hearth, believing they protect from small insects (surikira). Sometimes millets such as maka (Zea mays) and khedjanha (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are simply hung over the hearth.

AGRICULTURAL FESTIVALS AND SUSTAINABILITY Sustainability, as said earlier, can be comprehended with different perspectives such as agricultural sustainability, food sustainability and ecological sustainability. It is referred to in terms of the process of ‘meeting the need of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 43). The Chuktia Bhunjias’ agricultural practice, in particular, enhances all these kinds of sustainability that are enforced by certain rituals and festivals. The first agricultural festival of the Chuktia Bhunjias being observed is Aamjatra or Holi which is celebrated in the month of Jeth (March–April). This festival is meant for the

preparation of dehi land and for eating minor forest produces such as mango (Madhuca indica), chahar (Buchnania lanzan) and kendu (Diospyrus melanoxylon). On the fixed day, both children and young of each village pull a chariot made of palsa (Butea monosporma) flowers in the village lane, which indicates the celebration of this festival. The chariot is considered the seat of Goddess Sunadei. The same evening, male members of each village assemble at Sunadei temple. They collect some dried wood to make a triangular hut exactly, known as holi. They fix a branch of semel (Combax ceiba) tree in the middle of holi. The pujari worships the village deities inside it. During this time, one of the members closes its entrance by covering it with braches of trees or dried wood. The pujari’s son starts the holi fire immediately. Once the pujari comes out by any means, the head of the village cuts the fixed semel branch with an axe and a chicken is left in the fire as an offering to the deities. This festival symbolizes the setting fire of dried wood and bushes for bewar or dehi cultivation. Chaitra is another agricultural festival celebrated by the Chuktia Bhunjias in the month of April–May. On the fixed date, male member(s) from each household gather at a sacred grove called Lingdeo, where they worship God Ling, located on the outskirts of the village. The pujari worships all the gods and goddesses there on behalf of the villagers by offering liquor, rice, coconut and by sacrificing a hen and a male goat. At the end of the festival, the pujari asks people to prepare a symbolic form of agricultural field, a plough and two bullocks, which they make with small branches and leaves of bardi (Ficus benghalensis) tree, respectively. He (pujari) tills the land with these symbolic plough and bullocks as in real life and others fill water in the symbolic agricultural field. Some people pour water over the pujari as if it is raining. He worships gods and goddesses for good rain and good harvesting. He also acts like he is broadcasting paddy, transplanting seedlings and catching fish and shell as the farmers do in real life. In the evening, they again assemble at same place, bringing a new white cloth with them. The meat of sacrificed animals is equally distributed among the households. The pujari then gives a handful of paddy taken from his home to everybody which they broadcast in their own agricultural land on akshitritiya day. Nuakhai is also another important festival of the Chuktia Bhunjias, celebrated in the month of Bhodo (August–September) with great amusement. This festival is specially meant for eating newly grown crops of the year. It is celebrated collectively or clan wise but on the same day with great fraternity. Before the festival, they wash their clothes, houses, utensils and every household material and throw out all the old mud pots. On the fixed date, the male members of the household go to the jungle to bring newly grown kurei (Holoptelea integrifolia) leaves to make leaf cups and plates. They offer newly grown paddy to their deities in the leaf utensils only. A member of each household goes to the agricultural field to bring new paddy or often asks others if paddy is not cultivated by the household. The female members of the household convert the paddy into chihra with their traditional husking tool (deki). Each individual family comes to the elder brother’s house with a plate of rice, chihra and a leaf cup of ghee which the elder brother offers to the deities on behalf of all brothers/families. Then, each member eats the chihra and later also gives some to the

livestock. The Chuktia Bhunjias also celebrate Chauldhua/Pithori in the month of Dial (October– November) to wash the new crops before eating, which shows their respect towards crops. Until this festival is celebrated, no one is allowed to wash the newly harvested paddy before eating. They too celebrate a ritual locally called Choro, generally at the end of the harvesting, in the crop field in respect of Goddess Chorokhuten, who is believed to protect the crops in all ways. They invite the pujari, elder male members of village and a few clan members. The pujari worships the goddess on behalf of the family. They offer local liquor, hen and a male goat to appease the goddesses. Then the meat of sacrificed hens and goats is cooked and eaten by all of them.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The description on the agricultural practice of the Chuktia Bhunjias shows that their agricultural practice is very simple, which is agro-forest based. The technologies used for agriculture are made of forest resources that make their practices ‘cost effective’ and economical. Further, the agro-forest-based agriculture along with use of biomasses and organic manures enhances soil fertility and encourages good agricultural production. Also, both male and female farmers of this community possess good knowledge of their agricultural practice and the use of agro-technologies. Given that this community practises sustainable agriculture, questions may arise as to why they are still poor? To this, we present the fact that their landholding size is small. The use of traditional methods, technologies and cultural acceptance of the indigenous agricultural system practised by the Chuktia Bhunjias shows that it enables people to survive sustainably not only within an ecosystem but also helps to manage biodiversity and soil degradation. On the other hand, looking at the importance of traditional agriculture, nonaffordability, lack of knowledge of mechanized agro-technologies and its management, we find some important factors, particularly on the question of integrating traditional knowledge with modern knowledge. Will not it devastate the culture and livelihood? The argument upon the ignorance of traditional system and influence of market economy behind it has been a debate as to why and how the system could integrate with modern knowledge. Unlike the Chuktia Bhunjias, other farming communities have been practising similar kinds of systems, if not exact, using agro-forest-based materials in agricultural production. As mentioned earlier, the CBDA is running various development schemes and programmes for the socio-economic development of the Chuktia Bhunjias. The programmes, particularly to agricultural development, are related to provision of hybrid paddy distribution, cash crops cultivation, distribution of harvesting machine, chemical fertilizers and so on. But the Chuktia Bhunjias hardly accept the encouragement of using chemical fertilizers and mechanized technologies. Thus, it is not the merits of traditional agricultural practice behind the preference of the Chuktia Bhunjias to continue with the traditional system rather than the life experience of the people with local system and ecosystems.

Shifting cultivation is one of the important economic activities of the Chuktia Bhunjias. The sharing of common land and labour between families makes their activity more economical. It is important to mention that living in a multi-caste village with some proportion of non-tribals, the Chuktia Bhunjias hardly found sharing their labour with them (non-tribals). It explains their decision regarding their networking of social relationships, which is unbiased with non-tribal exploitation. The Chuktia Bhunjias, staying with nontribals, who are said to have migrated to the sanctuary during the 1970s, gradually following them agriculturally, found due to forest laws and stagnant landholding (due to a ban on land encroachment). So with limited land, they have been adopting a settled form of agriculture. In this context, looking at the traditionally practised shifting cultivation, the degree and range of shifting cultivation has declined among them, which the Chuktia Bhunjias claim to be subsistence in nature. Again, given the justification of traditional agricultural practice of the Chuktia Bhunjias, particularly to shifting cultivation, if we compare it with the agricultural practice of nontribals in the sanctuary, including that of the methods and technologies they use, these differ from each other. For example, when the tribals practise it, they try to control soil erosion and enhance soil fertility by means of mulching, in which they use different tree species and grasses, which makes them economical. On the other hand, the same practice by non-tribals is done by the cementing method. Similarly, the use of chemical fertilizer in mechanized agricultural practice destroys the crops and creates new diseases and such practice is clearly opposed to the use of organic manure and natural pesticides that automatically enhance soil fertility. Critically, the banning of shifting cultivation in the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, particularly after the declaration of this sanctuary as ‘tiger project’, has violated the Forest Rights Act, 2006, of central government. Instead, it is reported that the forest department mandated people living in core areas to leave and settle in existing revenue villages in buffer zone areas. In this process, apart from the Chuktia Bhunjia community, the Paharias could be more affected, who completely reside in the core zone of the sanctuary. Thus, such kind of an attempt by the government only empowers the forest department rather than the indigenous tribal and forest dwellers. The Forest Rights Act, 2006, which envisages preserving the culture of indigenous and tribal people, is not only violated by such intervention but also causes the decline of traditional knowledge systems, particularly of ecological knowledge. More importantly, given the importance of traditional agricultural knowledge on enhancing soil fertility and food production, the paradoxical question may arise as to why hunger and malnutrition are largely reported from tribal areas? To this fact, hunger and malnutrition are not necessarily linked with food production, rather than the intake of nutritious food that could perhaps only be ensured by the government through different pro-poor nutritious services, in particular, and the capability of income-generating opportunities. The successive agricultural policies talk much about the land reform, land distribution, cash cropping, adaptation of mechanized agricultural technologies and so on but various studies show that it would help if we preserve traditional agricultural system due to its highly ecological value. In

this line, when we deal with agrarian crisis links with increasing farmer suicide, it is only the stagnanation or failure of agricultural production due to monsoon and climate change to which the traditional methods sustainably challenge the causes. Thus, such kinds of agricultural practice enhance sustainable food security. Given traditional agriculture as a way to challenge food insecurity and ecological deterioration or biodiversity conservation, or the challenge to growth and capital formation, it is hardly reckoned by policymakers and rather viewed as ‘unscientific’. Even the successive agricultural policies do not cover the whole gamut of knowledge systems inherent among tribals. For example, the review of new agricultural policy, particularly in Odisha, shows that it aims at enhancing productivity of major crops, shifting the emphasis from ‘subsistence’ agriculture to profitable commercial agriculture and facilitates long-term investment in agriculture by public and private sectors and by public–private partnership ventures, particularly in the post-harvest management, marketing, agro-processing and value addition (Government of Orissa, 2010–2011, p. 80). Any attempt by policymakers can help in integrating such knowledge with modern knowledge so that the tribal stakeholders can benefit out of it, particularly given the lack of market access of their knowledge. The sharing out of it can enhance their livelihood strategies. However, the question of complete devastation of such knowledge is still raised among the critics on the question of anticipating and identifying potential benefits to be accorded to the tribals. To conclude, the traditional agricultural practice in fact help people in negotiating with the ecosystem, but gradually it has been neglected under the influence of modernization and globalization, particularly after the neoliberal period. This knowledge system has sustainably been providing tribal people a way of livelihood in the form of food and in food security matters. The inherent traditional knowledge, including that of agricultural knowledge, has helped people maintain their livelihood resources and ecosystem in a sustainable way. Besides, the successive agricultural policies fail to recognize such valuable knowledge that needs to be a policy challenge. Thus, keeping ecological deterioration and climate change in mind, such kinds of knowledge systems can be adopted in order to challenge the vulnerability of food production and to conserve biodiversity and natural resources. It is because ‘growth’ and the capitalistic model of development cannot solve the problem of inequality and vulnerability. It can only be linked to the market economy. Unlike the Chuktia Bhunjias, there may be many communities practising such kind of agriculture, if not exact. So policymakers must be aware of such practices during formulating any agricultural policy that not only help the agricultural communities, including tribals, in preserving their cultural practice and value but also help them grow food in a more ecological way. It can only make any agricultural policy successful. Finally, given the decline of such knowledge, due to the influence of outsiders, there is a need to integrate the knowledge system with the modern knowledge so that the local people can be benefited in the form of getting a share from it that in turn can make their life sustainable.


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* Social Change, Vol. 42, No. 2, 2012.

Chapter 7

Socio-cultural Life of Trans-border Tribes* A Case Study of the Baites Chungkhosei Baite

INTRODUCTION Tribes of Indo-Burma are not a homogeneous entity even though their sociopolitical and cultural life may appear simple, uncomplicated and monotonous. There are nuances that characterize the distinctive identity of a tribe and different ways in which its organized polity is mediated in social and cultural spaces. At the onset of modernization and formation of democratic institutions, introduction of science and technology, modern methods of transport and communication, certain trends could be discerned among the tribes. First, despite a distinct desire for assimilation and integration, inter-tribal feuds and contests intensified and there seemed to be an enhanced awareness of self vis-à-vis the other. Second, fear of their distinct identity getting submerged prompted many minor tribes to resist assimilation, especially with the majority tribes, especially the group/community with which they might have shared same food habits, customs and rituals, similar form of dialect or speech and even the same ancestry. Thus, many trans-border tribes have continued to assert their distinctiveness by clinging to their primordial practices and, lately, through rediscovery of past with new vigour. These developments also pose a question about whether the European categorization, standardization and subsuming of many small tribes as part of a major tribe are the cause of contemporary conflict among the tribal communities. Alternatively, the continuance of inter-tribe conflict may be a reflection of the inherent human desire for domination as characterized by Thomas Hobbes (1651). It is in this context that an effort has been made here to understand the sociocultural life of a small tribe—the Baites. The chapter intends to throw light on this largely unexplored tribal group and study the distinct character

of the Baites vis-à-vis neighbouring, trans-border tribes.

SOCIOCULTURAL LIFE OF THE BAITES The Baites are among the least known hill tribes struggling to maintain their distinct identity, culture, custom and tradition. They are scattered in the provinces of Assam, Manipur and Mizoram in north-eastern states of India and parts of Sagaing and Chin provinces of Myanmar (Singh, 1995). The term ‘Baite’ is a combination of two words ‘Bai’ and ‘Te’: Bai means one who ‘could not walk properly’ and Te is the plural form for people. There are several legends behind how the tribe came to be known as Baite. One such fable is that the Baite was originally called Khokuan (Baite, 2000). The legend behind this is that once a man named Khokuan with some others followed a swine in the jungle. While trying to catch the swine, Khokuan got his leg injured and could not walk properly. His companions started calling him Baite, that is, the one who limps. Another fable is that the original term for the Baite was Paote who, along with his brother, went to pluck figs from a tree. Near the fig tree grew a thorn locally known as vakolling. The thorn pierced his leg and Paote could not climb the tree. Hence, his brother started calling him Baite. Since then, Paote’s successors came to be known as Baite.

Family Structure The Baite society is basically structured around 12 clans and a numbers of sub-clans and lineage. The 12 clans are as follows: Meilhai, Thangthiem, Phungkhawl, Thenhlung, Thenchong, Kholsong, Kholngul, Kholphut, Thagsei, Singul, Ngulnun and Lheisung. Thus, the Baite society is, in essence, an enlarged family, which is similar to Rousseau’s formation of society as the family enlarged (Rousseau, [1895] 1762). Family forms the nucleus of everwidening circle of community and the community has its beginning in a specific household where a man dwells with his kin. In fact, there was no distinction between the idea of family and that of a community among the Baites. The Baite community has a hierarchically arranged social relationship and power structure. Each clan professes to trace its descent through male line and to a common ancestor, whereas the female line is absorbed into the clan of her husband’s descent at marriage. In the Baite joint family, daughters are expected to perform domestic chores under the supervision of mother, and sons are supposed to ensure family security under the leadership of the father. The idea of this socio-economic tie underlines the principles of the filial relationship between the sisters with the mother and sons with the father. This family–society bond is extended to embrace the filial relationship between clans in the tribal society at large. The social structure is thus determined by the filial relationship between the son group called Be or UlehNau and the daughter group called Chanute. The son group or Be group is made up of male brothers along with the paternal male cousins. This is similar to what H. Kamkhenthang describes as Thalloh group and the daughter group or Chanute comprising the married sisters along with the married female cousins from the paternal side. This group

can be described as son-in-law group. A given family is also related to another social group Pute. Pute is the term by which the son groups of mother’s family lineage are called. Reciprocally, the mother’s family members call the children Tute. So the Tute group is a social group with the daughter group from different descent groups. To summarize, the paternal relatives of mother of a household are grouped into Pute category. These relatives are collectively called Sung leh Pu. In the same grouping, the paternal relatives of father of the household are collectively called Beleh Phung. The group made up of the paternal female cousins is referred to as Tuleh Maak (Kamkhenthang, 1998). These are to be called familial relatives. The social life of a Baite family is thus interrelated and interdependent on these familial networks or relatives.

Laws of Inheritance Every society has its own law of inheritance. In the Baite society, rules of inheritance are ultimo geniture, that is, the youngest son inherits the property of father. But the youngest son cannot inherit chieftainship among the Baites. Usually, chieftainship is taken by the eldest son because the eldest son is believed to be more efficient in the village administration than the youngest. If the eldest son happens to be mentally challenged or deficient in ascribed qualities, then chieftainship is handed over to the next eldest son. If the father has no son, the right of inheritance is transferred to the nearest male relatives. A woman does not have the right to inherit paternal property among the Baites.

Matrimony Traditionally, the Baites follow clan exogamy while fixing marriage. Marriage within the same clan is strictly prohibited in the Baite society. If a man marries a girl from his own clan, he is banished from the village. The marriageable age for both boys and girls are 21 years and 18 years, respectively. Child marriage is not accepted among the Baite community. There are different kinds of acquiring a mate among the Baites. Mutual consent preceded by courtship is one mode. Another is through elopement. In case of marriage by consent, the boy approaches the girl’s parents by conveying his willingness to marry the girl through his friends. The girl too expresses her willingness to her parents through her friends, in order to marry the boy of her choice. If the girl’s parents agree to the proposition, the guardians of both the boy and girl will hold a meeting for fixing the date of marriage and thus marriage is solemnized. In case of elopement, the parents or relatives of the boy immediately have to go to the house of the girl to give the news of elopement. This helps in lessening the worry and anxiety of the girl’s parents about the safety and whereabouts of their daughter. For this, the parents of the boy or his relatives will carry a jar of Zu (local wine) as offering to the parents of the girls. This event is called Kiphon, meaning self-declaration of the responsibility. A formal negotiation then commences with the parents or relatives of the boy offering apologies to the parents of the girl. A request is made to condone the mistake committed by their son and ask

for the hand of the daughter. If the girl’s parents agree, another day is fixed for further negotiation. The practice of elopement, though commonplace among many tribes, has certain stigma attached to it. Among the Baites, in the event of elopement, parents of the boy have to pray to the girl’s parents so that their family and son can be absolved of the guilt of bringing a bad name to their daughter and family. Besides formal apologies, parents of the boy have to bring one jar of Zu along with one Mithun as a penalty for the ‘misdeed’ of their son. The Mithun is killed and the negotiation for the bride price and the manner in which the price is to be paid proceeds and feast called Sumtan Khao follows (Gangte, 1993). A further date is fixed in which the boy’s parents should come with the bride price. On this day, the boy’s parents come with the bride price and a jar of Zu meant for their prospective daughter-in-law. This is called Ki InLut, that is, apology and surrender before the girl’s parents for the mistake committed. Until this obligation is performed, the marriage is considered not perfect. Premarital sexual relationships are tolerated among the Baites community, though such attachments often eventually lead to marriage. But if such relationships are not approved of by the parents, they can be broken off. In such an event, the parents of the boy go to the house of another girl requesting her to be their daughter-in-law. Sometimes lovers elope and marry against the wishes of their parents. Such incidents may create transient indignation, but are usually resolved amicably after the birth of a child. On a number of occasions, young couples merely take refuge in the homes of family friends who look after them until a compromise is arrived at between the parents. Polygamy and polyandry are strictly prohibited in the Baite society. The Baites prefer matrilineal cross-cousin marriage (MCCM), that is, among the Baites, a boy has to marry his mother’s brother’s daughter and such norms are strictly followed. This type of marriage is arranged by the parents of the boy and the girl and is locally called as Chongmou. Sometimes a man is forced to marry a woman due to premarital pregnancy. Such marriage is called Jolgai.

Bride Price Marriage is fixed through payment of bride price among the Baites. The bride price can range from two to three Mithuns for an ordinary woman and anything up to 10 Mithuns in case the bride is the daughter of the chief and for daughters of the royal families. In addition to Mithun, Lutom (turban) for the girl’s father and Laisui, traditional cloth for the mother, are given on the day of wedding but these items are not counted as bride price. The Lutom and Laisui have a profound symbolic significance in the Baite marriage ceremony. Lutom symbolizes wiping the sweat of the father, while Laisui signifies patience of the mother at time of delivering a child. Between married and unmarried women, it is difficult to make a distinction by way of attire as is possible among certain other tribes.

Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce can be initiated by either party. The reasons for divorce could be sterility in either of the partners, maladjustment, cruelty, impotency, chronic disease, insanity and so on. If the wife seeks divorce, her father has to refund the bride price to the husband. This system is called Man Le. If the husband seeks divorce, he simply gives ₹40 to his wife and takes her back to natal home. This procedure is called Da Man. However, the husband does not pay Da Man at the time of divorcing the wife who committed adultery. The children are the liabilities of the father after divorce. Remarriage of widows and widowers is permitted, but a widow who has children and continues to stay in her late husband’s house cannot marry. However, a widow who has no children is permitted to remarry after first returning to her father’s house.

Adultery Adultery is as an extremely serious offence and the Baite society imposes strict punishment for such offence. If a married woman commits adultery while living with her husband or during the period of mourning in the case of his death or while still living in her husband’s house, she stands socially discredited and becomes a Zawng (adulterer). The magnitude of penalty differs in the aforementioned circumstances. Adultery committed by a woman while her husband is still alive deserves more severe punishment than adultery committed after the death of the husband. However, extreme caution is exercised while making such judgements. If a husband alleges his wife to have committed an act as Zawng but the allegation later proves to be false, he is bound to take her back or he has to divorce her with all its consequences.

Pregnancy Taboo When a woman becomes pregnant, she is prohibited to eat certain taboo food such as crabs, meat of bear, meat of guinea pig and banana. Husbands of pregnant women are prohibited from killing snakes, making ropes and cutting of Sukto (mortal stick). It is popular belief among the Baite society that if pregnant women and husbands of such women do not abstain from such things, the foetus would ‘dissolve into liquid’ or child would be born deformed.

Childbirth and Naming System When a child is about to be born, a village midwife prepares clothes for the child and the man prepares a sharp-edged bamboo blade, though steel blades are more frequently used nowadays, for severing the umbilical cord. The belief among the Baites is that ‘evil spirits’ torture a newborn child. Therefore, as soon as the child is born, a temporary name is given so that the evil spirit, that is, Ramhuai may not harm the child. Thus, a temporary name is given to a child at the time of birth. After two weeks, a permanent name of the child is given and after another week, the ceremony of Nao Zuneh (serving Zu) in the name of the newborn child is performed.

Death and Funeral Ceremony Death is a part of life, though there are different ways of bidding farewell to the departed. When somebody dies in the Baite family, the body is cleaned with warm water before burial. After washing the body, it is kept inside a bamboo basket called Sanglai and tied at Sutkhom (the main pillar of the house) for half an hour before taking out for burial. After all these rituals have been duly performed, the body is buried in the courtyard of the house. Before extricating the corpse from Sanglai for burial, the men stand in two rows by holding one stick each and strike the surface of the house with the accompanying chant of du, du, du, du, ra, ra, ra, ra and ru, ru, ru, ru (Baite, 1978). After this, the body is allowed to be carried out and burial is performed. This is done so that the spirit of the man may ‘go to Pial Gal (heavenly abode)’ without any trouble or obstacle. The dead are buried with their clothes and other belongings. In case a hunter is dead, the body will be buried along with the skulls, horns or bones of the animals he killed during his lifetime and is paid a great honour. A gunshot is fired before placing the body inside the burial pit, if the deceased is the chief of a village among the Baite society. Usually at the time of death, animals such as Mithun, cow, pig or dog depending on wealth of the deceased, are slaughtered for mortuary feasts. This is called Kosa. All the relatives of the deceased participate in the mortuary feast. The Baites categorize death into two types —Thise and Thipha (bad death and good death). When a person dies due to old age or due to natural diseases such as TB and Malaria, it is called Thipha and when a person dies accidentally or unnaturally, it is called Thise. The body in the case of Thipha is buried in the courtyard of the house but the Thise are buried outside the village.

Social Feasts The Baites have variety of feasts and festivals such as Sa-aih, Chang-aih and Kuts. Sa-aih is performed when a hunter kills big animals such as tiger and elephant. The big kills are a cause of great pride and call for great celebration. The ability to kill an elephant is equated with virility/masculinity among the Baite. Among the birds, skills to kill hornbill is prized and such killing would be celebrated with a Sa-aih ceremony which raises a man’s social status. When a cultivator produces surplus crops, such as paddy, maize, bajra, yam and canes, gods who blessed such yields are appeased with by performing a ceremony called Chang-aih (victory over crops). The purposes of performing such functions are to please the gods and acknowledge gratitude to the providence. In all these feasts, Zu is heavily consumed.

Festivals The festivals of the Baites revolve around Jhum (shifting cultivation) and are closely connected with similar agriculture activities. The Baites have four main festivals: (a) Anthah Kut, (b) Chavang Kut, (c) Mim Kut and (d) Pawl Kut. These festivals or the Kut are in one way or the other, associated with jhum. The practice of jhum or slash and burn mode of cultivation is a primitive method of growing crops for subsistence. To cultivate crops under

jhum, first the forest has to be cleared and leaves of the trunks, and bushes and trees are left to dry for burning. After the leaves and dead trunks are burnt, the ashes collected from this are used and these act as manure for various crops. 1. Anthah Kut: The Anthah Kut is usually celebrated in the month of July when the first vegetables grown in the jhum land such as maize, pumpkin, and papaya are ready for harvest. This celebration marks harvesting of the first seasonal crops and fruits after a longs and hard labour in the fields. Every household in the village brings the first yield of the season in the house of the chief and shares drinks together. 2. Chavang Kut: This festival is performed in celebration of marking the sprouting of plant or crops in the jhum clearing and to appropriate the providence who blessed it. The festival is celebrated with consuming vast quantities of Zu with singing, dancing and merrymaking. The celebration takes place in the month of August or September every year. 3. Mim Kut: This festival is normally celebrated during the month of August and September after the harvest of maize is over. The festival is celebrated with great fanfare, by drinking Zu, singing, dancing and feasting. There is a touch of solemnity about this festival—it is observed in the spirit of thanksgiving. It is also dedicated to the memory of the departed souls (Verghese & Thangzawma, 1997). A small portion of year’s first harvest is concentrated and offered at the Songdoh or platform built in memory of the departed souls of the community. 4. Pawl Kut: This is thanksgiving festival of the Baites celebrated during December after the annual harvest is done. Pawl Kut is by far the greatest Kut celebrated in the spirit of perfect happiness, with plenty of grain in their barn and all the labour of the year over. Pawl Kut is held with great enthusiasm with lots of singing, dancing and community feasting.

Bachelor Dormitory (Sawm) The Baites have the traditional institution of bachelor dormitory called Sawm. Usually, one house is selected in the village for lodging. The selection of Sawm or dormitory is based on the presence of a daughter in the family. A family without any girl cannot be selected for Sawm. During the night, all the young boys of the village sleep in the house of a Sawm. The young ladies of the house will offer smoke and Zu (traditional liquor) to the young men lodged in their house. The young men usually work together during daytime under the leadership of a chosen Sawmlamkai (dormitory leader; The Sangai Express, 2001). In Baite dialect, Sawmlenphat, that is, time for going to Sawm is a reference to night-time. The boys in the Sawm have to offer free and compulsory service to the village. Although the main purpose of this organization is to defend the village from external attacks, in peacetime, they render every possible service to the village community. Moreover, it is an organization for recreation of the young boys. In the Sawm, younger boys are taught to be responsible and perform various kinds of duties. Stories are told by the elder members and

sometimes topics ranging from women to war are discussed. Young boys learn many things from the older group. They also learn social custom and manners. Hence, the Sawm serves as an institution of learning, discipline and other essential qualities necessary for a man in future life.

Clothing and Attire Different tribes of Indo-Burma border have a variety of costumes. The Baites are no exception. The Baites have colourful costumes and ornaments distinct from many other tribes. The Baite men wear Ponza (a small cloth) on their shoulder down to the thigh. The elderly man wear piece of cloth about 2.5 yards in length, black in colour called diel, an armless shirt called Boitong Sangkhol. They also wear Lukop (Turban). The Baite women wear Nihsan (a distinctive skirt red in colour) down the knee and wear a short shirt (Sangkholbanchom). The Baite women usually wear their hair long which is parted into two bunches tied with threads or ribbon. They also wear a distinct and peculiar headdress called Luongkop, which is not used by women of any other tribes, made of Longchang (white breads). It is said that Luongchang was discovered by Helneh Baite on the bank of the river Tuikang (Chindwin River in Burma) on a hunting expedition. Since then, the Baite women have been using it as an ornament and it has gradually occupied the position of traditional headdress. This decorative headgear shows the distinctness of the Baite women from women of other tribes such as Thadous, Zos, Mizos, Gangte and many others. It is a distinctive mark of the Baites. The Baite women also wear peculiar earrings called Biltung which is not worn by the women of other tribes.

Differences of Baite Community from Other Neighbouring Tribes Subsumed as a branch of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo, it may appear that the Baites are no different from the dominant groups. Nevertheless, there are many nuances in the social and cultural life of Baites that distinguishes them from other groups. The distinctive characteristics of the Baites are manifest in their social and cultural life, laws of inheritance, institution of bachelor dormitory, child naming system, costumes, etc. Variations or differences with other tribes are visible in each of these categories. Unlike among trans-border tribes such as Zos, Paite, Thados, Vaipheis, Gangtes where inheritance goes to the eldest son, the youngest son in the family inherits the father’s property among the Baites. Almost all trans-border tribes such as the Chins, Kukis, Mizos and the Nagas have a traditional institution of bachelor dormitory where the entire young group in the village spends the night. The Baites too have institution of bachelor dormitory. The name of bachelor dormitory is different from tribe to tribe. The Mizos call it Zawlbuk, the Nagas refer to it as Murum and the Baites call it the Sawm. The nature of the institution of bachelor dormitory (Sawm) is also different from tribe to tribe. For example, Zawlbuk in Mizo society is usually constructed or built at the centre of the village. Unlike the Mizos, the Baites have no separately constructed or built bachelor dormitory or lodging house for the young boys.

Every tribal community in Northeast India and neighbouring Myanmar has a child naming system. The Naga tribes have a different system of naming the newborn. Among the Zeliangrong community, the newborn child is named after the name of deceased forefather or a person who is on their deathbed. Among the Mizos, the newborn is named according to the choice of the parents or family members. But unlike the Mizos and the Naga tribes, the name of the newborn is necessarily after the name of the grandfather among the Baites. The firstborn son of a family is named after his parental grandfather among the Baites. Conversely, the firstborn daughter of a family is given the name after her grandmother. The third and fourth children take the name of maternal grandparents, or they may as well be named after some other person close to the family. When a child is given a name, the last syllable of grandfather or grandmother or any other person’s name is taken as the first syllable of the child’s name. An example of the naming system may be shown in the following manner, from which genealogical tree of the family could be easily constructed. Onjang Kholngul is one of the progenitors of the senior most Kholngul clan, called the family of Namehan or Namehanpa among the Baites. Onjang gives birth to Semngam and Lalchung. Semngam begets a son who is named after the grandfather of the child whose name is Onjang. Thus, from Onjang, the grandson is named Janglal, taking the last syllable from the name Onjang. Jang being the last syllable of the name of the grandfather of the child, the name becomes the first syllable of the name of the grandson. So the grandson is named Onjang, Janglal. Now, Janglal has a son who is named after his grandfather, Semngam. Taking the last syllable of Semngam, the grandson is named Ngamkithang. Again, Ngamkithang has a son who is named after his grandfather Janglal, thereby taking the name Lalchung. The distinction of the Baites from other communities may also be noticed in their system of divorce. Divorce cannot be initiated by the woman among many other tribes. For example, among the Thado tribe, the women have no right to initiate divorce. Among the Baite society, the woman has the ultimate right to initiate divorce. If the husband seeks divorce, he simply gives ₹40 to his wife and takes her back to parental home. Among the Thado-Kuki and other neighbouring tribes, if the husband seeks divorce, he pays the amount according to the demand of the wife’s parents.

CONCLUSION The study brings out the differences of the Baite tribe from other neighbouring tribes such as Hmars, Paites, Chins, Thados, Vaipheis, Zos and other larger community by examining their existing sociocultural practices. The Baite tribe has resisted assimilation from other larger communities and maintained their distinct identity by clinging to their primordial sociocultural practices.


Baite, J. (1978). A brief history and culture of the Baites of Manipur (Unpublished MA dissertation). Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre of Post-Graduate Studies. Baite, J. (2000). An ethnographic study of the Baites in Manipur and its rel​evance to evangelizing and disciplining them (Unpublished BD thesis). Union Biblical Seminary. Gangte, T. S. (1993). The Kukis of Manipur: A historical analysis. Gyan Publishing House. Hobbes, T. (1651). Leviathan. Clarendon Press. Kamkhenthang, H. (1998). The Paite. Mittal Publication. Rousseau, J. J. ([1895]1762). The social contract (Trans. H. J. Tozer). Swan Sonnenschein. Singh, S. K. (1995). People of India Mizoram: An anthropological survey of India. Seagull Books. The Sangai Express (2001). Local daily, Imphal, p. 4. Verghese, C. G., & Thangzawma, R. L. (1997). A history of Mizo (Vol. I). New Delhi: Vikash Publishing House.

* Social Change, Vol. 42, No. 2, 2012.

Chapter 8

Indigenising Christianity* Politics of Conversion among the Sumi Naga Avitoli G. Zhimo

INTRODUCTION In my hometown, right in its heart, two huge pillars with animistic motifs proudly stand. Certain motifs such as flab of meat, woman’s breasts, sun and moon are carved on the pillars. These motifs are representations of wealth, abundance and generosity, which were of utmost importance during animistic days. A beam above the pillars reads ‘Celebrating Hundred years of Christianity’. This particular inscription reflects an attempt to retain cultural identity despite the changes incurred due to conversion to Christianity. According to David Mosse ([1986] 1994, p. 85–107) and Rowena Robinson (1998), the role of Christianity as a religion was either insignificant or irrelevant and the people adapted Christianity to their needs rather than adapted themselves to it. When Christianity was able to fit into the people’s pre-existing value system and their traditional religiosity, only then conversions took place (Kim, 2003, p. 3). Torkel Brekke (2003, p. 182) regards conversion as a Western idea; Paul’s1 conversion on the road to Damascus being the central leitmotif paradigm of conversion. Conversion is a form of passage, a ‘turning from and to’ that is neither syncretism nor absolute breach (Austin-Broos, 2003, p. 1). It negotiates a place in this world. It is a quest to be at home in a world experienced as turbulent or constraining or as wanting in value. The passage of conversion is a passage to some place rather than no place. It is a quest for habitus rather than utopia. Clarke (2003, p. 288) had argued that conversion is a dynamic process; one in which the difference of the embraced world vision is assembled consciously and collectively in the spirit of a hope that lies in the future but which also impinges sporadically, though concretely, in the historical present. The interplay between religion and identity has been focused increasingly by

anthropologists over recent years (Austin-Broos, 2003, p. 1). It has been more than 100 years of Christianity among the Naga tribes of Nagaland. Their animistic rituals are long gone; traditional artefacts are fast disappearing and the whole social organization is undergoing drastic transformation. With the coming of Christianity and most of the Naga tribes embracing it, a new political identity emerged that led to the feeling of being different from the rest of India, and the rest is history. Apart from political aspirations, the people realized that their cultural identity is under threat. This chapter deals with how the question of identity is linked with the conversion process and how people aspire to retain their cultural identity despite conversion to Christianity.

HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE SUMI NAGA The north-eastern part of India has seen the maximum Christian missionary activities. Within a span of a century, the spread of Christianity has been rapid, especially in the states of Mizoram and Nagaland (Bhatia, 2010, p. 169; Zhimo, 2011). What is so fascinating about Christianity that it captivated different Naga tribes and eventually to conversion? If we consider the early history of the Sumi Naga and focus our attention on the traditional beliefs and forms of worship, and how these changes have come about, we can catch a glimpse of the changing psyche of the people. The Sumi were popularly known as Sema. The word ‘Sema’ is derived from the Angami Naga word ‘seme’, the meaning of which is not definitely known. But the Angami used to call the Sumi people as Seme, which was gradually fabricated into Sema. Thus, the other Naga tribes also started using the word ‘sema’ to identify the community and this nomenclature became an accepted name for calling the Sumi. But to the Sumi the word ‘sema’ is meaningless. So in the late 1990s, the Sumi Hoho passed a resolution against the use of the name Sema in place of Sumi. The Government of Nagaland accepted this resolution, and they are now known as Sumi (Zhimo, 2011). The first converts among the Sumi Naga were not directly preached to by any American Baptist Missionary. The gospel came from two different directions. Sumi Naga are mostly located in the heart of Nagaland. They were influenced by the Angami Naga from southern side and by the Ao Naga from the western side. The Angami Naga had mission centre at Chozuba where American missionary Rev. S. W. Rivenvurg was stationed. Along with him, there were two Angami Naga evangelists. It is learnt that these two evangelists preached the Christian gospel to the nearby Sumi Naga villages like Ighanumi. The first Sumi Naga to be converted and baptized started preaching to other Sumi villages. This was in the early part of the 20th century (Yeptho, 1978). On the other hand, around 1906, the American missionaries stationed at Impur,2 Rev. J. R. Bailey and Rev. R. B. Longwell were finding it difficult to minister to Sumi villages. They even took the help of Ao Naga converts to reach out to nearby Sumi villages but in vain. They were frustrated at the fruitless pursuit of missionary works in the Sumi Naga area. However, they also realized that Sumi Naga were not easy to be convinced. The Sumi people look up to their hereditary chiefs as their mentor, guide and their village

founder. Unlike the Ao Naga whose political system is democratic, the Sumi Naga had and still have a hereditary chieftainship system. The akukau (chief) of the village is the supreme command of the village. Unless the chiefs are converted, it was difficult to convert the villagers. The missionaries had to go through the chiefs in order to reach out to the villagers. It is also learnt that the Ao Naga missionaries never gave up. Eventually in 1920, a man from Settsu village (which shares a boundary with Ao villages) was the first to convert to Christianity. Slowly people started converting to Christianity. In those days, the rift between the converts and the followers of traditional religion became conspicuous. The new converts began to call themselves as ayekulumi (those who have accepted new faith) and those following traditional religion were labelled as jishomi (those who drink liquor). Drinking rice beer was part and parcel of the traditional religion. Initially, Christianity was bitterly opposed. Christian preachers were driven away from their villages and even those who remained were denied many facilities in the village. Meanwhile there was a very active Dobhasi3 by the name of Inaho Kinimi. He resisted Christianity and even went to the extent of taking permission from the then SDO4 of Mokokchung to make rules against conversion. Some rules are discussed in the following text. The village chiefs were forbidden to convert to Christianity; the penalty being cessation of the red blanket.5 In those days, an amount of ₹2 used to be collected as house tax by the British administrators; new converts were charged ₹3. Even after conversion, people were ordered to follow animistic rituals and ceremonies. Christian hymns and songs were banned from the village. The converts were forbidden to put up back door6 while constructing their house. Despite imposition of strict rules, people continued to convert and accept Christianity. In due course of time DB himself converted to Christianity. He was offered the position of Head DB but he refused and was baptized and went on to become an evangelist. He officially resigned as DB on 1 October 1927. Meanwhile his own laws caught up with him. When SDO challenged him, he threw his red cloth on the table and walked out never to return. After his conversion, it was learnt that large number of conversions took place among the Sumi Naga. After he became an evangelist, he was often misquoted and was imprisoned by the British administrators. On 18 February 1933, some jishomi alleged that he preached to a certain village that ‘One thread will tie the elephant’. The context of the statement was not known but the jishomi alleged that he meant the Americans will rule over the British. The then SDO was angry at him and he along with other two local missionaries were thrown into prison. Many problems arose between those who still held the faith of their forefathers and the new converts. All new converts were strictly forbidden to touch liquor in any form. It went to the extent of expelling their fellow Christians who indulged in drinking even after converting to Christianity. As a result of this, there arose a sharp division among the drinkers and nondrinkers now called Christians. Christians were asked to drink only tea. Rice beer was a popular drink among the Sumi before the advent of Christianity. The friction between the new converts and the non-converts continued. It was learnt that the Sumi missionaries were questioned whether it was right to accept bride price7 after conversion to Christianity. The

evangelists were of the opinion that as Christians, one should understand and love one another and should not burden others by claiming huge bride price. The Christians were then accused of going against Sumi customary law. Another problem arose over the ceremonies involving the whole village. The nonChristians insisted that everybody belonging to the village must observe the ceremony and nobody should violate the ceremony by leaving the village on that day. Again, regarding the village subscriptions, the Christians refused to subscribe to the sacrifices done for the propitiation of the spirits. This development led the Christians to believe that they were a different people who no longer had anything to do with ancient custom of any kind. They even went to the extent of deliberately offending the ancient sentiments leading to ceaseless quarrel. New converts, who were ordinary villagers till yesterday, started working as evangelists. They approached those who still held the faith of their forefathers, with an air of superiority and thus incurred the wrath of the elders of the village. Many of them did suffer at the hands of the village authorities who were still powerful as they were in a majority. The new converts, who had become pastors, evangelists, were very keen to baptize new converts and they promised too many miracles—that the poor would become rich, all sickness would be cured and that those who were barren would be blessed with children, if only they embraced Christianity.

ANIMISM TO CHRISTIANITY Why did Sumi give up their old religion and embrace Christianity? Why was the rate of conversion so fast? Furer-Haimendorf ([1939] 1946) explained the conversion movements among the Nagas in the mid-1930s, ascribing it to people being dazzled by the prestige of the white man and pouring in of huge amount of money by the Western missions to pay pastors and teachers. However, Frederick Downs (2003, p. 385) accused Haimendorf of Eurocentrism and claimed that in the 1930s, due to the impact of the Great Depression, no mission society was in a position to pour large amounts of money. In every discourse on conversion, I often hear scholars arguing how the Christian missionaries seduced or lured ‘simple’ people to convert to Christianity using humanitarian aids and material benefits. Notwithstanding their arguments, let us also examine other possible rationale behind the fast pace of conversion to Christianity as regards to the Naga tribes. The life of a Sumi Naga was full of superstitions and fears. The process of propitiation of fearful spirits was very costly and beyond the means of most people. On the other hand, lack of such appeasement always invited vengeance and calamities from the wild spirits. Against such background, the Christian message of freedom from fear, superstitions and, above all, from wild spirits did appeal strongly to the Sumi Naga mind. The poor villagers must have been fed up of the complex chine,8 which were unaffordable. Therefore, the religion that had no complex chine but promises of eternal life and free from fear must have appealed to the villagers. The people were told that there was a true God and they must worship and acknowledge

this true God (Sema, 1986). They must give up all their customary habits of drinking liquor, sexual laxity, stealing and, above all, headhunting. Instead, they must love one another and have faith in the Almighty God. They were told about the goodness of salvation here on earth. They were also told how God sent his son Jesus Christ to this world, who lived in this world and died on the cross to save mankind from their sins. Many genuinely believed in the truth of the gospel message. The most effective way of attracting the simple villagers to Christianity was by telling them about hellfire. All persons, who were not Christians, would be burnt forever in an eternal fire after their death. It was thus safer to become a Christian in order to secure oneself from the dangers of the hellfire. All Christians believed that the nonChristians were doomed to this terrible fate, and the non-Christians were naturally inclined to think that there might be some substance in it. In order to feed them with the gospel message and to strengthen the new converts, the Baptist missionaries engaged themselves in the translation of the Bible into the vernacular languages. Special attention was given to the translation of the New Testament, which dealt more with the life of Jesus Christ and his message of salvation. It was not a taboo for a Sumi to eat meat. Being able to slaughter cattle, pig and mithun —which is also known as gayal (Bos frontalis) was associated with power, status and wealth. Conversion to Christianity did not alter their food habits. They need not give up anything or start a new food habit except for drinking tea. Food habit of the Sumi in particular was never linked with social standings and purity, unlike the caste-based societies in India. In most of the villages, it was learnt that poor people were the first to embrace Christianity. One typical example was that of Shoipu village under Zunheboto district. In 1942, the Shoipu villagers accepted the gospel that was preached in the village. It was the poor people in the village who first accepted the gospel. During that time Khuishe of Chishilimi was one of the evangelists in that region. The poor people became Christians, yet they were not allowed to build their own church. Major problems crept in. There was division in the society. The converts were treated as outcasts. They were not allowed to join the working gang. The nonChristians refused to go to their fields. These problems arose because the converts had stopped practising rituals. They stopped taking the food or meat that was offered to the evil spirits for propitiation. When the other villagers were observing chine, there were certain acts and food, which they abstained from, but the converts did no more rituals and they were free to eat anything without any taboo. At this point of time, the then chief Ihoto Zhimo decided to convert into Christianity. He was the chief with many properties and lands. Ultimately, the villagers could not chase him away from the village. Thus, the converted villagers began to gather at the chief’s house and worshipped their new-found God. Conversion of a chief or a renowned figure was very crucial in inspiring others to follow suit.

TRANSFORMATION AND THEREAFTER The year 1903 was officially declared as the year of advent of Christianity in the Sumi area. It is now more than a century that the Sumi have accepted Christianity as their religion and it

has exerted a tremendous influence on their lives. The tribal cultures are more complex and profound than is usually assumed; however, they are also very fragile (Downs, 2003). In tribal societies like Sumi Naga, a distinction cannot be made between religious, social, cultural and political aspects of life. Any change in one aspect affects the others. In the sociopolitical life of the Sumi, social hierarchy based on royal blood has disappeared. If there be any social hierarchy in the society today, it will be of haves and have-nots. The village office is conspicuous by the absence of the subordinates of the chief such as Awou (Priest), Lapuu (Corpse burier), Amthau (the first person to reap the harvest who is ritually sanctioned by tradition) and Chochomi (village counsellor or chief helper). The priest is no more needed because of the emergence of Christian pastors; the counsellors or the envoys need not be the village’s envoy to other villages as all the Sumi villages have warmed up to Christianity and inter-village raid or war is the last thing on their mind. Corpse burier is no more needed as Christianity has rendered everyone equal; thus, digging the graves is more of a voluntary work that has been taken up by strong young men. The role of amthau is no more needed for the Christians to invoke blessings through prayer (Zhimo, 2005). Social hierarchy of the village, which consists of the chief, his subordinates, the subject and the orphans, bonded men and poor people, is completely absent. The chief has few village elders assisting him but they are now called members of the village council whose terms in the office are temporary. Chiefs of the present villages are not as powerful as in the bygone days. Villagers have accumulated wealth, thanks to the cash economy and employment opportunities, so much so that they are giving the chief a run for their money. The chief no more has labours bonded to him owing to the freedom call for slaves by the Christian missionaries. Chieftainship is also getting diluted due to the appointment of many chiefs for a village. A village has a minimum of two chiefs. Some have 4–5 chiefs. Chieftainship has been granted to any person whose forefathers played important role in the formation of the village. Most of the village chiefs reside in towns oblivious to the grievances of the villagers. Conflicts between the chiefs in the village are nothing new. In the present times, the status of a person is achieved. People are not bothered about the number of cattle or the numerous acres of land or chieftainship bloodline. More importance is attached to a person who has climbed up the ladder of academic success and is successful in other spheres of life too. His background whether his father was once a bondman or not is unnoticed. Some of the important characteristics of the Sumi tribe were once bondmen; if not them, their forefathers were. Social stratification that was supposed to have disappeared after conversion to Christianity is seen to be emerging in a new avatar. People with higher social standings are given better treatment in the church services. They are often being escorted to the front pews in the church Sunday services. The chairman of deacon board is always a person of influence rather than their spirituality. The society before the advent of Christianity was based on hierarchy. Christian missionaries preached against inequality and freedom from oppression. The masters, who had many

bonded men at their disposal, felt guilty after conversion to Christianity. The masters freed their bondmen from the bondage and were given freedom. With this new-found freedom, the bonded men could also pursue education and other luxurious aspects of life. Christian missionaries established schools in different parts of a district. With the introduction of schools, the Sumi language was developed and recorded using Roman script. The first school established by Christian missionaries was at Aizuto in the early part of the 20th century. Education led to proper awareness of health and sanitation requirements. Many of them have given up excessive drinking, which used to be the practice and the pride of their ceremonies and festivals. All evils connected with drunkenness were greatly reduced. However, towards the later part of the 20th century, it was observed that people have started drinking liquor that was imported from outside the state despite it being banned by the apex body9 of churches in Nagaland. The Sumi Christians also learnt that it is immoral and sinful to carry on any premarital or extramarital relationships. Marriages should be strictly solemnized and the family should be considered holy, respectful and should live in the love of God. Any couple wishing to get married must approach the church for permission to holy matrimony. Traditional weddings were replaced by Western ‘White wedding’. In the bygone days, before the advent of Christianity, there was no such marriage ceremony but only marriage processions with pomp and show. In the present context, marriage is solemnized according to the prescription of the Bible as well as the Western way of solemnization. Marriage ceremony is celebrated at the residence of the bride. The success of the wedding is attributed to the number of guests and the number of gifts received at the reception. The wedding dresses have drastically changed. Instead of the traditional wedding attires with strings of beads and ornaments and colourful clothes, the white wedding gown as worn by the Americans and the Europeans has captured the imagination of every marriageable youth. Every one, irrespective of their social standing, opts for white wedding. In a case or two, semi-traditional dresses have been used on wedding day. However, a roleplaying custom, which has been passed on across generations, continues despite the changes incurred in ceremony and personal adornments. Certain relatives of the bride are chosen to play the role of Apu (father), Aza (mother), Angu (uncle), Apeu (younger brother), Ani (aunt), etc., for the newly married couple. They are given gifts at the end of the wedding ceremony. Gifts could be cash or kind or both. The role of Apu is played by father’s brother, Aza—mother’s sister, Angu—mother’s brother, Apeu—bride’s brother and Ani— father’s sister. The role of these relatives is to look into the welfare of the newly-weds and to instruct them whenever necessary as well as to bind them together, whenever their marriage goes through ups and downs of life’s journey.

CONCEPT OF SOUL AND ITS CONTINUITY Before the advent of Christianity, the Sumi feared supernatural beings, at the same time, fascinated by the mystery of existence and tried to solve the same through animism. The

prototype of belief of the Sumi Naga reflects signs of being animistic in nature. They were ardent believer in the existence of soul or spirit in matter. It was viewed that there was some unseen spirit in a person, which made them speak, walk, breathe, eat, etc. Nevertheless, as soon as the unseen spirit left the body, a person was declared dead. They recognized the presence of an unseen power, which presided over their destiny and was entitled to obedience, reverence and worship. The beliefs of the Sumi Naga were expressed through their worship of nature and natural phenomenon and through their faith in the power of magic and of omens. The Sumi believed in the existence of soul of man. Hokishe Sema (1986) narrated that if a Sumi built a temporary shelter in the jungle or on the roadside during their journey, they would always burn it down before abandoning it. If this was not done, then it was feared that the soul of the traveller would linger on behind them in that temporary shelter and would eventually leave them, thereby causing their death. I as a youngster remember following my parents to agricultural field. By evening, they made sure that we offer a prayer to Christian God before heading home. They were apprehensive, lest the soul of anyone of us might be left behind. An 80-year-old woman by the name of Toli of Sheyipu village claimed to have been a stone bearer for rainbow. She converted to Christianity in the mid-1960s. She recollected that whenever a person fell sick after returning from fields or elsewhere, it was feared that their soul had not followed suit and hence the sickness. The relatives of the sick person would immediately take a rooster to the field or to the place from where the sick person had last been. The rooster would be killed at that particular place after which they would offer a share of the meat to the sick person’s soul and then they would eat up the rest. It was a taboo to carry home the leftover meat. Later, the oldest among them would then call out the sick person’s name loudly and request the person to follow them. They would then return home very slowly expecting the sick person’s soul to follow them. It was possible that the soul may be frightened on the way and may go back to the same place. Sema (1986) reported a story about one mischievous fellow who laid in wait for an acquaintance who had gone to the fields to call for the soul. As soon as the party approached the place, the man in ambush came out suddenly, beat the ground just behind the passers and shouted aloud. The frightened soul fled away again and the unfortunate body, deprived of its soul, died after a few days. The Sumi also believed in the immortality of the spiritual part of man and in metempsychosis—transmigration of souls. It was said that the disembodied spirit of a dead person could exist in various states. It was believed that a dead person’s soul lingered on in their house for months before leaving. It was also believed that the soul often assumed the shape of some bird like the kite. The bird is called the Kithimi Ghau, which means ‘the bird of death’. The soul of a dead person, on taking the form of a kite, flies off to a mountain near Wokha called Kithilato (the path to the hill of death). From this hill, the soul then passes off into another world, which is believed to be a celestial home for souls. The bird Kithimi Ghau was greatly revered and respected for obvious reasons. Whenever this bird appeared hovering over any house, the householders offered it rice and rice beer. After embracing Christianity,

the family of the deceased organizes a prayer called ‘akukho kighini’ (parting prayer) on the third day, thus severing bond with the departed soul. Instead of the soul departing for Kithilato mountain, the Christians believe that the believers depart for paradise, awaiting the Judgement Day. The traditional religion revolved around the spirits and the practices of sorcery. Tumumi (medium) also played important roles as they were supposed to be communicative with the unseen world. If a person wanted to talk to the soul of their loved one, it was done with the help of the medium. The soul of the deceased spoke to the person seeking them through the mouth of the medium. This kind of case was also reported even after conversion to Christianity. In spite of Christian beliefs, the people still believed that the souls linger behind and can be brought back after praying. Soul and sickness: In the late 1980s, Heshe (20) of Shoipu village was hospitalized at Guwahati. After the treatment, he returned to his village. He was, however, in a semiconscious state and his dreams were disturbing. In his dreams, he always carried his luggage trying to find his way out from the Guwahati hospital. His relatives realized that he had left his soul behind in the hospital. His brother-in-law travelled to the Guwahati hospital, opened its gate and called out Heshe’s name, asking him to follow him. The moment his brother-inlaw reached the village, he regained full consciousness and recovered. Soul and tears: Vinili was 14 years old when her soul was left behind at the picnic spot in the jungle. She had gone with her family and friends to celebrate New Year’s Day in an isolated but beautiful valley in the outskirts of Zunheboto town. She returned from the picnic but was sick for a long time. The doctors failed to diagnose her illness. Then a Christian prophetess was called for prayer. While praying, it was revealed to her that the girl’s soul has been left behind. The whole family and family friends were gathered there; they all started praying for the deliverance of the soul. The prophetess made known that the girl’s soul has come. The people then opened the doors and windows for the soul to enter. At last, the prophetess prophesized that the girl’s hands and legs are bound by rope, which requires the prayer of the mother to unbind it. The girl’s mother cried and prayed for the deliverance of the soul. The girl woke up fine as though she was only sleeping. In bygone days, rooster or eggs were offered to the evil spirits for the release of soul. In the present times, people believed that the prayer is far more powerful than any other force to bring the soul back from the clutch of evil spirit. In spite of the observance of new religion, which has completely different sets of principles and beliefs, the animistic trend seems to continue. Sacrificing animals, offering of fowls, egg and rice beer to propitiate evil spirits was very common in the traditional religion. Although the Sumi people claim that they have totally abandoned their traditional religion, the offerings made to the church strike some resemblance with the animistic propitiation. However, the motives are different. In the church, the firstborn cattle, fowl, egg, vegetables, pulses and grains are brought to the church as offering to the Christian God. The motive is to thank God for all the blessings. The comparison in Table 8.1 does not have much difference, rather they are intertwined.

Table 8.1 Comparison between the Traditional Religion and Christianity

Source: Author.

CONCLUDING REMARKS The Christian missionaries, who were mostly local people, preached against traditional ceremonies and festivals, linking them to anti-Christian acts. The house decoration with animal heads, which the Sumi valued as their trophies of valour, and the mithun horns, which were a symbol of their prosperity as well as objects of art, were almost destroyed. Even the woodcarvings on the pillars of their houses were burnt down. The weaving with conspicuous designs and colours and the dyeing of clothes and dresses for religious ceremonies were all dumped. Their beautiful ornaments of great artistic and human value, such as cowries, ivory, scarlet hair and hornbill feathers, were all burnt, as they were ornaments used for worshipping the spirits. The art of dancing and colourful social ceremonies were all given up. The result is that the beautiful art and culture of the Naga in general is under threat. In the past two or three decades, with the progress of formal education, the Sumi people have started to realize that they can still be Christians and, at the same time, retain their traditional material culture. That is how the welcome gate for the celebration of 100 years of Christianity had traditional motifs, thus burying the older perspectives of the Christian missionaries. In every Christian celebrations and conferences, the congregation is geared up in its best traditional colourful attires. Folk dances are now part of every opening act of any Christian programme. The Sumi Naga were closely attached to expressive institution in the pre-Christian days. All the festivals and ceremonies were marked with colourful dances and melancholic songs. Almost everyone knew how to dance and how to stretch their vocal chords while singing folk songs. Songs that are sung by the present generation are all inspired by the internationally renowned singers and musicians. The present generation takes advantage of advancement of information technology. For instance, the church has a praise and worship band whose songs are all imitation of the Hillsong Australia. Musical instruments such as piano, synthesizer, drum set, guitars, violin and saxophone are being used extensively. However, in the present context, folk dances and songs are being modified to suit the hearing taste of the young generation as well as maintain their cultural identity. The popular Sumi festivals such as tuluni and ahuna are marked by the colourful folk dances and melancholic folk songs and psalms. Different agencies are promoting cultural heritage by organizing special competitions on folk songs, music and dances. Young upcoming musicians have started fusing folk music with the Western genre not only to retain the traditional heritage but also to capture the international market. If the traditional religion had bonded the village community, then Christianity has united the whole tribe. It has brought different villages, different clans together under one umbrella. Relationship with other Naga tribes has also improved, owing to the reason of being fellow Christian brethrens. The cultural troupes from other Naga tribes are invited for different Sumi festivals. Their performances are warmly appreciated and, through these friendly gestures,

the relationship is strengthened. An autonomous tribe before, without much contact with other tribes, always locked in an inter-village warfare, could now identify themselves with not only other Naga tribes but also with the rest of the world due to the influence of Christianity. The new religious institution has its own constitution and policy. It is now an obligation for the church members to follow the constitution. Christianity is a force to reckon with, as regards the transformation of the Sumi society. It swept the people off their feet resulting into transformation of society. Certain traditional practices such as sexual laxity, multiple spouses, drinking rice beer and animistic rituals were condemned and prohibited after conversion to Christianity. However, certain customs related to kinship, marriage rules, traditional village governance, family relationships, consumption of meat, inheritance, decision-making, village and resource management, customary law,10 continued to function, though in a modified manner, within the Christian community. The continuation of traditional traits in Christianity reflects not only the society’s quest to retain its identity but also an unspoken strategy to fit Christianity to its pre-existing system.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The author is grateful to the Delhi University for the R&D grant.

NOTES 1. In Acts 22 of the Bible, Paul saw a powerful light and he heard the voice of Jesus Christ speaking to him. On this day, he was converted suddenly and dramatically. 2. Impur, a mission centre in the district of Mokokchung, Nagaland. 3. Dobhasi is an agency established by the colonial administrators to act as interpreters between the colonial rulers and the Naga people. 4. Subdivisional officer. In those days, the Naga Hills were under Assam. 5. Red blanket symbolizes the authority granted by the British administration. The British administrators distributed red cloth to all the village chiefs to mark their headship and authority. This trend still continues even after India’s Independence. 6. Back door is a must for every household in the olden days. 7. Sumi Naga are known for bride price. Marriage is a costly affair for the Sumi men, bride price of the Sumi girls being proverbially high among all the Naga tribes. The bride price depends on several factors. First, the family status: the higher the family status, the higher the bride price. The bride price of the daughter of a chief or a wealthy man was considered very high. Second, the working ability of a girl determined her bride price. If she was known for her hardworking habit, thrifty nature, amiable behaviour, which count for a good wife, then her price would also be high irrespective of her physical beauty. Marriage generally took place between the families of equal status. 8. Acts of worship have been spoken of as genna because there is no suitable English word that describes them and the word ‘genna’ though by derivation from the Angami kenna signifying ‘forbidden’ merely has become regularly used in the Naga Hills for the various incidents of a magico-religious rites (Hutton, 1921, p. 190). Instead of using the word genna, the Sumi vernacular word chine is being used. 9. The Nagaland Baptist Church Council banned liquor; the state of Nagaland endorsed it in the form of ‘The Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1990, 29 March’. 10. Certain traditional practices such as village governance and customary law could continue because of special provisions provided under Article 371A of the Indian Constitution.


Austin-Broos, D. (2003). The anthropology of conversion: An introduction. In A. Buckser & S. D. Glazier (Eds.), The anthropology of religious conversion (pp. 1–12). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Bhatia, L. (2010). Contradiction and change in Mizo church. In R. Robinson & J. M. Kujur (Eds.), Margins of faith: Dalit and tribal Christianity in India (p. 171). SAGE Publications. Brekke, T. (2003). Conversion in Buddhism. In R. Robinson & S. Clarke (Eds.), Religious conversion in India: Modes, motivations, and meanings (pp. 222–254). Oxford University Press. Clarke, S. (2003). Conversion to Christianity in Tamil Nadu: Conscious and constitutive mobilization towards a different symbolic world vision. In R. Robinson and S. Clarke (Eds.), Religious Conversion in India: Modes, motivations, and Meanings (pp. 321–350). Oxford University Press. Downs, F. S. (2003). Christian conversion movements in North East India. In R. Robinson & S. Clarke (Eds.), Religious conversion in India: Modes, motivations, and meanings (pp. 381–400). Oxford University Press. Furer-Haimendorf, C. V. ([1939]1946). The naked Nagas. Methuen and Company Limited Hutton, J. H. (1921). The Sema Nagas. Oxford University Press. Kim, S. C. H. (2003). In search of identity: Debates on religious conversion in India. Oxford University Press. Mosse, C. D. F. ([1986]1994). The politics of religious synthesis: Roman Catholicism and Hindu village society in Tamil Nadu, India. In C. Stewart & R. Shaw (Eds.), Syncretism/anti-syncretism: The politics of religious synthesis (pp. 85–107). Routledge. Robinson, R. (1998). Conversion, continuity and change: Lived Christianity in Southern Goa. SAGE Publications. Sema, H. (1986). Emergence of Nagaland: Socio-economic and political transformation and the future. Vikas Publishing House. Yeptho, N. (1978). Sema Baptist diamond jubilee Vesulho and Xughili 1904–1978 (souvenir and history of the Sema Baptist). Sumi Baptist Akukuhou Kuqhakulu. Zhimo, A. G. (2005). Cultural continuity and change among the Sumi Naga: An anthropological study (Unpublished MPhil dissertation submitted to the University of Delhi). University of Delhi. Zhimo, A. G. (2011). Sumi customary law and the state: The case of the Sumi of Nagaland (Unpublished PhD thesis submitted to the University of Delhi). University of Delhi.

* Social Change, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2015.

Section III

Change Sectional Introduction The last section of this volume is devoted to an understanding of social and cultural changes that have occurred in tribal societies because of endogenous and extraneous factors entailing from direct and indirect interventions of the state and civil societies. It is indubitably a complex process of change, as internally generated factors interact with those that flow from outside. However, it is likely, as has been shown in many studies, that the externally introduced changes may be summarily rejected by the recipient culture or may be modified (as has happened with Christianity in Northeast India) in accordance with the characteristics of the society. Thus, exteriorly introduced changes are made compatible with the existing social structure. Sometimes it has been seen that innovations may be modified beyond recognition; and, lastly, technical knowledge and appliances are accepted without any alteration and, in this case, society has to adapt to the technology thus borrowed by initiating in it the corresponding changes (Foster, 1973; Huizer, 1970). Change is as much a characteristic of social life as is its orderly persistence, Peter Worsley (1999) said. A society may appear to be ‘unchanging’; the same lifestyle may seem to persist for years as observations conducted on tribal societies in the past seem to support. The truth, however, is that all societies, notwithstanding the degrees of their complexity, continue to change, though they differ with respect to their relative pace of change. In tribal societies, change may be imperceptible, but not absent; and its speed gets enhanced when interaction between different societies intensifies, and the inertia of societies starts breaking up. A restudy of the same society after a lapse of time has been offered as a good method to gauge the quantum and the content of change (Burawoy, 2003). The first article included in this section is on intergenerational mobility in the case of the Konyak Nagas. It is generally said that the concept of mobility is extraneous to tribal communities, because mobility has no meaning in an egalitarian society like theirs. People are content with what they are, rather than what they would like to be in future. Moreover,

the avenues of upward mobility are absent till the time they are not in contact with the outside world. In their paper on the Konyak Nagas, Amenla Nuken and L. Ladusingh show that, with the advent of modernization and modern technology, traditional forms of social behaviour are being relegated to the back seat. Although the Konyaks still depend on agriculture, younger people are occupationally mobile. They prefer not to practice agriculture. The percentage of non-agricultural occupations has increased with modernization, and the younger generation is taking advantage of it. The study found that ‘most of the sons who moved away from their fathers’ occupations came from a farming background.’ Among the Konyaks, literacy has improved, which contributes to their higher educational mobility. The opportunities available to younger generations have expanded, and so they are able to climb up the hierarchy. However, better performance in literacy and education does not entail good job possibilities. One of the reasons for this is that the Konyak area does not have varied job opportunities or private sector enterprises. The influence of the family in this endeavour is moderate. Individualism has widened with these changes—the closed society is opening up, thus offering more chances for the integration of the Konyaks with the wider world. The next article in this section is on the Jharkhand Movement. Its author, Ram Dayal Munda, was an important political leader and tribal spokesperson, besides being an intellectual par excellence (Srivastava, 2012). In his paper, after giving a brief introduction to the emergence and antiquity of the Jharkhand Movement, Munda identifies four issues that have collectively caused it. The first is the alienation of land and forest resources. The transfer of tribal land to non-tribals (and absentee landlords) started right after the introduction of the laws of Permanent Settlement in 1793, and later the Sale and Rent Law of 1859. Although land alienation slowed down after the introduction of the Chota Nagpur Tenancy (Amendment) Act of 1903 and the Santhal Parganas Settlement (Amendment) Regulation of 1908, with the arrival of mining enterprises and industries, it increased persistently. Professor Sachchidananda once remarked in a seminar on tribal economy at Barkatullah University (Bhopal) in September 2006 that the ‘state with its unitary focus on material progress has been the greatest alienator of tribal land in independent India.’ The second factor is that the tribesmen were deprived of both their training skills and their jobs when their areas were opened to the outside world. The vacancies that came with the opening of new industries and power projects were allotted to outsiders, with tribal people not being considered even for unskilled jobs. The frustration of the tribes accentuated further when they found that while outsiders were pouring in for jobs and opportunities in Chota Nagpur, they were being forced to move away to far-off places (such as Assam and Punjab) for menial jobs. Further, the anger of tribals was boundless when they learned that ‘fake certificates’ of tribal status were being issued to outside non-tribal people, so that they could be considered for the jobs reserved for tribespersons. ‘Cultural submergence and degradation’ was another factor. Deforestation and unscientific mining devastated nature. The hierarchical notions of caste and class fast replaced the values

of egalitarianism and community feelings and solidarity. Industrial entrepreneurship made agricultural marginal. Local folklore and artistic pursuits were made to lose their charm. The aggregate outcome of this was that the tribal developed a ‘negative feeling for himself’. In Dhanbad, Ranchi and Jamshedpur, he came to be ‘branded as a lazy bum, good for nothing, drunk and criminal’. The last factor listed by Munda in his analysis is ‘unbalanced development’—the hilly areas of Chota Nagpur were provided with lesser opportunities for development by comparison to the northern plains areas. Striking differences between the two regions could easily be noted. In contemporary India, land alienation and displacement of people are inextricably connected. Earlier, before massive development projects were inaugurated in the country, once tribals lost their land, they continued to serve usurpers as their serfs, or moved to areas that seemed relatively free from the body of exploiters. Once mega-projects were founded, justified in the name of national interest (welfare of all), communities that had lost their land were constrained to move out of their traditional habitats to lead a life of insecurity, hunger and uncertainty. However, it was not in some cases the ‘surrender of a lamb for slaughtering’. In fact, the victims of development-induced displacement got together, initiating a lasting movement for the legal regulation of their rights over land and forests. The other demands of these movements were the return of the land appropriated for development work or its just compensation so that their lifeline would not be paralyzed. Compensation for loss of habitat, spoliation of water and soil was another demand. In the next paper, Binay Kumar Pattnaik gives an account of two micro-movements that resisted the mining-based heavy metal industries. An important aspect of Pattnaik’s paper is that it critically examines the politicization of the movements, which means that the movements come to be steered by one or the other political party or its factions. When this happens, violence is likely to exacerbate the situation. Pattnaik proposes a worth-testing hypothesis: ‘…more the politicization, more […] the violence unleashed and more intense […] the struggle’. The following paper—by Tanushree Haldar and Vinoj Abraham—is another contribution to an understanding of development-induced displacement, which has forced the tribal people of Jharkhand to abandon their traditional sources of livelihood and to eke out their sustenance by participating in a modern economy. One would think that once communities become part of modern society, the upward mobility of their members would be an easy proposition. However, Haldar and Abraham’s study does not support it. They find that the Jharkhand tribal people have been ‘relegated to the margins of the labour market’. Modernization has led to a number of new initiatives, new technologies and material culture, but it has also, according to the authors, ‘modernized the norms of discrimination to fit into the modern labour market’. Because of their displacement from their traditional habitat and integration with the modern market-based economy, they have depressed to the ‘bottom of the occupational and wage hierarchy’. Toiling under abysmal working conditions, with measly wages, both men and women living in squatters are highly vulnerable to exploitation. They render ready services under trying circumstances to the middle-class urban sector.

Understandably, their upward mobility is contingent upon the economic and social capital, which they lack, with no possibility of amassing it in future. Thus, they are constrained to remain ‘blocked’ in the stratum they occupied in the beginning. Although not much work has been attempted, the psychological consequences of their low social and economic status are tremendous, which fleece people of their ‘interest in life’, leaving them sad, sullen and unenergetic. Against the background of alienation from land and forests, Walter Fernandes, a household name for his studies of the processes of displacement and rehabilitation, speaks of alienation of tribes from their culture. Notwithstanding the anthropological rebuttal of the term ‘primitive’ as used for tribal people, several other terms that have come into circulation point towards that. For instance, terms such as vanyajati and vanvasi, which state their forestdwelling existence, carry with them four ideas: (a) tribes are outside civilization; (b) they are descendants of people who first colonized these sites; (c) they are lowly placed by comparison to other strata of Indian society; and (d) the best approach for them is to integrate them with the mainstream of Indian society. An ideology built on these ideas legitimized the severance of relations between the tribes and their environment, for it has been a prerequisite for the integration of tribes with the outside world. Fernandes thinks that this process is similar to the ‘civilizing mission’ of colonial rulers who thought that their principal (and humanitarian) duty was to bring the ‘primitives to the level of civilization’. As noted in the ‘Introduction’ to this volume, the evolutionary theory for which the Victorian England was the summit of progress, sustained the agenda of ‘civilizing the colonized folks’, which was carried out by the colonial state, welfare agencies and proselytizing institutions. The worst impact of this skein of thinking was that tribal people internalized the dominant value system. They started believing that they were indeed ‘inferior’ and that they needed to be ‘civilized’. The saddest point was that they began losing faith in their own culture, which they had meticulously cultivated, preserved for generations and transmitted to their progeny. The point put forth here is that we have not paid much attention to the ‘positive message’ that tribal cultures have tried to offer. We must establish a dialogue with the tribesmen, for what they have to tell is ‘vital for our own survival’.

REFERENCES Burawoy, M. (2003). Revisits: An outline of a theory of reflexive ethnography. American Sociological Review, 68(5), 645– 679. Foster, G. M. (1973). Traditional societies and technological change. Harper & Row. Huizer, G. (1970). ‘Resistance to change’ and radical peasant mobilization: Foster and Erasmus reconsidered. Human Organization, 29(4), 303–313. Srivastava, V. K. (2012). Obituary, Dr Ram Dayal Munda. South Asian Anthropologist, 12(1), 89–91. Also published in Social Change, 42, 131–134. Worsley, P. (1999). Knowledges: Culture, counterculture, subculture. The New Press.

Chapter 9

Inter-generational Social Mobility* A Study of Konyak Naga Tribe Amenla Nuken and L. Ladusingh

The Konyak Naga tribes differ from the mainstream Indian tribes. One special characteristic is that, as a society, it is both democratic and autocratic (Nuken, 2002). So in this society, the social position of an individual is at least theoretically not determined by their birth; all positions are open to anybody who can acquire them. There is no judicial or religious obstacle to climbing up or down in the social hierarchy. This facilitates a greater vertical mobility in such societies. However, the mobility also greatly depends on the opportunity available. Here, the tribe is characterized as an autocratic society, for it has a welldistinguished social division or classes with differing social positions, and rights and privileges associated with them. The social building of the autocratic Konyak society is stratified on the basis of class, but the democratic nature of the same society produces the illusion that there are no strata, even though they exist. There are certain barriers to mobility in this tribe, some of which are deeply rooted in the social or traditional set-up, in institutional organizations or among individuals themselves. Thus, in contemporary societies—where traditional structure, concepts and values are fast changing and technologies are bringing in new opportunities for economic, political, etc., fluctuations and extensive changes in people’s way of life or the society as a whole—the study of social mobility would serve as a measure of the openness of the system of stratification in a closed, isolated tribal society and thereby assess the rigidity or otherwise of its social structure. Social mobility is a much wider term, encompassing upward and downward changes in the economic, political or occupational states of either the individual or a whole group. On the one hand, it refers to the social origin variations of the members of a given social stratum. On the other hand, it also refers to the ways in which the opportunities available to a given generation of men are distributed among them according to their various characteristics. It

must be noted that occupational and educational mobility is only a part of social mobility. Intergenerational mobility is a measure of mobility that compares the occupational or educational status of respondents with that of their preceding generation. This comparison would tell us whether the respondents have moved up or down, and also the extent to which their occupational/education depends upon that of the preceding generation. The discussion on social mobility dates back to the 1950s. Lipset and Bendix (1959) found in their study a strong correlation between the occupational status of fathers and sons. Similarly, Blau and Duncan (1969) found in their study that ‘social origins exert a direct effect on later careers in addition to that mediated by career beginnings.’ Sorokin Pitirim (1964) in his study found that children of fathers with the same occupation and often of the same family are dispersed among the most varied occupation groups. Despite the ‘dispersion’ among different occupations, the ‘heredity’ transmission of occupation still exists and, on an average, is still high enough. Although in an ideal mobile society, individuals must be distributed according to their capacity and ability, regardless of their fathers’ positions, from the foregoing literature review, it is possible that children take up their fathers’ occupation in a greater proportion than any other. In the Indian context, studies of social mobility are based on samples of both urban and rural communities or societies. Occupation and education are considered to be two important indicators of social mobility. Studies on social mobility, social stratification and intergenerational social changes have concluded, on quite different bases, that occupational rank is the single most representative indicator of social status or even social class membership and participation, though other indicators such as income, education, power and authority have been used to evaluate social status (Kaistha, 1987). The study of Sovani and Pradhan (1955) is notable; it showed that 54.3 per cent in the sample registered upward social mobility. Other studies on occupational mobility were those of Jorapur (1971) and Phillips (1990). Phillips’ study showed an inheritance of father’s occupation among sons. A study of occupational mobility by Krishna and Pattnaik (1997) proved that most of the occupational mobility occurring at the intergenerational level was due to structural reasons, creating new job opportunities that induced the sons to move away from their parent’s occupation. Similarly, a study of social mobility and Scheduled Castes by Wankhede (1999) revealed that there was a very high degree of occupational and educational upward mobility, perhaps because of general awareness, urban exposure and the facilities available. Ajai Kumar (2004) argues that the development and social mobility of the Lahuli community of Himachal Pradesh are due to their peculiar community structure, committed leadership and cooperative participation in development.

OBJECTIVES The basic objective of the chapter is to examine different aspects of social mobility in the tribal community of Konyak Naga. Remote tribal society, particularly its rural community, has been chosen because it is a homogeneous and closed (isolated) one. It is often said that

the class-based traditional stratification system is opening up and that such societies are breaking away from social isolation due to the effect of modernization and modern technologies; as a consequence, it is undermining their traditional forms of social behaviour and economic activity. So for understanding the pattern on intergenerational mobility, it is essential to know whether a system gives equal opportunity to all, the flexibility to its labour market and the response of the labour force to the changing economic environment. For this, it is first necessary to establish the following: 1. The extent of educational and occupational mobility at the intergenerational level and its reflection on the extent of openness of the tribal society 2. The extent of pure mobility (PM) and thereby the extent of structural mobility (SM) among the Konyak tribes

Study Area The present study was undertaken in the Mon district of Nagaland, home to the Konyak Naga tribe. The district is characterized by an inaccessible mountainous terrain, shares the international border with Myanmar and is the least developed region in the state. It is predominantly rural, with just 6 per cent of its population living in urban areas. Owing to its remote location, there is difficulty in sourcing supplies for all daily basic stock of food and medicines, especially during the rainy season.

Sample Design Two-stage sampling seemed to be the only appropriate design that could be adopted in the absence of a sampling frame—the list of households where both father and son are living. Further, considering the inaccessibility of the villages during data collection in the rainy season, 19 villages in the proximity of Mon town were included in the sampling frame, out of which 6 villages were selected with equal probability as a first-stage unit. The number of sampled households selected from these villages was worked out on a proportional distribution of 300 households, considering the population size of these villages. The electoral roll or the voters list of these villages was listed and updated to find out the households with father and son living together, in consultation with the key persons of these villages.

Data Collection Primary data were collected by household interviews with the help of semi-structured interview schedules. The respondents of the survey are two generations—father, son and their respective spouses. Information was obtained from all four respective members in each household.


In order to analyse changes in social classes over generations, a simple cross-tabulation of occupational and educational categories by generation has been carried out from the sample of 300 households. In the analysis, the emphasis is on simplicity and clarity. The statistical confirmation of the association between the occupational and educational status of the father and the son as well as of the mother and the wife is carried out with the chi-square test ( 2) as a measure of the predictability of the social status of the next generation from that of the status of the preceding generation. Cramer’s measure C = ( 2)/N/min (r-1, c-1) has been adopted, where r and c stand for the number of rows and columns, respectively, of the associated contingency table, while chi square ( 2) is the chi square based on N observations. Further measures of social mobility, such as total mobility (TM), SM and PM, proposed by Chattopadhyay and Baidya (1994), have been adopted for extraction of social mobility measure from contingency tables. These measures are defined as follows. TM: The amount of mobility generated by the movements of the son from the status of his father. It is measured by

SM: The social or occupational status of a son in a particular generation always differs from the corresponding status of his father in the previous generation due to a change in the social structure. Structural change encourages people to switch jobs. Structural or forced out mobility is measured by

PM: Pure exchange mobility is that part of mobility which is not structural. It occurs due to the erosion of the stratification system. It is measured by

where n denotes the frequency in (I,j)th cell of the contingency table, and K is the number of categories of the social class.

DESCRIPTION OF VARIABLES In order to analyse social mobility, it is essential to categorize the different educational attainments and occupations across which the movement of the individual from one position

to another can be studied.

Categories of Occupation After careful consideration of the variety of occupations of the respondents and the nature of the job performed in terms of their economic activity found in our study sample, it was decided to classify occupations as follows. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Government employee: Engaged in white-collar jobs Business: Contractors, petty businesspersons, shopkeepers, etc. Others: Self-employed, drivers, private schoolteachers, etc. Farming: All those engaged in cultivation, tilling and manual jobs

Being employed in the government sector is considered to be the most desirable occupation, as it provides job security, followed by business/others and lesser economic activity or traditional occupation and farming.

Categories of Education The educational level for analysis purposes is categorized as follows: 1. Illiterate: No formal education and no knowledge of how to read and write with understanding 2. Literate: Formal education and can read and write with understanding 3. Primary: Attained educational level up to class V 4. Middle school: Attained educational level of class VI–VIII 5. High school: Attained educational level of class IX–X 6. Higher secondary and others: Attained educational level of class XI and above and other degrees

OCCUPATIONAL MOBILITY Occupational mobility reflects the versatility and adaptability of the manpower in changing technological and cultural conditions (Yoder, 1950). It can be considered either as a movement between occupations during the life span of a given individual or as an intergenerational shift, that is, a son with an occupation other than that of the parents (Addison & Siebert, 1979). The occupational mobility trends show whether or not the concentration of individuals in a spectrum of jobs is changing over time. If it is, it indicates that development-augmenting forces are actively operating throughout the economy. If not, it means that the system is reproducing the existing division of labour. A number of factors, such as the existence of an inflexible labour market, unemployment, entry barriers, such as escalation of qualifications for certain occupations, unequal economic opportunities, etc., impede—along with social,

political and other non-economic factors—the free upward occupational mobility (Nuken, 2002).

Occupational Structure of Konyaks Before 1948, the Konyaks were practically away from the mainstream of the country, both physically and mentally, and also economically. These conditions continued to some extent till 1957, after which the district came under administration and saw changes in the occupational structure and, in fact, rose in the occupational rung. Earlier, they were selfcontained that whether or not food production was sufficient, they had to be content with it. They would also barter products, such as rice, cotton, fowl and pigs, with neighbouring tribes such as the Ao and Sema. Practically no industry has developed in this district, and so almost all workers are land based—they are either cultivators producing for themselves or they are land labourers. As for government service, the education department in the form of primary and middle schoolteachers provides the highest employment. Although numerically government servants come first, economically contractors are better off and then businessmen. They also augment their livelihoods by hunting and gathering, and cottage industries such as weaving, carpentry and basketry.

Intergenerational Occupational Mobility The analysis is, in general, confined to a comparison of the main occupation of the father with the occupation of the sons held at the time of the investigation. It may be pointed out that the son’s occupation at the time of investigation may not be his main occupation and he may change his occupation during his active life. However, under the economic and social conditions prevailing in the study area, it is assumed that the son may not change his occupation easily. Table 9.1 shows that compared to 277 fathers who are farmers, 185 sons are farmers, while 179 sons stayed in the farming category. There is very little recruitment of fathers in other occupational categories. Most fathers are engaged in farming (277); the rest are in the ‘other’ category (13) business (7) and government employees (3). A lower representation of fathers in government services could be attributed to factors such as low motivation, aspirations and inaccessibility of opportunities for both education and employment. The majority of fathers (92.3%) are engaged in traditional occupation, that is, farming. Although the pattern is the same for the sons also, with a greater representation of the sons in farming, compared to father, quite a good number of respondents (the sons) are also engaged in a better occupational category, such as government services and business. This is a sign of occupational mobility among the sons, supported by educational facilities, qualifications, awareness, reservations and the expansion of occupational opportunities due to modernization, etc. The present generation (the sons) has access to modern changes, whereas its predecessor (the fathers) had traditionally seen deprivation.

Table 9.1 Occupational Distribution of Sons by Current Occupation of Their Fathers

Source: Author. Note: X2 = 31.962 (.000). Cramer’s value = 0.035

None of the sons born to fathers with government services moved to farming, while 46 sons whose fathers were farmers obtained government jobs for themselves. Only one son has downward occupational mobility from a government-employee father to other category, one from the business background and five from other origins. Thirty-six sons from farming origin shifted to business, and 16 sons whose fathers were farmers shifted to other occupational classes. Similarly, for sons from a business background, one moved down to the farming category; five remained in the same origin and one remained in the other category. For those with other backgrounds, five sons experienced upward mobility with government jobs, two in business and only one son remained in the same class of origin. Thus, sons with farming and business backgrounds have a relatively good chance of upward occupational mobility. The attainment of occupational status is also not strictly hierarchical. Comparing the figures down the column, whereas 46 sons from farming origin moved upward to join the government services themselves, none from the business class and five sons from other classes managed upward occupational mobility. The chances of the sons of the government servants were actually worse than those with the fathers belonging to the farming or other categories. Such a pattern of inequality certainly reflects the resources— financial, educational, etc.—available to each class and the aspirations and motivations of sons from different backgrounds for rising higher. In addition, the quantities in the main diagonal give the number of respondents who have inherited their respective status from their fathers. Occupational immobility among the present generation (sons) is a high 62 per cent. Of the total sample, 38 per cent belong to occupational categories other than their fathers, while 35 per cent have experienced upward mobility and 3 per cent have experienced downward mobility. This trend of moderate mobility is indicative of a stratified system and a close, isolated social structure. The chi-square value shows a significant association between the occupational status of the father and the son, suggesting that a son’s present occupational status is highly dependent on the occupational status of his father. However, Cramer’s value of 0.035 suggests that a son’s occupational status is moderately dependent on his father’s occupational status and moderately determines his son’s occupational mobility, which is influenced by other factors

as well. The occupational status for the respondent’s mother and respondent’s wife is not presented as there were no varied categories. Majority of the wives were engaged in agricultural activities and all mothers were also engaged in farming.

Mobility Values for Occupation of Son Regarding the mobility of sons, as per current occupational status, 38 per cent are totally mobile with respect to fathers, while 30.6 per cent of changes from father to son are structural changes in society, and 7.3 per cent of mobility can be explained as PM, which is not structural.

EDUCATIONAL MOBILITY Education is primarily a mechanism whereby social class positions are stabilized across generations; these are attained through educational achievements which, in turn, help individuals to move socially in general and attain occupational achievements in particular. Apart from income and class position, sometimes social class differences suggest attitudes towards education. They usually work together with economic differences, though sometimes they may work apart from them. In its selective function, the education system tends to select status from particular socio-economic strata. Individuals belonging to certain strata are better able to exploit educational facilities of a higher quality than those belonging to others. It is widely recognized that formal education plays a vital part in social mobility, horizontal or vertical. For one, it is directly related to occupational mobility and the subsequent improvement in economic status; for another, it is an element of social prestige. Educational mobility in the intergenerational context is defined as a change in the attained educational levels between the members of various generations. The education system acts as a major channel of individual mobility. It is an important factor for getting ahead in life. Educational attainment is largely conditioned by a society’s level of socio-economic development and social settings and individual aspirations.

Educational Structure of Konyaks Before the light of modern civilization, the Konyaks lived a primitive life with practically no literacy or education in the ordinary sense of the term. Only the pioneering efforts of Christian missionaries brought schools to the Konyak area. It had no educational institution till the administration came in; people desirous of literacy or primary education would go to the neighbouring district of Mokokchung for studies. As in any tribal society, girls did not remain in schools for long, thus the poor level of female literacy. Till date, the district has only one college, established in 1983. Educational attainment is largely conditioned by a society’s level of socio-economic development, social settings and individual aspirations. No doubt, those who have dared to

venture out for higher education have climbed up the social ladder successfully.

Intergenerational Educational Mobility Table 9.2 shows that out of the total 300 fathers and 300 sons, 250 fathers were illiterate, 26 (8.7%) were educated up to the primary level, 12 fathers were educated up to the middle school, 8 fathers had taken high school education and only 4 fathers had a higher secondary educational qualification. It is usually assumed that those who did well in their education must have come from a good educational background. However, though 88.3 per cent of the respondent fathers were illiterate, the sons achieved high levels of educational mobility. Only 18 per cent of the sons were illiterate, may be because fathers could not get educated for historical and traditional reasons, apart from financial constraints, inaccessibility, lack of motivation and awareness resulting from age-old suppression. Educational mobility across the generation of fathers and sons is, therefore, high. Table 9.2 Educational Distribution of Sons by Education of Their Fathers

Source: Author. Note: cc2 = 30.721 (.015). Cramer’s value = 0.025.

A large number of sons came from an illiterate background. In the case of illiterate fathers, 19 sons experienced long-range upward mobility into higher secondary level of education, while 53 of the sons remained in the same category of origin, that is, they remained illiterate. Absolute numbers on the main diagonal running from bottom to right represent the present generation of sons who remained as their fathers as far as educational attainment is concerned. Thus, 53 sons born to illiterate fathers remained illiterate; three sons born to fathers with a primary level of education remained at the primary level of education. Two sons born to fathers with middle-level education (12) attained that level too, and the son of a father with high-school education also attained the same level of education. Interestingly, there was no representation of sons born to fathers with educational qualification of higher secondary and others in that category.

Educational Level of Wives and Mothers

The educational level of the wives of the present generation of sons is cross-tabulated with that of their mothers. Among the Konyaks, literacy remains very far from being achieved, particularly among women. Traditionally, females were not allowed to stay in school for long. Since literacy affects mainly older women, it may reflect not the current educational situation, but a legacy of the past. The available data shown in Table 9.3 confirm that important progress has been made towards primary education, though women remain under-represented in higher levels of education. Compared to 91.3 per cent of illiterate mothers, only 29.3 per cent of wives are illiterate and 30 per cent have educational level at least up to primary school, compared to 6.3 per cent of all mothers whose education is primary school level. Similarly, for higher categories of educational level, the representation of the wives exceeded that of the mothers. There is no representation of mothers or wives in the higher secondary and other categories. Table 9.3 Educational Distribution of Wife by Education of Mother

Source: Author. Note: x2 = 28.645(.004). Cramer’s value = 0.023

Regarding total, structural and PM, from the table it can be inferred that 80.3 per cent sons are totally mobile with respect to fathers, 65.3 per cent of changes from father to son are due to structural changes in society and 15 per cent mobility can be explained as PM which is not structural. Similarly, for wives, 68 per cent are totally mobile with respect to mothers, 62 per cent of the change from mothers to wives is due to structural changes in society and 6 per cent mobility is explained as PM.

LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY Moderate social mobility among the younger generation could be because people in better job positions or educated persons have moved out of their native rural places. The study relied entirely on the rural sample of Konyaks and may result in under-reporting of the social mobility of Konyaks in general. The sample size of 300 households may not be sufficient to capture the true picture of social mobility. In addition, consideration of three generations

would have provided more insight into the mobility status, whether upwards or downwards.

SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION Occupational and educational mobility clearly points to mixed trends, as the mobility analysis shows. Although agriculture is still in practice, there is evidence of moderate occupational mobility among the younger generation. Agricultural practice among the younger generation has declined; this relates to the expansion of other occupational categories in the present generation. The percentage of non-agricultural occupation has improved. Although a son’s occupational status is moderately influenced by his father’s occupational status—which suggests a certain degree of inflexibility that inhibits free upward occupational mobility between generations—it is also found that most of the sons who moved away from their fathers’ occupational structure and open stratification where individuals can move from the lowest occupational category to the highest one, given the fact that there are occupational opportunities. Occupational mobility stems mostly from the structural changes in economic activities that underwent expansion, increasing the number of opportunities available that had forced individuals’ movement along the occupational hierarchy. PM is comparatively lower in the younger generation, indicating the non-existence of stratification or moderate stratification in the studied tribal society. It can be safely stated that occupational mobility greatly depends on changes in the structure of the economy or society that bring in new opportunities. Regarding educational mobility, the pattern of intergenerational educational shift shows remarkable mobility. Literacy in the younger generation has improved, leading to educational mobility. The differences in educational attainment lie in the fact that the older generation lacked opportunities for education. The family or socio-economic milieu also determines educational attainment. Gender wise, women are far behind in education. However, the wives of the present generation are found to be better educated compared to the mothers, reflecting the poor attitude towards female education in the older generation. Had environmental conditions been favourable, even the immobile would have been moved to the higher level of education. With traditionally restricted female education confining them to household chores, even those who studied did not go beyond middle school. Among the sons, illiteracy declined to 18 per cent attributable to the penetration of the modern education system into society. Most sons with upward mobility were from illiterate backgrounds, showing the open system of society where individuals are free to grow. It is also found that educational attainment or qualification is moderately influenced by a father’s educational status/qualification, which is indirectly influenced by the close, isolated structure of tribal society. Thus, modernization and modern technology have induced intergenerational social mobility, but only in moderate doses, especially in occupation. This does not give varied job opportunities for lack of industry or private sector enterprise in the study area. However, there are signs of further potential mobility in the younger generation if there is a favourable environment, a change in outlook and varied job avenues.

REFERENCES Addison, T. J., & Siebert, S. W. (1979). The market for labour—An analytical treatment. The Good Year Publishing Company. Blau, P. M., & Duncan, O. D. (1967). The American occupational structure. John Wiley. Chattopadhyay, A. K., & Baidya, K. (1994). Social mobility among residents of Calcutta. Demography India, 28(2), 203– 217. Jorapur, P. B. (1971). Inter-generational occupational mobility. Indian Journal of Social Work, 31(4), 33–43. Kaistha, K. C. (1987). Measuring social mobility through occupational prestige. Sociological Bulletin, 35(2), 18–22. Krishna, R., & Pattnaik, B. K. (1997). Occupational mobility in an urban community. Demography India, 26(2), 207–227. Kumar, A. (2004). Development and social mobility among the Lahulis of Himachal Pradesh. Sociological Bulletin, 3(2), 222–237. Lipset, S. M., & Bendix, R. (1959). Social mobility in industrial society. University of California Press. Nuken, A. (2002). Inter-generational social mobility and changing pattern of family formation: A study of Konyak Naga tribe (Unpublished MPhil thesis). International Institute for Population Sciences. Phillips, W. S. K. (1990). Social stratification and mobility in India. Rawat Publication. Pitirim, S. A. (1964). Social and cultural mobility. The Free Press of Glencoe Collier-Macmillan Ltd. Sovani, N. V., & Pradhan, K. (1955). Occupational mobility in Poona city between three generations. The Indian Economic Review, 2(4), 3–36. Wankhede, G. G. (1999). Social mobility and scheduled castes. Rawat Publications. Yoder, D. (1950). Manpower economics and labour problems. McGraw Hill.

* Social Change, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2005.

Chapter 10

The Jharkhand Movement* Retrospect and Prospect Ram Dayal Munda

Giving a historical background of the Jharkhand movement, the chapter discusses the four basic issues concerned with it, namely land and forest alienation, training and job deprivation due to an influx of the external population, cultural submergence and unbalanced regional development. Suggestions for a political solution and ‘bridging the gulf’ have been made.

I. THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Jharkhand, the forest land, is a cultural name given to the forest upland, geographically known the Chotanagpur plateau, forming the eastern end of the Vindhya Range. Its political references go as far back as the 13th century when Jaysing Deo, a king of northern Odisha, declared himself to be the king of Jharkhand. Saint Chaitanya, on his historic religious journey from Jagannathpuri to Vrindavana in the 15th century, referred to this part of the land as Jharkhand. Later on, the Muslim rulers have referred to the area alternatively as Khokhra and Jharkhand. The Shiva temple of Deoghar, one of the earliest in eastern India, is also known as the abode of the Jharkhand Mahadeo. The forest content is reflected in many names of the places in the area as Jhargram, Jharsuguda, Jharudih and others. Culturally, this is the only area in the entire country where the three major cultural streams, Aryan, Dravidian and Austroasian, represented through various languages, have converged to create a cultural synthesis of its own kind. There is every reason to believe that there was reasonable peace and happiness in this area until the formation of the British administrative district, the Military Collectorship of the Ramgarh Hill Tract, in 1780. With the imposition of the Bengal Permanent Settlement Regulation, 1793 (Regulation I of 1793), land became subject to systematic taxation for the first time in the history of this area. Respective tribal chiefs after their surrender to the British, then became agents for revenue collection for their

new masters, and this led to internal division and factionalism resulting in a series of uprisings, ethnic in nature in the beginning but eventually becoming pan-tribal and regional in character. The following are the most important historical events pertaining to this area that provide a background for the development of the Jharkhand movement.

Source: Author.

The national wave of the political and cultural renaissance arrived in this area with the beginning of the Tana Bhagat movement, under the leadership of Jatra Bhagat around 1914. Yet it was very much ethnic in character. The first pan-tribal organization was started in the form of the Chotanagpur Unnati Samaj in 1915. The Samaj was reorganized as the Adivasi Mahasabha in 1938 under the leadership of Jaipal Singh who had just returned from England, after earning a good name as the leader of the record-making Indian hockey team in the 1928 Olympics. The Mahasabha contested the 1946 General Elections, but it did not make any headway as the Congress party had a sweeping majority. The party was again reconstituted in 1950 naming it the Jharkhand party and thus making it even broader to accommodate the entire Chotanagpur hill area. The party fought the 1952 General Elections, the first in free India, and won 32 seats out of the 325, becoming the major opposition party in the Bihar legislature. The party demonstrated an impressive show of strength for a separate state before the State Reorganization Commission (SRC) in 1955, when the latter visited the area. However, SRC did not recommend a separate statehood, the main reason being lack of viability of the area as a linguistic unit. Despite this disappointment, the political strength of the party continued in the following General Elections (1957), becoming once again the leading opposition party with 28 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Bihar. Non-recognition by SRC, however, gave some sections of the party an impression that it was fighting a losing battle. This showed itself in the following General Elections (1962) when the strength of the party in the Legislative Assembly of Bihar was reduced to only 20 seats. This decline in strength was a major factor in deciding, on the part of the leadership, to fight for a separate state from within the system, and thus the merger of the Jharkhand party with the Congress in 1963. The merger, however, did not pay off. Not only was Jaipal Singh disrobed of his ministership in the Bihar cabinet, but all his followers turned against him, for most of them, particularly the senior ones, had been ignored in the process of the merger. Consequently, they declared the merger to be illegal and started reviving the old party. However, the revival lacked the central uniting force—Singh died in 1970—in which the party’s spirit, though revived, was fragmented and lapsed into its ethnic character. N. E. Horo was left mostly with his Munda followers, Bagon Sumrui with the Hos, and Set Memrom with the Santals. Within these, there also developed a radical group, Birsa Sewa Dal, which was quite active during 1967–1968, particularly in the urban areas of Ranchi and Jamshedpur. Radicalism found its expression with the formation of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) under the leadership of Shibu Soren in 1972. This was yet another significant development on two counts. First, it catered to the needs of the mining and industrial labour, and second, it made headway towards a non-tribal (mainly Kurmi Mahto) population which so far had been lukewarm to the cause of the Jharkhand movement. So far, the movement was said to be only for the Adivasis. This opening up continued to the extent that with the coming of the Janata government in 1977, all political parties (including the Congress) had their own Jharkhand

cell with their respective parties to appeal to the pro-Jharkhand sentiment in the Chotanagpur hill area. The Communist Party of India is the latest (1978) to lend support to the Jharkhand cause. Thus, the otherwise dead political movement started gaining strength since 1978 with the Jungle Andolan centring on the forest areas of Singhbhum. In 1980, the Congress returned to power at the Centre. In Bihar, it developed a special relationship with JMM which continued to the next General Elections (in 1985), when JMM won 14 seats, thus again becoming a major opposition party in the Bihar Legislature. The spirit of fighting from inside the system was reflected in a major way under the leadership of Kartik Oraon, through whose efforts the Congress party developed a special character in Chotanagpur. As the most powerful spokesman of this area, he had direct accessibility to the top leadership in the party. It is through his efforts that the Chotanagpur and Santal Pargana Development Authority was formed in 1981 to reinforce the developmental process of this area. Unfortunately, the Authority proved defunct when it came to implementation of its resolutions. The latest of these efforts is reflected in Devendra Nath Champia, under whose leadership in 1985, 52 members of the Bihar Legislature from the Chotanagpur area sent a joint memorandum to the prime minister for central administration of the Chotanagpur area. While the above account focuses on the activities in the Bihar part of the Chotanagpur plateau, analogous political activities were going on in the adjoining tribal areas of Bengal (in the districts of Bankura and Midnapur), Odisha (in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh) and Madhya Pradesh (in the districts of Raigarh and Surguja). These movements in the periphery were very much determined by what happened in the mainland Chotanagpur. Lack of coordination, however, among the different factions has been one single factor responsible for the slowing down of the movement. This has been felt all along but due to lack of lack of central leadership, things did not change. The recently formed Jharkhand Coordination Committee (JCC) under the leadership of B. P. Keshari is one such effort. JCC, at least at this point, has succeeded in bringing together all concerned groups for the cause of Jharkhand to sit together and plan for the future course of the movement. Under Keshari’s leadership, the most significant aspect of the development of the movement at this point in time was the gradual involvement of the Sadan population of the Chotanagpur hill areas. This showed an interesting pattern of leadership in the corning General Elections of 1990. Furthermore, with the JCC’s efforts, new wave of intellectual participation was emerging, giving it a sense of maturity, it had lacked so far. The movement was coming out of the emotional phase and was developing an intellectual base of its own where none existed so far. In this process of growth, however, the movement had made itself vulnerable to all kinds of interest groups, including extremist elements, from both the Left and the Right. It was yet to be seen how it behaves in this mixed company.


There are four basic issues behind the Jharkhand movement: land and forest alienation, training and job deprivation due to an influx of the external population, cultural submergence and unbalanced development with a gradual change of focus from the pre-Independence to the post-Independence period.

1. Land and Forest Alienation Ever since the introduction of the laws of Permanent Settlement in 1793 and the subsequent Sales and Rent Law of 1859, large-scale transference of tribal land into the hands of the outsiders, the absentee landlords, has taken place in the entire Chotanagpur hill area. Collection of revenue was the main concern of the East India Company and the subsequent British Government behind their agreement with the local tribal chiefs. When the latter failed to pay the agreed amount, their estate or parts of it were auctioned away to someone who could pay the said amount. Most of the fertile land belonging to the tribals had been transferred to non-tribals, largely to the moneylenders, in this manner. The process slowed down a bit with the introduction of the Chotanagpur Tenancy (Amendment) Act of 1903 and the Santal Parganas Settlement (Amendment) Regulation of 1908, but then began the process of opening up of the area through mining and industry with the setting up of the Tata Iron and Steel Company at Jamshedpur right about that time. The other industrial companies such as the Hindustan Copper Mines, the Indian Aluminium Company and the National Coal Development Corporation (now Central Coal Limited) followed soon. With the launching of the five-year plans in the 1950s after the Independence began further industrialization and urban expansion, now through the governments, both central and state, in and around Ranchi, Rourkela and Bokaro. These industrial centres needed power supply. Thus, came the construction of the big power projects under the Damodar Valley Corporation and the Patratu Thermal Power Projects. These power projects engulfed thousands and thousands of acres or land, both tribal and non-tribal, without systematic and appropriate compensation to the owners, resulting in large-scale land alienation. With the big industries grew subsidiary industries which also needed and took away land. With the coming of new establishments, and new sets of people, land was needed for building of housing colonies and private housing. Added to this is a sizeable amount (over 50 lakh acres) of forest land taken away by the government (under the Indian Forest Acts of 1878 and 1927, and the Bihar Private Forest Act, 1927) in the name of scientific management of forest which in fact had turned out to be a gross mismanagement. Today 50–60 per cent of the best tribal land in the Chotanagpur hill area is in non-tribal hands. The government had good intentions for administering this area but its intentions were always being frustrated by inflexible officers who refused to see the dynamics of a policy of the government. We can take, for example, the Social Forestry Programme started in the beginning of the 1980s. The Central and the Swedish governments got together to finance this good effort from 1985 onwards. Social forestry has not yet become a people’s movement in this area as the people have not quite recovered from the shock of the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and the Bihar Forest Produce (Regulation of Trade) Act, 1984. Unless the people are

able to market forest produce freely, they are not going to protect the trees for decades, just to be taken over by the state. Although the state has agreed to make the marketing of forest produce lucrative, it has not done anything in this regard. It will not be long before the central government will decide to spend this money in a state which may benefit by it. This has been the fate of most projects in this area. Projects which have been completed have acquired more land than necessary and have later established private residential colonies for their employees and retired employees, which goes against the provisions of the ‘Land Acquisition Acts’. Private residential colonies are not for ‘public purpose’ (e.g., Cooperative Colony Bokaro, and so many others). In the survey and settlement operations going on at the moment, the Revisional Survey Records of Right of 1935, are being revised. Each village in this area ‘had’ a village forest. Most of it at present is denuded, but the land is still there. Most of these are recorded as Raiyat–Malik Ijmal, that is, resident cultivator–landlord joint ownership. The Survey replaces the above entry (i.e. resident cultivator-landlord joint ownership) and instead uses the word ‘Bihar Sarkar’ It says the zamindari has been abolished, and all forests belong to the government. The fact is that this is not forest land. It is village common land on which the village forest grew, and before 1950, it was jointly held by the village with the landlord. So at best, the village now would hold it jointly with the government. But this is not to be. The people only get intimidated, and alienate themselves from the government (e.g., the village forest recorded in the Khatian Part II of Village Baid Khijri in Bero Block, District Ranchi).

2. Training and Job Deprivation The new industries and power projects mentioned above required personnel. Moving in of a new specialized personnel is quite understandable but even in the areas where no such specialization was needed, people from outside came in on a large scale, for the decisionmaking power went with the specialised areas, and this also included the political power. Since Independence, the Chotanagpur area has been one of the fastest-growing areas in the country from the point of view of population growth. The industrial cities and the vicinities of Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad have simply exploded with population to the extent of going out of control. Even in civil jobs like primary and secondary school teaching, outsiders dominate due to red tapism and favouritism on caste lines. The influx of an outside population has led to the 60/40 tribal/non-tribal population ratio in 1951 to become 40/60 in 1981, just the reverse in 30 years. The irony of the situation is that while the external population is coming in, people from the Chotanagpur area are forced to leave in search of menial jobs in faraway places such as Punjab, Assam and others. There are provisions of 80 per cent reservation for tribals and local people in training and jobs but the fact is that nearly 90 per cent of the training (in general education, engineering and medical) facilities and jobs are filled by an external population. The true spirit of the government’s reservation policy for the weaker sections is to encourage the latter by providing additional incentive to ‘catch up’ with the rest of the people

in the Indian society. Unfortunately, this well-intended effort of the government is constantly being frustrated by vested interest groups. The most frequently used play to discourage implementation of the reservation policy is to declare the said category of candidates as not available. Then after a while, follows de-reservation of the said post, and finally someone favoured by the decision-making authority is appointed who is often unsympathetic to the cause of the weaker sections. There are hundreds of cases where this has happened just to usurp the facilities otherwise extended to the persons of weaker sections. In Chotanagpur, the biggest sufferers of the reservation policy for the locals (particularly in Grade III and Grade IV positions) have been the local non-tribals (i.e., the Sadans and the Kurmis). Most of these posts go to the outsider non-tribals, for fake certificates are issued to the outsider non-tribals as in most cases it is the outsider non-tribal who sits in the chair of authority that issues these fake certificates. There have been cases where higher caste candidates have changed their names to fit the job description meant for the weaker sections. At times, local customary laws are twisted to be taken advantage of by the otherwise unfit candidates. The Chotanagpur tribes are facing an additional discrimination: as immigrant population to some parts of the country (e.g., Assam and other states in the Northeast), they are not treated as Scheduled Tribes for consideration for availing developmental benefits due to them. There are over one million Chotanagpur tribal people settled in the north-eastern part of the country in course of their working in the tea plantations, but they are deprived of the privileges due to them as Scheduled Tribes. The usual explanation given is that the native tribals’ share in the funds and opportunities would be much less if they were to share them with the Chotanagpur tribes. The concern of the native tribal people of that area is quite understandable, but this is hardly a justifiable reason for the government to go along with it. A tribal person has a right to be counted as such irrespective of the place he or she decides to reside within the country. It is the duty of the central government to look into these discrepancies and rectify them accordingly.

3. Cultural Submergence Maintenance of cultural pluralism has been one of our cherished national goals. Chotanagpur has been the only culture area in the entire country where the three major cultural streams have met and have created an integrated synthesis. This is a mini-India in the true sense of the term. The culture of Chotanagpur area over the years has attained distinctiveness by fostering a balance between nature and culture, egalitarianism in social structure, accommodative history, equal sharing of economy, secularism in religious pursuits, a democratic political thinking, and people-oriented art and literature. These are marks of a truly viable modern culture. Mrs Gandhi in her last visit to Ranchi, while speaking about the culture of Chotanagpur, had expressed something on these lines. But this culture is facing a crisis of identity at present. We see a large-scale devastation of nature in the form of deforestation and unscientific mining, the hierarchical notions of caste and class creeping in place of egalitarianism, exploitation by the incoming population in return for the

accommodativeness of the local people, business and industry taking over and making agriculture subservient, fundamentalism setting in and dividing the population on communal lines, and the literary and artistic pursuits losing their participatory nature and becoming more passive and observation oriented. In fact, the Adivasis, out of sheer frustration and inability to cope with the external pressure, is developing at an alarmingly increasing rate marks of a negative identity for themselves. They are being branded as a lazy bum, good for nothing, drunk and criminal, particularly in the fast-developing urban areas such as Dhanbad, Ranchi and Jamshedpur. Some Adivasis (e.g., the Lodhas of Bengal and sections of the Gond in Madhya Pradesh) are already known as criminal tribes. The notions of a noble savage and a healthy tribe are fast becoming myth. These are all signs of cultural degradation. This submergence of a potential modern culture must stop if we as a nation are to look forward to a better future for our people.

4. Unbalanced Development The foregoing factors have all resulted in discrimination in development between the two regions of the state—the hill area of Chotanagpur, having been provided less opportunities than the northern plains area. This discrepancy is reflected in all areas of development. The following chart depicts some of the investigated areas to prove the point.

The most alarming feature of the development process is that even from the meagre funds allotted for this region, less than 30 per cent reach the real beneficiaries. A total of 70 per cent is pocketed away in the process of finalizing the paperwork by a 15–20 per cent of the superimposed personnel which has no sense of obligation and belonging for this area. This has an obvious reflection on the quality of life in the two regions. The people of the Chotanagpur area are increasingly sliding down below the poverty line despite their being sincere and hardworking. This is most apparent in the newly developed industrial and urban areas including the district headquarters, such as Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur, where the local people are systematically marginalized or sandwiched into slum areas. There are some who have tried to move out to faraway places such as Punjab, Assam and others in search of better living conditions but there too their prospect remains the same—to be disintegrated into the slums there.

III. SUGGESTIONS FOR BRIDGING THE GAP It has been noticed in the history of this area that people have always reacted strongly whenever they have been subjected to exploitation and have been driven to desperation. In response to these reactions, the government, whether the British or the present, has always given certain concessions to the people, which have acted as pacifiers for a certain period of time. To record the most prominent ones: 1. The Santal Insurrection of 1855 was followed by a. Formation of the Santal Pargana district to provide better administration for the Santal tribe. b. Act 37 of 1855, which was subsequently strengthened by the Santal Pargana Settlement Regulation of 1872, to provide relief to the Santal tribe from the intermediaries between the tribe and the government. 2. The Sardar Movement of 1859–1865 resulted in the a. Formation of the Chotanagpur Tenures Act, 1869, also known as the Bhuinhari Survey. b. Chotanagpur Landlord and Tenant Procedure Act, 1879. 3. The Birsa Movement, 1895–1900, gave a. The Original Survey Settlement of 1901. b. The Chotanagpur Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 1903, subsequently strengthened by the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908, with which transfer of land by any raiyat was prohibited without the permission of the district commissioner. c. The Santal Pargana Settlement (Amendment) Regulation, 1908, introduced restrictions on transfer of raiyat land. 4. The Adivasi Mahasabha Movement, 1938–1950, was followed by the Scheduled Area Order, 1950, which gives several administrative provisions for the ‘control and good government’ in the areas in which the Scheduled Tribes reside and which has been declared by the president of India to be Scheduled Area under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of India. 5. The Jharkhand Movement, 1950–1970, resulted in the formation of a. The Bihar Scheduled Areas Regulation, 1969, to further stop land alienation among the tribes of Bihar, particularly through Section 71 of the Act. b. The Bihar Tribes Advisory Council, 1951. c. The Chotanagpur Santal Pargana Autonomous Development Authority, 1981. 6. The JMM Movement, 1972–1986 gave a. Tribal Sub-plan, 1912. b. Revival of the defunct Bihar Tribes Advisory Council, 1984.

However, despite all these well-intended laws and steps to provide ‘peace and good government’ in the area, unrest and resentment continues, the latest of which is expressed through JCC, which represents an unprecedented unity of the pro-Jharkhand spirit in the area. Therefore, a major rethinking has to be done if one wishes to do things within the given system (i.e., within the framework of the Constitution of India).

1. Restructuring the Tribes Advisory Council The formation of the present Bihar Tribes Advisory Council does not quite follow the true spirit of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India in several ways: 1. The Constitution misquoted as ‘Sub-paragraph 4 of the Fifth Schedule’ is actually Section 4 of Part B of the Fifth Schedule, and the rules under this Section should be made vide Sub-section 3 of Section 4. a. Sub-section 1 provides for the establishment of the Tribes Advisory Council, and b. Sub-section 2 provides for the duty of the Tribes Advisory Council. 2. The chairman of the Tribes Advisory Council is to be appointed by the governor under Rule 4. In Rule 3(2) of the Bihar Tribes Advisory Council, however, the chief minister and the welfare minister are ex-officio members of the Council, over and above the statutory limit of 20 members as per Rule 31 and as per Part B, Section 4, Sub-section 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution. 3. Rule 15(2) and (3) of the present Bihar Tribes Advisory Council go against the directions of the Fifth Schedule, thereby artificially inflating the number of ex-officio members (for which there is no provision in the Fifth Schedule) and creating an intimidating situation for the statutory members and preventing them to have a frank and free discussion to be able to advise the governor, as per Rule 15(1). a. Rule 15(1) empowers the ‘ex-officio’ chairman to permit discussion of matters not referred by the governor, which is not allowed as per provisions in Sub-section 2 of Section 4 of the Fifth Schedule. b. The chairman of the Council cannot be empowered to over-rule the governor, as the present Bihar Tribes Advisory Council rule says. The Bihar Tribes Advisory Council is the Governor’s Advisory Council and therefore he/she is the only over-ruling authority. The Bihar Tribes Advisory Council, reconstituted in November 1985, however, is an improvement on the Tribes Advisory Council of 1984 as far as inclusion of adequate number of Scheduled Tribes is concerned. However, it has added six non-tribal members which as per the provisions of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India only dilutes further the functioning of the Tribes Advisory Council. More or less the same is true with the formation of the Chotanagpur Santal Pargana Autonomous Development Authority. In fact, the latter could even be said to be a fraud on

the Constitution as it operates under the provisions of an ordinance issued in 1981. The common weakness of both these bodies is that they are only advisory and are greatly irregular in their meetings. They have met only twice between 1984 and 1988. Problems were rightly identified, and the lines of action were indicated as the consequence of the first meeting, but nothing came out of it as the bodies had little control at the level of execution and monitoring. I have proposed restructuring of the Council to make it more dynamic and to emphasize the following points: 1. To begin with, the total Chotanagpur hill area is lagging behind and not just the tribals. Therefore, the Council’s functioning has to be extended to the entire Chotanagpur hill area. Second, the body should be more than an advisory one. It must have executive power. The members must have specific tasks/portfolios to be responsible for. The task must reflect a sense of priority concerning the Chotanagpur hill area. Thus, while all areas would be covered, the portfolios having to do with mining and industry, forestry and agriculture would be given top priority. Sports, culture and tourism would also rank high. While the details are subject to further working out, the following list could be used as a guideline: a. Mining and industry b. Power and irrigation c. Agriculture and animal husbandry d. Environment and forest e. Revenue and finance f. Culture and tourism g. Transport and communication h. Health and family planning i. Education and sports j. Housing, rehabilitation and employment k. Planning and development 2. The reference point of development is people. Therefore, the Council must reflect a wider participation and not just the ruling party domination. Ideally, it should not only have people who have been elected, irrespective of their party affiliation, but also should include members from voluntary organizations and individuals who matter independently for their role in the development of the area. 3. In order that the Council has a total hold on the situation, it must be involved in all the three levels of planning, execution and monitoring of the development programmers. This means that it has to be regular. It must operate within a mandatory time frame. This system could function optimally only if a special area service cadre of dedicated young men and women is drawn on an all-India basis. This unfortunately has been the singlemost significant factor lacking in the area of tribal development all over the country. Presently, a tribal area has good officers only by chance, by trial and error, and not by

design. How such a group of dedicated, sympathetic and efficient officers could be raised is a question that needs careful thinking.

2. Self-management through Autonomous District/Regional Councils (the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution) Considering that the Tribes Advisory Council has been nearly defunct for the last three decades ever since its introduction, and the intended participation of the tribal local people in the developmental process has been achieved only nominally largely due to an attitude of paternalism and internal colonialism on the part of the plains population at the decisionmaking positions; the next best way to improve things would be to let the concerned people manage their own affairs. This could be done under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule provided for in the Constitution. The salient features of which are as follows: 1. The governor may, by notification, declare an already existing tribal area as an autonomous district/region or create new ones by making alterations in the existing administrative arrangement. 2. Each autonomous district/region shall have a district/regional council consisting of not more than 30 members of whom not more than 4 members shall be nominated by the governor. The rest of the members shall be elected from among the people. The governor may prescribe the number of voters in each constituency from where such members would be elected. He/she also has a ruling on the ratio of tribal–non-tribal membership in the district/regional council. He/she may also debar any non-tribal from becoming a member in the district/regional council, if he/she thinks the latter’s inclusion would give an intimidating effect on the tribal members. 3. The governor may form rules for a. b. c. d. e.

Composition of the district/regional council Appointment of officers for the purpose of administration The length of the terms of service Election of members including the chairperson Formation of the executive committee.

4. The district/regional council shall have powers to make laws concerning a. Allotment/occupation/use/management of land except the land which is designated as reserved forest b. Use of any water source for the purpose of agriculture c. Regulation of any form of cultivation d. Establishment of village councils/committees for maintaining law and order e. Public Health and Sanitation f. Inheritance of property g. Social customs, for example, marriage, divorce, etc.

5. The autonomous district/region may constitute village councils/courts to administer justice and resolve disputes. It may make rules to regulate the powers, procedures and enforcement of decisions of such councils. 6. The district/regional council may plan and execute developmental schemes related to education, economy, health and communication. 7. The district/regional council shall have its own budget allocation which will be managed under the guidance of the comptroller and the auditor general of India. The council will have powers to make regulations a. To assess and collect revenue in regard of land and to levy taxes on business, professions, vehicles, external goods and for maintenance of schools, dispensaries and other public facilities b. To negotiate royalties on minerals taken out from any area within the district/region c. To control money lending and trade So far, the provisions of the Sixth Schedule have been extended to the tribal areas of Assam (the North Cachar Hills and the Mikir Hills), Meghalaya (the Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and the Garo Hills), Tripura (North Tripura, South Tripura and West Tripura), Mizoram (Chakma, Lakher and Pawi districts) and West Bengal (Darjeeling Hills). There does exist an autonomous development authority for Chotanagpur and Santal Pargana in Bihar since 1971 but it is in name alone. Neither is there anything autonomous about it nor does it have any authority. Criss-crossing with the Tribes Advisory Council administration in the Chotanagpur plateau area has become most confusing. This is perhaps intentional too on part of the politics of the plains of Bihar. There is no doubt that extension of these provisions has virtually totally eliminated political tension in the respective areas and has opened the door to rapid all-round progress. In fact, the entire Northeast has taken a quantum leap ever since it has been provided self-rule or union territory status. There is no reason why the same cannot apply to the rest of the tribal areas of the country also.

3. Making Chotanagpur a Union Territory A radical but most appropriate approach to developing this area would be to administer this area as a union territory. There are special convincing reasons for the central government to consider the Chotanagpur area as a union territory. 1. The central government is already greatly involved in this area due to mining and industry which are a central concern. But most of its undertakings are running in the red (except for a short period of time during the Emergency of 1977), largely due to the malfunctioning of the state government and the unionism of the external, disloyal northern plains workers. The central government should be concerned that right in the middle of this area, the private firms like the Tatas are making profits of 70 per cent every year with better management and inculcation of a sense of loyalty among their workers.

Considering that the central involvement is going to be ever more increasing in this area in the coming years, it cannot afford wasting national resources in the name of formative years even after 40 years of Independence. 2. Despite all good intentions and laws to safeguard the people, particularly the tribal people of Chotanagpur, the disparity between the northern plains area and the southern hill area has exceeded to the point of no return, and hence, the growing resentment. The vested interests of the northern plains have gone in so deep that unless a cut-off line is not drawn by the central government, the internal colonial exploitation is not going to come to an end. The amount of time, energy and funds spent on suppressing the rebellions could instead be devoted to utilizing the genius of the people by themselves to solve their own problems. 3. To preserve and help develop the cultural distinctiveness of the various regional cultures of this great multi-cultural nation is a cherished national goal. Chotanagpur is one such distinctive culture area which has a tribal base but has also integrated many other Indian cultural traits and thus has lent itself to reciprocate with the mainstream Indian culture. Unfortunately, this culture area has not been seriously taken into consideration during the earlier occasions of state reorganization. In fact, the cultural distinctiveness of this area has been knowingly ignored over the years, beginning with the British. The area was more of a problem of law and order than anything else for them. In the beginning, the entire area was put under the South-West Frontier Agency but in order to have a better control, it was gradually cut up and was tagged on to four different states at different points of history: a. In 1862, Raigarh and Surguja districts were included in Madhya Bharat, now Madhya Pradesh b. In 1912, Midnapur of Birbhum was included in Bengal c. In 1936, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh were included in Odisha d. In 1956, Purulia (of Manbhum) was included in Bengal Thus, the greater Chotanagpur culture area is reduced to the present South Bihar (Chotanagpur and Santal Pargana). The latter too has recently been divided further into North Chotanagpur and South Chotanagpur. A still further division into sub-plan area versus nonsub-plan area has reduced the Chotanagpur area into a tribal majority area only. As the indications are, there will not be any tribal majority area by the first quarter of the 21st century. By implication that will be the end of the central Indian tribal culture area. The central government should take a serious note of this if it means business in terms of preserving and helping develop its tribal cultural heritage. This could be done only through special attention and effort on the part of a well-meaning and sympathetic administration which has been unfortunately far less than desired so far. 4. A transient but most opportune reason for considering this region a union territory would be for quickly winning over the tribal voter for the coming and the following general elections to come. The ruling party at this point in time needs all the help it can get to

maintain itself at the centre. The tribal area is constantly under pressure from the extremist groups and therefore is always vulnerable to joining the opposite forces. As the experience regarding the north-eastern states tells, the area is far less of a problem now than when it was all put under Assam. The tribal areas have suddenly taken a quantum jump on the road to development. Politically too they seem more loyal to the government now than ever before.

4. Providing Separate Statehood to the Chotanagpur Area Finally, the most radical, and probably most lasting, approach to solving the problem of this area would be the formation of a separate state comprising the hill area of Chotanagpur. Here too, it is possible only when the central government is concerned and has opportunities to do so with a minimum disturbance to the national political climate. In addition to the cultural distinctiveness of the area mentioned earlier, there are enough reasons that prove viability of the area as a separate state. Apart from having a distinct geography of about 66,000 sq. miles with a population of nearly 5 crore people, historically, this area has always been a distinct administrative unit known variably as Jharkhand and Khokhra Suba during the Hindu and Muslim periods, and as the South-West Frontier Agency during the British period administered directly by the governor general of India. Economically, the system of land tenure (Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908, and Santal Pargana Tenancy (Supplementary Provisions) Act, 1947) has been distinct from the plains area of Bihar, Bengal, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. In order for these land laws to be effective, the area should be contiguous which it is not presently due to a gradual fragmentation of the area over the years into four different parts shared by four different states. Politically, with the formation of a separate state, the 100-year-old anti-establishment posture of the people would come to an end and a new era of development based on mutual cooperation would begin. Currently, only a half-hearted cooperation is coming from the area for the political design such that no first-rate political leadership can emerge from the area. Under the present circumstances, the best one could expect would be bad political workers living off the system and the people and corrupting both of them at the same time. The political leadership of the plains of course would never go along with the idea of Chotanagpur as a separate state. Chotanagpur for them is the bird that lays golden eggs, the Kamadhenu, the wish tree. It is the economic security coming from the mining and industrial wealth of Chotanagpur that helps the plains leadership maintain its landlordism. This security is the reason why no significant improvement has taken place in land tenure in the plains despite several land ceiling and other Acts. If those land reforms were to have taken place, Bihar would have been, from the point of view of agricultural output, another Haryana or Punjab, or even better. It would have been the most prosperous state in the country. For this reason alone, so that the plains Bihar could realize its optimum economic potentials in agriculture and related industries as Haryana and Punjab have done, the central government should consider separating the Chotanagpur plateau as a separate administrative unit.

Chotanagpur could be developed into a basically industrial state. There are some questions which sounded real at the time of the SRC’s visit in 1954 and on the basis of which it had rejected the formation of a separate state for the Chotanagpur area. One was the question of a common language for this area. Contrary to the situation at that time when no single language was usable for the entire area, Hindi had already become the link language for the area. With greater reciprocity, even the present languages which look different and mutually unintelligible would come closer and would develop an integrated communication system. The other is the question of the likely violence arising from the possible tribal–non-tribal, insider–outsider conflict as a consequence of the separation. Any realistic assessment of the current situation would prove that this fear is baseless. For one thing, taken together, there is no tribal dominance anymore. It is true that the Jharkhand movement began with a tribal character and maintained it for the last three decades but in recent years, it has gradually secularised itself, and currently it stands quite balanced. Its initial ethnic character has given way to a regional one. Equally baseless is the likelihood of an insider–outsider conflict as a consequence of partition, for phenomena related only to the urban areas where the outsider has a clear control over the situation. In fact, the fear only reflects the guilt on the part of the outsider. The insiders at this point in time are so weak that they are in no position to launch an offensive. And if at all such a situation ever arises, the government machinery at this point is more than adequate to control it. Finally, limited only to conservative circles, there is a fear that the creation of the Jharkhand state will lead to a total Christianization of the whole central Indian tribal belt which will eventually remove the tribal population of the country away from the mainstream of Indian culture which essentially means a pro-Hindu culture.1 This fear too is baseless, for as the long history of Indian culture would suggest, Hinduism has an immense power to mould everything to its own shape. This is something unique to Indian culture and something to be proud of.

CONCLUSION The nearly 200-year-old Jharkhand spirit is no longer based on emotional appeal alone and is, therefore, going to continue with calculated intensity. Subjected to divide and rule by the British and 40 years of frustration of being considered a ‘developmental problem’ by the present administration have only deteriorated the condition of the people of Chotanagpur. Of the four options, that is, (a) Tribes Advisory Council, (b) autonomous regional council, (c) a union territory and (d) separate statehood, through which this area could be administered and provided ‘peace and good government’, while the people of Chotanagpur would definitely opt for a separate statehood, both the central and state governments would find it too risky at this point of time when there are already the problems of Khalistan and Gorkhaland to deal with. The Tribes Advisory Council has been tried by the Bihar government but has badly

failed so far, and the people are in no mood to wait any longer. This leaves only the options of an autonomous district/regional council or union territory for administering this area, either of which under the present circumstances would be better suited for a speedy development and catching up by the people of Chotanagpur with the rest of the country. However, from whatever taste of autonomous development authority the people of the Chotanagpur plateau area have had so far, they would rather have a union territory than a restructured autonomous development authority.

NOTE 1. It may be kept in mind that Munda wrote this article in 1988. The state of Jharkhand was formed on 15 November 2000.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY Elwin, V. (1954). The tribal deal. Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi. Fuch. S. (1975). Rebellious prophets. Asia Publishing House. Keshari, B. P. (1978). Jharkhand, kya, kyo, keese [History of Chotanagpur]. Jharkhand Party. Keshari, B. P. (1979). Chotanagpur ka itihas [The Reality of Jharkhand Movement]. William Cary Studies and Research Centre. Keshari, B. P. (1983). Jharkhand andolan ki wastavikta. Chetna Prakashan. Mahto, S. (1985). Jharkhand rajya aur upaniweshvad [Jharkhand State and Colonialism]. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Raghavaiah, V. (1971). Tribal revolts. Adim Jati Sevak Sangh. Roy, A. K. (1981). Jharkhand aur Lalkhand. Marxwadi Coordination. Sengupta, N. (1982). Fourth world dynamics: Jharkhand. Authors Guild. Singh, A. K. (1987). Myth of a healthy tribal. Social Change, 11(1), 3–23. Singh, D. S. (1981). Jharkhand raja ki rup-rekha [An Outline of Jharkhand State]. Saran. Singh, K. S. (1976). Tribal situation in India. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. Singh, K. S. (Ed.). (1983). Tribal movements in India (Vol. 2). Manohar. Singh, K. S. (1986). Tribal society in India. Concept. Wallace. A. (1956). Revitalization movements. American Anthropologist, 58(2), 264–281. Weiner, M. (1978). The sons of the soil: Migration and ethnic conflict. Princeton University Press.

* Social Change, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1988.

Chapter 11

Tribal Resistance Movements and the Politics of Development-induced Displacement in Contemporary Orissa* Binay Kumar Pattnaik

INTRODUCTION Over the past two decades, micro-social movements in India have become an important form of collective action and resistance by the people to protect common interests or values to which they strongly adhere to. However, the New Social Movements (hereafter NSMs) theory that emerged in response to the proliferation of social movements during the 1960s were very different from the classical ones such as the labour movement, peasant movement, Dalit movement, etc. These classical social movements were characterized by hierarchical structures, loyalty to one social group or class and were concerned mainly with economic goals. These movements were long drawn and were fought on the lines of classical Marxian thinking on class struggle. But from the early 1980s onward, micro-movements in India have become points of convergence for diverse themes of protests that have significantly resisted increasing commodification and monopolization of life-supporting resources such as land, water and forest. Resistance movements have targeted forces that threaten sustainable use of land, water, forest and their unequal distribution, exploitative power relations behind this, centralization of decision-making and disempowerment of communities caused by the related development process. Movements by the landless, peasants, fishermen, Adivasis/tribals and displaced people have taken up issues of livelihood, opportunities, dignity and development. These people’s movements are also against the violation of human rights, civil, political and natural rights and demand systemic equality and justice within the larger framework of

development. For example, the resistance movement against the Hirakud Hydel Project at Burla, Sambalpur, in the 1960s and the similar resistance movement against the Rengali Hydel Project in the 1970s, the well-known Baliapal protest movement during 1985–1990 against the missile-testing range, the save Gandhmardan Movement in the early 1980s in the Baragarh district against the mining of Gandhamardan hills by the Bharat Aluminum Company (BALCO), the Gopalpur protest movement against export-based Tata steel during 1995–1996, the Chilika Banchao Andolan against the Integrated Shrimp Farming Project of Tata group and Government of Orissa in the early 1990s and the tribal resistance movement at Lower Suktel Dam at Bolangir in 2005 are some of the micro-movements (typically resistance movements) that had shaken up the sociopolitical lives of Odisha, the southeastern state of India. If the (ex post facto) study by Baboo (1991, pp. 2373–2379) was the sole study of the resistance by the Hirakud dam oustees, the studies by Patel et al. (1988), Patel (1989) and Routledge (1993, pp. 39–74) were those of Baliapal resistance movement. Similarly, when the study of Samal (2002) was based on the Chilika Banchao Andolan, the studies by Baviskar (1995) and Dwivedi (1999, 2006) were all based on Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan. Lastly, the studies of Sarkar (2007), Banerjee (2006) and All India Citizens Initiative (2008) all portray the violent agitations at Nandigram and Singur villages.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The present chapter is a study of two tribal resistance movements of recent origin in the Indian state of Odisha which were all against the displacement caused by mining-based metal industries, for example, (Utkal Alumina International Limited) UAIL at Kashipur and Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) at Lanjigarh. 1. The chapter aims at studying these two micro-movements from the NSM perspective. Within this framework, we propose to study the following: a. The nature and extent of displacement and loss of livelihood caused by the concerned developmental projects b. The course of the movement by identifying the degree of polarization taking place between the positions of state and that of the agitating tribal people, and the extent of politicization of the movement c. The role of the civil society (intellectuals, media, activists and non-governmental organizations [NGOs]) in shaping the course of the movements 2. The chapter further aims at studying the issue of tribal identity and the disappearing tribal culture because of the advancement of modernity. 3. Lastly, the chapter also proposes to bring out emergent development discourse from the paradoxical relationship between development and displacement causing violent resistance.

Methodologically speaking, this is a qualitative exercise mostly based on data and information collected from both primary and secondary sources. The chapter is based on two case studies of micro-movements which are, in fact, resistant movements staged by the tribal people adversely affected by the upcoming mining-based heavy industries in the interiors of Odisha. Further, the chapter is organized on the framework of NSM perspective.

COLLECTIVE MOBILIZATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT-INDUCED DISPLACED IN ODISHA The history of development-induced displacement and subsequent protest movements by the affected population, who are mostly Adivasis/tribals, can be traced back to the early years of Independence. Movements against the Hirakud Hydro-electricity dam project in Odisha dates back to the early 1950s. The protest movement against the Rengali Hydro-electricity dam project dates back to 1971. Of late, the mining-based metal industries in the interior jungle territories of Odisha have given rise to bitter struggles against these by the local tribal populations. The Gandhamardan Bachao movement against the mining-based Aluminum project in the 1980s came to limelight first when the BALCO, a Government of India undertaking with foreign technical collaboration, tried to mine the densely forested range on the top of the Gandhamardan hills in the Bargarh district of northern Odisha. On 2 May 1983, the BALCO with a huge investment officially started its mining work which was projected to be completed by April 1985. But the project could not proceed due to the agitation by the local people, most of whom belonged to various tribes inhabiting the area. The resistance movement by the tribal people raised a number of significant questions related to the issues of rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R), vanishing religio-cultural life of the tribes, environmental degradation, ecological imbalance and the poor agricultural productivity of this drought-prone area. Odisha’s contemporary resistant movements can be attributed to the signing up of a number of MoUs by the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) with a number of Indian and multinational mining companies. This, of course, is a reflection of India’s post-liberalized economic policy and the desperate attempt by one of the poorer states of India to experience growth and development through industrialization. The option of mining-based heavy industrialization by the state is obvious as the state of Odisha has a massive mineral resource base of iron ore, bauxite, ferromanganese, etc.

NATURE AND EXTENT OF DEVELOPMENT-INDUCED DISPLACEMENT: THE CAUSE Kashipur’s Mining-based Refinery Project (Case Study No. 1) The Kashipur block of Rayagada district is the land of primitive tribal communities such as Kondh, Paraja, Penga and Jhodia, and the landless Dalits like Doms. The tribal livelihood has

successfully combined forest dwelling with shifting cultivation and settled cropping. They usually practise shifting cultivation locally called Podu. They solely depend on the forest land for their sustenance and livelihood. It is noteworthy that Kashipur is located in the Rayagada district which was earlier part of the undivided Koraput district (one of the three ‘infamous’ KBK districts) notorious for poverty and starvation deaths (Sarangi, 2002, pp. 3239–3240). It has very low agricultural productivity and is one of the poorest districts of the country. In addition to this, rampant corruption in the district administration of Rayagada and failure of Orissa Tribal Development Programme and other poverty alleviation programmes such as Food For Work, Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojna, Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) and Pani Panchayat (Das, 2003, pp. 81–84) makes Kashipur amenable to a mobilization for resistance. This is also an area heavily influenced by Maoists. The debilitating levels of poverty here seem to have nurtured radical left currents in the region. In the backdrop of high impoverishment among the affected people, their loss of shelter, land and livelihood pushes many of them to starvation deaths. In 1993, Odisha became the focus point for mining corporations as the Government of Odisha planned to set up aluminum plants in the mineral-rich area of Kashipur. The front runner was a consortium called UAIL that had a plan to do mining of bauxite in Baphlimali hill region and process the same in a big refinery at a Kondh village named Ramibeda. The consortium consisted of two large Indian companies and one MNC (Tata, Indal and Norway’s biggest corporation Norsk Hydro). In the period between 1998 and 2000, when the resistance movement gained momentum against the UAIL, Tata quit the venture. Then the ALCAN (Canada) brought up a major share in its subsidiary INDAL, sold it to HINDALCO. Later, due to the growing resistance by the tribal people and under pressure from Norwegian Human rights activists and public opinion, Norsk Hydro too withdrew from the project. Since then, it became a joint venture of the mining giants HINDALCO (of Aditya Birla group; 55%) and Alcan of Canada (45%). Apart from UAIL, large corporate houses with interests in bauxite mining such as L&T and RSB Metaltech are also apparently showing interests in Kashipur and Lanjigarh area to produce alumina. All these developments add to peoples’ suspicion and resistance. The resistance movement in the Kashipur block started not only against UAIL, though this was the chief target, but also against other bauxite mining projects of the BALCO, L&T and Sterlite Industries India Ltd (SIIL) in the same area. The ongoing UAIL project was to affect the lives of more than 5,000 families in nearly 100 villages (directly by UAIL and indirectly for its connecting railway line and for its power-supplying upper Indravati hydel project; Das, 2001, pp. 2613–2614). However, it was to provide employment for about 1,000 people, almost none of whom were from among the 5,000 affected by the project. But these mining activities were to destroy their forest habitat and ecosystem having perennial water streams that form the basis of lives and livelihood of more than 2,000 families in more than 11 + 3 = 14 villages directly. While the officials claim that only 148 families from three villages, namely Domkaral, Ramibeda and Kendukhunti, were to be displaced and other 11 villages in the periphery were to be partially affected, the reality is vastly different. The residents of

these three villages were to lose more than 75 per cent of their land. Aditya Birla group had already acquired 2,500 acres of land there. The project had displaced more than 2,000 people with immediate effect, but was making mere promises to secure jobs for 1,000 people over 20 years.

Lanjigarh’s Mining-based Refinery Project (Case Study No. 2) Lanjigarh is part of the Kalahandi district of Odisha. Tribal people such as the Dongaria Kondh, Kutia Kondh and Jharania Kondh have lived in the Niyamgiri mountain range of Lanjigarh area from time immemorial. The Kondhs are a primitive tribe fully dependent upon forest products and forest-based agricultural land for their subsistence. Again, Kalahandi district (one of the three infamous KBK districts) is notorious for its poverty and starvation deaths. Its rare distinction is its low agricultural productivity. It is also one of the poorest districts in the country. Because of its poverty, it has been a breeding ground for the Naxalites. Vedanta Resources Plc (VRP) is a UK-based company. The Company’s original name was SIIL. In December 2003, it was launched in the London Stock Exchange as VRP in order to build Lanjigarh refinery in Kalahandi district of Odisha. The VRP had started its work for setting up of a refinery at Lanjigarh and mining of bauxite from the Niyamgiri Hill Range. Now it is working under the banner of VAL, based in Mumbai, which is a subsidiary of the London-based Company VRP. This company, in order to feed its Lanjigarh refinery, was to mine bauxite from the Niyamgiri hills jointly with OMC as per the lease agreement signed between VAL and OMC in October 2004. Both SIIL and the VAL are headed by a nonresident Indian, Anil Agarwal. The major shareholders in VAL are Barclays, Deutsche Bank and ABN Amro. The aggregate investment of the project was approximately ₹4,000 crores then. For this purpose, 723.43 hectares of land was required by the VAL. Out of which 232.75 hectares was private and most of this land belonged to the Kondhs. Most of the land is categorized as forest. According to the office of the Collector, Kalahandi, 12 villages of the Gram Panchayat Lanjigarh and Batelima will be affected by the proposed Alumina refinery at Lanjigarh. From these villages, 60 families are to be displaced and 302 families will be affected as their land will be acquired for the project. But, in reality, the plant displaced 102 families from their homes. Another 1,220 ‘project-affected’ families lost either all, or parts, of their farmland. So far, the project displaced two villages partially and two completely and the list will add on. Out of the 64 displaced households in Jaganathpur village, most of them are Kondhs who had been cultivating land there for generations. On 23 January 2004, four tribal villages, Borobhota, Kinari, Kothduar, Sindhabahali and their agricultural fields, in south-east Kalahandi district, were razed by VAL, where from the villagers were forcibly evicted. Lanjigarh movement is not only about its large-scale displacement of tribal people but also about the violation of environmental laws/forest conservation laws as its extensive mining in the Niyamgiri mountains threatens an entire ecosystem, implying even drying up of rivers flowing from the mountains. Further, it is also about the violation of 1996 Act of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas [PESA]).

DISINFORMATION AND POLITICS FOR COLLECTIVE MOBILIZATION These large-scale displacements have aroused protests among the affected people against these developmental projects. It is needless to emphasize that these collective protests have taken the shape of social movements. To perceive the phenomena as social movements, one may rely on A. Touraine’s (1985, pp. 749–789), three principles that must coexist in any social movement, namely (a) the principle of (group) identity, (b) the principle of opposition and (c) the principle of (involvement in) totality. And we observed the operation of the three principles of Touraine as the tribals made a categorical issue out of loss of their cultural identity, organized themselves in opposition to the developmental projects in question and the state that facilitates the projects and lastly the tribal population involved itself in the movement in totality as it is a matter of livelihood and identity for them. The theoretical framework of classical social movement that entails perceiving a collective action for mobilization in the direction of institutionalization is considered to be inadequate in the present context because of the complexity of these movements and also considered to be unsuitable for the absence of any specific political ideology and class basis of these movements. Having fought the movements on the ground initially, the movement was later fought in the public sphere, that is, in the media/internet on behalf of the destitutes of development (symbolic of the psychology of underdogs). Industrialization will open up employment opportunities to educated unemployed and will generate work for the unskilled poor in the different unorganized and service sectors and in the near future the poor state of Odisha will overflow with milk and honey. This was the message disseminated from assorted quarters, the corporate, media, the government, the international aid agencies, the funded NGOs and even the World Bank agents. But, from the beginning of these projects, the democratic state had maintained a stony silence on the questions of the exact nature of these projects, how many villages were to be displaced completely or partially, or were to be affected directly or indirectly through these projects and how many people will lose their homesteads, land, what will be the nature and extent of the R&R and what would be the nature and extent of environmental and ecological degradation, etc. The concerned corporate houses grossly underplayed the facts pertaining to displacement and environmental degradation and overplayed the facts pertaining to R&R. On the contrary, the activist organizations and their ally NGOs overplayed the facts pertaining to displacement and environmental degradation but underplayed the R&R measures to come. The state and district administration along with the company officials launched an intensive public disinformation campaign to portray the resistance as misguided and manipulated the public opinion through media in favour of the projects. This is what Padel and Das (2008, p. 594) called ‘manufacturing of consent’. However, there prevailed an environment of distrust for which both sides are responsible. This was possible in the absence of authentic and complete information about the projects which was to come from the government administration but it was silent. Kashipur: The root of suspicion and the idea of being uprooted in the minds of the tribal

people started quite long back around 1993 when they first felt the presence of strangers in their tribal hinterland gathering various kinds of information from them, setting up drilling rigs and other machinery with alien technological instruments and taking the samples of water and soil and collecting information with questionnaires. In the early stages of the mining work, neither the company nor the state government made effort to disseminate the detailed and clear information to the affected tribals. For example, in the village of Kendukhunti in Kashipur block, people were told by the surveyors that the survey was being carried out for the children’s education project. For a long time, the tribal people were kept in darkness and being supplied with vague answers by the surveyors regarding the projects. Later on, the people of this area were told that bauxite will be mined in the area and factories will be set up and they have to evacuate their habitat. With the fear of losing their habitat and their livelihood base, people from the villages of Sunger Panchayat of Kashipur block and Kerpai/Naktrundi Panchayats of Thuamul-Rampur block assembled on 22 February 1995 and met the Tehsildar of Kashipur along with the representative of Anchalika Surakhya Parishad. They demanded detailed and clear information about the (a) effect of the mining project in their lives and their habitation, (b) the terms and conditions agreed upon between the Government of Odisha and the multinational companies for the setting up of these projects, (c) the response of the government on the issue of the forceful eviction of native inhabitants from their homes and land, with no options offered to them and (d) the benefits to the Kashipur block of Rayagada district and Thuamul Rampur block of Kalahandi district from the mining and industrial activities of the big mining magnets. Further, to counter the environmentalists’ allegations, the UAIL claims to have conducted several technical studies, such as EIA and environmental management plans by the engineers India, SEIA study by NIRD Hyderabad, mixing depth studies by the department of Oceanography and meteorology of Andhra University and impacts of discharges of treated effluents by the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow. But none of these reports are made public. Hence, there is an absence of technical information to clear out suspicions and rumours. Lanjigarh: Vedanta acquired a reputation through sustained campaign by activists of being an ‘unscrupulous’ MNC that has bribed key people in the governments both at the centre and the state. They cited the hurried manner in which the application of VAL for diversion into forest land was cleared by the MOEF on 28 March 2005 (though denied in the first clearance of 22 September 2004 by the MOEF). On 17 September 2010, the National Environment Appellate Authority suspended the environmental clearance to VAL that was granted in 2009 (Mohanty & Sinha, 2010). A desperate Odisha government through OMC moved to the Supreme Court on April 2011 against the MOEF’s withdrawal of environmental clearance to VAL at Lanjigarh for its bauxite mining at Niyamgiri hills. While the activists and Vedanta made contrasting claims with the latter selling dreams of bringing extraordinary development to the tribals, the implementation of the complete R&R package was a time-consuming affair. The displaced people, at the same time, wanted immediate compensation and R&R benefits. The situation was made more complex by the

fact that they had no access to any authentic information about the compensation and R&R measures proposed. This allowed vicious rumours to float around. Hence, though the primary causes of the violent resistance were (a) large-scale displacement, (b) virtual absence of direct jobs, (c) poor compensation packages and (d) delayed implementation of R&R measures, the major secondary causes were the popular distrust with corporates as well as the state administration and too much of politicization.

POLITICS OF DEVELOPMENT AND OF THE MOVEMENTS In Kashipur, mainstream political parties such as Congress, BJP and BJD were hell bent on starting the project. These parties have formed an All-Party Committee to support the projects. Sarangi (2002, p. 3241) alleged that these political parties are now acting as agents of UAIL engaging themselves as private army and threatening tribal people to leave their land for the industry so that they would grab the contracts for construction. This was a misplaced allegation and it was based on the wrong assumption that the Adivasis have ownership rights over their habitats in the forest. This was claimed way back in 2002 when the The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (that tribes can hold land for habitation and self-cultivation within the forest) was non-existent. In the Niyamgiri area of Lanjigarh, local Congress and radical communist groups (particularly CPI-ML New Democracy, CPI-ML Red Flag and CPI-ML Liberation) leaders are active in the resistance movement. The project has provoked a serious political conflict between the political parties like the ruling BJD and the opposition Congress. While the BJD advocates for the upcoming development in the area by revenue and employment generation through mega projects like VAL, the opposition parties point out the various adverse impacts on the ecosystem and biodiversity of Niyamgiri mountains, though they support the industrial policy of the state in the legislative assembly. The politicization added a new chapter when we heard that the local (Lanjigarh) tribal MLA, who was also Odisha’s minister in charge of tribal development had been mobilizing tribal followers for staging a dharna (sit down protest) in front of the Supreme Court in favour of the company at the time of hearing of the case. There was a rumour going on the area that ‘Vedanta has been assured that the verdict will not go against the company if such a dharna is arranged in Delhi.’ But in 2009 general election, the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat went to Congress. Thereafter, the politicization of Lanjigarh project has become more intense. Bhakta Charan Das, the new Congress MP from Kalahandi, has been mobilizing support from congress leadership and pro-congress intellectuals at New Delhi against the project. Not surprisingly, on the basis of its Forest Advisory Committee report headed by N. C. Saxena, the MOEF has withdrawn the environmental clearance for VAL (on 24 August 2010) and tried to scrap it. Two days later (on 26 August) Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary, participated in a huge rally at Lanjigarh and claimed that as the supporter of tribal people in Delhi, the Union Government has denied environmental clearance to notorious VAL for mining in the Niyamgiri range.

Thus, the Congress led Union Government’s predetermined decision to stall VAL project renders the Saxena Committee report irrelevant. Quickly, the Government of Odisha assured VAL of alternative mining fields. Following this, the MOEF issued two show cause notices on 1 September 2010 to VAL alleging non-compliance of environmental conditions by its refinery plant and CPP both at Lanjigarh and threatened its closure. On 3 September 2010, Bhakta Charan Das, the Congress MP, in a press conference at the state capital demanded the closure of VAL refinery (when on the same day the ‘Save Vedanta day’ rally was organized at Lanjigarh by BJD youth wing). Following this, on 17 September 2010, the National Environment Appellate Authority also suspended the environmental clearance to VAL that was granted in 2009 (Mohanty & Sinha, 2010). A desperate Odisha government through OMC moved to the Supreme Court on April 2011 against the MOEF’s withdrawal of environmental clearance to VAL at Lanjigarh for its bauxite mining at Niyamgiri hills.

DISAPPEARING TRIBAL CULTURE AND IDENTITY The developmentalists often assumed that peoples’ resistance movements occurred purely because of economic reasons, whereas the reasons are much more complex, embracing economic, social and particularly cultural issues. The project planners have often had wrong assumptions. Violation of economic rights of the affected people might have itself proved to be a strong motivator for resistance, but a great deal of the moral content of the resistance movement is, in fact, derived explicitly from cultural issues pertaining to the rights of existence as cultural entities, of identity, of spiritual links to land and environment and of loyalty to mythological as well as historical ancestors. It would be sheer reductionism to attribute resistance solely to economics or for that matter to purely cultural concerns. In the present context of discussion, cultural factors refer to (a) attachment to the place and (b) cultural identity. 1. Place of attachment refers to the bonding of the people to the place which provides for the very ontological grounding of a culture. Attachment to the place involves positively experienced bonds that often occur without the awareness of the people. These bonds are developed out of the behavioural, affective and cognitive ties between the individuals and their groups residing in the same socio-physical environment. The process of getting attached to a place thus involves the behavioural, cognitive and emotional embeddedness of individuals in forging the link between their sociocultural and physical environments. Thus, an attachment to a place virtually refers to a repository of embedded life experiences that are not separable from the feelings associated with the place. Further, such attachments may transcend the unique experiences of individuals and involve a constellation of social relations and corresponding culture of the entire community (Oliver-Smith, 2001, pp. 61–69). Hence, one of the strong cultural factors behind the resistance of the tribal people is alienation from the sense of attachment to their land. 2. Native place signifies relationships between individuals as well as between individuals

and their groups. Both as a repository of life experiences and type of human relations, place of attachment plays an important role in the formation, maintenance and preservation of groups’ cultural identity. The feelings, memories, ideas, values and meanings associated with everyday life in a particular setting come to constitute an important dimension of a groups’ identity (Oliver-Smith, 2001). Hence, owing to displacement from the native place, the very identity of the tribal people is at stake. In this context, the notion of BHITTA MATEE becomes relevant, found among locals, which connotes their generations of dependence on the land and their attachment to the land. This attachment provides the basis for tribal culture of a particular variety typical to a tribe because it is the reflection of tribal emotions in the form of their dance, music, cosmology, belief system and hence tribal culture and subsequently tribal identity. Hence, cultural factors such as the intimate connections between the physical environment and religion, cosmology and worldview, enacted through rituals and celebratory cultural events as narrated in folklore play significant roles in building relationships of a group/community with its traditional land. In effect, the ties between people and their land base provide the ontological ground of a cultural identity. Thus, a sense of belonging to a place plays an important role in the groups’ collective identity formation (as its history becomes contextualized). So is the case of these tribal groups of Kashipur and Lanjigarh whose religious life, cosmology and world view stand endangered owing to their displacement from their physical environment. The preponderant tribes in both the project areas are Kondhs (Dongaria, Kutia) Saora (Langia), Bhuiyan, Oraon and Munda. It is needless to iterate that these tribes are the natives of the forest and mountains. Hence, the identity of any tribal community is associated with the forests, hills and mountains. The tribal identity is expressed through their distinct social organization and cultural forms (dress patterns, language, rituals, festivals, songs/dances and their spiritual life). Physical relocation of tribal population is a complex issue and has significant adverse implications for their identity, culture and customary livelihood. Tribal culture, way of life, folklore, religious practices are inextricably linked with their relationship with nature. Tribal communities have their distinct identity which is different from the mainstream society. Displacement often leads to a sudden onslaught of dominant values threatening the very basis of their cultural identity because culture which is rooted in a particular place, cannot be easily ‘reconstructed’ in another place. Resettlement after displacement not only relocates groups/communities in space, it also remakes them. Often the community is reconfigured in certain ways and the local culture is pressed for a change, as it gets linked to regional and national market systems. Visualization of this itself engenders resentment and subsequent collective resistance among the affected people. So is the case of tribal people of Niyamgiri mountains. In Lanjigarh area, the tribal culture is associated with the Niyamgiri hill range. The Dongaria and Maji Kondhs, inhabitants of the area, believe that, Niyamgiri is their place of origin and worship. Niyam Raja is the deity of these mountains. Niyam Raja means the ‘Lord

of the Dharma’, ‘Lord of the Rule’ or the ‘Lord of the Law’. In the name of Niyam Raja, these tribal people maintained a taboo on cutting of trees. Niyamgiri is not just a mountain range for them. It has been worshipped as Niyam Penu (God) for generations by these tribal people living in and around it (hence, it has been protected so far). Tribal religious life is now transformed. Experiencing the invaders around them tearing their earth apart with earth movers, blasting of mountainous rocks and cutting down trees of the forest to earn money, negate tribals’ sense of sacredness of nature which lies at the heart of traditional tribal religion. Thus, the very act of opening up the belly of the earth for mining and construction activities undermines the traditional reverence to Dharni Penu (Earth Deity). The traditional beliefs, values, norms and religious practices have come under fire and community festivals such as the ones for first fruit/harvest of the various crops and Meria festival of sacrifice that traditionally used to bring the villagers together are dying. The tribal religio-cultural life has undergone huge changes which are tantamount to their ‘detribalization’. For example, a woman who had just been removed from Kinari village to make way for Vedanta’s refinery told Amoro devata ke bi nashta kole—they even destroyed our deities—referring to the Dharni vali (Earth Goddess stones) that form the centre of a Kondh village, which has been crushed into rubbles along with the houses. Padel and Das (2008, pp. 585–88) call this ‘cultural genocide’. Strained kinship and clan system: Lasting tensions have emerged within and between tribal families according to their varying stand taken on accepting the compensation and employment from the company. One of the biggest splits was between the six villages in Lanjigarh block; those which accepted compensation for their land (who were moved to Vedantanagar colony) and those which refused the compensation (were left outside the refinery walls). The first group has lost the spatial community of a Kondh village once for all. Further, there has emerged a sense of distrust and tension within the tribal households as family members became suspicious of the other member of the family who received the lump sum amount as compensation. There were cases reported when the family member who received the lump sum did not share it with others or gave only peanuts to other family members. Those displaced and put in settlement colonies away from their original place of habitation even find it difficult to maintain matrimonial relations with their community. Thus, the social fabric of the tribal stands disintegrated. Having lost the unity of the community, the tribal people have experienced the penetration of money and alien culture into their social relations. Lastly, when the tribal people lose their land and their traditional homes, it results in their loss of livelihood too. They become dependent upon the non-tribals and get connected to the larger market economy in place of their own forest-based subsistence economy. This dependency on external market puts the tribal people socially in a disadvantageous position where they are engaged as menial workers of various kinds. That apart, the tribal people who earlier by and large had lived in an egalitarian social structure now got connected to the larger caste Hindu society as low-caste people and even as untouchables. Thus, it is a clear

case of social displacement too.

ANATOMY OF COLLECTIVE MOBILIZATIONS AND VIOLENT RESISTANCE The extent of repression was very high on the tribal people in both these places from all the corners, by the state administration/police, the CRPF and finally the local mercenaries of the concerned companies. Violence was inflicted on the tribal people because of their opposition to the mining-based refinery projects. The tribal people obstructed the project activities by the companies such as land surveying, leveling and boundary wall construction. Along with these activities, they organized sit-in demonstrations (dharna), protest public meetings and protest-walks (marches).

Role of the Civil Society in Shaping the Course of the Movement According to Fuentes and Frank (1989, pp. 79–91), NSMs are people’s struggle against systemic exploitation and oppression and for survival/identity in a complex-dependent society. These movements are instruments for democratic self-empowerment of people, organized independently of the state, its institutions and political parties and are a reflection of people’s search for alternatives. In a nutshell, NSMs take place in the civil society/cultural sphere (for which they claim autonomy) vis-à-vis the state. To Cohen (1985, p. 700), civil society is seen ‘in action terms as the domain of struggles, involving public spaces and political processes. It comprises the social realm in which the creation of norms, identities, and social relations of domination and resistance are located.’ 1. Role of Intellectuals: Social activists, freelance writers, anthropologists, sociologists, research scholars, film-makers, human rights groups, who not only visited the affected areas but also prepared reports on the issues of contemporary resistance and the extent of state repression on the people. The Council for Social Development (CSD), a Delhi-based organization, started a mission headed by Muchkund Dube (Ex. Foreign Secretary of India) in January 1999. Its aim was to study the situation at Kashipur, in the Rayagada district of Odisha and to dig out the ground realities and to formulate a rehabilitation policy package. The team did an extensive survey of those areas, met persons of both the sides, those who support the VAL project and those who did not. Also, they gathered information from various government officials employed at the affected area and in the state secretariat, NGO activists and members. The report brought the reality of the bitter relationship between the victims and the state authority including the company officials. There was also evidence on the excessive use of coercive methods by the officials for the withdrawal of tribal people. The report brought out the state’s step against the four local NGOs, namely Agragamee, Ankuran, Laxman Nayak Society, Weaker Section Integrated Development Agency (WIDA) with the allegation for supporting this genuine movement of the tribal people. There was an upsurge in the number of reports/studies by various-

national level participatory forums that have been involving these grassroots movements through empirical studies/surveys. Following are some of these: Judicial Commissions, Tribunals or Similar Independent Reports on Violence against Adivasis Violating the Laws in Odisha [Examples Only] 1999 Former Foreign Secretary Muchkund Dubey’s independent commission from the CSD examining claims of violence against Adivasis (11–18 January 1999) 2001 Chief Justice D. S. Tewatia and Swami Agnivesh’s independent report on police killing Adivasis on 16 December 2000 2003 High Court Justice Prafulla K. Misra Commission also on the 16 December 2000 killings (suppressed by Government of Odisha, later leaked and released) 2005 Lawyers’ Field Mission, India’s Peoples Union for Civil Liberties and independent civil society body 2006 Chief Justice Bhargava’s Tribunal, Published October 2006 2006 Justice Usha’s Commission on Communalism in Odisha (Chatterjee & Desai, 2006) 2006 Chief Justice of India Yogesh K. Sabharwal for the Supreme Court on Vedanta bauxite, violating the law and illegalities against Adivasis (pending). 2. Role of Activist’s Organizations: The painstaking efforts of activists in these movements (social, legal, environmental and human rights) to highlight the various ground-level issues of the tribal and similar marginalized communities are remarkable. These micromovement groups were adopting the effective and innovative methods of organizing Padayatra to raise consciousness among people to mobilize them. The activists from the various movement organizations in these trouble-torn areas were organizing Padayatras (protest walk or peace walk), dharna (peaceful sit on), to unite the tribal groups by sharing a common perspective and concern for specific issues. They organized their protest walks and moved through affected villages, interacted with tribal people and mobilized their opinion in favour. As tribal people were facing problems such as alienation from their land, home and livelihood and harassment by the government officials and mercenaries of the company it became easy to muster their support. Apart from NGOs, there emerged several grassroots-level activist/movements organizations may be at the behest/inspiration of NGOs to mobilize the affected population. The noteworthy among the movement organisations in the two mentioned disturbed areas (Kashipur and Lanjigarh) are Prakrutika Sampada Surakhya Parishad of Kashipur, Basundhara Surakshya Samiti, Anchaklika/Vanasampada Surakhya Samitis (in the villages of Kashipur block) and Baphlimali Surakhya Samiti, at Kashipur and Chasi Mulia Sangha of Rayagada/Koraput, Loka Shakti Abhiyan of Lanjigarh, Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti Lanjigarh, Geen Kalahandi, Niyamgiri Bachao Samiti (NBS), Niyamgiri Surakhya Abhiyan (NSA), Samajbadi Jana Parishad (SJP), Kalahandi Sachetan Nagarika Manch, etc., at Lanjigarh. These movement organizations are though

independent organizations/forums, but in order to meet their common goal, to fight out the giant mining company, they often coordinate their own activities in an area and at times work in a consortium manner. This was possible because of their unity of purpose. The major activists working with the people of Kashipur area (namely Rabi Pradhan, Saroj Mohanty, Vidhya Das, Deba Ranjan Sarangi who are intellectuals too) were also severely harassed by the state police. These aforementioned activists and Bhagban Majhi were booked under National Security Act (NSA). Non-bailable warrants have been issued for some of the activists such as the Prafulla Samantara, president of Lokashakti Abhiyan Orissa, and Achyut Das, president of the NGO Agragamee. Also, in Bargarh Samata Bhawan, the office of the Samajbadi Jana Parishad was not spared by the police. In Lanjigarh, the arrested movement leaders were Nayan Dash and Lingaraj Azad (state president of Samajbadi Jana Parishad). The activists of the Lanjigarh movement who took lead were Daising Majhi, Bhim Majhi, tribal women leader Maladi Majhi, communist leader Gananath Patra, Rajendra Sarangi, Bhagbat Prasad Rath, Dhabaleswar Nayak, Santosh Mallik, Rajendra Bharati, Satyabadi Nayak, B. Thakur, Srikantha, Snehansu and Siddharth Naik. All of them were not tribal people but were locals who stood united and consistently sought the ouster of the VAL from Kalahandi. There is evidence to suggest that in the areas of Kashipur and Lanjigarh, in the interior tribal-dominated areas, the Christian missionaries too were directly extending support to these tribal movements. It is not surprising that on 5 February 2010, the Church of England declared to withdraw its 2.5 million pounds worth investment from the VAL’s mining project certainly at the instigation of Christian Missionaries working in this remote tribal belt on the ground that VAL is indulging in violation of human rights, endangering indigenous tribes, wildlife and environment (BBC News, 2010). Further, the state administration has stumbled upon evidence of Naxalite involvement in these movements. As if these were not enough for the disadvantage of the state of late, the politics of the movement has revealed a different shade that refers to the involvement of an older and subtler political forum that aimed at carving out a separate state of Koshal out of Odisha’s western districts where Kashipur and Lanjigarh movements were fought. 3. Role of local NGOs: The NGOs as a phenomenon emerged in India in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. The NGOs are receiving funds from inside and outside the country to do state-approved developmental work in the rural areas. Some of the NGOs entered into the south-western areas of Odisha in the 1980s. The main four NGOs, namely Agragamee, Laxman Nayak Society, Ankuran and WIDA had been working among the tribal people of Kalahandi and Rayagada for more than two decades by organizing various literacy programmes, imparting training in watershed management, implementing government’s pro-poor policies, fomenting awareness among them regarding their legal and constitutional rights, augmenting introduction of new technologies in agricultural practices and forming grassroots people’s organizations. In the beginning, among the four NGOs, Agragamee disseminated information to the people regarding the Kashipur project, its adverse impact on their lives and livelihood resources and the environment.

Tribals are more dependent on Agragamee due to its long and deep association with the people. It took some steps like signature campaign and articulated some of the demands such as full information about the project-induced displacement and clarification regarding the benefits of the people on 22 February 1995. As the NGOs always want to earn and retain a pro-people image, they could not immediately withdraw themselves from the movement. NGOs worked to control and keep the movement within a limit which will not threaten their very existence and, at the same time, will remain close to the tribal people without the fear of rejection. In spite of heavy repressive measures from the government, those NGOs continued to support the movement. Many NGOs such as Agragamee and Ankuran were derecognized, their funding from the state government was discontinued. The central government and other aid agencies were informed adversely to stop funding these NGOs. Their offices were raided by police, employees were arrested, FIR and criminal cases were filed against many NGO workers. These litigations drained their time, scanty resources and motivations (Das, 2003, p. 83). Even these NGO workers faced physical harassment and threats. On a meeting of NGOs to discuss the project-related issues convened by the Southern Revenue Divisional Commission of Odisha on the first week of July 1999, Agragamee did not participate. Ankuran made a statement in the meeting that ‘we will help the Govt. in installing the project if it withdraws its decision of deregistering our organisation.’ Later, Ankuran denied the statement through a rejoinder. The other noteworthy local NGOs which worked for the tribal people and support the resistance movement were Friends of Tribal Society, Deshapremi Jana Samukhya, Kalahandi Sachetan Nagarik Mancha, Jala, Jungle O Zamin Surakhshya Manch and Sanhati. 4. Role of international NGOs: Apart from local NGOs, there were also some international NGOs involved with the movements against these mining-based projects. Some of these NGOs were ActionAid, CARE India, Hivos and Norwatch. ActionAid with the help of Sanhati (an NGO at Kashipur) helped some tribal leaders to go to Delhi to give press statements protesting against the project. After sponsoring their visit to Delhi, the NGOs issued a different suitable press statement regarding funding the visit as it was to address the issues regarding the proposal to confer full power to Gramsabha on land acquisition issues and not deal with the movement issues. On the other hand, on 15 December 2000, Care International and an all-party committee formed by UAIL tried to organize a multistakeholder dialogue in Nuagaon village at Maikanch. In a different case, the NGO called Norwatch from Norway came to collect the opinion of the victims of the Kashipur area about the ongoing project and its compensation package. The damaging report by the Norwatch, about the protesting people of Kashipur, forced the Norwegian company Norsk Hydro to withdraw itself from the project (UAIL) in 1998. Thus, the roles of NGOs in these resistance movements could be summarized as follows: (a) dissemination of relevant information, (b) awareness building among the affected people, (c) forming grassroots-level activist organizations, (d) strategy building for mobilization, playing

through media in a controlled and clever manner, (e) funding the movement both directly and indirectly, and (f) extending expertise for negotiation with powerful and knowledgeable adversaries like state and company officials. We would strongly agree with the view that NGOs’ guidance and involvement in these movements have certainly not allowed these to fall into the folds of Maoist armed struggle that has spread its tentacles in these tribaldominated areas of interior Odisha. Thus, these movements have remained within the limits of civil society so far.

ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN THE STATE OF ODISHA In the present days of global interconnectivity, no resistance movement is fought in isolation. It is receiving good brand imaging and media coverage in every part of the country. It cannot be alienated from the world of media, through which these micro-movements seek to expand their domain of influence. The news of repression and intimidation of the tribals, social–legal activists and the protests of the marginalized people against the mining projects of western Odisha became the focus of both the national and international media attention. The coverage of the movement was wide in the electronics media but the electronics media is not free from politics as the TV channels (O TV, E TV Oriya, DD Oriya, Kanaka TV, Nakshatra TV, etc.) by and large followed their own party lines as it becomes a question of credibility of a state government (BJP and BJD coalition then). The local print media (newspapers in vernacular/Odia) had a great role to play in these movements. As these movements were highly politicized, the print media also followed their broad party lines. The only leading Odia daily that had been giving almost unbiased coverage of the movements was The Samaj (from the Servants’ of People Society). The Sambad (from Eastern Media) toed the line of Congress party, while The Prajatantra and The Dharitri, other leading Odia dailies had been tacitly toeing with the lines of BJD and BJP the then ruling parties. This battle was also fought in the internet where the movement organizations and their sympathizing intellectuals run website giving news about the movement and portraying their views on regular basis. Environmental Protection Group Odisha has such a website that carries numerous articles with legal, economic and environmental implications of the projects.,,,,, etc., are some of the other important internet-based websites that transmit information/news about the project and the movements. Even web materials prepared in French and German are posted for Canadian audience and Deutsch bankers of Vedanta to restrain Alcan India and VAL, respectively. Of course, many of their write-ups are in fact emotional, highly subjective, sometimes distorted and vehemently one-sided. The quality and volume of propaganda material released through internet and print media particularly for Lanjigarh movement has been vicious. As a result, international environmental activists have made bee line to Lanjigarh to save its tropical forest and primitive tribes (as blue-coloured tribes of Avatar film of Hollywood).

WHY THESE TRIBAL RESISTANT MOVEMENTS BE TREATED AS NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS These movements meet most of the theoretically identified features of NSMs, such as follows: 1. The rise of NSMs in recent decades is to be attributed to the rise of various strong interest groups (e.g., displaced tribal groups in this context) and also to the near total absence of macro-movements, that is, working class movements, peasant movements, trade union movements and the like. NSMs in India have often erupted due to the multiple modernities and identities, which are essentially centered around local issues (e.g., scrapping the project and protecting the tribal cultural identity). NSMs are also conceived as non-party political forums, based on grassroots popular initiatives and single issue based anti-state movements (Oommen, 2001, pp. 1–16). These are also distinct as they operate almost wholly outside the traditional political party system. 2. The newness about the NSM is that these opposed the tyranny of the state government (e.g., repressive measures of the administration in Odisha, in this context) without questioning the very existence and legitimacy of the state power. These also do not intend to directly take over power by overthrowing the political regime. Neither did they question the Indian state as the Naxals do. 3. The intermediary institutions (i.e., civil society institutions such as NGOs and other activist organizations) play a significant role in fomenting these movements and also bring these movements into fruition. NSMs are mostly civil society based as the network of civil society activist organizations involving mass media work in coalition (e.g., network of NGOs and movement organization in this context) for attaining the specific objectives. 4. These are essentially anti-systemic (e.g., against developement induced displacement in this context) and not anti-regime movements. The social movements emerging out of conflicts over sharing natural resources such as land, forest and water, concerns for ecology/environment, human rights, cultural identity, etc., can be seen as the causes of eruption of such NSM (as all these are true in case of the two movements). 5. In general, NSMs evolve around moral issues, particularly in the lower-middle income countries, NSMs work even towards attaining distributive justice in sharing economic resources and services (e.g., adequate compensations and R&R measures for those displaced in this context). 6. Ideologically, the encouraging features of these NSMs are mostly their less orthodox and less doctrinaire nature (e.g., no ideological overtone in these two resisitance movements). In addition to this, NSMs characteristically have no obsession to capture state power but they do aim at bringing about change in state apparatus and various social institutions. 7. NSMs have never been substitutes, as class struggle in India within the factory and over the land and its products are still important today. Instead of replacing classical

movements, the NSMs have supplemented them, as the latter have emerged in newer areas where the former have not emerged (e.g., Naxalite/Maoist movement in contemporary Odisha which is a class-based/classical kind of movement, is being tacitly supplemented by these micro-movements). 8. NSMs remain effective by retaining their identity, engaging parties in dialogue, yet remaining outside their control. Again, the NSMs in India, unlike those in the West, have no mass participation, rather have thinner and local support bases only (e.g., both the movement studied are locality based without involving the larger population of their respective districts and the state). 9. Multiple actors, such as intellectuals, activists, students and also the affected population itself, play lead roles in these movements (e.g., movements by intellectuals and activists in this context). And those who direct these movements are mostly middle-class-based intellectuals. The actors from the middle class try to bring about changes through different means such as scholastic writings, mobilizing people in a methodical/strategic manner, using media in their favour and the like (e.g., extensive reporting on these micro-movements in newspapers, magazines and journals). 10. Maybe because of their middle-class preponderance, the NSMs function in a nonhierarchical manner. Some also argue that while the middle class plays the facilitating role, the lower class (e.g., affected population consisting of mostly tribal people, some Dalits and few general in this context) at the grassroots level participates in large numbers in NSMs (D’monte, 1989, p. 19). The other features of NSMs spelled out by Frank and Fuentes (1987, pp. 1503–1510) that are found to be in match with the tribal resistant movements of Odisha under study are as follows: 1. These movements have little or no membership ties (i.e., party membership) and have a spontaneous interest base. In spite of their variety what is in common to all NSMs is that these are mobilized on the basis of morality, justice and a social power for a particular purpose. 2. These movements have their own life cycles that of course are shorter in duration (e.g., not more than a decade in each of these cases). 3. NSMs mostly develop specific objectives for themselves and do not live beyond their specific objectives (we have already noted that Kashipur movement is stalemating because of loss of sight and also because the most notable outcome of the resistance movements, i.e., formulation of the Comprehensive R&R Policy of the Government of Odisha dated 20 May 2006 as the Government of Odisha had no such policy prior to this, except a draft version of July 2005). 4. NSMs generally evolve in grassroots politics and grassroots collective actions. Often these grassroots collective actions initiate micro-movements of smaller groups targeting localized issues with limited institutional base. These movements take the help of existing intermediary institutions (NGOs) and in the course of time produce organized

democratic associations. But various associations, that is, voluntary associations and nonparty political forums and ideological groups also set the stage for such movements (e.g., convergence of efforts of movement organizations, NGOs and political organizations in this context). 5. NGOs are seen as one of those new actors within civil society that promote people’s participation through motivation, people’s mobilization and people’s empowerment. NGOs mobilize people for movements and give rise to formation of various pressure groups and other intermediary institutions like popular grassroots (village-level) organizations to sustain the movement for longer period (e.g., formation of grassrootslevel movement organizations). 6. The success and impact of NSM lie in its efforts in disseminating information through intense campaigns and in cultivating networks of contacts maintained and through leaflet writings, informal gatherings, organizing discussion forums, etc. (Crook et al., 1994, p. 154). These movements are articulated through catchy slogans, icons and appeals. 7. Usually these NGOs share a set of common beliefs pertaining to their cause/concerns. Pointing out the fact that NGOs do play a decisive role in initiating movements, Edwards and Hulme (1992, p. 24) argue that the unified efforts of grassroots organizations can coalesce into movements. When the movements get consolidated and institutionalized, these result in formation of various new organizations/institutions. Thus, NSMs can be seen as a network of groups and organizations that are unified by shared conceptions, beliefs, ideals and specific goals by deliberate attempts on the part of the groups and organizations to ally themselves with one another through joint actions, coalitions, umbrella groups, etc. At times, NSMs consist of networks of collective actors (groups/NGOs) that may, under certain circumstances, even be able to forge themselves into large-scale organizations.

EMERGENT DISCOURSE ON DEVELOPMENT Analysis of the two resistance movements engenders a substantive discourse on development in lower-middle income countries that could be articulated as the global discourse, national discourse and the regional discourse.

Issues on Global Discourse 1. Right to develop and right to development: The post-colonial nation states have acquired a moral right to develop and have worked assiduously to expound the influence of both the state and the market through major investments in infrastructure addressing national priorities based on the ideological constructs of a welfare state (of utilitarian nature) founded on institutions such as private property and mass society. It is assumed that the citizens of the nation would assert their right to development through these institutions of mass society and private property on the basis of state and market. Hence, there is a convergence of the moral right of the state and that of the citizens.

However, this convergence is not a logical necessity. Because the citizens may also articulate alternative model of development on the basis of their rights to development and stress for small-scale undertakings which maintain lower pollution levels that address local priorities and that respect the local cultural autonomy. Citizens also perceive the necessity of seeking more (than what is existing) rights to participate in decision-making that affects their lives and community under this model. This duality of rights resulted in these micro-movements of contemporary Odia society. 2. Financial and technical versus social sustainability: These resistant movements are in fact great lessons for the nascent democracies of lower-middle income countries like India where popular involvement in developmental projects (in participatory forms) is fast becoming a prerequisite. Further, a mere deployment of a cost–benefit analysis (CBA)/other project feasibility technique is certainly not enough for the sustainability of the project. The matrices of CBA dealing with economic parameters have already proven to be the harbinger of doomsday as these fail to answer the ethical question as to how to measure in economic terms the misery and sufferings of displaced people. Hence, to ensure sustainability, CBA must include the new parameters/indicators, such as loss of social networks/kinship networks, emotional and psychological costs and the cultural costs of displacement involving the project. Besides, the negotiation for R&R between the conflicting parties needs to be on equal footings, because the otherwise conflicting parties are, in fact, great unequals. Hence, negotiations need to be done like that of the industrial collective bargaining. In view of the emergent resistance movements, the issue of corporate social responsibility has become imminent and has acquired greater value. Hence, a social CBA that is inclusive of the subjective as well as the objective costs is alone to be considered appropriate. That apart, a comprehensive and viable R&R policy has now taken a somewhat different twist to be known as stakeholders’ approach wherein the affected population is being treated as one of the stakeholders. Therefore, an inclusive development needs to recognize the local peoples’ rights over the local natural resource bases and participation of the local people in the projects’ R&R measures.

Issues on National Discourse: Mega-development Projects versus Small Projects All the two resistance movement studies are based on displacements caused by heavy industrial projects. Mega-projects, particularly the ones based on FDI, are often offered red carpets and those flex muscle in the interiors where these cause large-scale displacement (bringing human misery), environmental degradation through pollution and ecological degradation through mining. Besides, in case of tribes/minority population, their displacement also causes cultural erosion. These may have snowballing effects resulting in violent resistance and political fallouts. In view of these popular misgivings of mega-projects (however economically viable these might be) the developmental alternative could be smaller projects based on eco-friendly technologies which do not necessitate FDI, would cause less of environmental and ecological degradation and most notably least displacement of people.

It would be highly inappropriate and regressive to say that development through industrialization should be stalled as it causes displacement. In this context of tribal resistance movements and the NC Saxena Committee report of the MOEF (2010) for VAL mining project at Niyamgiri, a view has emerged which argues that in the light of 2006 Act recognizing tribal rights over forest land, tribal people be left alone and their land must not be encroached upon. It would be an extreme thing to say that tribal areas should be protected as sanctuaries. It is certainly not in the interest of the tribal people to be treated as exotic species in tropical sanctuaries. The forest areas that are habitats of tribes must not be construed as Jurassik parks, as idyllic haunts amid the bounty of nature where the tribes are protected as endangered species of rare kind. As citizens of India, they too have right to experience development and be integrated to the mainstream of Indian society.

Issues on Regional Discourse: Development for Whom and Development at What Cost The story of ‘development of the urban upper/middle class and powerful’ and ‘displacement of the marginalized’ is one that has been played out on several stages all over the country. The so-called development (for a particular section of the society which is dominant) brings out destruction for the marginalized communities virtually resulting in the breakdown of social linkages and creation of a cultural dysphoria. Revenues from mining contracts/lease, some development of the infrastructure, a few thousand jobs generated and some export earnings, etc., are the benefits but at a huge cost for the locals (social, economic and psychological) and for the ecosystem. The question, raised for the umpteenth time, is development of what and for whom? In the context of ‘development’, the question forgotten is who gains, who loses. People’s resistance to mining-based heavy industrial projects elicits the usual response about growth, export earnings, foreign direct investment, job creation and infrastructure building, etc. But for the local people, development most often results in displacement, dispossession, loss of identity, disappearance of life-supporting natural resource bases and consequent extreme marginalization. The modern development ideology brooks no dissent and rides roughshod over non-modern communities, cultures, traditional occupations and lifestyles. Hence, this notion of development needs to be more inclusive and ensure equity in sharing the development experiences. However, with the growing awareness, the voices against extractive industrialization are sounding louder. The transition is slow, but definite. Imposition of the development projects on the people is the reflection of a top-down system of governance and this has often compelled people to resist. Development through mega-projects and their consequent megaresistance have compelled the system to reconsider the top-down model of development through heavy industrialization. As it was the case of multipurpose river valley projects in India that have been finally considered to be inappropriate because of a resistance movement called the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Similarly, these resistance movements have forced the Government of Odisha to formulate its first Comprehensive R&R Policy 2006 (except Draft R&R policy of 2005). Successive governments, of different political parties, local elite and

businessmen, have supported the alumina/steel projects in Odisha. At the same time, the struggle of the tribal people and their determination to make any sacrifice in order to protect their civil and political rights, their rights to livelihood and habitat clearly demonstrate that people at the grassroots are not going to accept the onslaught of market forces. Hence, the emergent issue is to decide whether to accept the prevailing definition of development as provided by the market and the state or to look for alternatives emerging out of the people’s struggles. In other words, the ultimate emergent question is whether development should mean only profit for capitalists or protection of the rights of the people and their livelihood. In the light of this argument, a more participatory approach to development must be considered appropriate as it entails an inclusive development.

THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS Of late, the two movements at Kashipur and Lanjigarh are stalemating. All the two movements have shown rhythmic patterns wherein the intensity of mobilization and violence unleashed increase in proportion to the politicization of the movement. Hence, more the politicization, more was the violence unleashed and more intense was the struggle. In a nascent democracy with multiparty system permissive of competitive politicking, resistance movements would be more decisive as parties tend to show their affinity to development issues. As these are movements by the development-induced displaced people, their degree of mobilizations show strong correlation with the extent of politicization of the movement by non-ruling political parties in connivance with local vested interests. The net result is optimal justice.

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* Social Change, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2013.

Chapter 12

Development, Displacement and Labour Market Marginalisation* The Case of Jharkhand Tribal Population Tanushree Haldar and Vinoj Abraham

INTRODUCTION Development and modernization through industrialization has been the dominant strategy of economic development ever since the experience of industrialization in the 19th-century Europe. Following the Kaldorian approach (Kaldor, 1957), in the post-war period, the newly formed colonial nations, spearheaded by India, had emphasized on accelerating growth rates through rapid industrial development. The Nehru–Mahalanobis model envisaged heavy industrialization through the establishment of mega-industrial and mining projects, large dams, large infrastructure projects and other ‘development’ projects. The expansion of basic industrial infrastructure and capital goods production arguably has accelerated India’s economic growth. The growth benefits aside, the costs imposed by these is often unevenly borne by the poorest and the marginalized of the society. The gainers of this process improve their economic status and are able to enjoy better quality of life. For millions of people, this development strategy has displaced them from their life-supporting economic activities and stability of the existing pattern of living cost them their homes, their livelihood, their health and even their lives (Hussain, 2008). The displacement effects of industrialization are multiple. First, industrialization and urbanization projects cause displacement from land and other traditional forms of livelihood (Areeparampil, 1996; Bijoy, 2008; Ghosh, 2006). Second, the logic of capital-intensive mechanization implies that the creation of new jobs in the new industries is not in the same rate as livelihoods lost (Davis & Haltiwanger, 1992; Faggio & Konings, 2001). Third, an indirect effect is the mismatch in the skill set of the displaced population and the emerging economy, such that this displaced population is weakly integrated and remains marginalized within the economy. The mismatch in skills implies that those who lost their livelihood

through displacement are also the ones who will remain marginalized in the modern labour market, thus suffering double vulnerability. Among the affected people, one of the worst affected is the indigenous tribal population who have been pushed to spatially isolated regions and natural-scapes that were underexplored by modernity through the centuries-old process of invasion and settled agriculture by the technologically advanced migrants. However, with the shift from subsistence-based settled agriculture to commercialized agriculture and the rise of energy and capital-intensive industrialization, these very under-explored resource-rich regions, which were the abode of the indigenous populations, became the target as sources of inputs for modern economic growth. There is a heavy concentration of mining and industrial projects in the central India tribal belt, which has displaced a vast number of tribal people (Mathur, 2006). Many of these large ‘development’ projects were located in ‘backward regions’ for various reasons. Policy decision aimed at bringing balanced growth required that these investments were made in backward regions. The requirement for minimizing transportation costs for resource-seeking investments also made these regions attractive. For resource-seeking multinational companies looking for investment opportunities, these areas have become most favoured destinations (Mathur, 2006). Moreover, these were the regions that populated people who would cast least political resistance and remained invisible to the political class. These investments, in turn, have proved to be a resource-curse for the tribals. On the one hand, they are losing their community land, which is their primary source of livelihood and, on the other hand, they are not getting absorbed in the newly established industries as well. Tribals constitute 8.6 per cent of India’s population, and about 40–50 per cent of them have been displaced by development projects (Fernandes, 2008). At least 55 per cent of those displaced by development projects in India are tribal people (Fernandes, 2008).2 Nearly 60 per cent of the large dams for irrigation and hydropower have been constructed in tribal areas (Saxena, 2005, pp. 263–274). The people who are displaced due to the mega-development projects and industrial development (of whom the majority are tribals) are marginalized from the new employment opportunities as well due to illiteracy, lack of required skills and unfamiliarity with the functioning of money wage-based modern labour market. Employability of tribals as well as scheduled caste groups in the industries is very restricted, given the ascriptive status-based structural inequalities in the occupational hierarchy (Das & Dutta, 2007). Even though there have been several constitutional and legal protections, their benefits rarely reach these marginalized groups (Damodaran, 2007; Sharma, 2010). While there have been attempts by the state to compensate the affected population, studies have argued that there are many flaws in providing them proper rehabilitation or compensation, which eventually pushed them to vulnerable conditions (Saxena, 2005, pp. 263–274). In this background, this study is an attempt to understand the process of integration of the indigenous population with the modern economy in the context of development-induced displacement. We analyse their position and status in the labour market as indicators of

integration with the modern economy. We use labour market as the lens of understanding this process for two reasons. First, after displacement, this is the only factor of production that they have control over and hence becomes the sole entry point for them to the modern economy. Second, their labour market position may allow us to contrast development through displacement against Sen’s notion of development as freedom, that participation in the labour market provides them with the basic capabilities to make freer choices in life. This chapter will focus on analysing the structure of labour market as well as the nature of jobs across all sectors, wages and working conditions among the tribal labour. The Indian state of Jharkhand is one of the most ‘displacement’ affected regions. According to the Census of India, 2001, Jharkhand constitutes 26 per cent of tribal population. It also accounts for 2.5 per cent of the total geographical area of the country and 27.77 per cent of total mineral production of the country. The region has attracted a number of projects, including dams, power stations, mining and quarrying industries and other industries as well. This region also has a long history of exploitation and tribal revolts against oppressions. It is argued that the main reason for the rise of Naxalism is exploitation and subjugation, forced displacement and lack of availability of livelihood opportunities in terms of employment in land or in industries (Das, 1975; Duyker, 1987; Kumar, 2003; Singh, 1982). This chapter is organized into six sections. The second section gives a profile of the changing employment structure of tribal labour in the labour market in the postIndependence era. The third section discusses the industrial distribution of tribal workers and non-tribal workers in the labour market. We look at the employment and wages of ST workers vis-à-vis non-ST workers in various occupations under each industry under the fourth section. The fifth section discusses the economic and social security of tribal workers in the labour market. The last section provides the concluding remarks.

TRIBAL LABOUR FORCE IN THE LABOUR MARKET The Jharkhand economy had been undergoing a structural change, such that the share of agriculture in state domestic product of Jharkhand had been very low; it accounted for only about 18 per cent currently. With the focus of economic activities shifting away from agriculture, the non-tribal population are relatively more successful in shifting to newer sectors. From Table 12.1, it is clearly evident that the non-tribal population moved out of agriculture sector relatively faster, with their share in total employment declining to 58 per cent by 2001 from 79 per cent in 1961. But the share of tribal population engaged in agriculture had only very gradually reduced from 92 per cent to 85 per cent during the same period. Table 12.1 Change in Occupational Structure of Tribals of Jharkhand (in Percentage)

Source: Census of India, Various rounds. Notes: Figures for 1961 and 1971 are not strictly comparable with 1981, 1991 and 2001. *For 1961, forestry and hunting includes mining and quarrying. **Figure for 2001 includes all other works, other than cultivators, agricultural labourer and household industry. NA, not applicable.

At the same time, there is discernible occupational shift within sector, from being owncultivators to agriculture labour.3 The wage-dependent agriculture labour share increased from 8.5 per cent to 30 per cent for the tribal population, while the share of cultivators declined from 79.4 to 54 per cent. In terms of composition of employment, we find a conspicuous change across time coupled with a high degree of diversification in favour of non-farm activities, especially in the tertiary sector employment. The industrial sector seems to have more or less stagnated in terms of providing employment to STs. The expansion of service sector without expanding the manufacturing sector is characteristic of the Indian economy. The occupational structure of an underdeveloped economy demonstrates that agriculture and allied activities take the largest share of the labour force, followed by petty trade and domestic services, called tertiary activities and not manufactures, that is, secondary activities. Data also reveal that the rate of diversification is much more pronounced since the inception of policy reforms in 1991. Diversification in India is primarily related to distressinduced population pressure which is assumed to have aggravated the land constraint, and led to the emergence of urban informal sector, on one hand, and a low wage rural residual sector, on the other (Vaidyanathan, 1986). Nonetheless, the rate of diversification among non-STs is higher compared to STs as for STs opportunities available outside agriculture is very limited. This can be seen by the strikingly high proportion of STs in cultivation despite the ongoing agricultural crisis. In the context of shrinking agricultural income, this consistently high proportion of STs in cultivation can itself be an indicator of the absence of any other alternative source of employment. Many studies (Atkinson, 1998; Borooah et al., 2007; Ito, 2007; Majumder, 2007) have demonstrated that in case of employment in industry outside agriculture, there seems to exist substantial disparities between these two groups. Despite the high incidence of ST population in agriculture, their share in agriculture is

declining along with a decline in the absolute number of persons engaged in agriculture. Table 12.2 shows that the overall growth rate of cultivators and agricultural labourers for ST is negative, implying that the absolute number of ST population engaged in agriculture has declined in both rural and urban sectors.4 Table 12.2 Decadal Growth Rates of Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers between 1981 and 2001

Source: Calculated using data released by the Census of India, Bihar 1981 and Jharkhand 2001.

Across gender, there is a sharp decline in male cultivators, accompanied by a rise in female cultivators, which may be taken as a livelihood diversification strategy. In order to cope up with poverty, households go for livelihood diversification, whereby male member leaves agriculture in search of other employment and female member takes up full-time agricultural work (Dunn, 1993; Sethi, 1982; Verma & Dixit, 1988). A steep rise in growth rate of nonagricultural employment provides evidence for this phenomenon. However, for non-STs in rural areas, growth rate in cultivators is positive, marginal for males but very high for females. Among non-STs, there is a steep rise in both agricultural workers and nonagricultural workers, but for STs it is the non-agricultural workers that are increasing.5 Growth rate in employment in all sectors is higher among non-STs primarily because the growth rate in population for non-STs is very high compared to STs (Singh, 1986). Negative growth rate of agriculture undoubtedly indicates that a section of people who were engaged in agriculture are now moving out to other sectors of the economy. Among non-ST group, however, there is no clear trend to argue that people are moving out of agriculture. Nonetheless, from the declining share of non-ST workers in agriculture, it may be argued that increasing share of workers is engaging in other sectors of the economy. Hence, there is a change in the production structure, with a shift away from agriculture towards industry and tertiary sector.6 Although there is clearly a shift in the production structure from agriculture to industry and tertiary sector, data for subsidiary occupation shows that even for those who are shifting to other occupation, agriculture continues to be a major source of subsidiary income (see Table 12.3). The figures are equally high for both ST and non-ST population. Apart from

agriculture, majority of the population depends on low skill activities such as forestry, logging and related activities (primarily ST workers), construction and work in private households. Subsidiary work is dominant not only among non-agricultural workers but also among workers engaged in agriculture (see Table 12.4). A large chunk of workers are engaged in agriculture under principal status as cultivators and in subsidiary status as agricultural labour. Apart from agricultural labourers, they are also engaged in livestock, diary, poultry and are gatherers of forest produce Table 12.3 Subsidiary Activity of Non-agricultural Workers (2004–2005)

Source: NSS unit-level data, 61st round.

Table 12.4 Subsidiary Activity for Workers Engaged in Agriculture (2004–2005)

Source: NSS unit-level data, 61st round.

Unable to find job for considerable portion of the year, the workers engage themselves in subsidiary activities. Those primarily engaged in agriculture for most part of the year also go for other works during the offseasons or after cultivating their own fields (Dayal & Karan, 2003; Rogaly, 2003; Rogaly et al., 2002; Singh & Karan, 2001). Even for non-agricultural workers, who are engaged with other activities throughout the year, during harvesting season when the requirement for labour is high, they go back to agriculture (Dayal & Karan, 2003; Deshingkar, 2004, pp. 17–18; Shah, 2006). For most of the households, owing to small landholding size, a few members move to other work while the rest of the family members manage the agricultural activity and, in the peak harvesting season, they come back to work in agriculture. These are the livelihood strategies that poor households adopt in order to eke out their living. Diversification of employment is not unusual among people with minimal amount of capital, in terms of landholding and education. Lack of both human capital (education) and physical capital (primarily land) can act as a major constraint in enhancing occupational mobility of the worker. These two characteristics, to a large extent, determine the entry of various groups in to the labour market in terms of employment status, the industry in which they get absorbed, the occupation they undertake and the wages they get. Therefore, a study of landownership in rural areas and the level of education in both rural and urban area needs

to be analysed with greater emphasis.

Land ownership and Level of Education among ST and Non-ST Workers Table 12.5 reveals that a large section of people in the rural sector engaged as self-employed in non-agriculture were with sub-marginal land, whereas people who were self-employed in agriculture had marginal, small and medium landholdings. The figures are true for both ST and non-ST population. Since agriculture is not profitable with sub-marginal landholding, people move to some other occupation with very low level of capital investment using the same land, mostly as petty shopowners. Although a small landholding provides partial livelihood security, they have to seek wage work for subsistence. Table 12.5 Percentage Distribution of Rural Workers by Land Size Class (2004– 2005)

Source: NSS unit-level data, 61st round. Notes: (1) Land possessed in hectares: landless (2.00).7

The highest percentage of landless and land-poor is among the wage workers in agriculture. The high incidence of landlessness or near landlessness is perhaps the principle reason for the agricultural workers and other workers to pursue wage work or non-farm activities, particularly in rural sector (NCEUS, 2007).8 Occupational diversification among other land size categories has also been seen across the country. Conventionally, it is argued that workers from the medium and large landowning households move from cultivation of own farms to services and business enterprises, whereas workers from the landless households move out from agriculture to manual-based non-agricultural activities, such as rickshaw pulling, mechanics and wage labourer in trade and business enterprises (Hossain, 2004). It is highly likely that the landless and near landless workers will have low educational

attainment, due to low level of physical capital, resulting in their absorption in unskilled category of work, mostly in the unorganized sector of the economy. Tables 12.6 and 12.7 give the percentage distribution of workers by levels of education across rural and urban sector. It shows that the level of education among ST workers, in almost all categories of work, in both urban and rural areas, is low compared to non-ST workers. In the rural area, the percentage of population with low education, that is, primary education and below, is higher than those with education above middle level. Specifically for STs, the percentage of worker with low education and no education is higher compared to non-ST workers across all types of employment. For instance, among ST workers, proportion of illiterate workers is 60 per cent, whereas for non-ST workers, it is 50 per cent. Workers with a low level of education are absorbed in the labour market as agricultural labourers, other workers, or as self-employed in agriculture and non-agriculture, as for most of these occupations, the educational requirement is less, whereas workers with a higher level of education are more clustered in other occupations outside agriculture and have managed to find regular employment in the non-farm sector. Table 12.6 Percentage Distribution of Workers by Education, 2004–05 (Rural)

Source: NSS unit level data, 61st round.

In urban sector also, the difference between ST and non-ST (education level of primary or below primary) worker’s education is very significant. The proportion of ST workers with a low level of education (primary and below) is around 63 per cent, which is considerably high compared to non-ST workers (48 %). Also, a similar pattern of clustering of illiterate and less literate workers towards casual employment and self-employment can be seen in urban sector as well. Again, the workers with a higher level of education are clustered towards regular wage/salaried employment. Share of workers with low education is high among casual workers in both rural and urban sectors for ST as well as non-ST population.

Table 12.7 Percentage Distribution of Workers by Education, 2004–05 (Urban)

Source: NSS unit level data, 61st round.

In terms of poverty also, this is the worst affected group. The abject poverty prevalent among this marginalized section of the society constraints the conduit of acquiring capabilities, skills and education, that can ensure better place in terms of employment in the

labour market. Hence, they enter into a vicious cycle of poverty and low capabilities that leads to their absorption at a lower level of occupation and standard of living.

EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES IN VARIOUS OCCUPATIONS To further understand whether the declining share of agriculture in employment is a fallout of maturing of positive growth forces in the economy or is a result of adverse trend in the agrarian sector, we disaggregate employment into different industries and occupations in which STs are engaged. We use data from the 61st quinquennial round on employment and unemployment survey conducted by the NSSO in 2004–2005 to analyse the situation. The data are restricted to only those sectors which account for considerable share of ST workers. Data in Table 12.8 show that apart from agriculture, major industries where employment of STs is considerably high are mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, social and personal services. On the basis of the analysis of these four industries, we look at the occupational distribution and wage differential of ST and non-ST workers across these industries in Table 12.9. Table 12.8 Distribution of Workforce According to NIC-98 Classification in 2004– 2005

Source: NSSO unit-level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

Table 12.9 shows that mining employs almost 50 per cent of ST population, while the corresponding figure being only 17 per cent for the other group. Also, in occupation such as office attendants (peons, draftiers, etc.) and electricians, electrical fitters and related workers, proportion of ST workers is relatively high. However, in the supervisory positions such as supervisors and foreman, we see that only 1 per cent of STs are there compared to some 9 per cent of non-STs. This pattern bears a resemblance with what was observed during the colonial times as well. During the colonial times, all the elite jobs were taken up by higher caste people such as Brahmins, Rajputs and upper caste Bengalis, leaving the low-end jobs such as coal cutting and washing for the tribals because they were believed to be more physically fit for those kind of jobs. It seems that a similar pattern prevails even now, with all these low-paid jobs, involving more manual labour, being done by STs, whereas managerial and supervisory jobs being taken up by other groups. One of the reasons for the dominance of ST population in these jobs at lower end is that these low status activities have not been encroached upon by workers belonging to other caste groups. Therefore, STs find it easy to obtain employment in such activities.

In manufacturing as well, the scenario is similar. The concentration in this sector is largely limited to just two occupations, bidi makers and other workers with no specific job (shown in Table 12.9). Both these industries are part of traditional household industries, which is not capital intensive and skill requirement is also very low. Generally, it consists of traditional home-based industries, such as weaving of rough and cheap cotton cloths and making rope, mat, basket, potteries and tiles in addition to blacksmith, stone carving and wood works. Household industries such as mat and basket making are, usually, carried by women, when they are free from the household duties. Case studies suggest that home-based production is one of the most exploitative work arrangements in India. The utilization of home workers enables employers to avoid industrial regulations which govern hours of work, working conditions, benefits and wages (Singh, 1988). Mainly, it is the disadvantaged women in the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes who provide a willing pool of labour for household enterprise and are disproportionately represented in home production (Dunn, 1993; Karlekar, 1982; Mukhopadhyay, 1984). Most of the traditional activities ST workers perform are uncommon among the general population. They are traditional, more time-consuming, less productive and less remunerative in nature. It is also seen that in these industries work environment is more exploitative when compared to other industries. For instance, in bidi making industry, employers employ ST families to collect tendu leaves from the jungle and pay them almost one-fourth of the price at which they sell it (Singh, 1986). In the case of stonecutters and carvers, the demand for their products is not very high, which mainly comes from traditional rural households and, in the era of machine-made goods engaging in these works, is also not remunerative. There also exists a substantial wage difference among both groups of workers engaged in these works. In all these occupations, there is a significant difference in the amount of remuneration ST and non-ST receive. Except for stonecutters and cravers, which is an occupation exclusively for ST people, in all other occupations, wages received by ST is lower than that of non-ST. Table 12.9 Occupation under Mining and Quarrying and Manufacturing (NCO-68 Classification) in 2004–2005

Source: NSSO unit-level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

Note: Figures in parentheses give the proportion of workers in a particular occupation out of total workers in that industry.

Table 12.10 Occupation under Construction in 2004–2005 (NCO Classification-68)

Source: NSSO Unit-level Data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

Similar situation can be seen in construction also in terms of job and wages (Table 12.10). Most of the workers are classified as other labourers not reporting any occupation. In works that need some level of skills such as reinforce concreter and cement finisher, the share of ST employment is very less. The situation of these workers in community, social and personal services does not appear to be better either (Table 12.11). This sector accounts for largest share of ST employment after agriculture. This sector is predominately occupied by women (Neetha, 2009). Under this category, majority of tribals are in the category of teacher, which by all means is considered as a white-collar job. However, the credit of high share of employment of ST among teachers is primarily because of the job reservation provided by the government that safeguards jobs for the scheduled communities. But even after this reservation, share of STs engaged in teaching is far less compared to non-ST population. Apart from teaching, other occupations, where ST employment share is considerably high, are ayahs, nurses, maids, domestic servants and related housekeeping service works. Figures for employment of tribal women as domestic servants outside the state are also very high. A recent report says that about 2 lakh Adivasi young women from Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal are presently working as housemaids in middle-class homes: 61,000 in Delhi, 42,000 in Kolkata, 36,000 in Mumbai, 13,000 in Bangalore and 26,000 in Goa (Manoj, 2003). Srujana (2002) has also

discussed the plight of tribal women who migrated to Delhi as domestic workers.9 She argues that at present there are around 40,000 tribal domestic workers in Delhi. The tribes which migrated were mostly Oraons, Mundas and the Kharias. Among these, the Oraons were prominent in the migration flow because of their exposure to education and influence of the missionaries (Srujana, 2002). Wage differential within these two groups is also evident, with non-ST receiving significantly higher wages than STs. Table 12.11 Occupation under Community, Social and Personal Services in 2004– 2005 (NCO Classification-68)

Source: NSSO unit-level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

The occupational distribution in various industries reveals that STs are normally absorbed in low paying manual labour with high occupational hazard which does not require greater skills and the remuneration they get for these jobs is significantly lower compared to what is paid to the non-ST group in the same occupation. On the one hand, their lack of skills and education restricts their entry in better employments, despite government reservation. And, on the other hand, there is a high level of wage discrimination. It is also said that the tribal labourers suffer some of the most exploitative conditions such as sexual exploitation of women, bonded labour, work overload and abuses (Omvedt, 1981).

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SECURITY FOR TRIBALS IN THE LABOUR MARKET Examination of the conditions of work and lives of the workers at the workplaces brings out the vulnerable nature of work of the STs, who, as discussed in the previous section, are placed in the low end of the occupational and wage hierarchy. Given the dual structure of the

Indian economy, one being the formal sector with sufficient protections against various forms of work-related vulnerabilities and other informal unorganized10 sector with no protection whatsoever, it may be worthwhile to examine the placement of STs within this dual economic structure. It is mainly the informal sector that serves as the main source of employment and source of living for the increasing labour force in the region as well as in the country (NCEUS, 2007). Surplus labour, mostly in the urban area, gets absorbed in this sector (Chen et al., 2006; Jacob, 2001). This sector acts as a ‘sponge’ for absorbing the otherwise unemployed (Mahadevia, 2001). Sankaran (2001) pointed out that a large section of workers in the informal11 sector faces economic insecurity; live and work in the face of a persistent risk of losing employment. This sector is also characterized by unsatisfactory work conditions, inhuman treatment, absence of any kind of health and social security cover, nonremunerative and practically no safety measures at the workplace.12 NCEUS (2007) defines the conditions of work of informal workers as the employees who do not enjoy employment security (no protection against arbitrary dismissal), work security (no protection against accidents and illness at the workplace) and social security (maternity and healthcare benefits, pension, etc.) and therefore any one or more of these characteristics can be used for identifying informal employment. Table 12.12 depicts the share of workers (organized and unorganized) in both organized and unorganized sectors. It can be observed from Table 12.12 that while among the non-ST groups about 74 per cent of the workers were informal workers, among the STs this number was as high as 87 per cent. However, it needs to be noted that much of the share of informal workers among STs were mainly in the formal sector rather than informal sector. Within the formal sector, the proportion of informal workers among ST workers and non-ST workers was 49 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. Table 12.12 Employment in Formal and Informal Sector, 2004–2005 (UPS)

Source: NSS unit-Level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

Following Sengupta (2007), very high incidence of ST workers in informal sector clearly indicates that, almost 87 per cent of the workers do not have any kind of employment, health or any other social security. We have used three different indicators, namely job security, income security and other securities consisting of social security and representation security to examine the degree of social security measures that workers receive from the workplace.

Job Security The period for which the worker is sure about their stay in the work legally or by any other means from the employer can be used as an indicator to define job security for the workers. Job security can be provided through a contract or through government legislations. Apart from contracts and legislative laws, there are other indirect ways of getting information on the job security. For instance, the type of work the person is doing and the type of enterprise in which they are working can give some account of the job security of the workers. Hence, status of work, type of enterprise and type of contract have been used to analyse the level of job security in both categories of workers. Proportion of self-employed workers, a large majority of which consists of marginal farmer, artisans, hawkers, petty shopkeepers, etc., is considerably high among STs compared to nonSTs. It is argued that petty self-employed workers most often are not entitled to any kind of social and economic securities (Kundu, 1996). It can be pointed that majority of workers in both ST and non-ST groups are engaged in the most vulnerable type of enterprise that is single-headed proprietary. Since single-headed proprietary enterprises are run by selfemployed persons, the level of vulnerability is expected to be no less than the self-employed. Type of contract depicts the duration of employment for both the ST and non-ST groups.

Table 12.13 shows that workers are engaged in subdued conditions, particularly tribal labour. It shows that 84 per cent of STs and 79 per cent of non-ST workers have no written contract. Only 15 per cent of ST workers and 19 per cent of non-ST workers reported having a job contract of more than 3 years. The three indicators of job security reveal that both ST and non-ST worker groups are subject to job insecurities. Nonetheless, ST workers are much more vulnerable than their non-ST counterparts as they have higher job insecurities in respect of all three indicators. Table 12.13 Job Security for ST and Non-ST Workers (2004–2005)

Source: NSS unit-level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

Income Security The differences in the average wage rate among the workers and type of payment can be used as a measure to analyse income security among the workers. This measure of income security is provided by Kantor et al. (2006) while analysing the decent work in informal economy. The income insecurity is measured through three indicators; average earnings, eligibility for paid leave and the method of payment. Table 12.14 shows the situation of income security for both ST and non-ST working groups.

Table 12.14 shows that the average ST worker suffered from lower wages, poorer workrelated benefits, such as paid leaves, and had a larger share of daily wage earners when compared to non-ST workers. The wages for agricultural labour are far lower as compared to non-agricultural labour and, given that a large proportion of the tribal labour force is engaged in the agricultural sector, their situation is all the more vulnerable. Around 84 per cent ST workers and 75 per cent of non-ST workers were not eligible for paid leaves. Since a vast section of workers work in casual employment on daily basis and in unorganized sector, provision of paid leaves will not be applicable. The mode of payment also shows that majority of ST workers is paid on daily basis and 26 per cent through other methods of payment like piece rates, indicating casualization, especially among ST workers. Table 12.14 Income Security for ST and Non-ST Workers (2004–2005)

Source: NSS unit-level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

Other Securities Among other securities, social security and representative security through participation/association in unions plays a significant role in determining security for quality of life of the workers and representation security indicates their representation in workers in any association that works for or represents interest of the worker. Hence, it also indirectly represents a worker’s voice in the decision-making. As is expected from the presence of large proportion of workers in informal sector, nearly 87 per cent of the ST workers and 74 per cent of the non-ST workers do not have any social security benefit (Table 12.15). Also, since majority is engaged in informal sector, presence of union or association in the enterprise is also almost negligible for ST workers and less (9%)

for non-ST workers. Nevertheless, among the workers, who reported presence of association or union in the enterprises, only 10 per cent of the ST workers reported having membership in union/association. Table 12.15 Other Securities for ST and Non-ST Workers (2004–2005)

Source: NSS unit-level data, 61st round, 2004–2005.

All these three indicators for job security, income security and other kinds of securities reveal that the ST workers are far more vulnerable than their non-ST counterparts. Mostly, the workers are engaged in informal employment, with very poor jobs, low-income levels and restricted social and representative security. A large part of the tribal labour force find difficulty in accessing employment with decent income and working conditions. They do not have access to most of the social and economic securities and the jobs in which they are generally employed are not protected by either labour legislations or trade union interventions.

CONCLUSION This study had explored the livelihood diversification path of people who lost their life

chances, in the course of development, fixated on the notion of development through modernization. With modernization projects, not only have large new initiatives come in place but has also the norms of discrimination have been modernized to fit into the modern labour market. The displacement of the indigenous people and their integration with the modern economy, through the labour market, has pushed these groups to the bottom of the occupational and wage hierarchy, working under adverse conditions of work, destined to live on the fringes of the modern society as peripheral appendages servicing the modern ways of life. Their occupational distribution is highly skewed with very few from the ST population present in the socially elite occupations. Overwhelming majority of the ST workers is in occupations such as farming, mining and quarrying industry at low-grade and laborious jobs, traditional manufacturing industries and as domestic servants. Even for the same occupation in the same industry, the remuneration that ST workers receive is distinctly different from what the other group receives. As most of the ST workers are absorbed in the labour market as informal workers, they lack most of the social and economic securities. The ability to move up the occupational ladder is contingent on access to human and physical assets. With very poor access to such assets, their absorption had been largely as informal/unorganized workers. Reservation in jobs and educational institutes had been successful to an extent in mainstreaming the tribals in their occupational status and position in the labour market. Yet dispossessing them of their livelihood sources, their land, forest and other natural resources, their way of life, the elements of the tribal economy has stripped them of their traditional social and physical capital, without any fallback mechanism, throwing them into the midst of the modern economy, with only unskilled labour as their asset. In effect, the emergence of the labour market in Jharkhand has been propelled through the process of capitalist accumulation through dispossession. Process of primitive accumulation, by exploiting the extractive resources, has dispossessed the indigenous people of Jharkhand of their livelihood. In turn, they have joined the reserve army of labour available for surplus extraction for the establishment of modern capitalist mode of production.

NOTES 1. This work is a part of the author’s MPhil thesis carried out at Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthpuram. The author would like to thank Professor K. P. Kannan for his valuable comments and suggestions on the thesis. The usual disclaimer applies. 2. A number of cases that record development-related displacement have been reported. For instance, for Karjan and Sukhi reservoirs in Gujarat state, all displaced were only tribal people. The Balimela hydroproject in Odisha displaced a large number of people, out of which 98 per cent were tribal people. Same was the case of Upper Kolar Dam, where 96 per cent of the total affected people were tribals. 3. Most likely reason for rise in agricultural labourer in mining areas is the eviction of small farmers and tenants from land (Padhi, 2007). While presenting a report, Census commissioner C. Chandramouli also opined that a fall in size of landholdings over time was responsible for the 3.5 per cent rise in landless labour over the past 10 years (Sood, 2013). Talking to Down to Earth magazine, Professor Jayati Ghosh said ‘Due to increase in urbanisation and industrial projects, land resources are getting depleted and people are becoming landless. These people, who have been practising farming for generations, do not know any other skill. The primary job they can do is work on others’ land’ (Sood, 2013).

4. The decline in number of people doing cultivation is largely attributed to displacement and eviction from agricultural land. Shah and Kumar (2011) showed that the proportion of area under non-agricultural uses in India more than doubled between 1950 and 2001, from 3.29 to 7.86 per cent. They also suggest that a large part of the land diverted for irrigation, mining, infrastructure and urban industrial use has come from forests, pastures and cultivable land. To illustrate, for Koel-Karo hydel power project, over 55,000 acres of land were to be submerged, displacing over 1 lakh people (of which 90% belonged to Oraon and Munda tribes). Of the total land acquisition, 25,000 acres are reported to be agricultural land and dense forest (Biswas, 2011). In Odisha also, between 1991 and 2001, due to loss of cultivable land, the number of agricultural workers (agricultural labourers + cultivators) showed the highest percentage decline in the mining districts (Mishra, 2010). 5. Anuradha Mittal from International forum on Globalization enunciates ‘Many of the displaced farmers have ended up as daily-wage labourers for the Public Works Department or have tried to find refuge in large cities such as Delhi and Bombay, eking a miserable livelihood through piecemeal work’ (Mittal, 2002). 6. Loss of cultivable land to industry results in loss of most avenues of employment for landed and landless households in agriculture sector. Most affected among all are women and tribals (Parasuraman, 1993). Meher (2009) also reported that the mining and other industries are taking over the resources of the ecosystem and agricultural land of the tribal people and poor peasants and in turn failed to provide them with a sustainable means of making a living. 7. According to land size classification used by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) (2007). 8. Report published by the NCEUS (2007). 9. Wadhawan (2013) accounts that there is severe under-reporting of domestic help due to invisibility of these migrant workers. She also points out the vulnerable conditions of work of Jharkhand tribal women in Delhi as domestic maids. Their vulnerability is particularly compounded due to the intersectionality of gender and caste. 10. Unorganized workers consist of those working in the unorganized enterprises or households, excluding regular workers with social security benefits, and the workers in the formal sector without any employment/social security benefits provided by the employers (NCEUS, 2007). 11. The terms ‘informal and unorganized’ and ‘formal and organized’ have been used inter-changeably 12. Report of the National Commission on Labour, 2002.

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* Social Change, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2015.

Chapter 13

Indian Tribals and Search for an Indigenous Identity* Walter Fernandes

In this chapter, the author discusses the stand of the Government of India in refusing to acknowledge the tribals as indigenous people of India. He situates this stand within the context of the attack on the natural and the mineral resources in which the tribal regions are bound, the marginalization and impoverishment of these communities and the consequent protest movements. These movements are also viewed as a search for a new identity that has been denied to them. Analysing this search, the author identifies its main components that are based on the community, women’s status, link with the natural resources, autonomy and selfdetermination understood within the Indian context. The implications of all these aspects are discussed and possible solutions are suggested. The efforts of the leaders of recent events like the Narmada Bachao Andolan to create public opinion against a project that will deprive more than a lakh persons, about two-thirds of them tribals, of their livelihood, the Jharkhand movement in Chotanagpur, the anti-land alienation agitation in the South, the Bodoland struggle in the Northeast and similar conflicts have thus come to symbolize many other struggles elsewhere in India against the type of national development that impoverishes and marginalizes the tribals and other communities living in the resource-rich regions. Most of these struggles are also a search for a new identity at a time when the tribals are feeling alienated from their culture because of the threat to the natural resources around which they had built their cultural, economic, socioreligious and political structures. In the present chapter, we shall make an effort to study this search for a new identity in the context of their ongoing dispossession.

TRIBAL IDENTITY AND THE NATURAL RESOURCES Some of these movements have been condemned as anti-developmental (Debnath et al.,

1992) and some others as anti-national. But whether their external expression lacks the form of a demand for an autonomous state as in Jharkhand and Bodoland, anti-land alienation as in the South, forest protection as in Singhbhum or protest against displacement as in Narmada, Subarnarekha, Koel Karo and elsewhere, common to them is a search for autonomy and ‘self-reliance’. During the UN Year of the Indigenous Peoples, this search for an identity has taken the form of a demand that the Indian tribals be recognized as the indigenous people of the country. The Government of India refuses to accept this. Demand on the ground that India has long been a ‘melting pot’ and that according to an Indian sociologist, ‘In India hardly any of the tribes exist as a separate society and that they have all been absorbed, in varying degrees, into the wider society of India. The ongoing process of absorption is not recent but dates back to the most ancient times’ (quoted in Sanders, 1993, p. 5). Based on this assumption, the Government of India has refused to sign the ILO Convention 169 of 1989 that puts more restrictions than Convention 107 of 1957 does on the displacement of tribal and indigenous peoples, demands their adequate rehabilitation and requires that their culture be safeguarded. The main official objection to the Convention is its reference to self-determinant and the right of the tribal to relations with outsiders. This is interpreted by the government as encouraging secession. Most Indian tribals do not take this fear seriously. They feel that these clauses need to be interpreted to suit Indian conditions. The Jharkhand leaders, for example, by and large, interpret self-determination to mean the local people’s control; few Indian tribals interpret this to mean secession. However, a deeper analysis of the official position suggests that secession may be only an apparent reason for the present stand of the Indian government. Other political and economic reasons may be as important as, if not more important, precisely because of the demands for the type of self-determination and autonomy mentioned above, the effort to reinterpret the ILO Convention does not seem to satisfy most leaders belonging to the dominant classes in India and to the mainstream political parties. By and large, this category represents those who are today in control of the economy in the tribal regions. When this control is threatened, they would present the exploitation of these resources as ‘national development’’, and anyone who opposes it as anti-national. The tribes retort that they have been marginalized in the name of national development and that on the pretext of maximizing the productivity of the resources that are abundant in their regions, they have been alienated from their life support system. The autonomy the tribals demand is precisely around their life support system, and any autonomy of this nature and an indigenous status accompanying this demand would threaten their economic hold. Obviously, this vested interest is never mentioned as the main reason for their opposition to tribal demands. Instead, reasons based on nationalism are forwarded to justify the non-recognition of tribal autonomy, for example, an effort was made in the BJPruled states to rewrite Indian history to prove that Aryans are the indigenous peoples or the country (Singh, 1992). In that case, the tribals would be outsiders to this system. Consequently, recognition of the tribals who are referred to as Adivasis in official parlance and as vanvasis by the Rightist forces, would go against the dominant classes who would like

to integrate them in the dominant society as a low caste. Studies (e.g., Fernandes & Roy Choudhury, 1993, pp. 14–18) have indicated that such an effort itself is an integral part of the strategy meant to perpetuate the control of these classes over the natural and mineral resources in which the tribal regions abound. Some other studies from the point of view of the tribals indicate that precisely because the vested interests give a nationalist colour to the conflict for control over the resource such as forests, land, water and minerals that are abundant in their region, most tribal struggles mentioned above, and others elsewhere, are themselves concentrating on autonomy by which they mean control over the local economy and over their political life. Another crucial element of the autonomy and self-determination they demand is respect for and preservation of their traditional culture based on these resources. For example, the February 1992 Penang Charter of the Indigenous-Tribal Peoples of Tropical Forest begins by stating: We, the indigenous-tribal peoples of the tropical forests, present this charter as a response to hundreds of years of continual encroachment and colonisation of our territories and the undermining of our lives, livelihoods and cultures caused by the destruction of the forests that our survival depends on. (Indigenous Tribal Peoples, 1992)

That is the basic issue that the tribals of India are dealing with. They and other indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world keep insisting that their identity is closely linked to the natural resources and the environment amid which they live. They had developed cultural traditions, an economy, social control mechanisms, religious myths and techniques of production geared to retaining this close link. Their cultural systems ensured that the resources continued to be their livelihood for several generations. They did this by using them judiciously to live on, while at the same time, ensuring their renewability (Fernandes et al., 1988, pp. 160–170). But today, the mainstream society views their resources like forest only as a raw material to produce other consumer articles for the urban middle and upper classes. This society, therefore, tries to acquire monopoly over them. In the process, control over these resources is transferred from the communities for whom they were their very livelihood to the corporate sector to which they are only a source of profit and to the urban middle and upper classes to which it is one more raw material to cater to their consumer needs (Sharma, 1978, pp. 60–64).

Terra Nullius and Natural Resources That is where the struggle lies. With the Supreme Court of Australia declaring in the Mabo case in 1993 that the principle of terra nullius cannot be recognized as valid anymore (Cockburn, 1993), the question of the close link between the indigenous peoples and the natural resource has been brought to the fore once again during the U.N. Year of the Indigenous Peoples of the World. The colonisation of indigenous lands of the Amerindians in the Americas and those of the aboriginal populations in Australia and New Zealand was based on the assumption that they were terra nullius, that is, they belonged to no one. As such ‘civilized populations’ had a right to occupy them. The Australian Supreme Court has struck at the very roots of this principle and has returned to the indigenous populations what

had rightly belonged to them till colonial settlers took them over forcibly. As such anyone who wants to occupy these lands has to negotiate with their original owners, that is, the Aborigines. The link between the indigenous identity, natural resources and selfdetermination has thus been re-established at least in one country in which aboriginal right had been violated for long. In some form or the other, the same principle of terra nullius (referred to in this country as ‘eminent domain’) is applied also in India to make it possible for the dominant classes to take control of these resources. In some cases it is used to take over land that was once under the control of the tribals, in others to displace people who have lived in a region for centuries, though they might not have acquired the type of patta or land document required by the colonial law. In other cases, it is used to take control over the forests from which they had traditionally got more than 50 per cent of their food and had met most other needs. Thus, the efforts of the dominant sections to control the natural resources and the use they make of the principle of ‘eminent domain’ have become basic to the life of the tribals also in India. Agitations, as for example, those against Narmada and Subarnarekha, have only brought this issue to the fore and have not created the problem as those supporting these schemes claim. The principle or ‘eminent domain’ is used in this case because much of the land the tribals have been living on is what is considered common property over which they have no right whatever according to the present legal system. Most tribals affected by these schemes are illiterate and have not been exposed to the formal economy and legal system of the state. For centuries, they have survived in the informal society of a culture based on the word of mouth, legitimation by the community and common property resources. The formal society, on the contrary, depends on the principle of a written document given to an individual. Property owned by an individual is basic to this economy. One can thus see that the formal and informal systems belong to two different, even contradictory, frameworks. What is today called common property resources (CPR) has traditionally been the very basis of tribal economy. This resource belonged to the community and had to be treated as renewable. Individuals could use it only according to their need and preserve it for posterity. The concept of individual property was uncommon among them. Even when it existed, it was in some form or the other, linked to the community. For example, among the Oraon of Chotanagpur, the existence of an ancestor’s tombstone in the burial ground was the only ‘document’ a family required to assert its right to cultivate land in that village (Sa, 1975). Among the Ho, the descendants of those who founded the village had special rights known as khuntkatti and the rest had to depend on this clan (Arceparampil, 1992, pp. 153–154). Despite the intervention of the formal legal system, the traditional community resource outlook remains strong among most tribals. An example would be the two NALCO plants at Damanjodi in the Koraput district and at Angul in the Dhenkanal district of Odisha. The former had a tribal majority among the persons it displaced. Around 50 per cent of the land taken over from them was what was declared as government land which was CPR to these communities. This land met many of their food and several other needs. The NALCO mines

near Damanjodi are on a hill which was government property according to the official point of view. But it was the source of thatch for annual house repairs for more than 70 villages around it. But according to the formal legal system that has been imposed on these illiterate communities that have until now depended on an oral tradition and community resource, all CPR in Damanjodi were government property. Consequently, those who lost their livelihood to the project had no right to compensation or rehabilitation. In contrast, at Angul, most persons who lost their land were middle-caste farmers. Only about 18 per cent of the land taken over for this plant is what is called common or government property. The rest of it was individually owned by middle-caste medium farmers. They received much higher compensation than the Damanjodi tribals did because theirs was considered a developed area as such the market price of land was much higher than what was given in the ‘backward’ Koruput district (Fernandes & Raj, 1992, pp. 31–32).

Resource Use, Productivity and Displacement These are the issues the tribals are dealing with regularly since they result in their dispossession. While because of the agitation led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the sufferings of more than 100,000 tribals to be displaced by Sardar Sarovar have come to national consciousness, the trauma that many more hundreds of thousands are going through is often forgotten. One may mention among them the Upper Kolab and Upper Indravati dams in Odisha that have displaced around 80,000 persons, more than half of them tribals (Alvares & Billorey, 1988, pp. 17–21; Colchester, 1986, p. 246; Government of India, 1985, pp. 18– 21; Mahapatra, 1990, pp. 115–116). According to one estimate, dams alone have displaced 210 lakh persons during the last four decades and according to another study, the lower estimate of those displaced by all the dams between 1951 and 1990 is 140 lakhs, more than 40 per cent of them tribals (Fernandes, 1991, pp. 249–256). To this should be added displacement by coal and other mines, since the regions inhabited by the tribals are rich in mineral resources too. Nearly 90 per cent of the country’s coal mines and about 40 per cent of the remaining are in the tribal regions (for details, see Ministry of Mines, 1992). According to a conservative estimate, mines have displaced 21 lakh persons during the last four decades, more than 12 lakh of them tribal. Industries, wildlife sanctuaries and other schemes would have displaced 25 lakh more, about 30 per cent of them, or 75 lakh, tribals (Fernandes, 1991, pp. 255–256). Thus, at least 185 lakh persons have been displaced by all the development projects between 1951 and 1990. This is the lower estimate and the reality may be higher than that. Thus, it comes to more than 2 per cent of the Indian population in 1991 and around 27 per cent of the tribal population in that year. Rehabilitation has been all but non-existent. According to one study, only about 30 per cent of those displaced until the 1970s have been resettled. The percentage is much lower for the tribals. Another indication of this is the Maharashtra scheme to give ‘land for land’ to those displaced by irrigation schemes. During the first 10 years of its operation, only 31 per cent of non-tribals and 14 per cent of tribal ‘displaced persons’ were compensated in this manner.

FORESTS, LAND AND DISPOSSESSION One can thus see that what is called national development results in the marginalized communities like the tribals getting further marginalized. Such marginalization and impoverishment are not limited to displacement alone. The exploitation of other resources, forests and land, in particular, also results in the dispossession of the tribals and an attack on their identity. Forests that are the very centre of their life have been taken over by the corporate sector in the name of national development and increasing their productivity. Because of incentives offered to industry in the form of tax holidays and subsidies, the industrialist has lost all vested interest in treating forests as a renewable resource since it has until now been cheaper to cut them than to replant them. Its consequence is massive deforestation (Gadgil, 1989, pp. 367–368). As a result, the tree cover in the country has come down from an estimated 22 per cent in 1950 to around 13 per cent four decades later. Moreover, much of the tree coverage per ha at present is less than 19 per cent while in 1950, most of it was 40 per cent and more (FRI, 1991, p. 52). Through the transfer of resources that ensues, the tribals are being marginalized and impoverished and often reduced to the status of bonded labourers. Because their resources are delinked from them, slowly they lose their culture of treating them as renewable. They begin to destroy the very resources that they had for centuries and used them according to human needs and preserved for posterity (Fernandes et al., 1988, pp. 161– 168). It is not purely by accident that today the country has an estimated five million head loaders, a majority among them tribals (Agarwal & Narain, 1985, p. 305). With the industrialists cutting the forest closest to the village and going further and further away, the tribals are progressively deprived of their food and sustenance and have to walk longer distance to collect the little forest produce that are still available. Their impoverishment is the consequence (Gadgil, 1989, p. 668). They, therefore, fall in the clutches of the moneylenders who accompany the industrial agent. Indebtedness, land alienation and often bondage are the consequences. Deprived as they are of their livelihood, they fall back on the same resource in a destructive manner by cutting trees either for sale as fuel wood or as wage or bonded labourers under timber contractors and smugglers (Fernandes et al., 1988, pp. 289–290). A similar situation can be noticed when it concerns land alienation. From the analysis of the formal and informal systems, one can see also the contradiction that can arise as far as tribal land is concerned. Alienation of their land because of the encounter of the two systems is a major consequence. Indications are that this process is being intensified after the Independence, despite protective laws forbidding the transfer of land to non-tribals in the Scheduled areas. The process began with the Permanent Settlement of 1793, further strengthening the semifeudal structures in India in order to support the growth of capitalism in Britain. As far as the tribals are concerned, it introduced among them the concepts of landlordism and rent with which they were not familiar. Besides, individual written documents in a foreign language not known to them were introduced in a society of illiterates who had until then obtained

their legitimacy from the word of mouth and the community. In Chotanagpur, for example, when in the court of law, the tribals were asked in English whether they had paid any rent to the landowner, the question was translated as ‘have you paid any money to the diku (outsider or foreigner)’, since terms for rent and landlord did not exist in their languages. An affirmative answer was usually given since they had at times repaid the money they had borrowed or had paid taxes. The court of law would construe this as payment of rent and would declare the tribals tenants at will. Thus, much tribal land would be lost to non-tribal immigrants to the region (Sa, 1975, pp. 53–57). The situation does not seem to have changed substantially as the reports of the SC/ST Commissioner show (e.g., Commissioner for SC & ST, 1989). New methods of alienating land have been added to the legal system. One can mention among them indebtedness through which debtors are ‘captured’, encroachment on tribal land under the knowledge that the tribals are powerless, the nexus between non-tribal moneylenders or encroachers, merchants, etc., and government officials, and manipulation of records. The consequences of this process can be seen from a study of land records. In Odisha, for example, 36.76 per cent of the tribals were landless by official count in 1981 as against 27.71 per cent of the total population (Viegas, 1991, p. 27). In the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, despite the pathbreaking Law I of 1970, according to official estimates, 180,000 acres of land had been alienated to non-tribals by 1990. According to other studies, more than 600,000 acres had been alienated. In the Gudalur region of Tamil Nadu, land that had been under cultivation by the tribals for centuries was handed over to settlers from Kerala as a part of the ‘Grow More Food Campaign’ in the 1960s, the rights of those who were in occupation of that land for centuries were not taken into consideration since it was considered terra nullius (Thekkekara, 1993, p. 25).

Alienation from Culture In other words, one notices, in the name of national development, an attack on the life support system of the tribals. They and other marginalized groups have become the victims of the type of development that transfers resources to the small minority that can join the Western type of consumer society. This is done in the name of productivity (Government of India, 1956, p. 22) since their resource use was not considered productive. An integral part of this strategy is denigration of their traditional culture as primitive. The names like vanvasi (forest dwellers) used by the forces that want to integrate them in the mainstream society as a low caste are an example of treating them as uncivilized. Such an approach legitimizes the processes of dehumanization that are set in motion as the symbiotic relationship between the tribals/indigenous peoples and their environment is weakened (Arceparampil, 1989, pp. 26–269). In that sense, this process is similar to the colonial ideology of ‘civilizing education’ that legitimized the occupation and economic exploitation of foreign lands. The strategy of denigrating their culture further weakens the close link between the natural resources and the tribals and other indigenous populations since often the tribals themselves begin to

internalize the dominant value system in order to ‘get civilized’, like the upper castes that surround them and control their resources (Thekkekara, 1993, p. 29). Hence, the question of recognizing Indian and other Asian tribals as indigenous and of acknowledging their right to self-determination, that is, control over their resources and their socio-political structures which are their life support system becomes central to their very identity. The attack on their culture also shows that only economic poverty alleviation programmes cannot solve the problem. The close identity between their communities and the natural resources has to be re-established in some form, since their identity as a group is closely linked to these resources. They have either lost their identity or are in the process of losing it because of the loss of control over the natural resources and their destruction by the mainstream that still seems to work on the principle of terra nullius without necessarily enunciating it in so many words. It is assumed that the lands occupied by the tribals are state property simply because the inhabitants do not hold a patta or an individual title to it, which alone is recognized by the formal sector that depends on the written word and the individual. The tribal culture in which resources were under the control of the community is not recognized.

Search for a New Identity Thus, in the name of the legality created by itself without any participation of those affected by it, the formal system imposes itself on these communities and destroys their identity in the process of taking control over their resources. The tribal leaders and the friends of tribals, therefore, insist that the land and forests that have been taken over from them belong to their communities and should be restored to them, in order to enable them to regain the identity that they are on the verge of losing. In other words, the first feature of a new tribal identity is its community character. Second, it goes without saying, as the Penang Statement and others have insisted, that rebuilding their community has to go hand in hand with the re-establishment of the link between their community’s control over the natural resources and their identity. For example, discussing the situation in Mavalibhata in Bastar, where the tribals were deprived of their land for a steel plant, B. D. Sharma (1993) discussed the link between tribal deprivation and environmental degradation. The same Mavalibhata Declaration re-asserts tribal ownership of the resource. That also gives the third feature of tribal identity. The Mavalibhata tribals state that sustainable development is possible, but this cannot be achieved if the children of the soil are marginalized. As owners of the resource, they have to be equal partners, if not majority shareholders, in the enterprise. Criteria meant to safeguard the resource, develop the people and ensure economic growth have to be worked out together. Similar is the Penang Statement which we have referred to already. Most studies on the tribals and other indigenous peoples indicate that while the whole community suffers the negative consequences of external control of their resources, women are the worst victims of the changes that have come into their lives as a result of loss of their

land and other resources to the outsiders. This is accompanied by the imposition of an alien culture on them. Tribal communities often internalize the upper caste values to which women’s subordination is crucial, while in their tradition women had greater economic value and a higher social status than what their counterparts in caste societies enjoyed (Fernandes & Menon, 1987, pp. 65–70). Hence, the fourth feature of a tribal identity would be recognition of the role of women and not restricting oneself to revalorizing the community in the abstract. Without such a precaution, one runs the risk of rebuilding a community dominated by men alone and of further marginalizing women. While discussing such an identity, one has to bear the fifth feature in mind, namely that one cannot recreate any tribal culture in its pristine purity. It has to be adapted to the changed circumstances. But to be sustainable, it is important to begin with some of the basic principles of the informal tribal society in order to update their socio-political, economic and technical systems. That alone can enable them to deal with the powerful formal sector as equals. Today, they have certainly been absorbed into the mainstream, but as subordinates. In order to cope with it, often they end up by rejecting their own culture and internalizing the dominant caste values (Fernandes & Raj, 1992, p. 175). This has to be overcome by beginning with tribal culture and updating it instead of either attempting to recreate or replace it. Such an approach also needs some support of the outsiders. Most tribal communities have relatively little exposure to the market economy. The merchants and moneylenders use this lack of exposure to take control of their economy. They need training to be able to deal with this mainstream as equals. Much needs to be done in the form of training to help them deal with the marketing system which is the major source of exploitation today. Similarly, their technologies, social and political systems, etc. have to be updated to be able to deal with the mainstream economy. This would require much support from NGOs and others from the mainstream.

SELF-DETERMINATION AND INDIGENOUS IDENTITY Another theme that dominates the discussion on the tribal identity is self-determination. One does not have to labour the point that it is closely linked to the question of their control over the resources. A crisis began in their communities with the commercial industrial elements taking control of their land and forests (Sa, 1975). This slowly resulted in their impoverishment, powerlessness and loss of control over their whole life. Today, decisions are often imposed on them in the name of national development and according to the principle of terra nullius, though it may not always be explicated. Self-determination would involve recognizing the fact that they are the first occupants of this land and that they have to be actively involved in all decision-making concerning the use of their community resources (Sharma, 1993). Closely linked to self-determination is the question of sub-nationalism which is interpreted by the dominant classes as secessionism. In reality, a clear distinction needs to be made

between autonomy and secession. The tribals demand their right to run their affairs without the dominant forces exploiting them and imposing on them socio-political structures that are irrelevant to their situation and a culture that introduces inequalities, environmentally destructive practices and women’s subordination in their otherwise egalitarian societies. Autonomy also involves that they regain the control over their resources that they have lost. It would include their right to control the industries that may come up within their territory. The dominant classes that want to have monopoly over these resources and want to turn the tribals into suppliers of cheap labour and raw materials alone present this demand of theirs for the preservation of their humanity and their human right to a life with dignity as secession and as an anti-national movement. There certainly are a few secessionist movements among the tribals, particularly in the Northeast. They are an exception and exist among other populations too. In reality, they too are a reaction to their being deprived of their resources, and in many cases, are an effort to safeguard their very humanity. Consequently, it is the exploitative state they are subjected to that needs to be dealt with, instead of focusing on their struggle to be human as being antinational.

CONCLUSION Underlying these demands is their right to be considered indigenous people. They have been denied this status in most countries of Asia. Accepting their indigenous status would involve recognizing the principles of equity, community, women’s status and ecological balance which were basics of their culture. It would involve recognizing the fact that traditionally the tribals have lived according to the principles of sustainable development. It would also involve recognizing the fact that external intervention has been the basis of the processes that have resulted in an inequitable system. Above all, it would be recognition of the fact that a new, more just society can be established. Starting with the principles on which tribal societies were founded is the best way of beginning such a process of building a new society. It is with this society in view that the tribals of India are demanding an indigenous status for themselves. The implications of such a demand have to be studied from the perspective of building a more human society that they are aspiring for.

REFERENCES Agarwal. A., & Narain, S. (1985). Women and natural resources. Social Action, 35(4), 301–325. Alvares, C., & Billorey, R. (1988). Damming the Narmada. Third World Network. Arceparampil, M. (1989). Industries, mining and dispossession of indigenous peoples: The case of Chotanagpur. In W. Fernandes & E. G. Thukral (Eds.), Development, displacement and rehabilitation: Issues for a national debate (pp. 13– 38). Indian Social Institute. Arceparampil, M. (1992). Forest policies and denial of tribal rights. In W. Fernandes (Ed.), National development and tribal deprivation (pp. 148–174). Indian Social Institute. Cockburn, R. (1993, June 19). Years after Cook’s ‘misadventure’. The Statesman. Colchester, M.. (1986). An end to laughter: The Bhopalpatnam and the Godavari project. In E. Goldsmith & N. Hildyard (Eds.), The social and environmental impact of large dams (Vol. II: Case Studies, pp. 245–254). Waderbridge Ecological

Centre. Commissioner SC & ST. (1989). Report of the commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Ministry for Welfare, Government of India. Debnath, D. C., Chobey, M. B., & Agarwal, S. S. (1992, May 4–14). Recent innovation in resettlement [Paper presentation]. World Bank and Eletrobras sponsored Workshop on Resettlement in Power Project, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Fernandes, W. (1991). Power and powerlessness: Development project and displacement projects and displacement of tribals. Social Action, 41(3), 243–270. Fernandes, W., & Menon, G. (1987). Tribal women and forest Economy: Deforestation, exploitation and status change. Indian Social Institution. Fernandes, W., Menon, G., & Viegas, P. (1988). Forests, environment and tribal economy: Deforestation, impoverishment and marginalisation in Orissa. Indian Social Institute. Fernandes, W., & Raj, S. A. (1992). Development, displacement and rehabilitation in the tribal areas of Orissa. Indian Social Institute. Fernandes, W., & Roy Choudhury, A. (1993). Search for a tribal identity: The dominant and the subaltern. Social Action, 43(1), 8–22. FRI. (1991). State of India’s forest. Author. Gadgil, M. (1989). Forest management, deforestation and people’s impoverishment. Social Action, 39(4), 357–383. Government of India. (1956). Second five year plan. Planning Commission. Government of India. (1985). Report of the committee on rehabilitation of displaced tribals due to development projects. Ministry of Home Affairs. Indigenous Tribal Peoples. (1992). Charter of indigenous tribal people of the tropical forest. Asian Indigenous Peoples. Mahapatra, L. K. (1990). Rehabilitation of tribals affected by major dams and other projects in Orissa. In A. P. Fernandez (Ed.), Workshop on rehabilitation of persons displaced by development projects (pp. 85–99). Institute of Social and Economic Change and MYRADA. Ministry of Mines. (1992). Indian minerals year book, Vol I: General review. Bureau of Mines. Sa, de F. (1975). Crisis in Chotanagpur. Redemptorist Publications. Sen Gupta, N. (1988). Re-appraising tribal movements: Legitimisation and Spread II. Economic & Political Weekly, 23 (20), 1003–1005. Sanders, R. (1993). Indigenous people on the international stage. Social Action, 43(1), 1–7. Sharma, B. D. (1978). Tribal development: The concept and the frame. Prachi Prakashan. Singh, T. (1992, August 30). History of crossroad. The Sunday Express. Thekkekara, M. (1993). Tribal women: The trauma of transition. Social Action, 43(1), 23–31. Viegas, P. (1991). Encroached and enslaved attachment of tribal land and its dynamics. New Delhi: Indian Social Institute.

* Social Change, Vol. 23, Nos. 2 and 3, 1993.

About the Editors and Contributors

SERIES EDITOR Manoranjan Mohanty retired as Director, Developing Countries Research Centre and Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi in 2004. A political scientist, China scholar, and peace and human rights activist with special interest in China, India and global transformation, he is Editor of Social Change and Distinguished Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi. He is Chairperson, Development Research Institute, Bhubaneswar and Honorary Fellow and former Chairperson of the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. He has taught or researched in many universities, including California, Oxford, Copenhagen, Moscow, Lagos and Beijing. He is the author of many publications, including China’s Transformation: The Success Story and the Success Trap, Ideology Matters: China from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping and edited or co-edited many publications, including People’s Rights, Class, Caste, Gender, India-Social Development Report, 2010, Exploring Emergent Global Thresholds and China at a Turning Point.

VOLUME EDITOR Vinay Kumar Srivastava retired from the University of Delhi in December 2017, having served as a teacher for 41 years and 3 months. He joined Hansraj College, University of Delhi, for a BSc (Honours) in Anthropology in 1969, finishing first class, for which he was awarded the University Medal in 1972. For his master’s degree in Anthropology, which he read at Hansraj College, he specialized in Physical Anthropology, writing a dissertation on sex-chromatin bodies, a topic he was the first to work in the department. Here also, he topped the list of successful candidates, obtaining the University Medal in 1974. Desirous of learning social anthropology and sociology, Srivastava joined the Delhi School of Economics for a master’s degree in sociology. During his two years as a student, he also received a scholarship, which he completed with a first class, being honoured with Smt Kunda Datar Gold Medal (1976) and Dr R. D. Sanwal Memorial Prize (1976). A couple of months after his second master’s degree, on 15 September 1976, he was appointed lecturer in sociology at the Hindu College, University of Delhi, where he taught for a period of nine years, before moving to the Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, as lecturer in social anthropology, on 21 January 1985. He became a reader and professor in 1986 and

1997, respectively. Srivastava did his MPhil from the Department of Chinese and Japanese Studies, as it was then called, of the University of Delhi, securing an O-grade. His dissertation was on the charisma-building process that took place in China after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong in September 1976. Besides being a contribution to the political sociology of post-Mao China, this work was also a critical appraisal of Max Weber’s understanding of power, authority and imperative control. This research work yielded several articles that were published in reputed journals. Srivastava’s first research work was based on library. For his doctorate, he carried out a piece of intensive fieldwork with a community of camel-breeders in western Rajasthan. He got his PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1994, which later (in 1997) was published as a book. This was one of the first research works on the religious practices and ascetic ideology of a pastoral community, thus rendering a nonBrahmanical perspective on renunciation. From this lengthy fieldwork in Rajasthan, Srivastava has come out with a number of academic publications. During his academic journey of more than four decades, Srivastava held several administrative positions. On three occasions, he was the teacher-in-charge of the Department of Sociology, Hindu College. Later, from 10 March 2010 to 7 March 2012, he was Principal of the Hindu College. He was Head of the Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, from 9 January 2014 to 21 January 2017. He is credited for having taken the initiative of introducing a master’s degree in Forensic Science in the department in 2014. Five months prior to his retirement from the University of Delhi, Srivastava joined Anthropological Survey of India, a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, on 1 August 2017 as its Director, a position he will hold for three years. From 1 September 2017 to 3 August 2018, he was Director-in-Charge of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. From 29 June 2019, he is the acting Director General of the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, Kolkata. Presently, he is a member of the National Commission set up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, to sub-categorize the Other Backward Classes. He was also a member of the Second Commission set up by the Government of India for the De-notified, Nomadic and Seminomadic Communities (2015–2018). Recently, he has been made a member of the Committee that the Government of India has founded for the inclusion of some more communities in the list of De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Communities. Srivastava is Chief Editor of the Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, a SAGE publication; and one of the two Editors of Social Change, a journal of the Council of Social Development, published by SAGE. For 15 years (from 2001 to 2016), he was one of the three editors of The Eastern Anthropologist.


Vinoj Abraham is with the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Chungkhosei Baite is with the Department of Political Science, Manipur University, Imphal, Manipur. Nirmal Kumar Bose was active in the Indian Freedom Movement with Mahatma Gandhi. He was Director of the Anthropological Survey of India (1959–1964) and was elected President of the Asiatic Society in 1972. Walter Fernandes is a Senior Fellow (Professor), North-Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati, Assam. Tanushree Haldar is with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. L. Ladusingh is the Vice-Chancellor of Bodoland University, Assam. Sonali Mukherjee is Head of Research Division at Save The Children, New Delhi. Ram Dayal Munda, a doctorate from Chicago, was Vice-Chancellor of Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand. He was also a Member of Parliament. Amenla Nuken is with the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai. Binay Kumar Pattnaik teaches at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Bhubaneswar Sabar is a faculty at Gangadhar Meher University, Sambalpur, Odisha. A. K. Singh was Executive Chairperson of the Council for Social Development, New Delhi, and Editor of Social Change. He was also Vice-Chancellor at Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand. K. S. Singh was an Indian Administrative Service officer who retired as Director-General of the Anthropological Survey of India. He was the editor of the multi-volume series titled People of India. Prabhat K. Singh teaches at the Department of Anthropology, Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand. Avitoli Zhimo teaches at the Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, New Delhi.


Abhimanyu-vadh of tribals, 40–44 development and displacement, 40–42 magnitude of displacement, 42 Adivasi, 15, 27 process of gradual genocide, 42–43 agricultural belsu aat, 110 broadcasting and harvesting, 111–113 Chorokhuten, 110 Chuktia Bhunjia Development Agency (CBDA), 101 Chuktia Bhunjias, 109 cultural technologies, 113–115 festivals and sustainability, 115–117 field area and people, 99–102 harvesting, 113–115 knowledge, 102 land type and cropping pattern, 102–106 preservation of seeds, 113–115 production, failure, 95 rain-fed wet rice cultivation, 108–110 shifting cultivation, 106–108 technologies and policies, 95 theoretical polemic, 96–99 alienation from culture civilizing education, 276 economic poverty alleviation programmes, 277 strategy, 276 terra nullius, principles, 277 vanvasi, 276 Anthah Kut, 132 Bagdi caste, 10 bahal-doli, 105 Baites, 125 adultery, 129–130 bride price, 129 childbirth and naming system, 130 costumes and ornaments, 133–134 death and funeral ceremony, 130–131 divorce, 129 family structure, 125–126 festivals, 132–133 law of inheritance, 127 matrimony, 127–128 Naga tribes, 135 Onjang Kholngul, 135 remarriage of widows, 129

Sawm, 133 social feasts, 131–132 taboo food for pregnant woman, 130 trans-border tribes, 134 Zawlbuk, 135 Baliapal protest movement, 204 Barber caste, 10 Basques, 27 Bengal Permanent Settlement Regulation, 1793, 180 Bharat Aluminum Company (BALCO), 204 Bihar Tribes Advisory Council Chotanagpur area as union territory, 193, 196–198 Chotanagpur Santal Pargana Autonomous Development Authority, 193 Christianization, 200 cultural distinctiveness Chotanagpur, 199 Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, 191–192 political leadership, 199 Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, 194–196 Tribes Advisory Council of 1984, 192 violence, 200 Bison-horn Maria, 57–60 depletion of resources and new economic pursuits, 62–65 electricity, 68 Halbi and Hindi, 58 history of mining, 60–61 industrialization, 69 marginality in politics, 67–68 mining activity, 59–60 Muria of northern Bastar, 58 pangnasira, 59 paras, 59 perma, 59 political leadership, 68 preferential marriages, 58–59 prohibitory religious sanctions, 67 reproductive rights, 64 restriction of space and expression, 65–67 role of administration, 68–70 sense of dependence, 59 sira, 59 siyan and para-mukhia, 67 statutory panchayat institutions, 67 tangible objects, 59 traditional resource base and division of labour, 60–61 wadde, 59 Bodoland struggle, 267 Byagra-Kshatriya, 10 capabilities approach, 53 case studies Kashipur’s mining-based refinery project, 206–208 Lanjigarh’s mining-based refinery project, 208–209 Chakriya Vikas Pranali (CVP), 47 Chavang Kut, 132 Chota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act, 1908, 86

Chotanagpur area as union territory, 196–198 hill area, 193 Chotanagpur Santal Pargana Autonomous Development Authority, 183, 193 chow dance, 40 Chuktia Bhunjias, 104 collective mobilizations and violent resistance course of movement interior tribal-dominated areas, 221 international NGOs, role of, 223–224 local NGOs, role of, 222–223 Lokashakti Abhiyan Orissa, 221 National Security Act (NSA), 221 non-bailable warrants, 221 role of activist’s organizations, 220–221 role of intellectuals, 228–229 Samajbadi Jana Parishad, 221 VAL’s mining project, 222 judicial commissions, tribunals or similar independent reports on violence against Adivasis violating the laws in Odisha, 220 colonization New World, 14 common property resources (CPR), 272 Communist Party of India, 183 conversion, 137–138 Dang Bhil Chiefs, 14 depressed classes, 7–8 exploitation, 9 development-induced displacement, 205 collective mobilization, disinformation and politics, 209–212 disappearing tribal culture and identity, 214–218 Gandhamardan Bachao movement, 206 Hirakud Hydro-electricity dam project, 206 Kashipur’s mining-based refinery project, 206–208 Lanjigarh’s mining-based refinery project, 208–209 Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), 206 Odisha’s contemporary resistant movements, 206 politics and movements, 213–214 protest movement, 206 Rengali Hydro-electricity dam project, 206 docile bodies, 1 earliest settlers, 27 emergent discourse on development global discourse, issues, 229–230 mega-development projects versus small projects, 230–231 urban upper/middle class, 231–233 endangered tribals of India, 21–49 feminist development scholarship, 53 Fifth and Sixth Schedules, 45 forests, land and dispossession court of law, 275 diku, 275 formal and informal systems, 275

marginalized communities, 274 moneylenders, clutches of, 275 Permanent Settlement of 1793, 275 tribal areas, 276 Gandhmardan Movement, 204 grave situation codifying customary laws, 92–93 customary laws, 90–91 khuntkatti and bhuinhari tenancy, 88 land alienation, 88–90 succession of property, 91–92 urban industrial growth, 87 Green Revolution, 94 Gypsies, 27 human dignity, 12 indigenous people, 5, 267 anti-land alienation, 268 civilizing education, 276 clutches of moneylenders, 275 colonisation of indigenous lands, 271 common property resources (CPR), 272 court of law, 275 cultural systems, 270 Damanjodi tribals, 273 dark-complexioned and snubnosed people, 17 definitions, 13, 16 diku, 275 economic poverty alleviation programmes, 277 eminent domain, 271 estimated population, 22–23 facts to consider in definitions, 16 formal systems, 275, 277 ILO Convention, 268 informal systems, 275 ingredients in definition, 13–14 international movement, 20 khuntkatti, 272 marginalized communities, 274 Mavalibhata Declaration, 278 meaning, 16 merchants and moneylenders, 279 mythological battles, 16 NALCO plants, 272 official objection and position, 268–269 Oraon of Chotanagpur, 272 Penang Statement, 277 Permanent Settlement of 1793, 275 principles, 277 reflections on current debate, 13–20 rehabilitation, 273 self-determination and autonomy, 269 strategy, 276

studies, 269 terra nullius, 270, 279 tibal communities, 278 tribal areas, 276 tribes retort, 269 type of patta, 271 Upper Kolab and Upper Indravati dams, 273 vanvasis, 269, 276 industrialization displacement effects, 236 Indian state of Jharkhand, 238 labour market, 237 large dams for, 237 large development projects, 236 mega development projects, 237 mining and women, 69 policy decision, 236 Sen’s notion, 237 urbanization projects, 236 inter alia, 27 intergenerational mobility, 162 Janapada Sadasya, 67 Jharkhand Coordination Committee (JCC), 184 Jharkhand Mahadeo, 179 Jharkhand Movement, 183, 191, 267 issues Adivasi Mahasabha Movement, 1938–1950, 191 Birsa Movement, 1895–1900, 190–191 cultural submergence, 188–189 JMM Movement, 1972–1986, 191 land and forest alienation, 184–186 Santal Insurrection of 1855, 190 Sardar Movement of 1859–1865, 190 training and job deprivation, 186–188 unbalanced development, 189–190 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), 183 jhum cultivation, 38 Kaldorian approach, 235 Kartik Oraon leadership, 183 Khasi Syiems, 14 Kingdom of the Young, 58 Kithimi Ghau, 148 Kol Revolt of 1831–1832, 85 Konyak Naga tribes, 161 Koyas, 57 land ownership and level of education ST and non-ST workers, 244, 249 leather-working, 10–11 Legislative Assembly of Bihar, 182 life of tribals, 87–93; see also grave situation low castes, 11

Maria. see Bison-horn Maria Military Collectorship of the Ramgarh Hill Tract, in 1780, 180 Mim Kut, 132 mining and women, 52–73 Bailadila range of hills, 60–61 Bison-horn Maria, 57–60 capabilities approach, 53 depletion of resources and new economic pursuits, 62–65 development strategies in Independent India, 52 feminist development scholarship, 53 field methods, 55–57 grassroots-level participation, 52–53 growing awareness, 54 history of mining, 60–61 industrialization, 69 marginality in politics, 67–68 misuse of natural resources, 54 process of globalization, 54 restriction of space and expression, 65–67 role of administration, 68–70 traditional resource base and division of labour, 60–61 transnational flows, 54 victims of development, as, 55 Mongoloid, 15 Mulling Collective Farming Society, 47 Munda poetry, 19 Mura, 19 Muria of northern Bastar, 58 Muslims, 7 Narmada Bachao Andolan, 267 National Commission on Agriculture (NCA), 38 National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), 3 nativistic movement, 3 natural resources, 270 anti-land alienation, 268 colonisation of indigenous lands, 271 common property resources (CPR), 272 cultural systems, 270 Damanjodi tribals, 273 eminent domain, 271 ILO Convention, 268 khuntkatti, 272 NALCO plants, 272 official objection and position, 268–269 Oraon of Chotanagpur, 272 self-determination and autonomy, 269 studies, 269 tribes retort, 269 type of patta, 271 vanvasis, 269 Negro, 15 Nehru–Mahalanobis model, 235 Nehru’s Panchsheel, 38 new identity

formal system, 277 Mavalibhata Declaration, 278 merchants and moneylenders, 279 Penang Statement, 277 tibal communities, 278 New Social Movements (NSMs) theory, 203, 227 anti-systemic, 226 intermediary institutions, 226 middle-class preponderance, 227 multiple actors, 227 rise, 225 tribal resistant movements of Odisha, 227–229 tyranny of state government, 226 non-government organizations (NGOs) tribes improving, role of, 48–49 non-totemistic tribes, 84 pangnasira, 59 pan-tribal organization, 181 paras, 59 Pawl Kut, 133 People of India project, 5 data collected under, 15 people’s movements, 204 perma, 59 process of gradual genocide, 42–43 Proto-Australoid, 15 radicalism, 183 Ramgarh Tract, 86 Reforms of 1935, 7 Regulation XII of 1833, 85 rengtha gada, 105 Republican Constitution, 8 resource use, productivity and displacement rehabilitation, 273 Upper Kolab and Upper Indravati dams, 273 sarana, 84 Sawm, 133 Scheduled Castes (SCs), 8 Article 42, 8, 9 Bagdi caste, 10 Class I service, 9 features of social movements, 10 scheduled communities and social change, 7–12 Article 42, 8, 9 Class I service, 9 Muslims, 7 Reforms of 1935, 7 Scheduled Tribes (STs), 8, 15 Adivasi, 15 Article 42, 8, 9 Bagdi caste, 10 Class I service, 9 democratic and federal polity of India, 15–16

features of social movements, 10 processes of fission and fusion in tribal society, 15 revolts, 15 shares of population, 24–25 self-determination and indigenous identity terra nullius, 279 sira, 59 social mobility (SM), 165 Cramer’s measure, 165 data collection, 164–165 description of variables, 166 education, 171–172 educational level, 167 intergenerational educational, 172, 174 intergenerational occupational mobility, 168, 170–171 Konyak Naga, 163 methodology, 165–166 mobility of sons, 171 Mon district of Nagaland, 164 occupational mobility, 167 occupational structure of Konyaks, 167–168 occupations, 166 pure exchange mobility, 165 studies, 162–163 total mobility (TM), 165 two-stage sampling, 164 women’s educational level, 174–176 South-West Frontier Agency, 85–86 state of Odisha mass media, role, 223–225 State Reorganization Commission (SRC) in 1955, 182 stocktaking bhuinhari lands, 86 Chota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act, 1908, 86 khuntkatti and bhuinhari lands, 86 Kol Revolt of 1831–1832, 85 Muslim personal law, 87 Ramgarh Tract, 86 Regulation XII of 1833, 85 revenue collection, 85 South-West Frontier Agency, 85–86 Tribal Customary Laws and Rituals, 86 tribal land, 85 zamindars, 85 Sumi Naga akukau, 139 akukho kighini, 146 American Baptist Missionary, 139 Animism to Christianity, 141–143 ayekulumi, 139 Christian missionary, 138 Government of Nagaland, 139 imposition of strict rules, 140 jishomi, 140 Kithimi Ghau, 148

non-Christians, 141 rice beer, 141 soul and sickness, 148 soul or spirit, existence, 146–149 tears and soul, 148–149 traditional religion and Christianity, 149–150 transformation, 143–145 tuluni and ahuna, 152 Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, 99 Chuktia Bhunjia tribe, 102 Sweeper Caste, 10–11 Tana Bhagat movement, 181 Telegu-speaking Gonds, 57 tendu leaf collection, 69 terra nullius, 270, 279 colonisation of indigenous lands, 271 common property resources (CPR), 272 Damanjodi tribals, 273 eminent domain, 271 khuntkatti, 272 NALCO plants, 272 Oraon of Chotanagpur, 272 principles, 277 type of patta, 271 The Iron Ores of the Bailadila Range, Bastar St, 60 totemism tribes, 84 tribal customary laws. see stocktaking tribal deprivation post-Independence India, 21 tribal labour force, 239–240 agricultural and non-agricultural workers, decadal growth rates, 241–242 composition of employment, 240 discernible occupational shift, 240 diversification of employment, 244 economic and social security, 255–256 employment and wages in, 249–251, 253–255 income security, 258–259 industrial sector, 240 job security, 256–258 negative growth rate, 242 non-tribal population, 238 rate of diversification, 240 securities, 259–260 ST population, 240 subsidiary activity, 243 wage-dependent agriculture labour, 240 tribal life, 84 tribals. see indigenous people tribals in India Abhimanyu-vadh, 40–45 accustomed to informal economy, 39 attachment to land and forest, 38 jhum cultivation, 38 NCA, 42

Nehru’s Panchsheel, 38 demographic characteristics, 25–26 development and displacement, 40–42 development, deprivation and discontent, 40 distribution, 23–26 dropout rates, 34–35 earliest settlers, 27 genocide and development, 42–43 health status, 37–38 households by household type and social group, 29 industrial classification of workers, 28 literacy rate, 32–36 magnitude, 22–23 magnitude of displacement, 42 main characteristics, 22–40 new economic policy, 43–44 occupations, 27–30 overwhelmingly rural, 26 per capita expenditure class by household type, 31 very poor people by occupational category, 31–32 percentage of population below poverty line, 31 presence in level of development, 39 profile of average tribal person, 39–40 resolving deepening crisis, 44–49 Fifth and Sixth Schedules, 45 Indian attitude to tribals in early post-independence India, 44–45 status improvement, 45–49 self-employed, 29 share of ST population, 24–25 tribals are poor, 30 work participation rates, 30 tribes, 1 colonial encounter in India, 14 environment love, 19 exploitation, 3, 9 Gandhi’s famous saying, 19 improving status, 44–49 HRD in, 46–47 participation of tribals in projects, 47–49 political empowerment, 46 role of NGO, 48–49 strategies for the empowerment, 47–49 target-group appropriate occupational skills, 48 industrialization, 5 role in development of languages and culture, 14–15 sense of distinct identity, 20 similarity, 20 underdevelopment, 20 victims of swadeshi colonization, 21 wadde, 59 Western-educated men and women, 12