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The State Can’t See the People for the Land and the Trees The Unjust Adivasi Predicament in Independent India – In Search of a New Direction

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Presentation on theme: "The State Can’t See the People for the Land and the Trees The Unjust Adivasi Predicament in Independent India – In Search of a New Direction"— Presentation transcript:

1 The State Can’t See the People for the Land and the Trees The Unjust Adivasi Predicament in Independent India – In Search of a New Direction

2 Traditional Adivasi Characteristics Subsistence non-accumulative economy Living in small communities tightly knit by kinship and labour pooling customs Fierce defenders of their resource bases which are crucial to their livelihoods. Non-literate song and dance based culture Patriarchal Social Structure

3 British Policy in Adivasi Areas  Creation of Forest Department -In search of timber needed for ships and railway lines  Extension of settled agriculture to enhance land revenue - Zamindari/Malguzari and Ryotwari land settlement.  Introduction of non-adivasi settler communities to facilitate the above policies  Adivasis pushed out from plains areas into the upper watersheds and hilly regions  Adivasis fought back valiantly against this injustice  Promotion of adivasi difference as a counter to the movement for national independence

4 Post-independence Legal Framework – A Dicey Proposition  Constitution retains colonial centralised structure of the Govt of India Act of 1935  Indian Forest Act, Land Acquisition Act, Indian Penal Code, Crim. Proc. Code retained  Fundamental Rights and enabling legal entitlements have to be secured through expensive litigation  Provisions of Fifth Schedule not binding  Provisions of Sixth Schedule clash with State Powers

5 The Constitution Within the Constitution  Fifth Schedule – Governor may on the advice of the Tribal Advisory Council prevent the application of general laws to Scheduled Areas. Applicable in nine states in the Eastern, Central, Western, Northern and Southern India.  Sixth Schedule – Autonomous District Councils with extensive fiscal and administrative powers. Applicable in the states of the Northeast.

6 Denial of Entitlements after Independence  Zamindari/Ryotwari common lands taken over by FD but without following proper procedure.  Settlement in Princely States heavily dispossessed Adivasi communities. Problem of Forest Villages.  Encroachments into revenue common lands and forest lands and regularisation.  Displacement due to development projects  Mal-functioning of social and development sector

7 Developmental Mal-function  Introduction of Tribal Subplan in 1975 to target adivasis  Neglect of Dryland Agriculture in the Upper Watersheds  Unsuitability of IRDP packages  Unsuitability of Education  Irrationality of Health Services anar-kali.blogspot.com7

8 Legal Wrangles  Denial of Basic Liberal Democratic Rights  Non-implementation of Atrocities Act, Usury Acts, Restoration of alienated land provision.  Conflicting laws, policies, GRs, Court Judgments.  Legality of JFM GRs  Denial of Right to Livelihood

9 Other Socio-economic Dynamics  Adivasis considered as menials by the OBCs and the Upper Castes and this gives strength to the State’s oppressive policies.  Globalisation has resulted in an increase in the value put on natural resources and so adivasi habitats are being targeted even more.

10 Repressive Whip, Cooptive Sop and Adivasi Self-rule  Bhuria Committee Report and the recommendation of 50% share for adivasis in development projects  PESA.  Confrontation in adivasi areas  Consequences of Maoist Movement  Influence of Money Power in Elections  Decay of Traditional Adivasi Culture

11 Action Taken By Adivasi Mass Organisations  Mass Action  Court Cases fought at the local level  The Samatha Case  Intervention in the Godavarman Case  Advocacy through various national level forums  Recognition of Adivasi Rights Act

12 The Road Ahead  Positive integration into Modern Society, Economy and Polity  Scope for Cultural Revival  Anarchism as a lifeline from the perils of Modern Development  Opportunities for Research, Advocacy, Legal and Mass Action

13 Readings  Achebe, C (1990): Things Fall Apart, Allied Publishers, New Delhi.  Banerjee, R (2008): The Decline and Fall of the Adivasi Homeland : A Tale of Two Worlds, The India Economic Review, Vol. 5 No. 3  Banerjee, R (2005): Pillar to Post in Quest of Justice, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 40 No. 31  Breman, J (1985): Of Peasants, Migrants and Paupers: Rural Labour Circulation and Capitalist Production in West India, Oxford University Press, Delhi.  CSCST (The Comissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, GOI) (1990): Twentyninth Report, 1987-89, Govt. of India Publications, New Delhi.  Hardin, G (1968): The Tragedy of the Commons, Science, No. 62.

14 Readings (cont.)  Mies, M (1999): Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour, Zed Books, NY.  Rahul (1997b): Reasserting Ecological Ethics: Bhils' Struggles in Alirajpur, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 32 No.3  Savyasachi (1999): Tribal Forest Dwellers and Self Rule: Constituent Assembly Debates on Fifth and Sixth Schedules, Indian Social Institute, Delhi.  Shah, M, Banerji, D, Vijayshankar, P S & Ambasta, P (1998): India's Drylands: Tribal Societies and Development through Environmental Regeneration, Oxford University Press, Delhi.  Sharma, B D (2001): Tribal Affairs in India: The Crucial Transition, Sahayog Pustak Kutir Trust, Delhi.  Thoreau, H D (2000): Walden: Or Life in the Woods, Harper, NY. anar-kali.blogspot.com14

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