Depletion and destruction of forests have eroded the already fragile survival base of adivasis across the country. Deprived of their traditional livelihoods, an alarmingly large number of adivasis have been displaced to make way for development projects. Many have been forced to migrate to other rural areas, the urban fringes or cities in search of work, leading to further alienation.
This systematic alienation, however, is not a modern-day phenomenon. Invasion of adivasi territories, for the most part, commenced during the colonial era and later intensified during the post-colonial period. The Adivasi Question situates the issues concerning the adivasis in a historical context while discussing the challenges they face today.
The introduction examines how the loss of land and livelihood began under the British administration. The British brought tribal land under their control and weaned the adivasis away from shifting cultivation. It analyses how the colonial government forced a section of the adivasis to take up cultivation on lower rates of assessment, thereby making them dependent on the landlord-moneylender-trader nexus for their survival.
The articles, drawn from writings of almost four decades, discuss questions of community rights and ownership, management of forests, the state’s rehabilitation policies, and the Forest Rights Act and its implications. It presents diverse perspectives in the form of case studies specific to different regions and provides valuable analytical insights.
Bringing together contributions by well-known sociologists, historians and environmental activists, this book will be an indispensible read for students and scholars of environmental studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, and policy-analysts.