/ Vol 2 Issue 1-4


Issue Details

Journal of People’s Studies
ISSN 2455-3115 (Online)

Volume 2, Issue 1-4
© Journal of People’s Studies, July 2017



Section 1 Thematic Articles
The Sociology of Adivasi Land Alienation - Goldy M. George
Struggle over forests: State, Private Armies and Adivasis in the hinterlands of Jharkhand - Banojyotsna Lahiri
A Resource War to Die For: Is the conflict over minerals centred in Chhattisgarh the worst war there has ever been in India? - Felix Padel
Destruction of fishing in Zuari river of Goa: A ground review - Sebastiao Anthony Rodrigues
Indigenous people’s right to land in Odisha: A study  - Rashmi Rekha Das & Padmalaya Mahapatra
ITDP and Adivasis: Reflective notes from the field - Samu Thomas John

Section 2 Special article
Dalit women’s education and career objectives: Problems and Perspectives - Spandana Sonkenapalli

Section 3 Document
AIDEU M C Raj Adijan dreamer begins his new journey - Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Gompad Yatra: A Personal Diary - Atindriyo Chakrabarty

Section 4 Review
Gujarat Violence and Struggle for Justice - T. Naveen


The Editorial


Both sociologically and anthropologically, there are strong interconnects between marginalisation, resource politics and justice concerns, which has been rarely addressed in academic arena. Without any critical or deep logic one could easily observe that the ones who are marginalised have lesser access to resources of all types and therefore dismissing all questions of justice in the overall distribution of wealth and resources. Marginalisation is a systematic process of practice to neglect, boycott, or refuse both individuals as well as groups from manifold aspects of society; power, education, trade, privilege, opportunities and resources. Interwoven with poverty, deprivation and social exclusion, marginalisation pushes the group or individual to the worst extents of periphery.

Goldy M. George

Section 1 - Thematic Articles

The Sociology of Adivasi Land Alienation

For decades land, forests, water and other natural resources are not free from public debates and academic discourses due to several reasons. In India this debate has taken different forms in different places based on the specific character of the locality. There has been, particularly in the neo-liberalisation era, a noticeable shift both in the tenor and the content of the debate. While looking at the history of Adivasi land alienation, there has been several interconnections between the multiple characteristics of post independent neo-capitalistic economics and the pre-independent colonial imperialism – both only aimed at taking away the land from the community with the consolidation of power centres or ‘eminent domain,’ at the cost of the community itself.

This ethnographic paper gradually discusses the sociology of land debate from pre-colonial period to present. It builds the argument that why land reforms failed in India at large and specifically in the context of Adivasi land rights. To understand the issue of Adivasi land alienation, the case of Mainpat hills in Surguja district of Chhattisgarh is taken to study in detail, where Vedanta Resources Plc is currently engaged in mining bauxite at the cost of the communities. In this paper, I discuss how the State initiated public hearing is applied as a strategic tool to construct ‘consent’ by flouting laws and dismissing people’s dissent. The last two sections of the paper capture the larger impact of land acquisition, land alienation and the socio-ethnic polity of Adivasi depeasantisation. In these Adivasi hotbeds, people have lost their faith in State and it’s democratic systems, due to excessive focus on alien patterns of development. Here land alienation and depeasantisation are interconnected aspects which in itself is a gross violation of human rights of Adivasi people not only in Mainpat but at large across the length and breadth of the state. It has changed the socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics of the community itself.

Goldy M. George

The author is an activist cum academician. He has been the founder of several organisations and movements on Dalit-Adivasi issues in Central India. With a PhD in Social Science, he currently is the Chief Editor of Journal of People’s Studies. He could be reached at goldymgeorge10@gmail.com

Keywords: Adivasi, land alienation, depeasantisation, Vedanta Resources, Development, Jansunwai, Mainpat

Struggle over forests: State, Private Armies and Adivasis in the hinterlands of Jharkhand

This paper explores the three decade long struggle over land and forest resources that continue till now in the hinterland of Jharkhand. The focus of the paper is on the regions of Latehar and Palamau that has witnessed sanguinary battles between the Adivasis and the private armies of the landlords named Sunlight Sena. Fashioned after the notorious Ranvir Sena, this private army was raised to bulldoze all forms of resistance by the Adivasi population and their attempts to reclaim the land that was concentrated in the hands of a few Zamindars. Till the late 1990s the land owned by some of the local landlords ran into thousands of acres (the highest being 6000 acres owned by Jagjit Singh Mahuar) and the private armies were raised to safeguard these huge land holdings. The paper along with exploring the stories from that violent past also looks into the present day coercive attempts of the government to acquire land for mega mining projects. The state that did not intervene in the massive land holding or the violence unleashed by the landlords, is currently waging a war to acquire the lands reclaimed by the Adivasis. The paper seeks to explore these continuous violent battles in the past three decades against the feudal forces and the state.

Banojyotsna Lahiri

The author has done her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her PhD is on the movements for forest rights in Jharkhand. She could be reached at banojyotsna@gmail.com 

Keywords: Adivasi, Jharkhand, Maoist, Sunlight Sena, Operation Green Hunt, Latehar, Palamau

A Resource War to Die For: Is the conflict over minerals centred in Chhattisgarh the worst war in India?

On the surface, such a claim may seem ridiculous, and technically, the state has not declared this conflict as a war. Also, both sides portray it as primarily an ideological conflict. But when one analyses the patterns of violence and listens to accounts of Adivasi men, women and children, one has to accept that this is a classic civil war, with Adivasis who often know each other killing and dying on opposing sides. Though the leadership on both sides is largely non-tribal, with police officers and senior Maoists both instigate Adivasis alike as pawns into a long-term conflict to achieve distant aims. While the vast expansion of security forces have been paid largely out of enormous foreign investment pouring in for the region’s minerals exploration, Maoists are paid ‘protection money’ flowing from mining companies. How could peace be brought, with justice? Is there even a movement for peace? How does this war compare with other wars in India, and worldwide? Few have targeted civilian villagers as remorselessly, though Ashoka’s Kalinga war, over 2,000 years ago, that killed 100000 people directly, and many indirectly according to Ashoka’s own inscriptions, presents a model of genocidal invasion and takeover all too comparable to the present situation. This paper walks through this context of Bastar.

Felix Padel

The author is a London-born anthropologist, author and activist. He has travelled extensively in the Adivasi regions of India. He has authored and co-authored several books on tribal, mining and environmental issues. He could be contacted at felishmr@gmail.com

Keywords: Resource politics, Operation Green Hunt, Adivasi, Bastar, Development

Destruction of fishing in Zuari river of Goa: A ground review

Zuari river is currently at the heart of the intense ground level conflicts of control over fishing spaces in the light of aggressive attempts to promote water sports and India’s first high tech marina. Indigenous fishermen are pitched against financial interests of tourism and shipping industries. The struggle that has taken forms of wrestling with the system as well open confrontation is ultimately directed to serve the interests of luxury tourism catering to high end tourist seeking change in use of Zuari river from fishing to water sports, marinas and casinos.

This paper attempts to intersect the popular notion of complimentarily of Food and Tourism through back end prism of ongoing community conflicts in river Zuari, the biggest river of Goa. Most tasty in plates and yet costly fish is hunted in this river. However the seeds of conflicts developed due to onward march of fishing practices that is unsustainable. Further, investment plans of tourism in terms of Marinas and water sports, is pushing the fishes away from plates. This paper covers the raging debates over dredging of Zuari and threats to livelihoods of people on banks of river Zuari. It further questions the corporate-State nexus currently in vogue against coastal dwellers of Zuari with excessive bias against these dwellers. The researcher’s personal involvement as well as participant observation has been the methodological tool in writing this paper.

Sebastiao Anthony Rodrigues

The author is researcher cum environmental activist based in Goa, India with almost two decades of involvement in various movements. Currently he is a doctoral candidate at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Pilani – Goa Campus. He could be reached at sebydesiolim@gmail.com

Keywords: Fishing, Marinas, Water Sports, Tourism, Dredging

Indigenous people’s right to land in Odisha: A study

Land and resource-related rights are of fundamental importance to indigenous peoples for a number of reasons, including religious significance, self-determination, identity, and economic factors. Land is a prime economic asset of indigenous peoples. The majority of indigenous peoples live in forest areas, depend on agriculture for living and collect minor forest produces to fulfill their subsistence needs. Land and it’s systems attain much importance in their life, which is a network of human relationship, pertaining to the ownership and harmonious relationship with land. This has everywhere been major factor determining the socio-economic and political order. Ownership of land in case of Scheduled Tribe enhances their social status. Tribals use their land for three purposes, firstly it is used as the source of food gathering and hunting, secondly it is used as a place to reside and lastly to cultivate. In the year 1920, firstly The Indian Forest Act was passed thereby turning all Adivasi forest land as government owned. This delegitimised the traditional community ownership systems in Adivasi (tribal) societies. This paper attempts to analyse the different aspects of land rights among the Adivasis of Odisha.  Despite elaborate provisions in the Indian constitution and other laws more than 15 percent of Adivasis have been displaced without any comprehensive rehabilitation efforts.

Rashmi Rekha Das

The author is a PhD scholar in Public Administration with the Utkal University in Bhubaneswar. She is a Junior Research Fellowship as per the UGC norms. She is the first author who could be reached at mdas876@gmail.com

Padmalaya Mahapatra

The author holds a PhD and has been working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration of the Utkal University in Bhubaneswar. She has contributed articles to various journals and have written chapters in books too.

Keywords: Indigenous People, Land Rights, Self-Determination, Human Relation, Rehabilitation

ITDP and Adivasis: Reflective notes from the field

The Integrated Tribal Development Projects (ITDPs) are instituted by the Ministry of Tribal affairs for the Development of Tribal Communities. Claimed to be instituted after a detailed review of the tribal issues, the ministry of tribal affairs initiated the Tribal Sub Plan during the Fifth Five Year Plan through which the ITDPs are implemented targeting those areas where the Schedule Tribe population is more than 50 percent of the total. The programme aims at a comprehensive means to socio-economic development and protection for the Scheduled Tribes. This article focuses on the ground realities of the ITDPs vis-a-vis the Adivasi people in Gadchirolli district of Maharashtra, which is one of India’s most distressed districts. Adivasis in India are predominantly an agrarian community, who in general work on their own farms or as labourers in farms of the landholding classes (Adivasis or other). Their settlements being devoid of advancements in technology generate a lot of physical labour requirements for subsistence agriculture. Gadchirolli district is no different to this.

This article is an Adivasi reflection on the perspective of ITDPs. The article deals with the following questions. How far the importance of Adivasis culture and traditions are considered while designing the welfare schemes? What are the challenges related to successful claiming of these ITDP schemes? Do these schemes really provide them a socio-economic development on egalitarian terms? Where does the hypothesis of development and welfare for the poor in India in India stand? Does it include or exclude a vast section of the actual beneficiaries by design?

A plethora of problems were mentioned by the Adivasi members; the results provide a useful reference point to the fact that good intentions are just not enough. An intention is legitimised only if it is backed with appropriate groundwork and yield required results. The article engages with State paternalism and the outward betraying of ITPDs.

Samu Thomas John

The author is currently working with a start up enterprise in Tamil Nadu, which works for the welfare of farmers; reducing operational costs, partnering with farmers throughout the farming lifecycle and thus increasing profit for the farmer. The author could be contacted at samutomas77@gmail.com

Keywords: Tribal Development, Adivasis, Gadchirolli, ITDP, Tribal Land, Indigenous people, Exclusion

Section 2 - Special article

Dalit women’s education and career objectives – Problems and Perspectives

Dalit women in India suffer from triple oppressions – gender, as a result of patriarchy; class for being the poorest among the working masses; and caste for being at the lowest rung of the social hierarchy. Although discrimination on the basis of caste is against the Indian constitution and prohibited by many laws, its practice is still widespread in India. In the increasingly hostile environment, conflicts between the men of Dalit community and dominant caste, often results in the rape and sexual abuse of Dalit women. Gender and development paradigm recognises women’s triple role that is reproduction, production and community management.

In the Indian Hindu culture, marriage consistently distracts her. Although she reinforces her enthusiasm for higher education, the Hindu norms and traditions do not allow women to pursue higher education. In spite of her struggles they are ill-treated. Women reservation, particularly that of Dalit women, is treated as being non meritorious. Thus most of the women do not reach their career objectives and are diverted to the temporary productive employment. They are unable to reach the higher echelons of the government or decision making bodies – neither at the political level nor at the level of executive.

The present paper tries to analyse the problems and perspectives of Dalit women’s career objectives in pursuing higher education and to reach the decision-making positions. The paper argues the need for sensitisation of Dalit women with regards to their rights, entitlements and legal framework. It also suggests the need to take up capacity building measures and educating the educated Dalit women in order to make them Dalit conscious.

Spandana Sonkenapalli

Spandana Sonkenapalli is a PhD scholar in Kakatiya University, Warangal. She could be contacted at spandanasonkenapalli@gmail.com

Keywords: Dalit, Women, Culture, Education, Career, Decision making, Capacity building

Section 3 - Document

AIDEU M C Raj - Adijan dreamer begins his new journey

It is difficult to believe despite knowing the fact that he is suffering from cancer, we felt he would overcome. M C Raj, the dreamer, intellectual and weaver of word is no more. He passed away in Benguluru on June 6, 2017 morning leaving behind a family as well as all those who cherished his vision and dream project. Some of them had known him for long as he was doing community work at Tumkur that he alone with Jyothi stared in 1984. Many of us linked to him since the process of Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI) started. He was passionate about it and worked hard to develop a team which would lead political discourse on this issue in India. Raj was not merely a grassroots activist but a community leader with a vision and an intellectual who has got deep understanding of the issues that he was talking about, particularly related to ‘Adijans’.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The author is an activist cum writer. He has been part of several national and international networks for decades. A consistently companion of various movements of oppressed, marginalised and exploited masses, he has written extensively on it. He has to his credit nearly 20 books and almost the same number of films. He could be reached at vbraaawat@gmail.com

Gompad Yatra: A Personal Diary

The padyatra started from the statue of Ambedkar at Dantewada on August 9, 2016, at 5 pm. Sori, who had to be present for trial before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court at Jagdalpur on that day, arrived a bit late along with her father, community elder Sukul Nag, Kawasi Hidme who has fought and survived much brutality from the counter-insurgent forces, and a three month old unnamed baby whose mother Hurre had fallen to similar state-backed violence at childbirth in May 2016. A motley crew of around fifty people from Chhattisgarh and across the country were also present. All were united in the realisation that much injustice has been done to the people of Bastar in the name of curbing Maoism over the past ten plus years. All were resolute to the cause of justice for the Madkam Hidme-s of Bastar. All were determined to reach Gompad before August 15 and carry the tricolour, alongwith a host of banners and festoons, as a totem of peace and justice for the Adivasis of the conflict-torn, mineral-rich hills and forests of Bastar.

Atindriyo Chakrabarty

The author is a lawyer practicing in Kanker, Chhattisgarh. He could be reached at driyo88@gmail.com

Section 4 - Review

Book Review: Gujarat Violence and Struggle for Justice

Title of the Book: Foot Solider of the Constitution – A Memoir
Name of the Author: Teesta Setalvad
Year of Publication: January 2017
Publisher: LeftWord Books

Communal violence is not new in India. This has existed all along. Despite India adopting the word ‘Secular’ in its constitution, religious tolerance yet remains a distant dream. Individuals, communal organisations, political parties have in some form or the other played a role in perpetrating communal violence all along. Adoption of ‘Secularism’ has not resulted in a communal free behaviour among the social and state institutions. The example of Gujarat 2002 remains a classic example where communal ideas, communal organisations, communal propaganda came together to create a mayhem of religious genocide. This was instigated by the State, which was to protect the basic values of the Constitution including Secularism.

T. Naveen

The author has done his M.Phil in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He works with an NGO as a Researcher. He could be reached at tnaveen@gmail.com