Category Archives: Democracy

“He who does not lead his life under the direction of others, who sets his own goal of life according to his own reasoning and decides for himself as to how and in what way life should be lead, is a free man.” – Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (who was more than the “drafter of the Constitution”), quoted in “Contested Freedom” (Journal of People’s Studies Volume 1, Issue 4 June 2016, Page iii)

“The highest court of judgement regarding social customs was the general hunt council to which the Santal tribes of a particular region gather together. […] It was an exemplary institution of a direct democracy where for one night the final authority was the people themselves.” – Timotheas Hembrom in “Introduction to the Santals” (The Santal and the Biblical Creation Traditions: Anthropological & Theological Reflections, pp. 26-27)

“Our languages have survived tenaciously. We are truly a linguistic democracy. To keep our democracy alive, we have to keep our languages alive.” – Ganesh [G.N.] Devy (co-founder, People’s Linguistic Survey of India) quoted by Soutik Biswas in “The man who ‘discovered’ 780 Indian languages” (BBC News 27 (October 2017)

“Development means nothing if it does not lead to human development in its broadest sense.” – Parvathy Menon in “At 90, C.T. Kurien – Scholar of Social Conscience – Is More Relevant Than Ever” (The Wire, 5 July 2021)

“[T]he only way for the members of the marginalised communities to achieve personhood is through social mobilisation as a collective against discrimination. Such mobilisation should not be considered as ‘politics of identity but as a necessary means for redressing historical discrimination.” – Supreme Court Judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud quoted in “Members of De-Notified Tribes Picked Up to Cover Up Shoddy Investigations” (The Wire, 7 December 2021)

“Our job is to improve press freedom in India, not to carry out publication relations exercises. […] Our report, dedicated to improving that freedom can hardly remain silent on the stifling of it, on the throttling of dissent, the undermining of democracy.” – P. Sainath quoted by Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, dismissing the claim that the “relationship between the government and the media in New Delhi as well as state capitals is vibrant and regular” according to a government-appointed panel that blames “western bias” for the country’s poor performance (Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index) in “India complains about low press freedom rank – even as ministers talk of ‘neutralising’ journalists” (, 28 March 2021)

“The first report on minority rights, made public in late August 1947, provided for reservation for Untouchables only. [O]ne member of the Assembly regretted that ‘the most needy, the most deserving group of adibasis [tribals] has been completely left out of the picture.’ The member was Jaipal Singh, himself an adivasi. […] To the tribals of Chotanagpur, he was their marang gomke, or ‘great leader’. In the Constituent Assembly he came to represent the tribals not just of his native plateau, but of all India. […] His first speech was made on 19 December 1946 when, in welcoming the Objectives Resolution, he provided a masterly summary of the adivasi case.” – India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (p. 115)

“There was a time when, in terms of freedom of press, India was in an enviable position among the developing nations. But that was 40 years ago.” – N. Ram (Director, The Hindu Publishing Group) in a webinar organised by Live Law on “Criminalising Journalism and Cinema” (The Hindu, 6 February 2021)

“As a democracy, India has languished. […] On the Democracy Index’s global ranking, India dropped 10 places to 51: that it maintains even something of a place as a ‘flawed democracy’ has to do with the relatively smooth functioning of the election machinery, though the data shows the severe erosion of ‘civil liberties’”. – Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA), in “Emergency in India, Faux and Real” (26 June 2020)

“In May [2020], the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah saying it was alarmed by the ‘intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders’ by the authorities.” – Analysis by Soutik Biswas in “Outrage as jailed Indian poet contracts Covid” (BBC News, 17 July 2020)

“You can’t keep quiet on everything. At some point, if you disagree – it’s better to say it then rather than piling it up.” – Former IAS Officer Kannan Gopinathan (who resigned from service over ‘lack of freedom of expression’) in a special lecture on “Democracy: Institutions and Individuals” (Asian College of Journalism – ACJ, 2 September 2020)

“Over the past six years, India fell 26 places—from 27 to 53—on the Democracy Index, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit. In March, Freedom House downgraded India from “free” to “partly free.” – Sadanand Dhume (Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute) in “How Democratic Is the World’s Largest Democracy?” (Foreign Affairs, 24 August 2021)

“Populist leaders often polarise society and delegitimise the political opposition, often presenting them as enemies of the state or people. […] Electoral autocracies, according to V-Dem, are now present in 87 states that are home to 68% of the global population. Liberal democracies, the group says, are diminishing, and are home to only 14% of the people.” –  Report on democracy by Sweden-based V-Dem Institute noting India’s diminishing of freedom of expression, the media, and civil society; quoted by Soutik Biswas in “‘Electoral autocracy’: The downgrading of India’s democracy” (BBC News, 16 March 2021)

“Unless people become citizens and not subjects under a patrimonial rule, the calamitous clouds of the pandemic portend a bleak future for Indian democracy as well.” – Nissim Mannathukkaren (Chair, International Development Studies, Dalhousie University, Canada) in “Social murder and the missing state” (The Hindu, 7 May 2021)

“Sure — democracy, first articulated, is Greek in origin. Europe provided the lexicon for it and its components. But just because it did, does not mean the desire for democracy, the desire for human rights, does not exist in every single one of us.” – Melissa Chan in “How ‘Stolen Words’ Harm Democracy” (55 Voices for Democracy, 23 July 2021)

Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Amarkantak – Madhya Pradesh

The tribal people are rich in cultural heritage and skill of art and craft but they are still marginalized in respect to higher education as well as in other walks of life. Now in the present age of globalization the … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Central region – Central Zonal Council, Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Democracy, eBook eJournal ePaper, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Endangered language, Ethnobotany & ethnomedicine, Figures, census and other statistics, Globalization, Government of India, Health and nutrition, Modernity, Narmada, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Rural poverty, Tribal identity, Women | Comments Off on Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Amarkantak – Madhya Pradesh

Tiger conservation and tourism – its impact on the people in and around the tiger reserves

The Supreme Court order [2012] to ban tourism in core tiger reserves, and decisions to shoot poachers at sight find favour with some conservationists, the middle class and media. But what will their impact be on the people who live … Continue reading

Posted in Bees and honey, Biodiversity, Colonial policies, Commentary, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Eco tourism, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Globalization, Government of India, History, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Tiger, Tourism | Comments Off on Tiger conservation and tourism – its impact on the people in and around the tiger reserves

Can Bollywood shatter India’s caste system? Treating delicate subjects with intelligence, sensitivity and creativity

Recently, Aamir Khan – leading film star and household name all over the India where Bollywood reigns supreme – began a prime-time show tackling India’s most serious issues. And the whole country is riveted. […] Our elites care passionately about … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Democracy, Economy and development, Film, Media portrayal, Modernity, Quotes, Tagore and rural culture | Comments Off on Can Bollywood shatter India’s caste system? Treating delicate subjects with intelligence, sensitivity and creativity

The main criteria adopted for identification of ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’ (PVTG) – Government of India

The Dhebar commission (1960) and the Shilu Ao (1969) team recommended the Government of India that primitive tribal communities should be taken as a special category for which special programmes would have to be initiated as quickly as possible for … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Colonial policies, Democracy, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, History, Misconceptions, Modernity, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Quotes, Resources, Rural poverty | Comments Off on The main criteria adopted for identification of ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’ (PVTG) – Government of India

Slideshow | Saving the wildlife habitat and livelihood of indigenous population of the Niyamgiri Hills – Odisha

To view the slideshow published, click here >> Isolated from the polluted urban life, the Dongaria-Kondh tribe of Niyamgiri hills can at last breathe a sigh of relief. On 28th February 2005 British mining company, Vedanta Resources and the Orissa … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Media portrayal, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tribal identity, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Slideshow | Saving the wildlife habitat and livelihood of indigenous population of the Niyamgiri Hills – Odisha