Category Archives: Government of India

“Despite the many honours bestowed on Birsa Munda at high places, there has not been much change in the situation of tribal people at the grassroots level. The basic motivations behind tribal rebellions, i.e., Jal, Jangal aur Zameen (water, forest and land) remain the same. Hence, the fight by the tribal people of India will probably continue until a radical change is made in the government’s policy towards them.” – Santali poet, scholar and translator Ivy Imogene Hansdak in “Presidential elections: An Adivasi in high office” (Indian Express, 16 July 2022)

“The natural wealth with which much of tribal India is endowed is also its bane. The erstwhile Bastar district, one of the largest in the country, was first divided into three, and later into seven parts, each with a separate administrative system. In the guise of bringing governance closer to the people – let us, for convenience, assume that the Adivasi people crave government – corporate and bureaucratic channels have been efficiently established, and lead to the mineral-rich hinterlands. […] The Adivasi is wedged between the state programme for development, meaning mines, dams, steel plants and roads, and a private agenda for quick money, which is currently termed ‘real estate’.” – Madhu Ramnath, Preface for Woodsmoke and Leafcups (HarperCollins India, 2015), p. xxix

“There are many anomalies in terms of identification of these communities [the erstwhile aborigines], from state to state. Many people also do not know what is denotified tribe and which authority is looking after their grievances.” – Bibek Debroy in “An unfortunate legacy” (Indian Express, 5 January 2017)

“We [the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights] are extremely concerned about the pattern of events: individuals allegedly being abducted or arrested before their killing, and their bodies bearing injuries indicative of torture.” – Scroll Staff on Fake Encounter Cases in “Uttar Pradesh encounters: UN human rights experts concerned about killings” (, 12 January 2019)

“To an administrator, the term ‘tribe’ means a group of citizens who are the special responsibility of the President of India.” – Thulasi Brinda in “Museum’s Journal”, Chennai Museum (October 2003 – September 2004)

“What is characteristic of the relationship between tribe and civilization in India is that there was virtually no way in which a tribal dynasty could legitimize its rule without becoming Hinduized. This meant, among other things, bringing in Brahmin priests, Barbers, Washermen and the rest, and replicating in due course of time the hierarchical structure of caste.” – Richard Kamei in “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2021)

“The British Raj enacted the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 through which a tribe, gang, or class of persons addicted to the systemic commission of offences were notified. The Criminal Tribes Act was later repealed in 1949 once our Constitution was enacted, and the tribes were ‘de-notified’.” – 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)

“The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes is vested with the duty to participate and advise in the planning process of socio-economic development of STs, and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.” – National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (accessed 31 May 2020)

“Nehru built up a relationship with tribals based on sympathy, affection and sincerity.” – Chittaranjan Mishra in “Tribal Philosophy and Pandit Nehru”

“The STs [Scheduled Tribes] in Scheduled Areas do not get quality education, healthcare and other services [and remain] excluded, isolated and captived to become moths to the flames of the deep state.” – Indian Police Service (IPS) officer M Nageswara Rao in “Scheduled Tribes: Who are they? How to mainstream them?” (Times of India, 16 May 2020)

“Few bureaucrats have the cultural calibre or the intellectual curiosity to try to understand the nature of the societies over which they rule.” – Guest Column titled “Hands off tribal culture” (India Today, 9 January 2014)

“By bringing religion in as a criteria in the determination of citizenship through the recently legislated Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the government has egregiously undermined the considerable applicability of India’s historic ideals and the domestic roots of India’s foreign policy, including pluralism and secular values. The move bolstered and accentuated the deepening religious and social polarization that has become a new normal in India in recent years. In parallel, there has also been brutal violence and the use of aggressive force in suppressing protests against the CAA. […] The sharp contrast that India’s recent domestic policies pose vis-a-vis the spirit of liberal democracy is telling.” – Muhsin Puthan in “Is India Still a Rising Superpower?” (The Diplomat, 26 February 2020)

“When law enforcement agencies become perpetrators of violence, it becomes an ominous case of abuse of authority. […] Heads of all national commissions, such as, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Women are represented on the board of NHRC to strengthen and ensure standards of human rights of all strata of people. Despite that there is no improvement in human rights of citizens, pointing out public institutions, though existing on paper with all lofty ideals as defenders of human rights of the people, are ineffective or defunct for all practical purposes.” – MY Siddiqui in “Time to tame torturers” (, 29 October 2020)

“What is becoming clear is that the current Indian state seeks to turn common Hindu citizens into enforcers of its majoritarian vision at the neighbourhood level […] This is most certainly a dangerous path for India because mass political and social radicalisation does not come with power-steering.” – Va­sund­hara Sir­nate Dren­nan (political scientist and journalist) on Mass indoctrination in “Haridwar’s hubris of hate must be stopped” (The Hindu, 30 December 2021)

“Our authorities have shown us their claws… is not ashamed to use its machines of destruction to terrorise a population completely disarmed.” – Rabindranath Tagore in a letter to Mahatma Gandhi responding to the Jalianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar (13 April 1919); quoted by Arnab Ganguly in “Bengal Assembly polls 2021” (The Telegraph online, 12 April 2021)

Marlavai Training Centre – model for present day education of tribal people – Andhra Pradesh

Marlavai village in Jainoor mandal of Adilabad district was not this sleepy when Austrian anthropologist Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf was at work during the decade of 1940. He had launched his pioneering experiment in education of tribal people at this village. … Continue reading

Posted in De- and re-tribalisation, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Modernity, Names and communities, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Marlavai Training Centre – model for present day education of tribal people – Andhra Pradesh

Garo Drums: Symbols associated with specific regions and social occasions – Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, West Bengal & Bangladesh

Garos are a tribal group from Meghalaya, predominantly residing in the Garo Hills region. Though found in the three (now five) Garo Hills districts, they also reside in the adjoining states of Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, and West Bengal in the … Continue reading

Posted in Crafts and visual arts, Customs, Economy and development, Government of India, Music and dance, Musicology, Names and communities, Performing arts, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Social conventions | Tagged | Comments Off on Garo Drums: Symbols associated with specific regions and social occasions – Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, West Bengal & Bangladesh

Tip | Which are India’s endangered languages? (interactive map)

India’s endangered languages “Kolami, Koya, Gondi, Kuvi, Kui, Yerukala, Savara, Parji, Kupia. Do these names ring a bell? No, right? They are all native tribal tongues that have immensely contributed to enrich the language and culture of Telugu people. But … Continue reading

Posted in Education and literacy, Endangered language, FAQ, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, Languages and linguistic heritage, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Resources, Rural poverty, Tips, Tribal identity | Comments Off on Tip | Which are India’s endangered languages? (interactive map)

The Power of Self-Interpretation: Ideas on Starting a Community Museum

[…] To appreciate the potential of the community museum, consider the challenges local communities, especially disadvantaged ones, face today. The effects of globalization include persistent poverty, loss of cultural identity, accelerated migration, and disintegration of the bonds of unity and … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Childhood, Community facilities, Crafts and visual arts, Cultural heritage, Economy and development, Globalization, Government of India, History, Homes and utensils, Modernity, Museum collections - general, Museum collections - India, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Regions of India – Tribal heritage & indigenous knowledge, Storytelling, Tips, Tribal culture worldwide, Websites by tribal communities | Comments Off on The Power of Self-Interpretation: Ideas on Starting a Community Museum

Video | “This land is mine. I will get it back: The struggle of women from the Rana Tharu community – Uttarakhand

Many Adivasis have lost their land in Uttarakhand. But Kamla Devi of Pindari village and Mangola Singh of Nandpur are resisting usury, fraud and gender prejudice to get back their farmland and secure their rights | Read the full story … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Crafts and visual arts, Dress and ornaments, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Names and communities, Networking, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Video resources - external, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Video | “This land is mine. I will get it back: The struggle of women from the Rana Tharu community – Uttarakhand