Category Archives: Rural poverty

“[I]ncome security of tribal peoples has been adversely affected by losses and access to productive resources (rights to forest or agricultural lands coupled with poor compensation). Debts are one of the main coping strategies, resulting in a hand-to-mouth existence for those affected.” – Tribal nutrition: UNICEF’s efforts to support the tribal population, especially children who suffer from malnourishment

“As poverty grew agricultural indebtedness also grew rapidly, and the money-lending establishments held mortgages on the land and eventually acquired much of it. Thus the moneylender became the landlord also.” – Jawaharlal Nehru in The Discovery Of India (1946, OUP Centenary ed. 1989, p. 331)

“The vulnerability of tribal populations to exploitation by minor government officials, as well as moneylenders, landlords, and other agents of vested interests, can largely be traced to their illiteracy and general ignorance of the world outside the narrow confines of their traditional environment.” – Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf in Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival (University of California Press, 1982), pp. 320-1

“Gandhi’s logic and rationale were irrefutable. Colonialism had impoverished and killed India’s poor. This was literally true, for countless millions had died in famines which had started as a drought but became mass-killers because of merciless taxation and exploitation.” – MJ Akbar in “The Rediscovery of Nehru
How Nehruvians revised their idol” (, 13 August 2021)

“[I]n agriculture, members of the family can be drafted to work on the family’s farm, as also in other farm and non-farm work. This phenomenon is quite widespread in India today: of the nine crore [90 million] rural families who draw their main income from unskilled manual labour, four crore are small and marginal farmers. Through overwork and self-exploitation, peasant farmers are able to cling on to their land. […] The moneylender combines the roles of input supplier, crop buyer, labour employer and land lessor. This interlocked grid works in tandem with the oppressive caste system, with the poorer, ‘lower’ caste farmers, facing a cumulative and cascading spiral of expropriation. All the above reasons provide a strong case for state intervention in multiple agricultural markets.” – Mihir Shah (Distinguished Professor, Shiv Nadar University) in “Plough to plate, hand held by the Indian state”(9 April 2021)

“By urban standards, the Bhils were poor but not impoverished [until the 1980s]. Very few Bhils worked outside their villages, and most of them seemed to be content with how they were. They grew whatever they required, and their methods of cultivation were simple: they scattered the seeds on the slopes of the hills and let them grow naturally. The forests around were rich in fruits, vegetables and herbs, which were collected. […] They had no faith in the promises of the government of being suitably rehabilitated [in the wake of submersion of their villages caused by the “Sardar Sarovar” dams along the Narmada river].” – Yoginder Sikand in “Simple ways of life” (Deccan Herald, 23 December 2012)

“315,000 farmers took their own lives between 1995 and 2018, as the numbers (huge underestimates) of the National Crime Records Bureau show. Millions either became agricultural labourers or migrated out of their villages – since many allied occupations had also died – in search of jobs.” – P. Sainath (founder of PARI “People’s Archive of Rural India”) in “We Didn’t Bleed Him Enough”: When Normal is the Problem ( , 12 August 2020, first published in Frontline magazine)

“[T]he adivasi and Dalit middle class speaks for a mass of poor whose material interests diverge from theirs insofar as they require a radical restructuring of the state’s institutions and its economic policies. […] Class differentiation has produced a semi-proletariat of small farmers and labourers, especially in regions of dryland cultivation, whose size can only be guessed at. Its economic position is sometimes as desperate as that of the rural under-class – witness the rising tide of farmers’ suicides over the last two decades – yet caste assertion undercuts class solidarity.” – Shashank Kela in “A party of the poor?” (, Caste Matters, May 2012)

“Everyone wants to learn but the problem is atmosphere, the medium of teaching and the method of teaching, besides the facts of economics. It is the reason why tribal children find it difficult to integrate with the mainstream. Another factor is the cost of schooling. According to a 2015 report by the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development, the annual secondary school drop-out rate among Indigenous children in India is just above 40 percent compared with the national average of about 25 percent. The ministry lists “economic” issues as the biggest reason for the dropouts – families just cannot afford to keep their children in school.” – Santal educationist Boro Baski in “The Indian school where Indigenous children are ‘never outsiders” by Rosemary Marandi (Al Jazeera Education, 10 February 2020)

“Is it eccentric to live in beautiful scenery in the hills among some of the most charming people in the country, even though they may be ignorant and poor?” – Verrier Elwin quoted by Ganesh [G.N.] Devy in The Oxford India Elwin

“Instead of creating a strategy based on reacting or responding to the symptoms of poverty, we want to create a new possibility in which poverty would have no space to exist.” – Kalyan Akkipeddi (“A Search for Resilience”)

“Poor implementation of existing schemes in the tribal regions has meant that not only poverty continues at an exceptionally high levels in these regions, but the decline in poverty has been much slower here than in the entire country, as shown in this table (for the years 1993-94, 1999-2000 and 2004-05)” – “Rural Population Living Below Poverty Line (In Percent), Planning Commission, Twelfth Five Year Plan Document” by Ashok A. Sonkusare, Joint Adviser (S&T), NITI Aayog/Planning Commission

“Although there has been a decline, the level of poverty in the tribal population is still much higher than the national average and the gap between the two continues to be one of the major issues of concern in poverty discourse in India.” – Virginius Xaxa (Delhi School of Economics) in “The Status of Tribal Children in India: A historical perspective” (Opportunities, Working Paper No. 7, 2011), Institute for Human Development India & United Nations Children’s Fund, India

“In the matter of poverty, group inequality is still a matter of concern for Kerala as we see in the following chapter: Absolute deprivation continues to be largely concentrated among the marginalised communities, such as the tribals (adivasi) and fishing community […] and the hiatus between the Scheduled Castes and non-Scheduled Castes is a distressing symptom of a still uncured aspect of horizontal inequality in the State. […] [G]iven the historical experiences of land encroachment, acquisition of forest land by the Government and tribal displacement, the STs [Scheduled Tribes] remain vulnerable, the proportion of households with more than one hectare declining over time.” – Human Development Report 2005 Kerala (Government of Kerala (2006), pp. 57-61

“’Deprivation’ refers to the inability of individuals in a society to achieve basic human functionings. Among these are the ability to live a long and healthy life free from avoidable disease and hunger, and the opportunity to be educated and to have access to resources needed for a socially acceptable standard of living.” –  Asian College of Journalism: “Covering Deprivation” (course-related information)

“India has the highest number of slaves in the world, with estimates ranging from 14 million to 18 million people. In India, many people work as slave labour in the brick kiln industry – this includes women and children. Now, as in the past, not all slaves are forced into slavery. Historically, some experienced such severe poverty that they had no choice but to sell themselves to be bound to another person. And similar cases still happen around the world today.” – Catherine Armstrong (School Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Loughborough University, UK) in “India is home to the world’s largest slave population (, 21 October 2018)

“Nehru was fascinated by the spontaneity of tribal culture and their capacity of joy and heroism in spite of their appalling poverty, destitution, and ignorance.” – Tribal Philosophy and Pandit Nehru by Chittaranjan Mishra in: Odisha Review (November 2017)

ePaper | Harness the potential of Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes for national development: India’s labour force must be liberated from an abhorrent colonial doctrine (“criminality by birth”) – Report and Recommendations of the Technical Advisory Group

What is the “Criminal Tribes Act” all about?And what can be done to help the countless victims of stigmatization and deprivation? To learn more, read or download the full TAG report on >>(PDF, 361 pages including the entire text … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, eBook eJournal ePaper, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, History, Modernity, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Organizations, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Performing arts, Quotes, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Scheduled Tribe (ST), Women | Comments Off on ePaper | Harness the potential of Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes for national development: India’s labour force must be liberated from an abhorrent colonial doctrine (“criminality by birth”) – Report and Recommendations of the Technical Advisory Group

“Fire in our Hearts”: Award winning tribal documentary – Thane/New York

A documentary film made by fifteen year-old Jayshree Janu Kharpade, a tribal girl from Wada taluka of Thane district, has won an award in the Asian American Film Festival held in New York recently [in 2012]. Jayashree, who studies in … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Childhood and children, Education and literacy, Film, Globalization, Media portrayal, Organizations, Press snippets, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Success story, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on “Fire in our Hearts”: Award winning tribal documentary – Thane/New York

Adivasi focused films as educational tool (Open Space Ranchi) – Jharkhand

On 20th February, two documentaries were shown amongst the students of Class IX, in Sarna Adivasi Madhya Vidyalaya in Pisca, a suburb area of Ranchi. It was a tribal area, with almost ninety percent Oraon students. When they saw ‘Kora … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Film, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Media portrayal, Modernity, Names and communities, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Rural poverty, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Tribal identity | Tagged | Comments Off on Adivasi focused films as educational tool (Open Space Ranchi) – Jharkhand

Mushroom culture and bio-diversity in the Western Ghats – Tamil Nadu and Kerala

People belonging to the kani tribe of the forests and hills of Kanyakumari district have wild mushrooms in their diet. They collect half-a-dozen species of mushrooms from the deep forests of the Western Ghats which has a rich repository of … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Elephant, Health and nutrition, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Press snippets, Rural poverty, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology | Tagged | Comments Off on Mushroom culture and bio-diversity in the Western Ghats – Tamil Nadu and Kerala

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