Category Archives: Economy and development

“For how long will I have to/ Bear the pain of development
Or is it that I will be done to death/ Before attaining development?”
Quote from a poem by Ram Dayal Munda titled “The Pain of Development (Vikas Ka Dard)”

“Prevent efforts to dilute our distinctive identity and culture by vested interests, who regularly seek opportunities to lure them to their side with inducements and brainwashing” – Kendriya Sarna Samiti activist Hindu Bhagat quoted by Rabindra Nath Sinha in “Tribal Outfits Gearing up to Restart Stir on Sarna Religious Code Issue” (, 15 September 2022)

“In India, mobile peoples including former hunters-gatherers and criminal tribes, now denotified, have been the primary victims of both democracy and development.” – Review by Ashish Saxena (Department of Sociology, University of Allahabad) on The subaltern speaks: Truth and ethics in Mahasweta Devi’s fiction on tribals (2016) by Sanatan Bhowal, a book which “looks at the ideas of different thinkers with respect to selected texts of Mahasweta Devi’s fiction on tribal life”

“There was a conversation I had in Marathwada, during a drought, with an old farmer. He picked up a clump of soil and told me, ‘This is what it is all about’. […] What the peasant was telling me was, ‘A civilisation that does not look after soil is a doomed civilisation [and] going to face the grave danger of just not being able to survive any more.” – Playwright Ramu Ramanathan interviewed by Dipanita Nath in “I know people who have chosen to be silent, some out of fear and others just out of being deadened” (Indian Express, 28 October 2020)

“In a year GDP contracted 7.7 per cent, and as we brace for another round of ‘reverse’ migrations, and as the farmers wait unheeded at the gates of Delhi, Indian billionaires reached record levels of wealth. [O]n the UN Human Development Index [we] rank 131 in 189 countries.” – P. Sainath (founder of PARI “People’s Archive of Rural India”) in “Forbes, India and Pandora’s Pandemic Box” (16 April 2021)

“Unlikely as it may seem, indigenous people are at the forefront of the struggle to save the planet. Their courage and their worldview can inspire those of us who don’t think life on earth should be determined by the boardroom bottomline. We, in our turn, have a role to play in defending the defenders.” – Vanessa Baird in New Internationalist (print ed., issue 446, October 2011), p. 15

“In fact, the integration of tribes has been seen as the panacea of their problems. However, if one looks at the nature of integration, one finds that the relationship between tribes and non-tribes and even the state, has been overwhelmingly interspersed with exploitation, domination and discrimination, which is conveniently overlooked.” – Virginius Xaxa, excerpt from Being Adivasi (Gurugram: Penguin Books India, 2021)

“Who owns India? Who owns the forests and rivers, the farmlands eyed by industry, the slums coveted by real estate developers and airport authorities, the hills and plateaus desired by mining barons? In roughly a third of the country, this is no idle question.” – Sunil Khilnani (Professor of Politics and History, Ashoka University) in “Birsa Munda, 1875-1900” (Outlook Magazine, 20 February 2016)

“[I]f one is poor in India … one is more likely to live in rural areas, more likely to be a member of the Scheduled Caste or Tribe or other socially discriminated group, more likely to be malnourished, sick and in poor health, more likely to be illiterate or poorly educated and with low skills, more likely to live in certain states (such as … Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and also Orissa) than in others.” — Economist T. N. Srinivasan quoted on possible reasons for the growing migration from poorer areas to richer ones in India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (Picador India, 2011), p. 711

“Scheduled Tribes (STs) and also Scheduled Castes (SCs) are the disadvantaged sections of the society due to socio-economic exploitation and isolation since times immemorial.” – Foreword to “Tribal Sub-Plan in Maharashtra: A Diagnostic Study” (TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai supported by Unicef Maharashtra, December 2015)

“The tribal population was totally unprepared for the colonial economy. British land revenue policies and Forest Law directly affected their means of livelihood. They had been practicing shifting cultivation and were heavily dependent on forest for their day-to-day lives. Permanent land settlements gradually took away the land from them that they had been using for their mode of cultivation as common communal property.” – Subha Johari in “Tribal Dissatisfaction Under Colonial Economy of 19th Century”

“As far as I can tell, there is no real strategy for thinking about the future of the country. We will have to look to people’s movements on the ground. I think the people of India do not merely have resilience, but also the wisdom that is part of our civilisational inheritance.” – Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA) interviewed by Somak Ghoshal (, 10 December 2020)

“Some goals are clear: cancellation of Third World debt, for instance. In India, for ending the indebtedness of our own Fourth World.” – 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)

“All the nations which succeeded in achieving inclusive growth in the Global South had land reforms combined with human capital, invested in infrastructure by promoting capitalism from below and began industrialisation in the rural sector. Only India lost on all three counts.” – Kalai­yarasan A. (As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Madras In­sti­tute of De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies and non-res­i­dent fel­low at the Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary South Asia, Brown Univer­sity) in “The role of caste in economic transformation“ (The Hindu, 23 June 2022)

“Though the masses of India were desperately poor and growing poorer, a tiny fringe at the top was prospering under the new conditions and accumulating capital [during British rule]. It was this fringe that demanded political reform as well as opportunities for investment.” – Jawaharlal Nehru in The Discovery Of India (1946, OUP Centenary ed. 1989, p. 330)

“The moral standard of state and society can be deduced from the way people are treated who are not productive anymore and have no assets of their own. Missing the means for self-providence includes all those among the labouring poor who are disabled either because of old age, defective health or other handicaps that prevent them for working for their livelihood.” – Jan Breman in “Caring for destitution or not?” (T.G. Narayanan Memorial Lecture on Social Deprivation, The Hindu, January 19, 2013)

“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)

“Studies show that the development projects exclude and alienate Adivasi communities in India and they describe the history of Adivasi development in India in terms of material deprivation and cultural marginalisation. While the socio-political and cultural exclusion is acknowledged as a universal feature of Adivasi life, the everyday experience of their exclusion differs among different Adivasi communities.” – Leena Abraham in “Perceptions and experiences of development: a study of two tribal communities in Wayanad district, Kerala” (PhD thesis, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 2013), Abstract

“[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.” – Shashank Kela in “A party of the poor?” (, Caste Matters, May 2012)

“Pervasive corruption, one source of the failure of the Indian bureaucracy, systematically disempowers the poor by making essential (and supposedly free) goods and services unaffordable. Siphoned off on their way down through the system, government funds fail to reach their intended beneficiaries, for whom they could make a life or death difference. Concentrated on their way up, bribes grease the wheels. The bureaucracy functions best for those who have political connections, cultural capital, and financial clout. […] Demeaning representations and bureaucratic techniques of governance normalize the malign neglect of the poor.” – Akhil Gupta reviewing Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India by (Asian Ethnology 73/1–2, 2014, pp. 312-3)

“India’s political transformation has been slow and hence it has enabled the sustenance of regressive elements. Elite control/capture still persists in parts of the country. Sections of non-elites are not mobilised politically. The competitive politics is yet to become intense in a few states. Even when there is competition at the national level, a substantial section of voters in rural areas do not experience it in their democratic choices. The size of the middle-class continues to be small in most parts of the country. All parties have played a role in the stagnation of the political development in the country.” – V. Santhakumar (Azim Premji University) in: “Why am I not against the BJP?” (Economics in Action, 30 January 2021)

“People attack me for being a Marxist. I’ll tell you a story. There is a village near Khandala where the caste-families evicted forty Untouchable families who were trying to build a road. The case was put to the Central Government two years ago. One could fight the British, but one can’t fight them, because they are petty bourgeois, they are nothing, and one can’t fight the wind. I have bought two villages, and the Untouchables have moved into them. But I can do nothing to get the petty bureaucracy out. If I lived in England I shouldn’t worry, because there the bureaucracy seems to work. Here it doesn’t, and I protest, and they call me a Marxist.” – Mulk Raj Anand quoted by Dom Moraes in Gone Away (London, 1960), p. 23

Sharing valuable rice varieties with farmers: Biodiversity for the sake of “vital nutrients and the ability to withstand flood, drought, salinity or pest infestations” – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha Maharashtra & West Bengal

IN BRIEF India originally possessed some 110,000 landraces of rice with diverse and valuable properties. These include enrichment in vital nutrients and the ability to withstand flood, drought, salinity or pest infestations. The Green Revolution covered fields with a few … Continue reading

Posted in Assimilation, Biodiversity, Customs, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Ethnobotany and ethnomedicine, Figures, census and other statistics, Health and nutrition, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Resources, Success story, Women | Tagged | Comments Off on Sharing valuable rice varieties with farmers: Biodiversity for the sake of “vital nutrients and the ability to withstand flood, drought, salinity or pest infestations” – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha Maharashtra & West Bengal

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

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

Audio | Learning about ethnobotany for the sake of food security: Indigenous Food Labs across the United States and beyond

Indigenous foods matter, and maybe now more than ever, said award-winning chef Sean Sherman, the Oglala Lakota founder of The Sioux Chef. “It’s a necessity for our future to create access and knowledge and skills around Indigenous foods,” explained Sherman. … Continue reading

Posted in Audio resources - external, Colonial policies, Economy and development, Ethnobotany and ethnomedicine, Health and nutrition, Modernity, Networking, Quotes, Tips, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity | Comments Off on Audio | Learning about ethnobotany for the sake of food security: Indigenous Food Labs across the United States and beyond

Audio | Blood Quantum, Racist Mascots, and Treaty Rights: National Museum of the American – USA

I would say blood quantum has always been an issue. I think Natives have always opposed it. It’s not how we decide who’s Native. It’s not accurate. It’s not even based on anything but what a government agent said 100 … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Audio resources - external, Democracy, eBook eJournal ePaper, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Museum collections - general, Organizations, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tribal culture worldwide, Women | Comments Off on Audio | Blood Quantum, Racist Mascots, and Treaty Rights: National Museum of the American – USA