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)”

“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)

“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)

“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)

“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 (Penguin Books India)

“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 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)

“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)

“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”

“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”

“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.” – Abstract for PhD thesis by Leena Abraham “Perceptions and experiences of development: a study of two tribal communities in Wayanad district, Kerala” (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 2013)

“[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 in India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (Picador India, 2011), p. 711 (explaining the growing migration from poorer areas to richer ones)

“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)

“[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)

“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

“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.” – Book review of Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India by Akhil Gupta in 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)

“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)

“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

Tip | A plethora of cultural strengths that can be fruitfully utilised in educational initiatives: Report “Living World of the Adivasis of West Bengal: An Ethnographic Exploration” – West Bengal

Adivasis do not form a homogenous community. Achievements related to socio-economic well-being were found to vary across groups and places among the members of the same community. [some excerpts]* There exists—in both the public and academic domains—a wide knowledge gap … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Childhood, Customs, Democracy, Economy and development, Education and literacy, FAQ, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Names and communities, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Organizations, Success story, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on Tip | A plethora of cultural strengths that can be fruitfully utilised in educational initiatives: Report “Living World of the Adivasis of West Bengal: An Ethnographic Exploration” – West Bengal

Tribals’ excellent knowledge of the environment, closer to an ideal society – Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Jharkhand

He is British by birth, but prefers to call himself an Indian. Having lived in this country for three decades now, Felix Padel, the great great grandson of father of evolution Charles Darwin, has closely worked on Adivasis in eastern … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Colonial policies, Commentary, Customs, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Misconceptions, Modernity, Press snippets | Comments Off on Tribals’ excellent knowledge of the environment, closer to an ideal society – Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Jharkhand

Indigenous peoples in the modern world: A call to end colonial misconceptions and racial stereotyping – National Museum of the American Indian

In the Washington Post [22 November 2017], Kevin Gover, director of the museum, deals with five popular misconceptions about Native America | Read the full story here>> Thanksgiving recalls for many people a meal between European colonists and indigenous Americans that we … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Assimilation, Biodiversity, Childhood, Colonial policies, Commentary, Constitution and Supreme Court, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Museum collections - general, Names and communities, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Storytelling, Topics and issues, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Video resources - external | Comments Off on Indigenous peoples in the modern world: A call to end colonial misconceptions and racial stereotyping – National Museum of the American Indian

“Tribal development so far is mechanical, ineffectual, and vague”: An Anthropological Dialogue on Tribal Development Strategies in India

The concept of development has different connotations in different contexts. In a narrow sense, ‘it means, change, and progress, either whole or, partial’. There are people with difference of opinion regarding development. […] In 1951, the government of Indiahad started … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Literature and bibliographies, Names and communities, Nilgiri Biosphere, Quotes, Rural poverty, Women | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on “Tribal development so far is mechanical, ineffectual, and vague”: An Anthropological Dialogue on Tribal Development Strategies in India

Madia and Madia Gond communities – Maharashtra & Chhattisgarh

Learn more about the Madia community, locate it on a map, view a series of photos and watch a series of videos >> Lalsu Nogoti is an independent elected member of the Zila Parishad in the district of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Central region – Central Zonal Council, Customs, Democracy, Economy and development, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Gadchiroli, Languages and linguistic heritage, Multi-lingual education, Names and communities, Networking, Photos and slideshows, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Seasons and festivals, Video contents, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Madia and Madia Gond communities – Maharashtra & Chhattisgarh