Category Archives: Colonial policies

“Ever since the Portuguese travel writers and missionaries decided to describe the vast variety of ethnic and occupational groups and sects of the Indian subcontinent in terms of ‘caste’ and ‘tribe’, the terms have stuck to society as long-worn masks that start becoming one’s real personality. The result is that today no Indian describes society without taking recourse to the categories ‘caste’ and ‘tribe’. In the initial period of India’s contact with western nations the two terms were used as synonyms, the difference lay only in the social status of the groups they described. The synonymy was finally shattered through a legal intervention by the colonial rulers when an official list of communities was prepared by them (in 1872) as the list of tribes. A similar list was prepared in the previous year for communities that were mistakenly thought of as ‘criminal’ and were covered by the provisions of an inhuman ‘Criminal Tribes Act of India, 1871.’ Since then the “tribes” are perceived as a distinct segment of Society. […] The fact, however, is that there is so much in the tribal way of life that the country needs to emulate. Tribals are not known for raping their women, beating and abusing their children, exploiting nature beyond satisfying the minimum human needs, lending money at interest, burning widows, and above all things segregating and stratifying labour in terms of caste.” – Ganesh Devy in “Rethinking tribals” (ADIVASI Special issue, The Hindu, 16 July 2000)
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11460

“The ancient tribal communities that lived here in the Andaman Islands […] have lived and flourished here for at least 40,000 years., but the end could well be round the corner. […] It definitely began with the British and their policies, which have been kept up with clinical efficiency by modern, independent India [which] was already on course to becoming a colonizer itself. […] In the late 1960s, an official plan of the Government of India to ‘colonize’ (and this was the term used) the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was firmly in place. The forests were ‘wastelands’ that needed to be tamed, settled and developed.” – Pankaj Sekhsaria in Islands in Flux: The Andaman and Nicobar Story (Harper Litmus, 2017), p. 4
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=26863

“If contemporary India is finding it so difficult and even offensive to swallow the idea of secularism, supposing it to be a foreign import from the West that colonized the country and still colonizes our imagination, might it find some succour in the idea of ‘cultural democracy’? It is perhaps time that we started thinking about how the language of “cultural democracy” [envisaged by Gandhi] could be harnessed to furnish all Indians, and especially aggrieved Hindus, with the assurance there is another way of forging a nation without shedding the past.” – Vinay Lal (Professor of History & Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles UCLA) in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” (2 October 2020)
https://vinaylal.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/gandhi-secularism-and-cultural-democracy/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=34387

“Coloniality is a dynamic we need to be alert for as much in the present even within so-called independent, decolonized countries.”– Priyamvada Gopal on the rights of indigenous peoples including Adivasis (“Ideas” on CBC radio, 10 October 2019)
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/if-you-support-human-rights-you-re-obliged-to-be-an-anti-colonialist-argues-scholar-1.5315358
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=24574

“In 1871, the British passed the ‘Criminal Tribes Act.’ It notified about 150 tribes around India as criminal, giving the police wide powers to arrest them and monitor their movements. The effect of this law was simple: just being born into one of those 150 tribes made you a criminal.” – Dilip D’Souza (Bombay based freelance journalist) in “Vicious cycle” in Folio “Adivasi” (Special issue with the Sunday Magazine of The Hindu, 16 July 2000)
Read or download the full issue here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/10OzfyoSUfEkZSNIsBRFpOmWba3jAVmK5/view
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11460

“The Government of India Act [1935] introduced a new framework for the governance of ‘Scheduled Areas,’ i.e. those regions inhabited predominantly by ‘tribal’ peoples” – Daniel Rycroft in Abstract: ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARCHIVES AND ‘CHIASMIC’ TIME IN MODERN INDIA
https://anthropologyireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/IJA_19_2_2016.pdf
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=31269

“The colonial category of “criminal tribes” may have been “denotified” but many communities remain unclassified. History has a way of leaving unfortunate legacies. “If the Local Government has reason to believe that any tribe, gang or class of persons is addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences, it may report the case to the Governor General in Council, and may request his permission to declare such tribe, gang or class to be a criminal tribe.” Hence, a register for Criminal Tribes, not to forget eunuchs.” – The “Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871” quoted by Bibek Debroy in “An unfortunate legacy” (Indian Express, 5 January 2017)
https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/crime-criminal-act-racial-discrimination-non-bailable-offence-criminal-tribes-act-an-unfortunate-legacy-4459258/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=12284

“[O]wing to old colonial practices of ‘plantation’, the indigenous Mannan people lost their land and were rendered dependents on the activities pertaining to cultivation of cardamom. The ‘development’ of their land as cardamom plantation continued even after Independence; the colonial model of plantation development was in totality adopted by the nation-state, and it marked a cultural onslaught on the tribal people. The development model alienated tribals from their land, their culture and diluted their worldview.” – Anu Krishnan in “Plantation Development and Tribes: Experiences of Expropriation of Land, History and Identity-A Case of Mannans” (National Conference Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative, New Delhi, 27-28 February 2017)
https://www.indiantribalheritage.org/?p=23073

eBook | “That pride must never allow us to forget our many weakness and failings or blunt our longing to be rid of them” (Jawaharlal Nehru): Museums in the service of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace: International Museum Day (18 May)

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.98835 In his book, The Discovery of India, Nehru wrote, long before 1947, about the difficulties regarding uniting people with diverse languages, religions and cultural values. At the same time, as a historian, he could sketch the unifying forces which … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Cultural heritage, Customs, Democracy, eBook & eJournal, Education and literacy, Government of India, History, Modernity, Museum collections - general, Museum collections - India, Networking, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Seasons and festivals, Success story, Tips, Tribal culture worldwide, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on eBook | “That pride must never allow us to forget our many weakness and failings or blunt our longing to be rid of them” (Jawaharlal Nehru): Museums in the service of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace: International Museum Day (18 May)

“Kocharethi calls upon us to ethically engage with it, to question our complicity” – First novel by an adivasi in Kerala

To read the full book review by Pramod K. Nayar, click here >> Narayan, Kerala’s first tribal novelist, avoids romanticising his milieu. Kocharethi is about the hidden poetry of marginal lives… The temptation to exoticise cultures that have not been … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Customs, Health and nutrition, History, Literature - fiction, Media portrayal, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Particularly vulnerable tribal group, Press snippets, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Tribal elders, Tribal identity, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on “Kocharethi calls upon us to ethically engage with it, to question our complicity” – First novel by an adivasi in Kerala

Tip | Find new and old publications on Indian tribal culture on worldcat.org

  Search for an item in libraries near you: Enter title, subject or author WorldCat.org >> Search categories (examples) Adivasi customs Adivasi ethnobotany Endangered languages in India Indian publications illustrated by tribal artists India particularly vulnerable tribal group India Scheduled … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Cultural heritage, Customs, De- and re-tribalisation, Democracy, Dress and ornaments, Economy and development, Figures, census and other statistics, Government of India, History, Libraries, Literature - fiction, Literature and bibliographies, Music and dance, Organizations, Performing arts, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Social conventions, Tips, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Tip | Find new and old publications on Indian tribal culture on worldcat.org

Tribal Knowledge Systems, Values and Traditions: Papers presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

Parallel session 6: Tribal Knowledge Systems, Values and TraditionsChaired by: Mridula Rashmi Kindo, Dept of English, IGNOU, New DelhiPaper Presenters: Arun Kumar Oraon (JNU, New Delhi), Sandesha Rayapa-Garbiyal (JNU, New Delhi), Teresa Tudu (BHU, Varanasi), Shimi Moni Doley (JMI, New Delhi). … Continue reading

Posted in Adverse inclusion, Anthropology, Colonial policies, Cultural heritage, Democracy, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Endangered language, Globalization, Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature - fiction, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Names and communities, Networking, Northern region – Northern Zonal Council, Organizations, Quotes, Resources, Revival of traditions, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rural poverty, Storytelling, Tribal identity, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Tribal Knowledge Systems, Values and Traditions: Papers presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

eBook | The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Human Rights Day (10 December): “India must ratify the International Convention against Torture”

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adverse inclusion, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Democracy, eBook & eJournal, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Gandhian social movement, Government of India, Networking, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Resources, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tagore and rural culture, Tribal culture worldwide | Comments Off on eBook | The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Human Rights Day (10 December): “India must ratify the International Convention against Torture”