Category Archives: Colonial policies

“Tribal population was spread all over India and most of them occupied wild tracts, hilly and forested areas, away from more civilized centers. In 1880 their population was estimated at about seventy million. They had existed for centuries with their own social traditions and beliefs and subsisted on natural resources. They had preserved their near isolation and way of life until the British administration and policies made inroads into their territories.” – Subha Johari in “Tribal Dissatisfaction Under Colonial Economy of 19th Century”
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1040271311
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=11961

“In many formerly or currently colonised regions like South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the American South and Native America, there has always existed a rich, vibrant tradition of oral storytelling, one that was marginalised, often violently, through an imposition of an allegedly modern, white Western language and culture.” – Janice Pariat in “Decolonising creative writing: It’s about not conforming to techniques of the western canon” (Scroll.in, 4 July 2021)
https://scroll.in/article/999215/decolonising-creative-writing-its-about-not-conforming-to-techniques-of-the-western-canon
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=9325

“[The ideology of] primitivism] has justified the subjugation of populations and places described wild, savage or, simply, primitive’.” – Political scientist Uday Chandra, quoted by Richard Kamei in “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2021)
https://caravanmagazine.in/books/anthropologists-tribes-india
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=7686

“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’.” – Ganesh [G.N.] 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

“At the time of independence in 1947, twenty-three lakh [2.3 million] people were reportedly suffering as Criminal Tribes. Pertinently, while the targeted communities were Hindu castes, the British maliciously labelled many of them as ‘tribes’ […] thereby gaming them for ‘civilising’ missions.” – Indian Police Service (IPS) officer M Nageswara Rao in “Scheduled Tribes: Who are they? How to mainstream them?” (Times of India, 16 May 2020)
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/scheduled-tribes-who-are-they-how-to-mainstream-them/
https://indiantribalheritage.org/?p=7686

“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

“Today, bamboo is liberated … The adivasi is not the enemy of the forests” – Union Minister

“Today, bamboo is liberated,” proclaimed Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh at a function here on Wednesday, where he handed over to Mendha’s community leader Devaji Tofa a transit pass that would allow the sale and … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Adivasi / Adibasi, Colonial policies, Community facilities, Crafts and visual arts, Democracy, Ecology and environment, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Gadchiroli, Government of India, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Nature and wildlife, Organizations, Press snippets, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Rural poverty, Success story | Comments Off on “Today, bamboo is liberated … The adivasi is not the enemy of the forests” – Union Minister

eBook | Toda cultural history (Nilgiri) – Tamil Nadu

Until now, historians and anthropologists believed that Todas, a tribal group in the higher altitudes of the Nilgiris, reached there about 2,000 years ago. A new study by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru researchers shows the community was already settled … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Colonial policies, Crafts and visual arts, Customs, eBook eJournal PDF, Economy and development, Endangered language, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Homes and utensils, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Museum collections - India, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), Press snippets, Quotes, Trees, Tribal identity, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Worship and rituals | Tagged | Comments Off on eBook | Toda cultural history (Nilgiri) – Tamil Nadu

In support of language diversity and cultural diversity – Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Today, our world is experiencing a rapid decline in cultural diversity and the eradication of indigenous peoples and their lifeway. One in five people in the world speak the same language: Mandarin Chinese. Spoken by the largest single ethnic group … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Assimilation, Colonial policies, Cultural heritage, Customs, Economy and development, Education and literacy, Figures, census and other statistics, Globalization, Government of India, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Literature and bibliographies, Misconceptions, Modernity, Networking, Organizations, Quotes, Tribal culture worldwide, Worship and rituals | Tagged , , | Comments Off on In support of language diversity and cultural diversity – Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources

Two novels on West Ghat tribal cultural heritage: Changing perceptions of land and its ownership – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

Two novels that capture local history in English translationEach novel is written from a different angle, yet both chronicle the lives of people attached to their land and customs while facing the pressures imposed by mainstream society: one by male Malayalam writer ‘Narayan’ who … Continue reading

Posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Assimilation, Childhood and children, Colonial policies, Constitution and Supreme Court, Customs, Economy and development, Education and literacy, History, Literature - fiction, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri, Quotes, Rural poverty, Seasons and festivals, Social conventions, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Tips, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Women, Worship and rituals | Tagged , | Comments Off on Two novels on West Ghat tribal cultural heritage: Changing perceptions of land and its ownership – Kerala & Tamil Nadu

Traditional dress, practices and festivals refashioned – Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh is home to about twenty-five separate tribes and as many languages/dialects in the Tibeto-Burman family. (Despite the descriptive inadequacies of the term ‘tribal’, the alternatives are equally imprecise; ‘tribal’ is a politicised category all over India [Beteille 1991], … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Colonial policies, Cultural heritage, Dress and ornaments, Fashion and design, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Languages and linguistic heritage, Modernity, Quotes, Revival of traditions, Seasons and festivals, Seven Sister States & Sikkim – North Eastern Council, Tourism, Worship and rituals | Comments Off on Traditional dress, practices and festivals refashioned – Arunachal Pradesh