Adivasi’s ancient land rights protected by law: Farming and hunting for millennia without need for title deeds – Jharkhand

Image: A courtyard in the village of Jorakath is being decked up for a wedding ceremony. The painting traditions of Khovar (for weddings) and Sohrai (for harvest festivals) has been handed down from mothers to daughters for generations but is becoming rarer as traditional mud buildings are replaced with brick construction and pressure from mining impacts traditional village life. View more slides on >>

The state of Jharkhand is home to one of the largest Adivasi (tribal) populations in India. It is also the location of an estimated 40% of the country’s deposits of coal, iron ore, uranium and other minerals considered essential for India’s industrial and energy needs. […]

In the early 21st century, India is experiencing unprecedented economic growth. The middle class is becoming more prosperous and numerous, the cities are rapidly expanding. But to fuel this economic boom, raw materials are being extracted by mining corporations at an ever-increasing rate from mineral-rich states in north central India inhabited by people who can claim to be the oldest dwellers in the land. […]

Can the rights of Adivasi to continue living according to their ancient traditions be accommodated in the new India?

Robert Wallis
Photographer Robert Wallis’ work on environmental, social and economic issues in Asia and other parts of the world has been widely published. You can see more of Robert Wallis’ work at

The Tribal Women’s Artist Collective (TWAC)
TWAC from Jharkhand, India preserves artistic traditions passed down from mothers to daughters. It also campaigns to protect the Jharkhand environment and ancient archaeological and rock-art sites across the state. Find out more at

Source: Panos Pictures – Photo agency specialising in global social issues
Date Visited: 28 November 2023

Learn more about Jharkhand

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33:18 Enclosure as a “trial run for the dispossession of Indigenous peoples [when a particular] landowner recommended fencing with hedges that did not bear fruit, so these hedges could not be put to life sustaining use. He didn’t want people to be tempted to eat for free. […] Today we take for granted that we must work a proper job. […] The history of enclosure reminds us that this arrangement is anything but natural [as] ‘wagelessness’ had to be imposed.”

Source: CBC (Radio) Massey Lectures | #1: Cura’s Gift
Date Visited: 28 November 2023

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The notion of ‘mainstreaming’ needs to be challenged not just because Adivasi culture is being crushed, but also because Adivasi values and ways of life offer insights that the ‘mainstream’ needs: “They do so not just for themselves but for the larger good of the country and the ecological health of the world”: In support of a syllabus reflecting Adivasi knowledge systems and ways of life >>

“I would urge you not to treat the issue of human rights in isolation and pay equal attention to nursing Mother Nature which is deeply wounded by the indiscretions of human beings.” – Droupadi Murmu | Speeches by the 15th President of India >>

Up-to-date reports in the Indian press

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