Tip | Voices from the Periphery: A multidisciplinary book “reversing the gaze”: Questioning the fringes of India’s mainstream society

It is wrong and does not help the tribal cause either to reduce the image of the Indian tribal society to that of destitute remnants, on the verge of dying out.

Georg Pfeffer in Voices from the Periphery: Subalternity and Empowerment in India (Routledge India 2012)

A rare collection of essays and different from most anthropological writing: its authors highlight the insider perspective of Adivasi and several other communities.

Voices from the Periphery: Subalternity and Empowerment in India

Edited by Marine Carrin, Lidia Guzy
Published 1st March 2012 by Routledge India

In India as elsewhere, peripheries have frequently been viewed through the eyes of the centre. This book aims at reversing the gaze, presenting the perspectives of low castes, tribes, or other subalterns in a way that amplifies their ability to voice their own concerns.

This volume takes a multidimensional perspective, citing political, economic and cultural factors as expressions of the autonomous assertions of these groups. Questioning the exclusive definitions of the Brahmanical, folk and tribal elements, the articles bring together the empowering possibilities enabled by three recent theoretical developments: of anthropologies questioning the fringes of mainstream society in India; critically engaged histories from below, which problematize subaltern identities; and a conceptual emphasis on everyday ethnography as an arena for negotiations and transactions which contest wider networks of power and hegemony.

This book will be useful to those in sociology, anthropology, politics, history, study of religions, minority studies, cultural studies and those interested in social development, and issues of marginality, tribes and subaltern identity.

Introduction 1. Nisad of the Ganga: Playing with the notions of margin and centre Djallal Heuzé 2. From History to Heritage: Adivasi Identity and Hul Sengel Dan Rycroft 3. On entering the remote area: Recent German anthropological research in western Orissa Georg Pfeffer 4. The history of the royal family of Bonai: Texts, centres and authorities Uwe Skoda5. Village festival and kingdom frame: Centre and periphery from a Porajâ village point of view, southern Orissa Raphaël Rousseleau 6. The poly-culture of Mahima Dharma: On ascetics and Shamans in a new religious movement of Orissa Lidia Guzy 7. Gonasika, a tribal sacred place and a Hindu centre of pilgrimage Cécile Guillaume 8. The Billavas of Karnataka and the Santals of Orissa: Two peripheries asserting their position towards the center Marine Carrin 9. Towards a comparison of traditional centre–periphery relations in two regions on the west coast of India: Saurashtra and south Kanara Harald Tambs-Lyche 10.Brahmans of the Pariyas, peripheries in quest of identity Alexis Avdeeff 11. Did the subaltern speak? Radhika BordeAbout the Editors. Notes on Contributors. Index.

Marine Carrin is Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), LISST-Centre d’Anthropologie, Toulouse, France.
Lidia Guzy is Associate Researcher, Institute for Scientific Studies of Religions, Free University of Berlin.

Source: Voices from the Periphery: Subalternity and Empowerment in India (Hardback) – Routledge
Address : https://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415501774/
Date Visited: 30 October 2021

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. 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. Forest Law and monopolization of forest wealth severely restricted the availability of forest for fulfilling their needs. Commercialization and exploitation displaced the tribals from the tracts they had been occupying for generations. Traders, money lenders and revenue farmers took advantage of British land settlement policies to exploit the simple-minded people. The forest produce became a source of government revenue. Not able to comprehend the government policies, the tribal people saw the penetration of “outsiders” into their territories as threat to their survival and a series of spontaneous uprisings occurred at various places in the country. […]

Source: “Tribal Dissatisfaction Under Colonial Economy of 19th Century” by Subha Johari, Abstract on Worldcat.org
URL: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1040271311
Date Visited: 30 October 2021

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“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 in “Vicious cycle” | Read the full article in the Adivasi Special issue (The Hindu) >>

“These groups were formally ‘de-notified’ in 1952 by the Indian government, but event today they continue to carry the stigma of being ‘born criminals’.” – “Justice for the DNTs” (Bhasha Trust)” | Learn more >>

“More than 10 crore [100 million] Indians from 1,400 communities belong to Denotified, Nomadic, Semi-nomadic (SEED) Tribes.” – Ab­hi­nay Lak­sh­man in “Denotified, nomadic, semi-nomadic tribes: 402 SEED registrations so far online, none approved yet” (The Hindu, 29 August 2022) | Learn more >>

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