Dealing with challenges for Adivasis in states having widely different human development indicators: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha & West Bengal

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed how rooted structural imbalances are between rural and urban, male and female, rich and poor, even in the digital world. | Read the full report in Scroll.in >>

[…] While 66% of India’s population lives in villages, only a little over 15% of rural households have access to internet services. For urban households, the proportion is 42%.

In fact, only 8% of all households with members aged between five and 24 have both a computer and an internet connection. It is also useful to note that as per the National Sample Survey definition, a household with a device or internet facility does not necessarily imply that the connection and devices are owned by the household. […]

In states like Delhi, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand, more than 40% households have access to internet. The proportion is less than 20% for Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. The gender divide in internet usage is also stark.  […]

Source: “Indian education can’t go online – only 8% of homes with young members have computer with net link” by by Protiva Kundu, Scroll.in (5 May 2020)

URL: https://scroll.in/article/960939/indian-education-cant-go-online-only-8-of-homes-with-school-children-have-computer-with-net-link

Date visited: 23 June 2020

[…]  The sculpture of Madhu points to the fundamental but hidden truth of Indian modernity and development: that it is built on an unprecedented dispossession of, and violence against, the nation’s Adivasi communities.

Sadly, this feature equally marks Kerala, the State with the highest human development indicators (with Adivasis making up 1.1% of the population), and ‘backward’ States like Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand which have substantial tribal populations. Thus, Madhu is not, unfortunately, alone. The Madhus of the world suffer violent deaths not because we failed to modernise them, but because of the intrinsic connections between their terrible fate and well-being — in 70 years after Independence, post-colonial governments have virtually replicated colonial government policies towards the Adivasis.

Various estimates put the number of development-induced internally displaced people in India over 50 years between 20 and 50 million. Of this, tribals, who are only 8.6% of the population, probably make up more than half the number. They are the sacrificial lambs that the dominant majority society offers at the altar of development. Dispossessed, they become a part of the army of cheap, daily wage labour. […]

Behind the (justifiably) much-lauded secular model of development in Kerala lies the hideous reality of racism/casteism in which an Adivasi or a Dalit becomes the other. Adivasis are a constant butt of jokes in commercial cultural productions like the 2002 low-brow Malayalam comedy film, Bamboo Boys.

Again, this is something that has national resonance. Adivasis are not full persons, but mere exotic props in mainstream films. The contact with mainstream society is absolutely damaging for the cultural self of the Adivasis. Their children are often traumatised because of persistent discrimination in schools. […] 

Crimes against Scheduled Tribes in Kerala increased substantially between 2014 and 2016.

There cannot be a mere developmental/economistic solution to the Adivasi ‘problem’. But that has been the dominant approach to mitigating their condition. Nearly ₹5,000 crore has been allocated in the Kerala State Budgets alone (excluding Central government and other project funds) in the last 10 years but with hardly any demonstrable results.

Adivasis cannot be equal citizens until they are considered holistically as a part of cultural and ecospheres with unique customs and practices, and not just as welfare recipients receiving doles. Further, there cannot be the liberation of the Adivasi until the fundamental material issue of land alienation is addressed. But that is precisely what is being hidden. […]

Nissim Mannathukkaren is Chair, International Development Studies, Dalhousie University, Canada

The lynching of Madhu in Kerala must shock our conscience into recognising the dispossession of India’s tribals | Read the full article in The Hindu (3 March 2018) >>

Source: The Adivasi in the mirror
https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-adivasi-in-the-mirror/article22911351.ece
Accessed: 4 March 2018

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Adivasi and “tribal” are not interchangeable as explained by Dr. Ivy Hansdak:

Tribal” is a very broad term in the English language, as we all know, and includes all the different indigenous groups of India.
Adivasi” – which is derived from Sanskrit – is applied to the dark-skinned or Austro-Asiatic indigenous groups of India (usually those from Eastern India). It is a commonly-used term in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. It is also used by the local Mongoloid tribes of North Eastern India for the migrant workers who were brought in as indentured labourers to work in tea plantations during the colonial period. 

Source: personal message (email dated 27 March 2020)

See also

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

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