Adivasis rejected the British knowledge and “chose to remain outside the colonial economy and social discourse”: Ganesh Devy – A View of Higher Education in India

Adivasis confronted the British. They fought the British. They resisted the Raj in every possible way, did not accept the British Raj at all. Adivasis chose to remain outside the colonial economy and social discourse. Even when the universities came up in the 1850s, the Adivasis did not join the Bombay colleges or the Chennai (Madras) colleges at all. They kept fighting for their land. They rejected the British knowledge. However, Indians did not look at Adivasis as part of the freedom struggle. Dalits were subjugated and freed together with the rest of India. The Adivasi freedom has not been synchronous with the rest. The two stories are different and that’s why the leadership patterns are different.

Prof. Ganesh Devy in response to a listener’s question as regards “Adivasi identity”
Source: “A View of Higher Education in India” p. 43 by Prof. Ganesh Devy (Chair, People’s Linguistic Survey of India, Bhasha Research and Publication Centre)

“The most beautiful dioramas illustrating tribal life”
Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangrahalaya museum inspired by Mahatma Gandhi >>

The accounts of nineteenth- and twentieth-century anthropologists, and those written by political commentators, scholars and government officials, are critical to a discussion of how tribal people have long been positioned as antithetical to ‘civilised’ societies. The political scientist Uday Chandra speaks of how primitivism, which he describes as ‘a type of liberal imperial ideology of rule that has justified the subjugation of populations and places described wild, savage or, simply, primitive,’ has continued, despite changes in its approach, into the present day, whether in law, policy or discourse about development.

Source: “Uncivilising the Mind: How anthropology shaped the discourse on tribes in India” by Richard Kamei (Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2020)
Date Visited: 5 June 2021

[These] forested and hilly terrains are segregated from the general society due to several constitutional, legal and administrative restrictions. […] 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. […]

The Government of India Act, 1935, a precursor of the Constitution of India, further formalized the exclusion of vanvasi areas by classifying them as Excluded Areas and Partially Excluded Areas. As a result, general Indians became almost foreigners to these areas in their own country as they were forbidden from entering and/or acquiring property there. […]

The STs in Scheduled Areas do not get quality education, healthcare and other services as these are rare there. The STs who hold immovable property there cannot sell or monetize them as the free market does not operate in Scheduled Areas. […]

Source: “Scheduled Tribes: Who are they? How to mainstream them?” by IPS officer M Nageswara Rao (Times of India, 16 May 2020)
Date Visited: 5 June 2021

As the nation commemorates “150 years of the Mahatma Gandhi”, NCST [National Commission for Scheduled Tribes] brought out a book titled “Janjatiya Swadhinta Sangram” in Hindi. The book, which was released by the Vice President, brings out the little unknown facets of the freedom struggle of tribal people in the country. The book highlights the contribution of tribal uprising against british regime during freedom struggle. It includes articles on Shaheed Veer Buddhu Bhagat, Bhagwan Birsa Munda, Tilka Manjhi, Sidhu Kanhu, Bhumkal Gundadhur, Krantiveer Surendra Sai, Kunwar Raghunath Shah, Vidrohi Tantya Bheel, Amar Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh, Param Balidani Govind Guru and Janjati Veerangana Maharani Durgawati. It is an effort of the Commission to bring out the invaluable contribution and valour of tribal leadership in the freedom struggle of India. […] 

Source: M. Venkaiah Naidu (Vice President of India) quoted in “Vice president delivers ‘first foundation day lecture of NCST’: Constitution and Tribes” by Press Information Bureau, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), 19 February 2019
Date visited: 4 November 2020

See also

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Information about the above-mentioned freedom fighters hailing from tribal communities across India may be found by typing their names in the search window seen below (including Indian PhD theses available on Shodhganga).

For a list of websites included in a single search, see below. To find publishing details for Shodhganga’s PhD search results, click here. To search Indian magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here >>

Try the following in case Google Custom Search window or media contents are invisible here: (1) switch from “Reader” to regular viewing; (2) in browser’s Security settings select “Enable JavaScript”; (3) check Google support for browsers and devices | More >>

List of websites covered by this Google custom search engine

  1. (platform for academics to share research papers) –
  2. –
  3. Asia Society –
  4. Down To Earth (India) –
  5. Harnessing Nature (IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management South Asia Regional Network) –
  6. International Institute for Asian Studies –
  7. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation –
  8. Navdanya (protecting India’s biodiversity based food heritage) –
  9. Third World Network (Penang, Malaysia) –
  10. The Shola Trust (nature conservation in the Nilgiri region) –

Learn more about

About website administrator

Secretary of the foundation
This entry was posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Colonial policies, Figures, census and other statistics, History, Misconceptions, Press snippets, Quotes. Bookmark the permalink.