Books on tribal culture and related resources

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Another India: Explorations and Expressions of Indigenous South Asia

Exhibition Catalogue: 136pp; Full Colour; ISBN 978-0-947595-24-1

Over one hundred artefacts, paintings and photographs from the collections of MAA, many of which have never been exhibited before, will be complemented by artworks by contemporary artists from the communities represented, commissioned with support from the Art Fund. | Learn more (UK) | Order in India from >>

Written by Mark Elliott, Senior Curator (Anthropology), Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge; Foreward by Nicholas Thomas; Afterward by Ruby Hembrom >>


Books on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Pankaj Sekhsaria. More information >>

1) Islands in Flux – the Andaman and Nicobar Story (2017)
2) The Last Wave – An Island Novel (2014)
3) The Jarawa Tribal Reserve Dossier (2010)


A 10-book series in Odia and the languages used by four tribal communities in Odisha (Kui, Saura, Munda and Juanga), in the Odia script. “They are the first-ever books for the reading pleasure of children in these languages”. More information >>

Suggested reading with additional information on this website

Santal-Cadence-Book-Cover1Cadence and Counterpoint, Documenting Santal Musical Traditions by Johannes Beltz, Ruchira Ghose and Maria-Eve Celio-Scheurer (eds.). Niyogi Books. ISBN 978-93-83098-92-7. Rs. 1595. More information >>

Santal_Music_Omkar_Prasad_1985.jpgSantal Music: A Study in Pattern and Process of Cultural Persistence by Onkar Prasad. Tribal Studies of India Series T115. New Delhi: Inter-India Publications. More information >>

Musical Instruments of Tribal India by Dilip Bhattacharya. New Delhi: Manas Publications 1999. ISBN 8170490928. Rs. 2995. >>

A Nomad Called Thief: Reflections on Adivasi Silence and Voice by GN Devy
Orient Blackswan, 2006, 199 pages, ₹ 495.00 ISBN 978-81-250-3021-8

Devy’s book looks at the problems of adivasis, the threat to their physical environment, the terror and indignity of the stigma of being considered “criminal” tribes and their induction into the communal violence in Gujarat. But he also discusses the simple sophistication of Adivasi knowledge systems, language and literature, as also initiatives taken along with tribals in the areas of health, microfinance and preservation of cultural forms.  | Learn more >>

Painted Words: An Anthology of Tribal Literature by GN Devy Vadodara: Purva Prakash Publications, 2012. ISBN 978-81-922405-4-1. Rs. 350. More information >>

Tribal-Inventory-2012-Bhasha.jpgTribal Arts in India: The National Inventory of Tribal Museums. Foreword by GN Devy (Project Director, Bhasha Research and Publication Center). Vadodara: Purva Prakash Publications, 2012. ISBN 9788192240558. Rs. 1400. More information >>

Adivasis legal provisions, languages, locations : a reference document for the status of adivasis and denotified & nomadic jatis in India.Vadodara : Adivasi Academy and Bhasha Research & Publications Centre, 2004. Rs. 250. More information >>

More books by Prof. Ganesh Devy on issues concerning Adivasis as well as indigenous people in other continents

  • Indigeneity, Edited by G N Devy, Geoffrey Davis, K K Chakravarty, Orient Blackswan 2009
  • Voice and Memory, Edited by G N Devy, Geoffrey Davis, K K Chakravarty, Orient Blackswan 2009
  • Narrating Nomadism, Edited by G N Devy, Geoffrey Davis, K K Chakravarty, Routledge 2012
  • Knowing Differently, Edited by G N Devy, Geoffrey Davis, K K Chakravarty, Routledge 2014
  • Performing Identity, Edited by G N Devy, Geoffrey Davis, K K Chakravarty, Routledge 2015
  • The Language Loss of the Indigenous, Edited by G N Devy, Geoffrey Davis, K K Chakravarty, Routledge 2016

Voices from the Periphery: Subalternity and Empowerment in India by Marine Carrin and Lidia Guzy (eds.). New Delhi: Routledge India, 2012. Rs. More information >>

Performing Identities: Celebrating Indigeneity in the Arts by Geoffrey V. Davis, G. N. Devy, K. K. Chakravarty. Routledge India, 2014. ISBN 9781138795990. More information >>

Writings from North-East India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011 and related titles >>

Celebrating Life: The Santal Experiment in Freedom. Ten Years of a Non-Formal Santal School (1996-2006) by Boro Baski and Kumkum Bhattacharya (eds.).  Sattore: Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust, 2007. Rs. 100. More information >>


Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability. Graphic novel on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar with art by award winning Gond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhas Vyam; story by Srividya Natarajan and S. Anand. Navayana Publishing, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-8189059170. “A must-read for every child and adult in the nation and a must-include in every school’s curriculum.” More information >>

Bhil_Story_Tulika_EN_cover_thuA Bhil Story
story : Nina Sabnani
pictures : Sher Singh Bhil

Kuk.. Kuk.. The poor rooster can’t KUKAROOKOO because his throat is so parched. There is not a drop of water left in the village pond. | More information >>

The Black Cow's Footprint : Time, Space, and Music in the Lives of the Kotas of South India/Richard K. WolfThe Black Cow’s Footprint by Richard K. Wolf. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2005. ISBN : 8178241265. Rs. 795. More information >>

Indigenous Peoples: Responding to Human Ecology by Lachman Khubchandani. Bhasha Research and Publication Centre and CIIL. Vadodara: Purva Prakash Publications, 2009. More information >>

Tribal melodies of Himachal Pradesh: Gaddi folk music by Manorama Sharma. New Delhi: APH Publishing, 1998. ISBN 8170249120. Rs. 400.

Painted Songs: Continuity and Change in an Indian Folk Art by Thomas Kaiser (192 pages, 22 x 30 cm, 196 mostly coloured illustrations). Stuttgart and Zürich 2012. ISBN 9783897903661. Note: A major chapter (pp. 88-123) consists of illustrations of the “Santal Creation Myth”. More information >>

“Tribal Politics” by Nandini Sundar in Encyclopedia of India by Stanley Wolpert, Editor in chief. New York: Macmillan-Scribners-Gale 2006, Vol. 4. More information >>

Rock Art Studies in India: A Historical Perspective
by Somnath Chakraverty. Kolkata: The Asiatic Society, 2003.
isbn 8172361378. Rs. 400. More information >>

jamini_roy_santal_drummers_telegraph_2008Reproductions of the paintings “Santal woman” & “Drummer” are included in Paintings of Jamini Ray by Sipra Chakravarty. Album of art treasures, no. 6. Calcutta: Indian Museum, 1999. More information | >>

Colonial and contemporary Bihar and Jharkhand by Lata Singh and Biswamoy Pati (eds.). Delhi: Primus Books. Rs. 995. More information >>

summer_rain_cr_rajagopalan_2004Summer Rain: Harvesting the Indigenous Knowledge of Kerala by C.R. Rajagopalan (ed.). Thrissur: Centre for IK/Folklore Studies 2004. Rs. 125. More information >>

“The Narrative from the Mahabharata” in Sakuntala: Texts, Readings, Histories by Romila Thapar. New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1999. More information >>


My Husband and Other Animals by Janaki Lenin. Chennai: Westland 2012. ISBN 9789381626726. Rs. 250. More information >>

Kurinji_Book_cover_thumb.jpgWhen the Kurinji Blooms by Rajam Krishnan. Orient Blackswan, 2009. More information >>

Kocharethi_OUP_2011_thumb.jpgKocharethi: The Araya woman by Narayan. New Delhi: Oxford University Press 2011. “The first novel by the first tribal novelist of south India, Kocharethi maps the story of the Malayarayar tribe in Kerala. Melding history with culture, the work portrays their many struggles: from possession and dispossession of land to the challenges of preserving myths, rituals, social customs, and belief systems.” More information >>

change_continuity_lowe_2004_catalogueChange and Continuity: Folk and Tribal Art of India by Brian A. Dursum. Coral Gables, Florida: Lowe Art Museum 2004. >>


guha_india_after_gandhiIndia After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (see MigrationHistory). Indian edition: Pan Macmillan, Picador India, New Delhi 2007. ISBN 9780330505542. Rs. 595. More information >>

Titles provided by authors, reviewers, publishers and distributors


We come from the Geese: Santal Creation Stories by Ruby Hembrom (text) and Boski Jain (illustrations). ISBN 9788192554112. Kolkata: Adivaani 2013. Rs. 90. More information >>

Dancing on our turtle’s back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence. By Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Kolkata: Adivaani. 2014 (First published in Canada, 2012) ISBN 9788192554174. Rs. 250. More information >>

Whose country is it anyway? by Gladson Dungdung (Human Rights Activist, Writer and Motivator). Kolkata: Adivaani 2013. Rs. 200. ISBN: 9788192554129. More information >>

The Santal and the Biblical Creation Traditions: Anthropological & Theological Reflections by Timotheas Hembrom. 2nd ed. Kolkata: Adivaani  2013. ISBN 9788192554150 [1st ed. Punthi Pustak, Kolkata 1996]. Rs. 200. More information >>

A novel way to introduce scientific thinking in village communities by Nigel Hughes, (professor of geology at the University of California and Santiniketan ex-student);  illustrated by Rati Basu (art teacher at Patha Bhavana, Santiniketan) and translated by Dipen Bhattacharya (professor of physics and astronomy in the Riverside College District). Rs. 120. More information >>

Looking Back into the Future — Identity & Insurgency in Northeast India by M. S. Prabhakara. New Delhi: Routledge. Rs. 795. Review >>

A Grammar of the Rong (Lepcha) Language by George Byres Mainwaring (1999). Orders: Akhil Book Distributors (Akhil Sharma), New


Asian-Ethnology-Cover Special issue dedicated to the study of tribal culture in India (open access) – Asian Ethnology (Volume 73)| Learn more >>

tribes-of-india_book_cover_f-haimendorfTribes of India: The Struggle for Survival by Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Berkeley: University of California Press 1982. More information and free PDF  download link >>

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