The Adivasis of India (January 1999)
A4, 44pp, ISBN 1 897693 32 X
The Adivasis are indigenous peoples and are believed to be the first inhabitants of India. Adivasis have distinct languages, religions and forms of self-government, together with a deep bond to their land and respect for nature. However, India has ignored their demands to be recognized as indigenous and – as this Report demonstrates – taken steps which threaten the Adivasis’ very survival.
Adivasis’ traditional homelands have been taken for industrialization; for coal, forest and mineral exploitation; for tourism developments; and for nature and wildlife parks. This ‘internal colonization’ has combined with the forces of globalization to forcibly displace Adivasis from their territories, and to ensure that while 85 per cent of Adivasis live in poverty, they receive little or none of the wealth extracted from their land.
While discussing these India-wide issues, The Adivasis of India also explores the situation in three specific regions: Jharkhand, the Blue Mountains region and the North-East region. Here the Adivasis’ increasingly effective methods of campaigning and organizing to demand their rights are discussed, alongside the Indian state’s often violent and brutal responses to these movements.
The Adivasis of India, written by activists on Adivasi issues, provides a full, yet accessible, historical and legal context to the Adivasis’ claims and to the Indian state’s policy developments towards Adivasis. Both are analysed and their practical implementation discussed. The Report is illustrated with several maps and tables.
The Adivasis of India concludes with a call for an end to state violence and discrimination, and for a recognition and granting of the Adivasis’ rights. This is backed by a set of recommendations which could help protect Adivasis’ human rights and promote peaceful coexistence, meaningful development and equality for all.
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