Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
cordially invites you to a Public Lecture
in the ‘Interrogating Social Justice’ series

at 3.00 pm on Thursday, 29 August, 2013
in the Seminar Room, First Floor, Library Building


Tribal Situation in India’


Prof. Virginius Xaxa,
 Tata Institute of Social Sciences,

Tribes are enumerated at over 88 million constituting about 8.6 per cent of the total population of the country as per the 2001 census. Though very small in population, they are enormously diverse. They are also distributed over the length and breadth of the country. The distribution is however far from even. About 84 percent inhabit region commonly referred to as central India; 12 per cent live in North-East India, 3 per cent in South and 1 per cent in North India.  Not only geographical distribution is uneven but their situation too is very uneven. Of public attention to tribal population at the national level, Northeast has remained at the forefront. This has been followed by central India especially the eastern part.  The South India and North India has been subject of attention only occasionally.  North-East has been plagued by demands for autonomy of various kinds. It has also been the region of endemic conflict and violence, conflict between state and people as well as between people. The state all through the post-independence decades has presented itself in the North-east in its militaristic form.   Notwithstanding the features described such as above, the tribes in the north eastern region have fared remarkably well in the social development. The percentage of people living below poverty line is much lower than the national tribal average. And so has been the case with such indicators as the level of literacy, enrolment and drop outs as well as health indicators such as the infant mortality, child mortality, under-five mortality etc. Of course there are variations within the region across states. In contrast the form in which the State has presented itself in mainland India has been its developmental character. Not only is the region strongly linked with the rest of India in terms of roads, railways and other communication, but also land, labour and credit market.  The region has also been witness to infrastructure projects such power, irrigation, dams etc. It has also witness to setting up of industrialization projects and mineral exploitation. However, since last one decade, the state has increasingly assumed the role of militaristic state. Despite strong presence of the developmental state, the region has hardly done well in social development sector. The people living below poverty line is highest in eastern India followed by western India. Similarly, in terms of the level of literacy and other health indicators, the region has fared extremely poor. The lecture makes an effort to understand the paradoxes.

Prof. Virginius Xaxa obtained M.A. in Sociology from Pune University and Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is at present Professor and Deputy Director at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus. He taught Sociology at Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi from 1990 to 2011 and North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong from 1978-1990. He held post-doctoral fellowship under Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme at Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris (1982) and had been Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellow at SOAS, University of London (1988) and Fulbright Fellow at University of California Santa Cruz, USA (1998). He held Rajiv Gandhi Chair at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong from 2006-2008. He is the author of Economic Dualism and Structure of Class: A Study in Plantation and Peasant settings in North Bengal (1997) and State, Society and Tribes: Issues in Post- Colonial India (2008). He is also co-author of Plantation Labour in India (1996) and co-editor of Social Exclusion and Adverse Inclusion: Adivasis in India (2012). He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Asian Ethnicity, History and Sociology of South Asia, Social Change and Contribution to Indian Sociology.

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