Land, Forests & Tribal Rights

Reports & BriefsPublished ArticlesBooks & ChaptersWorking Papers
The Extent and Nature of Individual Tribal Land Alienation in Fifth Schedule States in India
Mohd. Ali Faraz, Rajanya Bose, Sajjad Hassan and Sandeep Ghusale

This report explores the situation of tribal land alienation in India. It highlights the causes, routes and processes of the phenomenon of “non development-induced” adivasi land alienation, providing an up-to- date picture of the contemporary situation. The findings seem also to suggest that laws, however well meaning and sophisticated, can at best be a necessary condition for preventing land alienation, never sufficient; and that laws must be seen together with education, organization and mobilization by and of adivasis, around land and other rights, as a package of interventions to direct at protecting adivasi rights on land. The context of adivasi agency and empowerment needs to be squarely located in public policy debate, for the range of laws and state codes to have any chance of delivering on their promise.

The Untold Story of Hindukaran (Proselytisation) of Adivasis in Dang: A Report
Citizen’s Enquiry Committee

A people’s investigation was undertaken regarding plans to organise what is being described as a massive Shabri Kumbh in the tribal district of Dangs in Gujarat, on Feb 11-13, 2006. Organisations affiliated to the Sangh with the open support of the BJP state government are strenuously mobilising around 5 lakh adivasis and Hindutva activists to attend this gathering, in a remote and socially and environmentally highly sensitive and vulnerable forested region. This report presents the findings of this investigation.

Law of the Jungle: The Conceptual Issues with the Indian Forest Rights Act
Rajanya Bose
AmphibiousAccounts, 2018

As Walter Fernandes has written, for the Adivasis, the land—or, rather, the landscape, which includes common property resources and natural resources—is not a commodity but the “centre of their economy, culture, socio-political structures and identity.” This article argues that it is in this context that India’s forest policy, tilted towards commercialization of forest produce and generation of better revenue for the government, in both colonial and post colonial times, turned its forest-dependent population into encroachers and criminals.

Lost Livelihood
Harsh Mander
The Hindu, 2015

The Adivasis of Central India, who settled in the tea gardens of Assam decades ago, are still devoid of their basic rights. This article briefly explores the history and context of Adivasi exclusions in Assam.

The Jarawa of the Andamans
Rhea John and Harsh Mander
India Exclusion Report, 2015

India’s Andaman Islands are home to some of the most ancient, and until recently the most isolated, peoples in the world. Today barely a few hundred of these peoples survive. This chapter explores the history and contemporary status of one such tribal group, the Jarawa or the Ang. It explores policy debates surrounding the group and problematises the ‘isolationist’ and ‘integrationist’ approaches to tribal populations; identifies special vulnerabilities of this group; and presents recommendations towards the government adopting just and egalitarian public policy and legal regimes for indigenous communities, enabling the community to access development while protecting their rights to pursue development on their own terms.

Land Acquisition and Transfers for Private Industry: A case study in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh
Amod Shah, Saba Sharma, and Shikha Sethia

In the past few years, the highly contentious nature of such land transfers, often with the active support of the government, has been widely publicised due to agitations in Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal, and in Jagatsingpur and Niyamgiri in Orissa, among others. However, these are hardly isolated incidents; by one estimate, land related conflicts affect 130 of India’s 602 districts, across all states of the country, with most such incidents taking place in 2011 and 2012.7 This study explores in greater detail the various mechanisms by which such transfers have occurred, as well at the State’s role in this process.

Tribal Development Policy in India
Harsh Mander

Constituting about eight per cent of the total population of India, the tribal peoples are among the most vulnerable groups in the country. Not only do they share with other disadvantaged groups the common travails of economic deprivation, they are also faced perennially with grave threats to their cultural integrity and socio-political freedoms. This paper will try to summarise the issues faced by tribal persons in India, and the legislative and public policy interventions of the Indian state in relation to its tribal populations.