ASA12: Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 3rd-6th April 2012


Narratives of coping with marginalization: impact of state policies on natural resources and tribal lives

Location Convention Centre Lecture Hall-II
Date and Start Time 06 April, 2012 at 08:30


Eswarappa Kasi (National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj) email
Smita Yadav (University of Sussex) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

Narratives and the experiences of tribes for compensation, resettlement, and livelihoods reveal insurmountable neglect and ignorance of tribal lives and their constant marginalization.

Long Abstract

Aesthetic dimensions of tribal communities’ experiences and narratives in India represent a constant state of neglect and ignorance of their everyday lives as they are forced to cope with policies of natural resource and forest conservation. For a long-time, the tribal communities who have been completely forest-dependent and living in harmony with nature find themselves in hand-to-mouth existence as they are forced to cope with a life dependent on illegal mining, migration, as well as seasonal livelihoods. After the process of liberalization and globalization, the role of the state has become minimal and this opens the doors to large scale establishment of companies in the tribal heartlands. There are huge projects for instance Vedanta, Tata and mining giants etc, which are directly affecting the tribal communities’ lives. These MNCs are targeting the poor and marginalised sections and threatening them with state forces. This has become politicised and everyday affairs in the areas of tribal areas of India. Thus, these situations have forced tribal people to migrate to other areas in search of livelihood. How far tribal communities have cope up with this scenario aesthetically is the central concern of our panel. The tribal communities’ narratives and consequences portrayed empirically so far gives us an idea to revisit on these critical issues. Further, to get the attention of the academicians, there should be forums like ASA, which passes the message to the state as well as people through our deliberations, discussions and interactions. Keeping these broad issues into the fore our panel invites scholars and academicians to contribute and disseminate their knowledge into the practice on our theme of enquiry.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Narratives of marginalization of dalit and tribal women in Bengal and Jharkhand: a study of the fictions of Anil Gharai

Authors: Indranil Acharya (Vidyasagar University)  email
Bibhas Chand (Raja N. L. Khan Women's College)  email

Short Abstract

The fictional world of Anil Gharai speaks of the struggle for existence of the downtrodden dalit and tribal women. These women suffer tremendous ignominy in their attempt to protect nature and protest against the misconduct of the police and administration.Supreme courage in acute crisis is their hallmark.

Long Abstract

The British monopoly over the forest area and the earlier aggrandizing nature of zamindars eclipsed the chances of indigenous tribes to earn their livelihood from the natural resources of a forest. The bonded tribal male labourers were also viciously exploited by the colonial masters. It often resulted in premature ageing and attendant diseases for the tribal males. The women, thus, became the most vulnerable section in the social hierarchy. They not only became hapless victims of male misdemeanour at home, but also an easy prey for the unscrupulous moneylenders and forest officials. The fictional world of Anil Gharai opens up this sordid saga of social oppression. The forced participation of women in the contested territory of forest-based economy gives rise to a new subaltern class- the doubly victimized segment of tribal society.

Tribes after three displacements: a challenge to survival in Sonebhadra district Uttar Pradesh

Authors: Prema Tiwari (G B Pant Social Science Institue Allahabad )  email
Vinay Tiwari (G.B.Pant Social Science Institute Allahabad)  email

Short Abstract

The development programme made the tribal people of Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh displaced three times in a row. Adjustment becomes troubles some in the new resettled areas. The paper will highlight the details of this adjustment process.

Long Abstract

For the last few decades and more particularly since 1990s, the issues of human right violation under right to life and to livelihood of the tribal people are a central concern. Indeed, the traditional livelihood system of tribal people has been based on shifting cultivation and collection of non timber forest produces, their dependence on forest and land had been their customary rights. The customary rights of tribal people on livelihood resources and their territorial sovereignty increasingly came in to the conflicts with the forces of developments. . As the reaction of violation of these rights there appeared a series of tribal protest movement. In our study area, Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh the tribes have been facing three times displacement the three times in a row under the project of Rehand Dam and consequently by forest department. The present paper will narrate how do these tribes adjust with the resettlement after these three displacements and what problems do they face now in terms of gaining benefits from welfare benefits. We will further establish the link of the level of early deprivation with that of present development programme.

Governing the conflicted commons: Democracy in the Indian tribal belt

Author: Siddharth Sareen (University of Copenhagen)  email

Short Abstract

How can democracy be inclusive of concerns of indigenes and the environment in resource-rich but poverty-stricken central eastern India? Impacts of resource expropriation and processes of exclusion on tribes, and institutional changes required for democratic resource governance, are addressed.

Long Abstract

How can democracy be inclusive of concerns of indigenous communities and the environment in resource-rich but poverty-stricken central eastern India? This paper addresses:

a) Indigenous communities' concepts of resources, and the impact that expropriating them of these resources for mining has on their worldviews and interactions with natural systems;

b) How processes of exclusion and decentralisation reforms impact a specific tribe, through a case study on displacement and migration; and

c) Changes in structure and process required for democratic resource governance by state and other institutional actors, in this conflict zone of mining, political, ethnic and cultural interests.

The focus is on three interlinked questions that build on existing knowledge within this theme:

• Structural contexts: How do adivasis view natural systems traditionally used as commons, and what is the impact of decentralization reforms on their ways of life, within a conflict zone?

• Conflicting meanings: What does democracy mean to adivasis, and how can it systemically include their concerns, despite incentives for the state and private sector to exploit resources?

• Legitimacy and compliance: How do the causes and the fact of migration impact adivasi worldviews, for migrants and the adivasi communities that remain in their original habitations?

Natural resources versus tribal lives: State policies and their impact

Author: Vincent Ekka (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)  email

Short Abstract

The natural resources meant for progress and development of a nation and people have proved to be a curse for tribal lives regulated by the defective policies of the states. In the name of development and national interest the tribals suffer from untold misery of marginalization, displacement and thereby become victims of the lack of political will power, lack of compensation and settlement.

Long Abstract

The tribal communities represent a substantial and important proportion of Indian population, culture and heritage. They form a crucial component of country's human biodiversity. As a people, they are important source of social, political and economic wisdom capable of providing ways for authentic human living. Their skill of resource management, waste management, traditional knowledge system and sustainable living is unsurpassed by any other human community. But our experience tells that all the development plans and mega projects of the governments or private business houses have left the tribals with minimal welfare or no welfare at all. The mega scale industries, massive mining, giant dams and huge projects have caused massive displacement of the maximum number of tribals and reduced them to a state of refugees or migrants in their own land. The heart of the problem is that people displaced by development projects are generally seen as a necessary sacrifice on the road to development. The situation worsens when the state and its representatives indulge in joining hands with the MNCs, Private business houses, middlemen, and business goons, every time, the tribals are pushed into extreme poverty and scarcity. The new economic policies of the Central and the state governments of liberalization, privatization and globalization have emerged as the gross violation of tribal rights enshrined in the PESA and FRA Acts etc. My paper attempts to bring out how the defective policies of the governments have hampered the sustainable tribal knowledge system for integral development of the whole creation.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.