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                                                                                                                                By Anita Soni

Uttar Pradesh is India’s largest, most populous and most caste-ridden state. It is also the state whose adivasi citizens have been summarily denied their constitutional Scheduled Tribe status, deprived of their right to proportional representation in democratic institutions, and exposed to unchecked exploitation and dispossession by non-tribal dominant classes. This essay looks at colonial and postcolonial patterns of suppressing tribal identity, growth of huge industrial hub in tribal habitats and struggles of forest dwellers against Forest Department.


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The genuine tribal communities unduly notified as Scheduled Castes through the very first Presidential Order of 1950, and till date not reclassified except token cases, account for less than two per cent of the total population of Uttar Pradesh.  They are found scattered in rural areas of many districts, and inhabit contiguous tracts in two separate geographical regions . One is the Tarai-bhabhar sub-Himalayan belt extending from Uttaranchal and comprising Pilibhit, Bareilly, Bahraich, Gonda and Kheri districts; the other is commonly known as Kaimoor region, and lies at the steps of the Vindhya mountain range. It is adjacent to the Chota Nagpur plateau, and consists of Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts. 

According to D.N.Majumdar, whose classic study of tribal communities of United Provinces contains an abundance of detailed observations gathered from extensive field research  done in 1930s, “The Tarai tribes, like the Tharus and Bhoksas have probably entered the  province from the north-east , and are of Mongoloid extraction . The Mirzapur  tribes are affiliated to the Munda group of tribes now inhabiting Chota Nagpur , and they maintain a cultural similarity with others of cognate stock./…/The Kols, the Bhuiyas, the Korwas, the Majhwars, the Cheros , the Agariyas and the Kharwars are some of the primitive tribes living in the Mirzapur district.’   (1)

The map [Annexe I] included in Majumdar’ s study  shows the district-wise distribution of ‘primitive tribes’ (i.e.adivasis) as well as nomadic and ‘criminal’ tribes , going by the official terminology of the colonial Census of India. The major tribes like the  Gond, the Kol, the Kharwar, the Tharu are documented in several districts, while numerically small communities like the Chero, the Panha, the Bhuiya, the Majhwar are present only in the Mirzapur region. (The communities of river-bound folk like the Kevat, the Bind , the Nisadh were also counted among Primitive Tribes.)

The tribes described by Majumdar were earlier fully enumerated in the 1931 Census of India. When the colonial administration brought in the Government of India Act of 1935 which for the first time allowed Indians to contest provincial elections –under limited autonomy – it asked the Census Commissioner, JH Hutton to release two schedules (based on 1931 census) enumerating untouchable castes and backward tribes, as members of ‘’Depressed Classes’ for whom provincial assembly seats were to be reserved. The terms used by Hutton were ‘exterior castes’ and ‘backward tribes.’ (2)

In a slightly different way the same story is told by Nirmal Sen Gupta:  “At the time of granting provincial autonomy in 1935, the British included the tribes among the ‘Depressed Classes’ requiring special protection.  In view of the ensuing election in 1936, the provincial assemblies had to release in a hurry the list of ‘backward tribes’ in each province/…/ in independent India the ‘backward tribes’ became Scheduled Tribes.” (3)

The Government of India Act of 1935, which provided the basic structure of the present Constitution, replaced the term ‘Depressed Classes’ by Scheduled Castes’ and defined the group as comprising ‘such castes, races or tribes, or parts of,  or groups within castes, races or tribes which appear to His Majesty in Council to correspond to the classes of persons formerly known as Depressed Classes, as His Majesty in Council may prefer.’ This quaint definition, recognizable as the prototype of Article 341 of India’s Constitution, was clarified through The Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order,1936, which contained the specification (Schedule) of castes and tribes throughout the British administered provinces. (4)

It was for the Constituent Assembly of India (1946-1949) to determine the place of the tribes people in free India. The essential feature of the proposals of the Draft Constitution is that “tribals as a whole should be treated as a minority in the matter of representation in the legislatures and recruitment to the various services of the Central and Provincial Governments”. On this there was consensus. (5)

The more complex subject was the future administration of prominent tribal territories which had remained outside the purview of direct British regulations. The Government of India Act 1935 referred to them as  Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas. Both come under the heading ‘Governors’ Provinces’ in the Act. “Where there was a definite tract inhabited by a compact tribal population, it was classified as an Excluded area, while regions with a substantial tribal population but a minority non-tribal population were declared Partially Excluded Areas. Both types of regions were excluded from the competence of Provincial and Central Legislatures, but he administration of Excluded Areas was nominally vested in the Governor ‘acting in his discretion’, and that of Partially Excluded Areas was vested in the Council of Ministers subject to the Governor exercising his own judgment." (6)

Under the new Constitution they were to become, respectively, Tribal Areas (in Assam and NEFA) and Scheduled Areas (in most other parts of the country). However, not all Partially Excluded areas qualified to be Scheduled Areas, but only those certified to be”in need of special attention and in which the protection of land and the social organization of the tribal’s is an indispensable need”.  For the rest, general administration was thought good enough. (7)

Each case was judged on merit by the specially appointed Sub-Committee on Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas headed by A.V.Thakkar. (8) Its members jointly toured all provinces, examined witnesses,  and submitted their interim and final reports to the Hon. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas.

The Thakkar Committee report on the ‘partially excluded’ areas of the United Provinces. Is highly revealing. There were two such areas: The Jaunsar—Bawar Pargana in the Dehradoon district, and the Dudhi tehsil and parts of Robertsganj tehsil of the Mirzapur district. Both areas were found to be in need of urgent corrective measures in view of massive oppression and corruption, but were not recommended for the status of Scheduled Areas. (9) 

The Thakkar report also named a few tribes of the Mirzapur region apparently proposed to be deemed Scheduled Tribes with regard to United Provinces : “1. Bhuinya 2. Baiswar 3.Baiga  4. Gond  5. Kharwar  6.Kol  7. Ojha  8. Any other tribe notified by the Provincial Government.The report further stated: “There shall be one seat reserved in the Provincial Assembly for a tribal from the area of the Mirzapur district  which is now partly excluded.”There was also a mention of the proposal made by Shri Jaipal Singh that “The tribal tract in Mirzapur district should be transferred to the Scheduled Area of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. Administratively as well as geographically the Bihar Government would be in a better position to manage this far-off corner of the United Provinces.” (10)

The proposal was curtly dismissed, and the tribal tract of Mirzapur was left in care of general administration, without any hope of special protection and welfare benefits. In fact, the Thakkar Committee report endorsed the view of the government officials, that the tribals of the area had become undistinguishable from dalits :“As regards the Mirzapur District, the excluded area consists of four parganas of which only the Agori and  Bijaigarh parganas have a concentration of aboriginals. The population consists of a number of tribes having affinities to the tribes of neighbouring provinces from which they have come. There is no strong tribal life left among them . Their occupations are said to be those usually followed by the Scheduled Castes and in their religious and social customs they are similar to low-caste Hindus /…/  The Provincial Government are of the view that there is no justification for this area being treated differently from the rest of the province and that normal administration should be extended to it immediately.” (11)

Bereft of even a single Scheduled Area under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, the United Provinces got ready to become Uttar Pradesh, a state without Scheduled Tribes.The Constitution via Articles 341 and 342 empowered the President of India and the Governors of States to compile and publish in the Gazette the complete listing of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The initial lists had been compiled under instructions of the 1931 Census Commissioner Dr. JH Hutton. The Census operations were limited to the provinces of British India.  Supplementary data had to obtained about 562 large  and small  ‘native states’  which were merged with the Indian Union -  among them several autonomous  adivasi domains.

It is a little known fact that Article 341 and 342  were introduced to the Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar as a post-thought, for the purpose of giving Constitutional sanctity to the lists of SCs and STs.

“The object of these two articles, as I stated, was to eliminate the necessity of burdening the Constitution with long lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It is now proposed that the President, in consultation with the Governor or Ruler of a State should have the power to issue a general notification in the Gazette specifying all the Castes and tribes or groups thereof deemed to be Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of the privileges which have been defined for them in the Constitution. The only limitation that has been imposed is this: that once a notification has been issued by the President, which, undoubtedly ,he will be issuing in consultation with and on the advice of the Government of each State, thereafter, if any elimination was to be made from the List so notified or any addition was to be made, that must be made by Parliament and not by the President. The object is to eliminate any kind of political factors having a play in the matter of disturbance in the Schedule so published by the President.’  (12)

jaunsari-3.jpgAs it turned out, right after Independence all kinds of political factors started having  a play in the matter of Scheduled Tribes lists,  even before their public notification by the President. The ambiguous wording of Article 341 –lifted from the Government of India  (Scheduled Castes) Order of  1936  with castes, races, tribes in a mélange – made it  plausible to use it as default address for any disadvantaged groups not powerful enough  to get themselves recognized and notified as Scheduled Tribes. (13)

 This is what happened to Uttar Pradesh tribes. The Constitution(Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 makes no reference to Uttar Pradesh. All tribal communities of U.P. got notified under Article 341 through the Constitution(Scheduled Castes) Order 1950,  and it stuck.

Consequently, the first two post-Independence Censuses of India did not show any tribal presence in Uttar  Pradesh. Then, perhaps under pressure from some influential quarters in Dehradun, an Order was issued during Indira Gandhi’s reign : The  Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Uttar Pradesh) Order, 1967. It notified five sub-Himalayan communities as Scheduled Tribes. They were: 1.Bhotia,  2. Buksa,  3. Jaunsari,  4. Raji and 5.Tharu. The act of recognizing these five groups was perhaps meant as a face saving device against criticism that the Government of India ignores UP tribals. But it did not bring any sustained policy measures  to check exploitation and indebtedness of poor hill people. Ironically, the ‘Jaunsaris’ are not a tribe, but a regional (in Jaunsar-Bawar Pargana)  fraternity of high-caste zamindars who claim descent from Aryan heroes of Mahabharata,  practise polyandry and exploit bonded labour of downtrodden, aboriginal Dom/Kolta serfs.(14)

 Of the other four notified STs, the Bhotia and the Raji are small pastoral tribes whose population was shown as appr. 3,500 and 1,000 respectively at 2001 Census.  The Tharu (84,000 at 2001 Census) and their cognate Bhoksa (4,500) are the two tribal communities who have played a pivotal role in bringing forth the grassroots movement of forest dwellers, both adivasi and dalit,  from Saharanpur to Bahraich and beyond.   After separation of 13 northern districts of U.P. and formation  of the new state of Uttarakhand in 2000,  their population got divided between the two states, which brought  down the demographic share of Scheduled Tribes  in U. P. from 0.21 % to 0.1 %.   

 During the following  decades demands for ST status came to be raised and gathered momentum among the  large UP tribes: the Gond (population four and a half lakh  at 2001 Census)  the Kol  (three lakh and thirty thousand), the Kharwar (one lakh and twenty thousand) , the Sahariya (sixty thousand ). This was partly due to the grassroots mobilization that rallied around the adoption of Panchayati Raj institutions mooted by the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution. The region of Bundelkhand was specially affected by open discrimination of  dominant  landowning castes towards tribals who stood for elections to the post of sarpanch and ward members. Proximity to Madhya Pradesh where the same tribal communities enjoyed constitutional privileges  of reservation of seats in PRIs,  made the agitation all the more acute. (15)

In the beginning of the new millennium the Parliament passed the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act 2002. This comprehensive Act has a portion with regard to Uttar Pradesh. It relates “to exclusion of certain communities from the list of Scheduled Castes  specified in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 residing in the specified districts of Uttar Pradesh and their inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes with reference to certain specified districts of Uttar Pradesh by amending the Constitution  (Scheduled Tribes) Uttar Pradesh Order 1967. These ten communities are: i) Gond, Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha Pathari and Raj Gond (in the districts of Mehrajganj, Sidharth Nagar,Basti, Gorakhpur,Deoria, Mau , Azamgarh. Jonpur, Balia, Gazipur, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra) ii) Kharwar, Khairwar (in the districts of Deoria, Balia, Ghazipur, Varanasi  and Sonebhadra); iii) Saharya (in the district of Lalitpur); iv) Parahiya (in the district of Sonebhadra); v) Baiga (in the district of Sonebhadra); vi) Pankha, Panika (in the districts of Sonebhadra and Mirzapur); vii) Agariya (in the district of Sonebhadra); viii) Patari (in the district of Sonebhadra); ix) Chero (in the districts of Sonebhadra and Varanasi); and x) Bhuiya, Bhuinya (in the district of Sonebhadra).

This delayed and truncated bestowment of Schedule Tribe status on the above ten communities ( with glaring omission of the important Kol tribe ) was not coordinated with the office of Census Registrar General of India  (ORGI), which led to bizarre repercussions on the ground.

Eight years after the coming in force of The Scheduled Castes and Sche:duled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act,, 2002  , a reporter from Delhi visiting Sonbhadra district found out that  : “Ten tribes in Uttar Pradesh are unable to contest elections due to the mismatch between census data and government data. The 2001 census did not include these tribes. So, they are now deprived of the benefits besides all government schemes for SCs/STs.Take Jabaar, a village in Duddhi block of Sonbhadra district of the state. According to the 2001 census,  it does not have any ST. But, according to the new list of notified tribes in 2002, Jaabar has only STs and no SC. Many villages are facing this problem. Karaia, another SC village in Duddhi block of the district, has no panchayat as its residents belong to a tribe.

Another instance is Nagwa village in the same block. Its population is tribal but the seat is reserved for SCs. So, when panchayat elections  took place four years ago, the only candidate was an outsider the villagers had hired some years ago to work  there. He was a Kotwar, an SC, whose work was to beat drums and make announcements for the tribes.Today, he is the panchayat president. All his six family members form the rest of the panchayat. These villages will remain unrepresented even after the next panchayat elections that are to be held five months from now.

The tribals in Sonbhadra are angry. Displacement is adding to their woes as the district’s new power plants get ready to meet over 50 per cent of the country’s power needs. They find themselves losing not only their land, clean air and rivers but also their right to contest elections. The only ones eager to show sympathy to these villagers are Naxalite visitors from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The tribal aspirants for Assembly and Parliament seats share the plight. Not even one Assembly seat out of 403 is for STs, while 80 seats are reserved for SCs. So, Vijay Singh Gond, who was elected as an MLA as an SC seven times from Duddhi, was not allowed to contest last time as he was not an SC anymore. He had become a tribal. The census will not recognise these tribes unless the home ministry demands it. A petition is pending in the Supreme Court  (16).

The role played by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the National Commission on Scheduled Tribes has been far from pro-active .The Commission recommended that the Ministry of Tribal Affairs should take necessary action to draft a suitable bill for introduction in Parliament for making an enabling provision in the Delimitation Act, 2 002 for taking into account for the purpose of delimitation of constituencies of such tribal communities which were recognized as Scheduled Tribe after 2001 Census. To-date, this has not been done.NCST has been one of the respondents in the Writ Petition(Civil) No 363/2006  of Shri Vijay Sinh Gond & four Others in the Supreme Court, praying for an ad-interim  ex-parte order staying the operation of the SC&ST Order (Amendment) Act , 2002,  or allowing the petitioners to contest the forthcoming  UP State Assembly elections on SC reserved seats.The apex Court held that since serious questions of the law has been raised by the petitioners, the petition deserved to be admitted, but interim relief as prayed for cannot be granted.

The Cabinet Secretariat vide their letter dated 9 January, 2007 had advised the Ministry of Tribal Affairs that the Ministry of Law & Justice should implead itself as a party in the said matter and defend the interest of the Union of India before the apex Court(17 )

In the meantime the other set of petitioners also reached the Supreme Court, seeking directions for reservation of ST constituencies in the 2012 elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly  on the basis of six-fold increase in the state’s Scheduled Tribes population (from  107,963   to 665,325 )

The Court directed  the Election Commission to consider the plea . The Election Commission told the Court that despite the Presidential Order of 2003 (giving assent to the CS&CT Orders  Amendment Act of 2002) , there was no statutory legislation or direction asking it to move further for  providing proportional representation to the STs. This was the reason why it had not acted on the matter so far.  (18)

All those contradictory signals need to be decoded by referring to the actual conditions that brought about the Amendment of Uttar Pradesh (Scheduled Tribes) Order.With exception of the Sahariyas, all newly recognized Scheduled Tribes live in one contiguous tract, the Kaimur region (Mirzapur–Sonbhadra) and the adjoining  districts of Purvanchal/Eastern UP. They are the same tribes whose  material  deprivation and gradual de-culturation was observed by Majumdar in late 1930s, and whose lack of ‘strong tribal life’ was quoted by A.V. Thakkar Committee in 1947 as the  argument against extending to them special protection benefits under the  Fifth Schedule.of the Constitution.

The chief cause of their plight, of their loss of proud self-image and social cohesion was the cancellation of their communal  ownership rights over the forests which had long been the well-managed renewable resource base for their interchanging  seasonal occupations of shifting cultivation, hunting , and  gathering of forest produce . (19)

The colonial administration via the Indian Forest Acts of 1878 and 1927 proclaimed the power of eminent domain of the Crown over ownership of forests as common  property  lands,  with peasants and tribals allowed only a limited access to forests and forest produce.(20)

For ‘lords of the jungle’  that meant the bitter fate of banishment to the outer fringe of the forest and eking out livelihood from settled  plough agriculture. As described by Majumdar with reference to Dudhi tehsil of Mirzapur district  (presently Sonbhadra district) :

“A change from their free and unfettered life in the jungles has been forced upon them and in its place they now live what to others appear as an ‘ordered existence’ but which is nothing but a life of degraded serfs (…) Formerly they organized hunting groups and made inroads into the densest part of the forests, fought with the wild denizens, bagged sufficient prize, game, fruits and roots, which supplemented the products of their jhum cultivation./…/ The tribes of Duddhi are no long allowed to practice the wasteful jhum cultivation (21) : the forests have been denied to them. The rocky land makes it difficult for deep ploughing, so that they have to use miniature ploughs. which can only scratch the soil. The rivers and rivulets which divide the rocky plateau where they live do not even supply them with enough drinking water,  and irrigation is naturally impossible.

By degrees the lands of old tenure belonging to the tribes are passing into the hands of sahukars who exploit them mercilessly.”(22)

It was through the agency of Imperial Forest Department that the colonial State assaulted and suppressed adivasi identities, inextricably linked to ancestral territories. The independent Indian nation-state has continued  using the same agency of Forest  Department for the same  predatory purpose, but with even greater rapaciousness.  Steady expansion of the area arbitrarily declared as reserved forest under Section 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927  has  engulfed thousands of adivasi villages threatened with eviction as  ‘encroachments’.

By the turn of century, oppression and harassment by the Forest Department had become all-pervasive   in the impoverished  rural interior of Eastern UP where mixed clusters of tribal communities continued to live cheek-and-jowl  with their dalit neighbours, eking out precarious livelihood at the fringe of denuded forests.In Sonbhadra district, rapid industrial development affected the already sensitive ecology: scarcity of drinking water and pollution of the air from hundreds of mines, crushers, factories and electrical power stations – justifying Sonbhadra district’s sobriquet ‘Energy Capital of India’ – came to create grave health hazards (23)

 Major development projects like the Rihand dam resulted in displacement of thousands. In the villages, resentment grew and altercations with Forest Department officials became common. Stray incidents of ‘agrarian violence’ by Maoists reported from 1997 onwards sufficed to classify the area as one of officially  “Extremist affected “ districts.  Highly iniquitous agrarian structure resulting from alienation of tribal land  and allotment of revenue land titles by FD  to powerful outsiders with license guns has been the source  of simmering conflict.  (24)

It is against this background that in 2002 the Uttar Pradesh government under Mayavati endorsed the demands  for inclusion of ten tribal communities in the ST schedule, strengthening their positions in the legal battle with  Forest Department .  During the countdown to the enactment of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional  Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights ) Act. 2006 (FRA), adivasis, dalits and other poor villagers of  Kaimur region became part  of the strictly non-violent, and  at the same time very dynamic, mass movement  for reclamation of forest land  captured by Forest Department.  The movement, spearheaded by the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers  (NFFPFW), alias  Rashtriya  Van-Jan- Shramjivi Manch was started around 1996  in Saharan district by a group of dedicated activists of  leftist persuasion (Shri Ashok Chowdhury, Smt.(L.) Bharati Ray –Chowdhury, Sushri Roma, Dr.(L.) Vinayan, Shri Rajnish Gambhir) who focused on trade-union-like mobilization of poor forest dwellers, mostly dalits, exploited as cheap labour by contractors and Forest Department ; but in the course of enlarging their network and forging alliance with adivasi organizations across the country, their concept was transformed into one of “Natural Resources Based Traditional Working People and Community Organizations” – “traditional” and “community” being the

key words.

The fact of relevance to the present discussion is that the spread of this movement has been very rapid in Uttar Pradesh over the past decade and a half, encompassing Tarai – the Tharu country (specially Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich Distt.) . and currently making news in Kaimur Region (Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli  Distt.).The adivasi factor is prominent. Massive rallies organized by NFFPFW have demonstrated very high degree of participation of tribal women – literally holding half of the sky.

What is more, they assert their rights on the ground. According to a press report  (25),  in the period between 2002 – 2011 , adivasi and dalit communities have reclaimed  approx. 30.000 (Thirty thousand) acres of degraded forest land in Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli districts  by setting up new villages, planting trees, building roads and digging wells.” The Forest Department , since late XIX c. presiding over systematic loot and destruction of India’s forest wealth,  will have to give way to the true inheritors .


1.        D.N.Majumdar, The Fortunes of Primitive Tribes, University of Lucknow, 1944. First  published under the   directions of  the Superintendent, Provincial Census 0perations, United Provinces 1941.

2.        Teltumbde, Anand ,SC/STs and the State in the Indian Constitution, Republic Day Special Lecture at Dr BR Ambedkar Research Center, University of Mysore , Countercurrents org. 06  Feb 2012 :” The first serious attempt to list these communities as primitive tribes was made during the census of 1931. In the Government of India Act (1935) a reference was  made to the “Backward Tribes” and again the Thirteenth Schedule to the Government of India (Provincial  Legislative  assemblies)  Order,  1936  specified  certain  tribes as  backward  in  the provinces of Assam, Bihar, Orissa, CP and Berar, Madras and Bombay.In the1941 census these people were recorded as “Tribes” and separate totals were furnished only for a few  selected individual tribes.”

3.        Nirmal Sen Gupta, Jharkhand Movement and Tribal Identity, in RD Munda and S. Bosu  Mullick (Eds.) The Jharkhand Movement: Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle for Autonomy in India, Copenhagen /Jharkhand :IWGIA  and BIRSA, 2003, pp.333-347]      

4.       Lelah Dushkin, Scheduled Caste Policy in India: History, Problems, Prospects, Asian Survey, Vol. 7,    No. 9 (Sep., 1967), pp. 626-636.

5.       At that time, it appeared as a bold experiment. A member of the Assembly quoted the editorial of The Statesman dated 4th September 1949, Delhi Edition, which said: “Recently the House agreed to reservation of seats for aboriginals in the Federal and State Lower Houses  for ten years. With that decision few will quarrel; but its value will depend on the mode of choosing these representatives, whether as trusted spokesmen of their tribes or because of party allegiance. The evils of political strife among peoples ill-fitted for it by temperament  and intellect have perhaps been too little appreciated in the provinces .” Source: CAD  5th September 1949 .

6.        B.Shiva Rao,  The Framing of India’s Constitution: Select Documents, Delhi, The Indian Institute of Public Administration 1967, pp.771-772

7.       Dr. B.D. Sharma describes official policy for STs as one of ‘confusion, unconcern and dereliction’, and points to the Bastar case : ‘In the largest tribal district of the country,Bastar, only two and a half tehsils out of eight were scheduled wth no ostensible reason  for differentiation.’  Tribal Affairs in India: The Crucial Transition, Sahyog Pustak Kutir, New Delhi 2001.

8.       The other Sub-Committee on STs was North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee with Gopinath Bardoloi, first Premierof Assam, as Chairman.

9.       See Annex II : A.V. Thakkar Sub-Committee Report, Appendix D.  CAD Vol7,p.1

10.    Ibid.

11.   Ibid.

12.    Source : CAD, Vol.9, Pg.1637.

13.    H.M.Mathur, Tribal Land Issues in India : Communal Management, Rights, and Displacement,  in : J.Perera (Ed)Land and Cultural Survival: The Communal Land Rights of Indigenous People in Asia , ADB 2009,  takes notice of the ‘race for the tribal status’ : “While certain communities who do not possess tribal characterictics are included in the list of scheduled tribes as a political favor so that they can benefit from the special constitutional  guarantees, others who are more deserving have been left out.”  See also A.Teltumbde, ibid.:“There being no stigma of lowliness attached to the tribes, … many relatively well-off communities managed to get into the schedule and deprive the genuine tribes of the benefits intended for them. These communities, (e.g. Meenas in Rajasthan, Halba Koshtis in Maharashtra, and most tribes in  the North East  which were the ruling tribes in past and today are well-educated and westernized) have dominated the list of STs leaving the needy high and dry”.

14.   14. See Chandra Bhal Tripathi, Anusuchit jatiyon evam anusuchit janjatiyon ka vikas tatha unki samasyaen, in:  Samakalin Bharatiya Rajniti , New Delhi 1995.

15.   15. Some dedicated NGOs like Akhil Bharatiya Samaj Seva Sansthan , working with the Kols in Chitrakoot district, and Bundelkhand Seva Sansthan, active among the Sahariyas in Lalitpur,  helped in promoting local tribal organizations and raising awareness of people’s rights

16.    Sreelatha Menon, A State for the excluded  Business Standard, New Delhi, Dec 13, 2009

17.   .Source :NCST website

18.   . Fresh Scheduled Tribes’ quota in Uttar Pradesh House suggested , “Hamara News” ians on January 10, 2012

19.   .Archana Prasad, ‘The Baiga’ and its Eco-Logic: Reinterpreting Verrier Elvin’s Cultural Ecology in Central India,  in : Against Ecological Romanticism,: Verrier Elvin and the Making og an Anti-Modern Tribal Identity, Three Esays Collective, New Delhi 2003. “Bewar formed the fulcrum of the seasonal cycle and had a dialectical relationship with hunting and gathering.’ p.42

20.   Chhatrapati Singh, On Survival: Forestry and the Law, in Lokayan Bulletin, 5:3, 1987

21.   For discussion on the deep-seated prejudice of colonial officials against ‘a form of agriculture that had sustained its practitioners for thousands of years”, see Ramahandra Guha, Fighting for the Forest: State Forestry and Social Change in Tribal India”.

22.   D.N. Majumdar, The Korwa, Ibid.

23.   Report on visit of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to tribal villages of Sonbhadra district in January 2011 states that facilities and programs for children are non-existent, schools do not function, air is filled with dust from crusher plants, clean drinking water is not available. The report gives a long list of urgent recommendations to tackle the problems. Source:www. ncpcr.gov.in._Reports­_Report on visit to UP Purvanchal.pdf

24.   K.Gopal Iyer, Land and Forest Issues in Kaimur Region : Distt. Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, and Chandouli.  Paper presented at the Seminar on ‘Militant Left Radicalism, State and Civil Society: the Centrality of Tribal Land Rights, , IIC, 10-11 Dec.2010.

25.    Rajneesh, Ik aur jahan mumkin hai, “Chauthi Duniya” Dilli, 3 – 9 October 2011.


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The Author Anita Soni is a Polish-born indologist and social anthropologist  (initially associated with The Institute of Orientalist Studies, University of Warsaw), since 1978 permanently based in India and working as independent researcher and grassroots activist, especially among  nomadic tribal communities  faced with ethnocide. In the recent few years  she  has been preoccupied with the question of Constitutional recognition of tribal self-rule. She has now joined SADED with a view to work on a Campaign for Tribal Autonomy

The present article was written as introductory note to the research project of Indian Social Institute on "Tribal Communities in UP with Special Reference to the Baiga in Sonebadra", commissioned by MTA in 2012, and has not been published.