Sunday, January 21, 2007

Adivasis, Naxalites and the future of India

I attended a very interesting lecture at the Nehru Centre in Worli by the noted Indian writer and academic Ramachandra Guha on the subject of adivasis, naxalites and the future of India. For those unaware, the adivasis are the “tribal” people of India, making up some 70 million members of peninsular India's population

Guha's talk centered on the eastern adivasis, centered on the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, as opposed to their northern counterparts, and on the relationship these groups have with both the Indian state and the Naxalite Maoist insurgency here that is presently thought to contain some 10,000 regular fighters and several hundred thousand supporters in 13 of India's 28 states. Violence from conflict between the Maoists and the Indian government - both of whom stand accused of arming young adivasi men and boys to fight - claimed over 700 lives - including dozens of adivasi villagers slain by the rebels this past spring -in the last year alone.

Among Guha's most poignant observations were that "adivasis have gained least and lost most in six decades of Indian independence "as a result of exploitation and dispossession at the hands of successive Indian governments. Likewise, he said, the Naxalites offer "no long-term solution" to the plight of the tribes.

An important subject and one I will revisit in the future.

On another note, there is a highly interesting article by Bill Berkeley on Persian blogging in the Spring edition of the World Policy Journal.


Robbie Whelan said...

Michael -

When is this lecture? I can't find info on it on the Nehru Center website.


Michael Deibert said...

Dear Robbie,

It was on Saturday night, so I'm afraid that you missed it.

Boa sorte,