The significance of the work can be judged from the fact that 18
anthropologists 14 sociologists, four social workers, two
journalists, six tribal leaders, four administrators and 17
representatives of tribal research institutes have participated
in the work. The scope of participation makes the work
inter-disciplinary. In all, there are 51 papers, out of which 10
have been summarised. These papers tend to highlight the
problems that Indian tribes have been facing and suggest methods
to tackle them. The work, in this sense, becomes important from
both the academic and national point of view. It tends to evolve
certain policy guidelines on general problems of national unity.
address traces the history of the contemporary tribal scene. The
diversity of tribal situations evokes a reader’s interest.
While the North-East has seen a high rate of politicisation,
Central India has set a good example of acculturation. The
results are equally distinct. While the situation in the
North-East has taken the shape of insurgency, the latter has
witnessed tribal uprisings and increased confrontation between
the tribals and non-tribals.
governments have tried to devise ways in which this alienation
and isolation of tribals can be put to an end. The book suggests
opening up of borders along Bangladesh and ways in which trade
ties can be established. Here, another problem of influx of
refugees emerges. As in Assam, where the tribals have become a
minority. Perhaps a rail-road link through Bangladesh will help.
The book also draws attention to the role of Christian
missionaries. Today, Mizoram boasts of high literacy and
awareness levels. Changes are evident in Himachal Pradesh.
Monetisation of the tribal economy has helped the tribals in
improving their economic lot. Their peas and potatoes now find a
market throughout India.
situation, as of today, has been the result of a series of
developments since the advent of the British. Social movement
among various tribes has its roots in the British period. The
Chhota Nagpur revivalistic movement and the Jharkhand movement
against land alienation and exploitation are of reader interest.
Keeping in mind the antiquity of the situation, the problems of
tribals will have to be traced to the developments during this
period. These papers offer a great lot of details to study these
integration of tribals are indeed very complex. Recent extension
of the ceasefire with the Nagas offers hope. But a lot has to be
done to lessen the complexities that engulf tribal India.Rapid
development will only widen the gap between tribals and non-tribals
and industrialisation will restrict them to the fringe. The book
makes certain suggestions: redefinition and rescheduling of
tribes; easing tensions among tribals and with non-tribals;
safeguards for tribals within an overall plan of speedy national
reconstruction and development; integration into the mainstream
without the loss of cultural identify. The Press, media,
voluntary agencies and social scientists will have to play an
important role in it.
The book contains rich
statistical details. Discussions towards the end act as reviews
of presentations and make the work critical. There are hardly
any good books available to deal with the issue of tribals in
detail. This revised edition will be of immense use for policy
makers, researchers, general readers and even NGOs who are
interested in working with tribals. But, this work lacks
information about tribes in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and
Rajasthan. The book also does not have an index, which is
expected from any standard work. Despite this, the book offers
hope for peace in turbulent tribal India.