Adivasi/tribal/Dalit india is a world full of marginalisation and neglect, evoked in journalist P. Sainath’s book, Everybody loves a good drought – the India beyond tourist brochures, of social and ecological devastation, structural violence, mining industry wastelands, cultural and linguistic genocide… Official recognition of this started with B.D. Sharma’s 1989 Report as Commissioner of Scheduled Castes and Tribes that mentioned ‘internal colonialism’ and ‘the Indian state making war on its own people’. This accelerated with Salwa Judum and ‘Operation Greenhunt’ against Maoist insurgents from 2005, characterised by ‘fake encounters’ and thousands of Adivasi and Dalit under-trials in jails in cases of questionable authenticity. In some areas this alienation started long before, such as the Telengana war ignited in Hyderabad state soon after Independence, Nehru’s alienation of Nagas in 1955, leading through the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA, 1958) to years of bloody conflict in various areas of North East India, and mass displacement from the 1950s by big dams, that Nehru called ‘Temples of modern India’, without sympathy or comprehension for the cultural genocide suffered by displaced Adivasis. Despite repression, hundreds of movements against industrial takeover of tribal lands throughout India are complemented by reassertion of tribal identities.
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