Adivasis, Migrants and the State in India  book cover
1st Edition

Adivasis, Migrants and the State in India

ISBN 9780367732370
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge India
306 Pages

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Book Description

This book looks at the contested relationship between Adivasis or the indigenous peoples, migrants and the state in India. It delves into the nature and dynamics of competition and resource conflicts between the Adivasis and the migrants. Drawing on the ground experiences of the Dandakaranya Project – when Bengali migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were rehabilitated in eastern and central India – the author traces the connection between resource scarcity and the emergence of Naxalite politics in the region in tandem with the key role played by the state. He critically examines the way in which conflicts between these groups emerged and interacted, were shaped and realised through acts and agencies of various kinds, as well as their socio-economic, cultural and political implications. The book explores the contexts and reasons that have led to the dispossession, deprivation and marginalisation of Adivasis.

Through rich empirical data, this book presents an in-depth analysis of a contemporary crisis. It will be useful to scholars and researchers of political studies, South Asian politics, conflict studies, political sociology, cultural studies, sociology and social anthropology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Migration, Communities and Conflicts over Resources in India 1. Rights, Dissent and Conflict: Migrants, State and Citizenship in India 2. Creating a Space for Migrants: The Idea and Execution of the Dandakaranya Project in Adivasi Region 3. Adivasis, Bengali Migrants and the State: Explaining the Differentiated Marginality 4. Dispossession, Discontent and Conflict: Interface Between Adivasis and Bengali Migrants 5. Competing Communities: Domination, Marginalisation and Political Contestation 6. Adivasis, Resource Scarcity and the State: Emergence of Naxalite Politics. Conclusion.

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Jagannath Ambagudia is Associate Professor at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Chairperson, Unit for Research and Development, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus, Assam, India. Previously, he taught at the Department of Political Science, Rajdhani College, University of Delhi; National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Karnataka; and ARSD College, University of Delhi. He has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in edited volumes on issues of Adivasi society, social exclusion and inclusion, development and deprivation, marginalisation, preferential treatment, distributive justice and community conflict.


‘This well-researched and well-written book addresses the seminal issue of rehabilitation of migrants that has confronted the Indian State since independence. Taking the example of the Dandakaranya Project, under which East Bengal migrants were rehabilitated in eastern India, it shows how this impacted on the Adivasis of the region, triggering competition and conflict between communities over access and control over scarce resources. The study provides an excellent exploration of the relationship between the state and migrants, how group conflicts emerge, their socio-economic and cultural repercussions, resulting in domination and political marginalisation of the Adivasis as also triggering Naxalite activity in Odisha. An excellent addition to migration studies, the book will provide a framework for future research on this continuing challenge.’

Sudha Pai, Former National Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi; Former Rector (Pro-Vice Chancellor) and Professor, Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

‘A much-needed exposition of the conflict over resources between Bengali migrants and native Adivasis in central and eastern India, and the state’s role in further marginalising the Adivasis.’

Alpa Shah, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK