This book is about the presence of the absent— the tribes of Punjab, India, many of them still nomadic, constituting the poorest of the poor in the state. Drawing on exhaustive fieldwork and ethnographic accounts of more than 750 respondents, it explores the occupational change across generations to prove their presence in the state before the Criminal Tribes Act was implemented in 1871. The archival reports reveal the atrocities unleashed by the colonial government on these people. The volume shows how the post-colonial government too has proved no different; it has done little to bring them into the mainstream society by not exploiting their traditional expertise or equipping them with modern skills.
This book will be of great interest to scholars of sociology, social anthropology, social history, public policy, development studies, tribal communities and South Asian studies.
Table of Contents
1. Presence of the Absent: An Introduction 2. Punjab and its people 3. Tribal communities in the Colonial Punjab 4. Tribal communities in the Post-Colonial Punjab 5. Socio-economic Profile of the Tribal Communities in Punjab 6. Occupations of the Tribal Communities 7. Intergenerational Occupational Change 8. In Lieu of Conclusion
Birinder Pal Singh is Professor of Eminence in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Punjabi University, Patiala, India, where he joined as lecturer in 1976. He was a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (1993–1995). His areas of study include tribal and peasant communities, and the sociology of violence. His publications include: Economy and Society in the Himalayas: Social Formation in Pangi Valley (1996); Problems of Violence: Themes in Literature (1999); Violence as Political Discourse: Sikh Militancy Confronts the Indian State (2002); Punjab Peasantry in Turmoil (ed.) (2010); ‘Criminal’ Tribes of Punjab: A Social- Anthropological Inquiry (ed.) (2010) and Sikhs in the Deccan and North-East India (2018) He has about 70 research papers and articles, and has worked on seven research projects.