ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tribal 'Annihilation' and 'Upsurge' in Uttar Pradesh

Issues of identity, inclusion, social justice, political representation and empowerment form the backdrop of this enquiry that highlights the sufferings of tribals in Uttar Pradesh and points to a historical wrong that failed to recognise tribes in the state as scheduled tribes. This paper argues that contrary to conventional knowledge, UP has a substantial population of tribes who were "excluded" from constitutional and administrative category of scheduled tribes and wrongly placed in the "lower/lowest categories" of the Hindu social hierarchy. From a zero population of the scheduled tribes until 1970 to a population of one lakh in 2001 to an estimated 26 lakh plus in the 2011 Census is a bizarre story of tribal "annihilation" and upsurge in the state that warrants revisiting tribal issues. This will help to give them their due in political representation and socio-economic life as per their actual share in population.

This paper is based on the author’s presentation at the Centre for South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison on “Tribals in Uttar Pradesh: Issues of Identity and Political Representation” on 8 November 2012. The author is especially grateful to Crawford Young, EmeritusProfessor, Rikhil Bhavnani, assistant professor and Adam Auerbach,PhD candidate, all from the political science department, University of Wisconsin, and Lalita du Perron, the Centre’s Associate Director for their comments and questions. The author also thanks Swaminath, UP secretary, Akhil Bharatvarshiya Gond Mahasabha and activist Durga Prasad Gond, advocate, Kanpur, for helping him in this study, and Ian Duncan, University of Sussex, UK for making available some of his unpublished material on “Adivasis in India”.

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