Aspiring To Be: Tribal/Indigenous Condition (Paperback)

By B K Roy Burman and B G Verghese (ed.)

The world is home to some 250 to 300 million tribal and indigenous people of whom about a third live in the Commonwealth, the bulk of these in India. The plight of these historically and socially disadvantaged, marginalized and disregarded groups have increasingly become the focus of attention by national governments and the international community. The United Nations’ concern is manifest by its Draft Declaration on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. The chronological distinction sought to be made as between “tribal” and “indigenous” is, however, something that India for one finds inaccurate and unable to accept. Nevertheless, whatever the definition, the problem survives.

It was to look at this situation that the CHRI, New Delhi, and the MRG, London, sponsored a workshop on Tribal and Indigenous Rights. The participants included distinguished tribal and indigenous representatives, scholars, administrators and activists able to draw on first hand experience. The discussions and papers presented revealed the anguish, pain and yearning of tribal and indigenous people to be allowed to live their lives in honour and dignity, with opportunity to grow in accordance with their own genius and to participate in the process of modernization on their own terms. These peoples seek equity, justice, self-governance, and control over the natural resources with which their lives, livelihood, faith and culture are so closely bound.

The volume offers penetrating insights into the tribal and indigenous world of South Asia, Australia and New Zealand against the background of emerging national trends and international instruments.

B.K. Roy Burman is a distinguished anthropologist and academic, currently Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. He has served in various capacities with the office of Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Tribes and the Registrar General, India.

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