Vol. 2, Issue 3 (2017)
Tribal land alienation: A sociological analysis
Author(s): Dr. P Chand Basha
Abstract: Different tribes have their own cultures-dialects, life styles, social structures, rituals, values, etc. The forest occupies a central position in tribal culture and economy. The tribal way of life is very much dictated by the forest right from birth to death. It is ironical that the poorest people of India are living in the areas of richest natural resources. Historically, tribes have been pushed to corners owing to economic interests of various dominant groups. Land as a prime resource has been a source of problem in tribal life because of two related reasons, first, Dependency, i.e. tribal dependency on land and second, improper planning from government agencies. Tribal people in India can be classified on the basis of their economic pursuits in the following way: Foragers, Pastoral, Handicraft makers, Agriculturists, Shifting hill cultivators, Labourers and Business pursuits. All of these occupations involve direct or indirect dependency on land. Land rights and changes in rules go unnoticed. Tribal are unaware or are made unaware about the rules which governs India’s land rights. The tribal’s do not have access to land records, not even the Record of Rights. This lends them to a higher probability of getting exploited, by the non-tribal’s and in some cases by the local officials. Wherever lands are given yet the pattas are not given, or pattas handed over yet the land is not shown. There is a discrepancy in demarcation of Scheduled Areas. In some places it is village wise and in some places it is area wise. The twin factor responsible for land alienation is: (a) Economic poverty of tribals (b) Simplicity and honesty of tribals. (c) Unawareness of forest act, illiteracy, poverty, (d) Absence of banking facilities in tribal areas are the other reasons of land alienation. Despite Government initiatives and developmental projects the existing socio-economic profile of the tribal communities is low compared to the mainstream population. All forms of social exclusion and a high degree of deprivation are the major problems faced by the tribal community in Kerala. The Constitution of India makes special provisions for socio-economic development of the tribal groups. It is also a fact that pre-independent and post independent governments in our state could not and did not do much for the upliftment of the marginalized groups. The actions of successive governments in Kerala unfortunately failed to solve the tribal issues. These groups have very limited capability to act as strong pressure groups in Kerala politics, because of the poor organizational strength; and bargaining power. Consequent to this, the political bodies seldom take care of their concerns.