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

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Adivasis, Naxalites and Indian Democracy

This essay argues that adivasis as a whole have gained least and lost most from six decades of democracy and development in India. It presents evidence that they are even more deprived than the dalits. However, unlike the dalits, they have been unable to effectively articulate their grievances through the democratic and electoral process. The failures of the state and of the formal political system have provided a space for Maoist revolutionaries to move into. After analysing the reasons for the rise of "Naxalite" influence, the essay concludes that there is a double tragedy at work in tribal India. The first tragedy is that the state has treated its adivasi citizens with contempt and condescension. The second tragedy is that their presumed protectors, the Naxalites, offer no long-term solution either.

O n December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru moved the Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly of India. This proclaimed that the soon-to-be-free nation would be an Independent Sovereign Republic. Its Constitution would guarantee citizens justice, social, economic and political; equality of status; of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public morality.

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