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

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'Custom' and 'Democracy' in Jharkhand

The controversy over whether and how to conduct the long stalled panchayat elections in Jharkhand has once again brought to the fore rifts between adivasis and non-adivasis and has also renewed the debate on the very nature of democracy. Traditional structures involving hereditary, non-elected headmen or chiefs appear anachronistic in the current democratic set-up. Such structures, moreover, are seen to be patriarchal and feudal, in that they bar women from holding positions of political power. At the same time, the current electoral system has been unable to provide substantive democracy as adivasis complain of being alienated from resources that had traditionally and naturally accrued to them.

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