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

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Alien Construct and Tribal Contestation in Colonial Chhotanagpur: The Medium of Christianity

Taking the case of the Mundas and Uraons of Chhotanagpur, this essay looks at the encounter between the colonial state and the tribals of India. It first examines how the term "tribe" evolved to designate a set of negative traits, shaped under colonialism's response to escalating tribal resistance to their rule. It then studies Christianity in its dual role of providing support to colonial rule as well as succour to the "tribals". The paper argues that the colonial state merely transformed pre-colonial prejudices of brahmanical texts and gave them a social Darwinian twist. Unfortunately, the view of tribals as a lower evolutionary form of civilisation continues in nationalist India.

T he Oxford English Dictionary, Compact Edition (1971)

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