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

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Whose Development?

The Other Side of Development: The Tribal Story edited by Arun Kumar Ghosh and Ram Dayal Munda (New Delhi: Konark Publishers), 2012; pp 412, Rs 750.

Development, displacement and marginalisation have been the hallmarks of Indian society. This dimension of society is unambiguously visible in the context of tribal communities in India. The process of displacement, marginalisation and dispossession has accentuated in the age of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG). The era of LPG has resulted in different magnitudes and stages of experiences for the various parties concerned. This brings hope for the State and different corporations and despair for tribal communities. The LPG era has attracted governments to sign memoranda with various corporate sectors, allowing them to establish their industries and exploit natural resources such as land and forest from tribal-inhabited regions. This has emerged as one of the major challenges to the livelihoods of tribal communities in India. To put it differently, the strategies and the processes of development in the age of LPG have raised some pertinent questions such as, development for what, for whom and at whose cost?

The book under review attempts to address these questions from diverse perspectives. It is a collection of essays that were presented at the seminar organised by the Council for Social Development in August 2007 (except two papers by K B Saxena). The book is divided into six themes; each theme explores one significant issue faced by tribal societies. The introduction by Arun Kumar Ghosh attempts to provide an overview of the different dynamics of tribal society in India. He deals with issues and concerns of tribal communities by emphasising the fact that the process of so-called development leads not only to the loss of livelihood of tribal communities and alienation of land, but also to the erosion of their cultural identity (pp 2 and 7).

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