Historian’s new book praised for challenging perceptions of Adivasis

They are uncivilised, unkempt, violent, indecent, stupid, behave like animals and most importantly, they are ignorant. This is the common perception of adivasis in the country for years now.

Published: 19th January 2017 03:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2017 05:37 AM   |  A+A-

Prof Kancha Ilaiah expressing his views on ‘The Roots of the Periphery’ at Lamakaan in Hyderabad on Wednesday | vinay madapu

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: They are uncivilised, unkempt, violent, indecent, stupid, behave like animals and most importantly, they are ignorant. This is the common perception of adivasis in the country for years now.
However, the book, ‘The Roots of the Periphery — A History of Gonds of Deccan India’ by Bhangya Bhukya, a historian and UoH prof is set to break this perception. Published on December 31, 2016, a discussion on the book was held at Lamakaan on Wednesday where Kancha Iliah, author and Dalit rights activist, Kalpana Kannabiran, sociologist and lawyer and Susie Tharu, activist and prof at the English and Foreign Languages University were part of the panel.

Heaping praise on how the book changes the discourse on the understanding Adivasis and breaking the ‘colonial and Brahminical’ perception of the community, Kancha Ilaiah said, “This is a remarkable piece of work in the history of tribal writing since pre-independence period. Bangya breaks the social construct and examines them at length, their struggles against the Nizam and British rule.”

When Bangya published the book, ‘Subjugated Nomads: The Lambadas Under the Rule of the Nizams,’ he discovered the Gond community and decided he would document their history and life. “Unrecorded transfer of lands took place between Lambada and Gond community.

This Adivasi to Adivasi transfer of assets has not been recorded had led to rise of one community and another to fade. Aspects such as these are part of this book,” pointed Kalpana Kannabiran adding that homogenising all of the Adivasis as one is something that needs to break and Bangya does that.
Bangya shared that society’s  perception of Adivasis pained him and was the main reason behind publishing the narrative.

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