- Mr Amit Kisku
- Email address:
- Thesis title:
- Santals, Forest, and State Relationships: Interplay of Ethnic Identity and Environmentality in Jungle Mahals, India (Working Title).
- Year of Study:
Santals, Forest, and State Relationships: Interplay of Ethnic Identity and Environmentality in Jungle Mahals, India (Working Title)
A number of scholars of indegeneity challenge the identity of the tribals, adivasis, or indigenous people by arguing that it was constructed through some British colonial acts and policies. This gives an impression that the identity of these groups does not have a kernel in the society. This impression leads some scholars of community forest management to argue that when these tribals participate in the state initiated forest management programmes, their ethnic identity totally disappears. These arguments are real threats to the identity of Santals- the third largest scheduled tribes in India.
Being a Santal myself, my project is inclined to defend the identity of the Santals in particular, and of the tribals in general. My thesis argues that the Santal identity is constructed by the circumstances of living in the Indian social structure (and thus not merely created through the British acts and policies !). I am trying to see how it has been continued from the pre-colonial period, through colonial period, till the present day. I am supporting my argument with the data collected in two main ways. The first is an ‘alternative’ reading of the colonial texts to examine the history of the construction of Santal identity. Second, I am doing Anthropology at Home in Jungle Mahals of India to explore the persistency of the Santal identity in the condition of their participation in forest management programmes.