`Maps of resource rich, poverty stricken tribal India overlap`

  • 30/05/2007

Ethnic conflicts have dogged India since independence. The problem has attracted a lot of scholarship. Amarjyoti Borah talks to two eminent academics who have looked at the problem. Ram Dayal Munda, currently chief advisor, Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, puts the problem of tribal people in the country in perspective

Which areas in India are most prone to ethnic conflict?
These days unrest begins in Nepal, and proceeds down along forest lines to Kerala; from north Maharashtra it spreads to the east coast. Maps of forest-laden India, poverty-stricken India, illiterate India, and natural resource-rich India overlap. These areas are also coterminous with tribal India, a realm prone to ethnic conflicts.

What are the main reasons for the unrest?
Rural deprivation breeds unrest.Illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and insecurity are reasons that are interrelated. People rebel because their survival is threatened.

But a lot of violence is committed by educated young men who have options.
Most, actually, don't have options. People are lured into extremist groups for paltry sums, sometimes as low as Rs 1,500. Such violence will definitely come down, once the economic condition of people improves.

Today tribal lands are encroached by non-tribals. There is also violence for small jobs, which adds