‘Criminal Tribe’ to ‘Primitive Tribal Group’ and the Role of Welfare State: The Case of Lodhas in West Bengal, India

Santanu Panda and Abhijit Guha
Department of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India

Series: Anthropology Research and Developments
BISAC: SOC062000

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The book deals with the marginalization of a minority tribal group (the Lodhas) in the West Bengal state of India and the role of a democratic welfare state in improving the living conditions of the tribe.

The Lodha tribal community of West Bengal has a long history of drawing the attention of administrators, anthropologists, social activists and the media. In the colonial times, this community was designated as a ‘criminal tribe’ and carried the social stigma during the post-colonial period, although the Government created category after category (e.g. ‘Denotified’ and ‘Primitive Tribal Group’) to designate this marginalized community.

The grass root level reality, which emerged from media reports, anthropologists’ accounts and activists’ literature, revealed that the marginalization of the Lodhas continued long after the Independence of the country.

What seemed to lacking in the long narrative of the Lodhas is an empirical, comprehensive and specific location based field study on the assessment of the various attempts by the Government and the administration towards the process of development of this marginalized tribal community of West Bengal.

Under this broader context, this book is a modest attempt to make a location based empirical assessment of the ground realities of the development of the Lodhas, which revealed from the beginning until today, the governmental attempts towards the improvement of the living conditions of the community which were misplaced, and as a result, the funds remained wasted and did not work at all, although variations in terms of utilization were also observed. It is therefore recommended that a more careful and down to earth approach which is sensitive towards the needs of the community should be undertaken to demarginalize the Lodhas of West Bengal.

The book would be helpful for the graduate students and instructors in Social Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, History, Public Administration, Development Studies, Social Work and Rural Development. It will be also useful for doctoral level students in the various branches of social science. The book would be of use to the government officials, policy makers, NGO workers and other development practitioners working in the field. (Imprint: Nova)

Foreword Ajit Kumar Danda

Preface

About the Authors

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Summary

List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1 - Introduction (pp. 1-10)

Chapter 2 - Anthropologists and Activists View Lodhas: The Second Part of the Post Colonial Story (pp. 11-16)

Chapter 3 - The Study Area and the People (pp. 17-52)

Chapter 4 - The Development Inputs and the Role of the State (pp. 53-72)

Chapter 5 - The Comparative Scenario of the Utilization of the Development Inputs (pp. 73-84)

Chapter 6 - Conclusion and Recommendations

Appendices

Glossary

References

Index

The book is written for the academic Anthropologists, Sociologists, and other social scientists as well as for persons in Public Administration, Development Studies, Social Work and Rural Development. It will also be helpful for the graduate students in the different branches of Social Science. It will be also useful for doctoral level students in the social sciences. The book would be of use to the government officials, policy makers, NGO workers and other development practitioners working in the field.

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