Critically comment why discrimination and atrocities against Adivasis in India continues unabated, even in states that are educationally advanced. (15 Marks)

Mentors Comments:

  • Atrocities on Adivasis is in news forever. This question is asked to sensitise you and also to test how objectively you can comment on this issue. Moreover, it’s directly related to syllabus under the Indian society as well as topics in the GS paper 2.
  • You should write your opinion why atrocities against tribals continue unabated despite laws that too in well-educated states. As it’s in paper-1, focus more on historical, sociological, cultural and resource-related factors.
  • In the introduction, write 1-2 lines on grim situation faced by tribals – various kind of atrocities related to land, culture, physical and opportunities. Link it with a current affair, or observation made by certain report or study.
  • In the body, there should be TWO parts: One to comment briefly on the given statement (not more than 2-3 lines); Second part, preferably in small paragraphs to comment on reasons why discrimination exist and continue (divide into historical, cultural, land-related, etc) Don’t forget to keep focus on role of advanced states in this issue.
  • Give way forwards
  • In conclusion, write why it’s imperative to end such atrocities. 


The word Adivasi carries the specific meaning of being the original inhabitants of a given region and was specifically coined for that purpose in the 1930s.But they are one of the most discriminated communities in India and are being forced to adapt to modernity even in the most developed states

Why discrimination and atrocities against Adivasis in India continues unabated?

  • Number of development-induced internally displaced people in India over 50 years between 20 and 50 million. Dispossessed, they become a part of the army of cheap, daily wage labour.
  • In Kerala too, there has been a systematic expropriation of indigenous lands since the 1940s by settlers from the plains. 
  • The contact with mainstream society is absolutely damaging for the cultural self of the Adivasis. Their children are often traumatised because of persistent discrimination in schools.
  • There cannot be a mere developmental/economic solution to the Adivasi ‘problem’. But that has been the dominant approach to mitigating their condition. For instance, 5000 Crores is allotted in Kerala Government Budget along with 95000 Crores in 2018 Budget of Union Government.
  • Movements have forced the Indian state to finally make radical legislations which accept the cultural and forest rights of the Adivasis, and grant self-governance to them. But these have either been poorly implemented or completely diluted in practice.
  • Most tribal villages and settlements have no access to schools and medical care. Very few are connected with all-weather roads. Their forests have been pillaged and plantations and industries have come up.
  • Caste system in India recognised them as second-grade citizens leading to further discrimination.

Way forward:-

  • There cannot be the liberation of the Adivasi until the fundamental material issue of land alienation is addressed.
  • The discourse around Adivasis must shift more towards substantive measures like reparations and restitution.
  • Lessons that India can learn from New Zealand’s Maori experience of reconciliation is for indigenous people and governments to have a genuine and robust discussion at the outset of any attempt to resolve grievances.

These communities are full of traditional wisdom on farming, forest conservation, and multiple varieties of uncultivated food that can help them reduce the persistent threats of food security.

There’s a big opportunity for civil society, social agencies and policymakers to come together and create opportunities and initiatives respecting this unique relationship between the tribes and forests.

Initiatives supporting community-led farming, sustainable forest conservation, can not only help us protect the biodiversity of the planet, but also provide sustainable means of forest-led occupations, reduction of absolute poverty and arrest food security and malnutrition in these communities.

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