Politics Of Census And Capitalism Sarna Dharm Code And Adivasi Survival

Amita Kumari //

This November, on the eleventh, the Jharkhand Assembly met for a special session. A resolution for Sarna Adivasi Dharm Code Bill was passed and a long overdue demand of the Adivasis of Jharkhand got met halfway. It now awaits approval from the Centre as, constitutionally, the power of legislating on religious matters is vested in the Parliament.

Sarna Dharm Code seeks to bring Adivasi religions at par with other major religions of India, namely, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. These are the only religions that are listed separately in the Census, and thus, those practising religions other than these six fail to get distinctly recognized in the Census. The Sarna Dharm Code seeks to make a space for Sarna, the religion the Adivasis of Jharkhand claim to practice.  

Sarna Dharm Code, although aimed at merely an official recognition of Sarna as a separate Census category, has a much wider implication. It has a historical significance and is inextricably linked with Adivasi identity and survival. The long history of Indian State’s discriminatory politics against the Adivasis, the right-wing Hindu politics to bring them within the fold of Hinduism, and the endless ill-efforts of the capitalists to grab their lands, provide the context to this issue. This paper seeks to explore this context in order to better appreciate the significance of this symbolic gesture of Jharkhand Assembly.

Indian State and the Adivasis: Politics of Terminology and Census

The people who are popularly designated as Tribes and Adivasis have been known by several other terms too. ‘Primitive tribes’, ‘Adimjati’, ‘backward Hindus’, ‘Sons of soil’, ‘Raniparaj’, ‘Indigenous people’, ‘Vanvasi’, and similar other terminologies have been used for this community. These terms are not mere defining categories; most of them are a product of particular forms of politics that are crucial to the existence and livelihood of these people.

The Constitution of India lists them as Scheduled Tribe and the Constitution makers very carefully avoided the term ‘Adivasi’ or ‘indigenous’ to describe them. ‘Adivasi’ and its English counterpart ‘indigenous’ remain highly contested and scrutinized terminologies, particularly after the two terms entered the vocabulary of Adivasi politics and when the idea of indigeneity became an integral part of their consciousness. These terms strongly express the legitimacy of the Adivasi right to the land they were the ‘first’ to till, to the forest they ‘first’ inhabited. As anthropological categories, they may not stand much ground against the arguments of indigenity, but as far as marginalization is concerned, these terms have been internalized by them and have been used as an emphatic tool to assert their marginalized existence. They fortify  Adivasi claims for their rightful place in mainstream political and economic processes.

Officially and constitutionally, however, both terms remain rejected. India’s official position at the United Nations with regard to indigenous population has been that of complete denial. India has categorically stated that neither the Scheduled Tribes nor any other community in India can exclusively claim to be indigenous and that actually all Indians are indigenous. Similarly, Indian State refuses to use the term ‘Adivasi’. The detailed narrative of the reluctance to accept it as a constitutional category and settling down for a neutral, administrative term like Scheduled Tribe, can be found in the Constituent Assembly debates. Jaipal Singh Munda, the vociferous Adivasi leader in the Constituent Assembly, replied to this reluctance without mincing words. One may quote from one of his many such rejoinders:

The word ‘Adibasis’ has not been used in any of the translations made by the several Committees… why has the word ‘Adibasi’ not used and the word ‘Banjati’ has been used? Most of the members of our tribes do not live in jungles…I do not understand why this old abusive epithet of Banjati is being used in regard to them-for till recently it meant an uncivilized barbarian.  

Despite Jaipal’s repeated insistence on the term ‘Adivasi’ it was not accepted. Similarly, despite continual representations of Adivasi delegates in UNWGIP (United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations), Indian State remains adamant on its position.

This politics of terminology finds a suitable partner in the politics of census, when it comes to denying the Adivasis their due. Both politics seek to obliterate the distinct historical identity and experience of the Adivasis which have been shaped by a long past of marginalization and dispossession.

In India the Census began in the year 1871. Religion used to be a prominent criterion in the pre-independent censuses. The Adivasis were classified under “animists” or “primitive religions” till the 1951 census. The religions practised by the Adivasis, thus, remained recognized as a separate category till 1951. Since 1961 the Censuses began the enumeration of religious affiliation under six categories (as mentioned above) and religions other than these six are clubbed under the category “other”. The latter are asked to specify their religions, but their specific religions get marked only within the “other’ category. The Adivasi religious persuasions, since then, have failed to present themselves as a separate entity and their existence and identity have been rendered inconsequential.

This inconsequentiality does not mean a mere religious discrimination. It poses crucial material disadvantages for the Adivasis. A peep into the materiality of this gradual obliteration exposes the Indian State’s crafty design aimed at dispossessing the Adivasis of the very rights that have been historically achieved through struggles against the British and the Indian State.

We are aware that constitutionally the Adivasis are provided with separate provisions that recognize their unique historical identity and needs, and seek to safeguard their special interests. For example under the Fifth Schedule, areas with dominant tribal population are categorized as Scheduled Areas and the Governor of the State is responsible to make and implement policies for the economic and cultural welfare of the Adivasis. The Fifth Schedule also safeguards the special needs of the Adivasis by limiting the effects of legislations passed by the Centre or State legislature. A Tribal Advisory Council is also constituted in each State with Scheduled area that advises the Governor on matters of welfare and development of the tribes. The entire edifice of the provision of Fifth Schedule stands on the criterion of population. Similarly, several initiatives of positive discrimination like reservation, Central funds under tribal sub-plan, and others, are based on population count. In the last few years, there have been sharp demands for removal of certain districts from the category of Scheduled Areas owing to declining tribal population. The Census, thus, becomes extremely crucial.      

One may pause here for a while and remind oneself that the entire exercise of census has never been a neutral one. In democracy where numbers decide political fates, the data and information collected by Census form sensitive items. Politics around collection, processing and revealing of the data has been a part and parcel of the entire Census exercise. Census creates and defines various demographic categories. It produces the information and knowledge of existing population. But historically, it has been found that the creation of categories and production of knowledge have been shaped by the interests of the State. In the case of Adivasis, there has been a protracted conscious design on the part of the Indian State to gradually obliterate their separate historical identity and integrate them with the mainstream Indian population. And Census comes handy to this design.  Mehar Singh Gill (2007), in a study, informs that the ruling class uses three methods to increase or decrease socio-economic visibility of a community through census counts –

One, selecting enumeration categories in such a manner that only those attributes of people/ population find mention which suit the reigning political class. Two, providing more of data and more space for discussion on various socio-economic and demographic attributes of the “mainstream” political group(s)… Three, carving out census and administrative areas in such a manner that concentrations of certain people get variously bifurcated. In India, all the three methods could be found at work regarding the collection of population data. 

The Indian ruling class has used these and similar means to decrease the visibility of Adivasis in the Census – the replacement of “animism” by “other” and the  possibility of the dropping of even the “other” category in the 2021 census (the Adivasi activists have made claims regarding this possibility) are meant to achieve a gradual invisbilisation of the Adivasis. That these means are actually working gets demonstrated by the gradual decrease in the percentage of the Adivasis through succeeding censuses. In the last eight decades Adivasi population has decreased from 38.03% to 26.02% in the year 2011. The decadal growth rate among the Adivasis has also become lesser when compared to that of the non Adivasis. While in 1931-41 the former grew by 13.76% and the latter by 11.13%, in the decade 1991-2001, the rate for the former was 17.19% and for the latter was 25.65%. Several factors may have led to this fall, but the effective role of census enumeration can also not be denied. The demand for Sarna Dharm Code needs to be seen against this background.  Existence as a separate category of Adivasis and hence the rightful claims to constitutional safeguards, rests on the strength of census counts. Religion, which remains one of the most defining criteria to segregate Adivasis from the non-Adivasis, has thus become the moot point.

Adivasi Religious Identity and Politics of the Sangh

In the colonial exercise of defining and redefining the diverse Indian population into neat categories, Adivasis emerged as the worst sufferers. The defining features of their identity were left ambivalent, and this has remained so since then. This best serves the interests of the Hindu right wing politics – the “grand” Hinduism that encapsulates several contradictory elements into one whole, finds no difficulty in labelling Adivasi religious practices as Hindu. And this poses grave dangers for Adivasi identity.

Adivasis, as we know, have historically been exposed to both Hindu and Christian influences. We are also aware of the fact that there are both Hindu and Christian Adivasis, apart from those who profess their traditional religions. Yet, there are a couple of crucial differences between Hinduism and Christianity when it comes to their interaction with tribals. Firstly, while conversion to Christianity is a formal, one-time step, hinduisation of tribals occurs is a long protracted process. It is this gradualness of the latter conversion that hides the proselytizing character of Hinduism as a religion. Hence, in the context of hinduisation, unlike Christianity, the common term used is not ‘conversion’, but ‘assimilation’, ‘absorption’ and ‘sanskritisation’. Also, conversion to Hinduism does not involve any intermediary or outside agency and therefore, overall, the transition is seen as natural. Ideas like “danger to religion/ culture”, “ill-motives of proselytizing agency” or “allurement” etc., that are generally associated with conversions to Christianity, therefore, appear as irrational in the context of the “naturalness” of conversion to Hinduism. And that portrays the latter as harmless. Secondly, while conversion to Christianity confines the changes to worship practices and lifestyle, with the converting Adivasi remaining well within the structure of his/her kinship based community, conversion to Hinduism holds the potential of gradual entry into the caste-based Hindu social structure. And history offers several instances of tribal communities transforming into one of the many Hindu castes. This actually means leaving the tribal fold and shunning the Adivasi identity. It is significant to note here, that in the vocabulary of Hindu Right, this is seen as ‘ghar wapasi’ – a reconversion or re-entry for those who had left the fold of Hinduism. The shuddhi movement was based on this proclamation. This makes all Adivasis “naturally” Hindus. And herein lies the gravity of the danger that Hindu right wing forces pose to tribal existence. One should locate the agenda of Hindutva forces vis-à-vis Adivasis in the above context. Hindutva’s conscious efforts remain unseen, labeled as “natural” and at the same time, the conversion ultimately leads to inflation of Hindu vote bank.           

It would be pertinent to mention that despite the so-called ‘naturalness’ of the process, there have always been active agents working towards the Hinduisation of tribals. In the ancient and medieval past the Brahmin priests served this role, in modern times various Hindu organizations (for example the Arya Samaj and several local Hindu reformists and missions) have played immensely significant role towards this end. These efforts and initiatives, however, were scattered and unorganized. Lately, with the strengthening of Hindutva forces, such efforts have been systematized and brought under the umbrella of the Sangh Parivar through initiatives like Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams, Ekal Vidyalayas and several others. This organized, disciplined and meticulously planned enterprise of the Sangh has matured into a formidable force and lately the impact has become acutely visible. And interestingly a good many Adivasis have become sincere volunteers of the Sangh Parivar in this agenda.

This agenda is steeped in conservatism. It refuses to recognize the logic of history and puts forth arguments that are ridiculously untenable; but over the edifice of this irrationality is built their reactionary politics. Adivasi identity is conceived only within the “grand” discourse of Hinduism and any act that defies this logic is absurdly linked with dangers to Indian culture and unity. The greatest enemies that have been invented by this reactionarism are Christianity and its proselytizing activities. The torching of Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines along with his two sons in Orissa in 2003 by Bajrang Dal and the Religious Freedom Act of 2017 by BJP led government in Jharkhand that led to the harassment and arrest of several Christian missionaries, are but few highlights of this reactionary politics.

Here it must be noted that the above conservative discourse vis-à-vis Adivasis is not a preserve of Sangh Parivar. It is only in the last few decades that they have come to own this politics. The Indian State, right since independence, and the Congress leaders in the pre-independent times, are known to have adopted a paternalistic attitude towards Adivasis and the dominant narrative had been that of assimilating the Adivasis within the mainstream (Hindu) population. The entire politics of census or terminology, discussed above, that denied an independent space to Adivasi existence happened when Congress was at the helm of affairs. The Sangh politics is merely unabashed and uncompromising.       

It is this unabashed stance that openly declares Adivasis as nothing but Hindus. Every now and then, the RSS and BJP leaders have resorted to such statements. One may refer to some of their statements to make sense of the audacity and absurdity of their logic. In 2018, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat spoke at a rally in Chhattisgarh:

When we say Adivasi, then that is our core identity. We are their children…Even though we see different pictures, our forefathers were the same… from forty thousand years ago. From Afghanistan to Burma, and from the slopes of Tibet in China to Sri Lanka in south, the DNA of the people say their forefathers are the same… This is something that connects us.

In May 2019, an RSS functionary at Dumka in Jharkhand had the following to teach the villagers in an awareness campaign:

Can you desert your mother who has given you birth after nine months of suffering? Then why do you convert to Christianity by leaving your Hindu mother? We are Hindus, let us keep this identity intact.

Adivasis are being constantly fed with similar ideas by the grassroot level Sangh organizations. Built on this ideological footing, one comes across several instances of ‘ghar wapasi’ or ‘reconversion’. In January 2019, 96 Christians from Adivasi families of Tripura were converted to Hinduism by the Hindu Jagran Manch and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. In 2015, more than 100 tribal Christians were converted to Hinduism at Rampurhat in West Bengal. Similarly, in 2014, the VHP conducted a ‘ghar vapasi’ campaign in south Gujarat converting 100 Christian tribals. Similar “homecoming” ceremonies were reported in good numbers from Uttar Pradesh. These conversions are preceded by vigorous, long-term exercise to bring the tribals ideologically closer to Hindu practices. Similitudes between Adivasi religions and Hinduism are established, Adivasi deities are portrayed in Hindu forms and Sanskritized Hindu religious ceremonies are organized during Adivasi festivals. Apart from these, the schools run by these outfits like the Ekal Vidyalayas, consistently manipulate the young tribal minds.

Lately, the Adivasis have been able to recognize the real intent behind these efforts and a section among them has become strongly vocal. One finds several such mobilizations among Adivasis in last few years. In 2017 at Raigarh, Maharashtra, Adivasi communities in nearly ten panchayats resolved not to celebrate the festival of Durga Puja and the burning of Ravana’s effigy and the Adivasis Mulnivasi organization registered the first ever FIR against the celebration of Durga Puja which was seen as an insult on Mahishasura. Such instances are a reminder of the growing self consciousness among the Adivasis. These acts represent ways to tell the non-tribals that there are other ways to conceptualise the mainstream gods and goddesses and that the past has no monolithic version.

A more self conscious assertion, underlining and attacking the subtle hinduisation efforts, was seen in 2006. About fifty thousand tribal people and their leaders from four states, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal met for a four day convention in Latehar district of Jharkhand. Concluding on 8 May 2006, this meeting served as the Bisu Sendra, the highest council for tribal people. This convention was a declaration against the growing ‘hinduization’ trend among the tribals. It was decided to ban Hindu priests from conducting tribal marriages and religious ceremonies. It also banned tribal people going to Hindu temples and indulging in idol worship. The meeting highlighted the recent emergence of a deity called ‘Sarna Mata’ (Sarna mother). The convenor of the Bisu Sendra, Beokumar Dhan, informed that recently some people have distributed pictures and statues of a Sarna ‘goddess’ in villages calling it Sarna mata and many tribals have started keeping these pictures in their houses and worshipping them. Further, some people have also distributed audio cassettes containing songs of Sarna mata. The convention asked the tribal priests to punish people who play such songs and also nullify all such marriages that were conducted by Hindu priests.

This reassertion has now become louder and clearer with the question of Sarna Dharm Code. The bold declaration that “Adivasis are not Hindus” is fast gathering adherents and it saw its culmination in the passing of the Sarna Code Bill Resolution by the Jharkhand Assembly. The demand for inclusion of Adivasi religions as a separate code in census, however, is not a recent one. Among the Santal tribes of Jharkhand, there was a group in the 1950s that consciously kept asserting their adherence to Santal religion, the Sari dharma. This group, eager to bring back, preserve and protect its traditional customs and cultural heritage, was a self conscious group that tried to voice their Sari dharma religious status in the 1961 census. Late Ram Dayal Munda, one of the foremost Adivasi leaders, popularized ‘Adi-Dharma’ as an umbrella term to denote the several Adivasi religions in India. These leaders have been exhorting their people to shun hinduised ways and reject every hinduising approach. They have also, thus, helped the Adivasis feel a sense of deep connection with their identity and belief system, a pride in their religion and way of life.

In the last couple of years the demand for a separate code has gained momentum as the days of next census come nearer and as the Sangh Parivar has become more vociferous in its efforts of getting the Adivasis listed as Hindus in the Census. Some recent happenings are worth mentioning. In January this year RSS Chief, Mohan Bhagwat met the Sangh volunteers in Bhopal where concerns were raised over “decreasing” Hindu population as tribals were not registering themselves as Hindus and it was categorically stated that Sangh volunteers must reach out to the tribals in villages and spread awareness in this regard. This stirred the tribals and non-BJP leaders of tribal dominated states, particularly Madhya Pradesh. MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath took a serious note of the matter and asked the senior officials to keep a watch on RSS activity in the 89 tribal blocks of Madhya Pradesh.

RSS and its affiliates have never supported the demand for Sarna Code. But they categorically stated their stand only in the year 2015 when RSS sah sarkaryavah, Krishna Gopal had said that tribals are Hindus and all of them come under the Hindu Code. Yet, under mounting pressure from the Adivasis, Raghubar Das of BJP, the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, had to promise Sarna Dharm Code just before the 2019 State election. This time, the Jharkhand Adivasis refused to believe BJP. The latter was routed in the Assembly elections, with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) forming the government and within a year the JMM fulfilled its election promise of passing the Sarna Code Bill.

Sarna Code: The Corporate Connection  

The foregoing discussion that revolves around religion, politics and Adivasi identity is, but, a mere façade of the real story and actual motives. The issue of Sarna Dharm Code has deep linkages with corporate designs and the following account seeks to unravel this connection. To better appreciate these links one may briefly survey the past few years when BJP led Jharkhand government, hands-in-glove with the capitalists, was designing plans to grab Adivasi lands.

A major portion of the land area of Jharkhand has been categorized as Scheduled Areas under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. As per the 2007 notification, 13 districts, 3 blocks in two districts and 2 Panchayats in one district have been designated as Scheduled Areas in the State. The Fifth Schedule, in unambiguous terms, offers directive to prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among the members of the Scheduled Tribes in such area. To ensure the effective implementation of this directive, the Scheduled Areas in Jharkhand are governed by the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 (CNT Act) and the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1949 (SPT Act). While the CNT Act applies to North Chhotagpur, South Chhotanagpur and Palamau divisions, the SPT Act is operational in the Santal Pargana division of Jharkhand. The SPT Act, except for a few cases, forbids all kinds of land transfers of the Adivasis. The CNT Act, comparatively a less stringent one, restricts the sale of Adivasi and Dalit lands and allows transfer of land between Adivasis residing within the same police station and Dalits within the same district.

In May 2016 the BJP led Jharkhand government issued ordinances introducing some major changes in CNT and SPT Acts and in November 2016 the Jharkhand Assembly cleared the Bills incorporating the amendments. These amendments diluted the Acts and made way for easier alienation of lands from the tribals, facilitating corporate loot. The Chief Minister had been wooing and appeasing the capitalists through several road shows in major cities of India and had launched the Momentum Jharkhand in 2015 where he announced that “land acquisition has never been a challenge for us as we have a land bank of 1,75, 000 acres which is readily available for different industries to set up their business in our state.” Thus, these amendments were means of assuring the corporate bigwigs that the legal hurdles guarding against the land use of Adivasis have all been done away with.

One may move a few years earlier to better understand the depth of the nexus between Indian State and capitalists. These amendments at the state level were actually meant to fit into the grand design of the BJP led Centre of propitiating the corporate world. The Modi led government, within a year of assuming office, had initiated plans to amend the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR), 2013. An ordinance proposing wide ranging changes in the Act, that could ease the process of land acquisition for the corporate houses by waiving vital provisions of consent and rehabilitation, was issued. Amidst stiff opposition from all quarters, the ordinance could not make much headway and had to lapse in August 2015. This setback at the Centre could be rectified only through similar machinations at the level of state legislation. The amendments to CNT and SPT Acts, for real, did this rectification; they made amends for Modi’s failure at amending LARR Act. The cruel nexus between the state and the capitalists had never become so evident and the Adivasis of Jharkhand were never made so vulnerable to capitalist exploitation.

The amendments to the CNT and SPT Acts, to BJP’s utter dismay, never saw the light of the day. Under the pressure of stiff opposition from the Jharkhand people, the amendment Bill failed to receive the Governor’s assent. To add to BJP’s wrath, this opposition was a united front of the Sarna and Christian tribal groups. The Church had played a significant role in bringing together the tribals. This unity was a severe blow to the consistent efforts of BJP of keeping the tribals divided along religious lines. Continually demonising the Christian missionaries has always been one such endeavour on Sangh’s part. With the scuttling of the amendments, these endeavours stood defeated. To remedy this defeat, the BJP government came up with the infamous anti-conversion law, the Religious Freedom Act of 2017 that makes any “fraudulent or forcible” conversion of any individual a non-bailable offence. Evidently, this Act was meant to harass Christian missionaries and curb their activities. It also served as an important ploy to re-invigorate the initiative of driving a wedge between the Adivasis and Christians.

With the question of Sarna Code occupying the centre stage now, BJP, once again, seems to be in deep water. While, to its utter dislike and stiff opposition, the resolution for Sarna Dharm Code got comfortably passed in the Assembly, interestingly, the Christian missionaries offered their whole hearted support to the resolution. In fact, a couple of months earlier in September, the Catholic Bishops of Jharkhand under the banner of Ranchi Catholic Archdiocese sent a letter demanding the Chief Minister to pass the Sarna Bill. As of now, the Sangh and its associate BJP stands overwhelmingly routed in Jharkhand. Their age-old tactics of fanning identity-based divisions, with the actual intent of deflecting attention from real, material issues of livelihood which, in the end, serves capitalist interests, remains utterly exposed.      

Conclusion

As the foregoing account demonstrates, Sarna Dharm Code provides the only way out to the Adivasis to tide over the age-old politics of denial and dispossession. Historically, the Indian State has made slow and subtle attempts to obliterate their historical identity and needs. And the Sangh politics has sought to continue the agenda more vigorously and brazenly. The politics continues in the name of grand ideas like cultural unity, common past and nationalism. But its real intent lies in denying the rights and privileges that have been historically earned through a prolonged struggle against colonial and Indian State. This denial, ultimately serves the interests of capitalism that has been eyeing on the land and resources of Scheduled Areas. An obliteration of their special existence as Adivasi community – through a decrease in their officially recorded population on the one hand, and their gradual entry into Hindu caste structure on the other – makes the constitutional and legal safeguards against land alienation, superfluous. And this smoothens the passage of capitalist loot of Adivasi regions. One must not forget, however, that these covert methods are, but, one of the many means of achieving the purpose. The capitalists and the State have also been using, wherever needed, violent and illegal methods to grab Adivasi lands and this is done in the name of national security and curbing naxalism. The arrests under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), everyday murders and state encounters of Adivasis in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, West Bengal and other tribal regions, fall under the latter category.   

Amidst the capitalist onslaught and state’s callousness, Sarna Dharm Code offers a powerful tool of reassertion. While the significance of the demand cannot be understated, one must recognize that even if conceded, it would just be another legal safeguard. It is needless to mention that there has been a long history of dilution of laws in favour of ruling classes. Hence, the need of the hour is to bring the real material issues of dispossession and discrimination to the fore and wage a consistent struggle against the present set-up. This, it must be stated, can only be possible if the Adivasis form a broader alliance with other marginalized sections and, instead of seeking reforms within the present system, aim at dismantling the real enemy – the machinery of capitalism.  

Capitalism is a system that is built with the sole aim of furtherance of capital and profit. Reckless exploitation of natural resources is, hence, a necessary function of its survival. A State is nothing but an apparatus that serves the economically dominant class; in capitalism this class is the bourgeoisie. Hence, even if the State meets some of the immediate demands of the Adivasis, its function as an instrument of maintaining the machinery of capitalist exploitation would not change. New means and excuses would be devised to not only maintain, but to accelerate the exploitation, and no one knows this better than the Adivasis who have suffered a long history of betrayal. So, the Adivasis who have now been reduced to the proletarian class must first comprehend the material basis of their present living conditions. They must understand that the answer lies in the creation of a world which has no class divisions, which functions, not for profit, but in the interest of the proletariat, where the need of a State is progressively made redundant and which promises actual fulfillment of democratic rights. This world is actually the mirror image of the erstwhile egalitarian and communistic Adivasi society. And this world, in Marxist terminology, is Socialism. The Adivasis, thus, must join hands with their counterparts, the proletariat among other communities, and become a part of the revolutionary movement for the establishment of Socialism.

[Originally published in The Truth: Platform for Radical Voices of The Working Class (Issue 8 / December 2020)]

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