As we reach the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, Adivasi lives in India, whether the mainland or Andaman Islands, challenge us to rethink our understanding of postcolonies of the Global South. Long past the liberatory narratives that marked the end of colonialism and its aftermath, and as a different kind of political imaginary unfolds and takes center stage in India, Adivasis continue to have an uneasy footing in such political projects. As the articles in this series demonstrate, the scope and rights adhering to an Adivasi identity are fraught, with the opportunities for a broader framing of indigeneity contested or rendered untenable in contemporary India. What we see emerging through these accounts, are the outlines for a re-invigorated twenty-first-century project of internal colonization, in service to a reconstituted majoritarian polity tethered to corporate interests, but, stripped of any twentieth-century utopian and discursive envisioning of diversity or plurality. In the glimpses offered to us by the authors brought together here, we can perceive discrete yet entangled enactments of assimilation, dispossession, and/or erasure that enable us to comprehend what internal colonization looks like in the current conjuncture in India.
The final article returns to the Sentinel Islands, the site that triggered a media storm following the events that led to the death of John Chau. Here, a different lens is applied to situate the Sentinel Islanders within a global context of "voluntarily isolated" peoples: those who have purposefully sought to retreat from the world at large. The article goes on to reflect on the ways in which anthropologists and anthropological analyses perpetuate or validate particular discourses, yet, remain blind to the refusal writ large in the actions of the Sentinel Islanders.
Posts in This Series
Speaking about Silence: One Hundred Years of Adivasi Migration to the Andamans
The politically loaded language of indigeneity is broadly conceived of as a tool of empowerment. Articulations of indigenous voice, however, can also produce th... More
Rengi and the Researcher, 2005: On Dilemmas of "Civilization"
I The debate over isolation or assimilation of tribes has continued ever since a dominant culture touched the shores of the Andaman Islands and its indigenous c... More