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Unraveling the Narratives of Adivasi Dispossession: A Case Study of Land Acquisition in Nagri Village, Jharkhand

24. Juli 2018 - 0:00

This article reflects the field narratives about an episode of dispossession of the Adivasi (an indigenous community in India) conducted during a pilot study (2015) in a village called Nagri (Jharkhand, India). The case of Nagri offers a peculiar demonstration of arbitrary power inserted in a colonial law that continues to inform the Land Acquisition Act in postcolonial India, despite major amendments. The article discusses two broader questions. The first question is an inquiry into the ‘development model,’ which permeates certain forms of discursive power to emerge within legislation such as the Land Acquisition Act. This is demonstrated through understanding the violation of the ‘protective’ measures including Fifth Schedule Areas, which fundamentally ensures the rights of tribal communities in certain states including Jharkhand. The second part of the article investigates a specific case study of the Land Acquisition Act in the same area (Nagri). This case highlights a unique case of violation of the rights of the Adivasi. The core argument of the article emerges from the testimonies of the people, mostly women, who have been rendered landless and did not receive any compensation. The article presents a fundamental conflict that continues to persist with regard to innovative provisions such as ‘public purpose’ that had generated serious concerns about the Land Acquisition Act across India. The article also seeks to present in a limited manner the voice of people but it nonetheless underlines the apathy of the state toward the subaltern subjects in a democracy.