Workshop on Adivasi Leaders

Revisiting the Question of Political Consciousness:

Legacy of Adivasi/Tribal Leaders in India

The political articulation of indigenous peoples’ movements at the international level followed by the second world-war in general and colonial/post-colonial experiences of tribal/adivasi in particular inaugurated a discussion on indigenous peoples. Globally, these articulations were often found in the form of literature that raised question on autonomy and role of international agencies (Engel 2010)(Deloria 1969) and also in the form of a deep  personal and intimate accounts of violence through memoires. For instance, the world has witnessed the most intimate and personal account of Menchu, titled as ‘I, RigebertoMenchu’ that brought a detailed and compelling account of violence which persisted through civil war in Guatemala (Menchu 1983). Indeed, this work was received as an inaugural moment to the literature on indigenous peoples’ forum at the international level. Similarly, just as international contexts, the indigenous communities – or Adivasi/tribal in local parlance – in India too have had a rich history of fighting against the British colonial regime or ‘Raj’ and also against the existing feudal/caste realities that have had debilitating impact on their everyday lives. The leadership of these struggles articulated a clear and specific political agenda, a political agenda that differs from the mainstream leadership that fought against the Raj and feudal elements. Yet, there is very little access or availability of those narratives. By stating so, we believe that the leaders from Adivasi/tribal communities offer an alternative narrative history that circulates to form certain of both their communities and struggles

Against this background, the proposed workshop seekspapers from the scholars, who are working on various facets of the indigenous communities in India.  The workshop is specifically intended to engage with scholars who work on some ofthe iconic adivasi leaders whose legacies are either under-represented or often appropriated by the political parties.  We are interested in papers that explore broader themes listed below but not limited to it:

  1. Tribal/Adivasi Leaders and their Political Mobilization
  2. Adivasi Against the Colonial Rule
  3. Tribal/Adivasi Leader’s Representation in the Nationalist Writings
  4. Narratives, Oral History and Heroic Tales of Tribal/Adivasi
  5. Movements of Religiosity in Tribal/Adivasi Community and Making of the Iconic Figures

The date of the workshop: 30 September 2018.

Submission of Papers:

Please send your Paper Abstracts to Rahul Ranjan ( by 30 March, 2018; and full papers (between 7000-8000 words) to be submitted to the organizers by 29 July, 2018.

Rahul Ranjan (

School of Advanced Study, University of London

Sambaiah Gundimeda (

School of Policy & Governance, Azim Premji University Bengaluru




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