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Archive for July, 2010

[First published in Biblio – A Review of Books, issued dated July-August 2010]

This is the book that Home Secretary G.K.Pillai is said to be reading nowadays to better understand tribal alienation in mining areas. It is said that if things are not what they often seem to be, then it is the job of the anthropologist to unravel what lies beneath. Felix Padel and Samarendra Das do a thorough job of it in this book.

Ambitious in its scope, Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel charts the global linkages of the metal and mining industry while simultaneously detailing the specific consequences of bauxite mining in the tribal habitations of East India that is wreaking social and environmental chaos in the name of development. The discourse as to what constitutes development and how it must be pursued has acquired renewed relevance now that socio-economic development is being suggested as a solution for combating Left-wing Extremism in India’s tribal areas. This book is, therefore, a timely exposition as to how skewed development priorities have upset the lives of indigenous communities in mineral-rich districts of the country.

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