The image of law depends on the way in which its agents behave, carry out their duties or perform their role. An important but neglected area of concern is the way India`s tribal population perceives the state and its legal mechanisms and structures. Filling this gap, the book, which is the first of its kind on legal ethnography for Indian tribes, studies the relationship between tribes and the state with reference to the Indian legal system, It focuses on three tribes of India - the Bhils in Maharashtra, and the Santals and Pahadiyas in Jharkhand, which was earlier a part of Bihar. The author traces the historical roots of their dispossession in the ancient and medieval periods, their engagement with and subjugation by the British, and how their ordeal of disempowerment continues even after Independence. This book looks at the historical relationship of these tribes with settled societies and also at some of their internal legal structures. The last part of the book consists of the author's interventions as a legal activist in the problems faced by these tribes, which culminated in public interest litigation writ petitions in the Supreme Court. She ends with a brief examination of indigenous people colonised elsewhere by Europeans. The author concludes that independence has no real meaning for the tribes of India since they are still led by outsiders. For them, the legal system is oppressive and exploitative, serving only the rich.
Role and Image of Law in India: The Tribal Experience
PublisherSage Publication India