Social Scientist. v 27, no. 314-315 (July-Aug 1999) p. 113.

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Decolonisation and Tribal Policy in Jharkhand: Continuities with Colonial Discourse

The process of decolonisation that emerged in the world after the Second World War had profound effects on the existing political arrangements. A number of new states emerged from this process of decolonisation in which the new administrative and political structures sought to actively purge the 'rule of difference' that had upheld the colonial state.

However, decolonisation must involve the removal of colonial policies and practises from the administrative as well as the discursive structures. As far as the tribal population in India was concerned, this was not the case. The administrative structures were successfully decolonised with the help of policies such as universal franchise and equality before law. However, on the discursive level, successful decolonisation did not occur due to the dependence of the nationalist ideology on the colonial discourse.1 This paper will, therefore, try to analyse the continuities and discontinuities between the independent Indian State and the colonial state, as far as the tribal population in Jharkhand was concerned. It will endeavour to demonstrate the continuities born out of the nationalist leadership's enthusiastic support for the ideals and goals put forward by the colonial state.


The continuities between the tribal policy of the colonial state and that of independent Indian State are inextricably linked to character of the nationalist discourse that had, in turn, borrowed significant elements of the colonial discourse. Hence, any effort to seek out the continuities between the two must briefly examine the relationship between the nationalist and colonial discourses.

Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

Social Scientist, Vol. 27, Nos. 7- 8, July - August 1999

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