Social Scientist. v 9, no. 97 (Aug 1980) p. 66.


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BOOK REVIEWS

The Panacea Reaffirmed

SITA TOPPO, DYNAMICS OF EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN TRIBAL INDIA, Classical Publications, New Delhi, 1979, pp xiv+288, Rs 80

EVER SINCE India passed under the British domination, there has been consistent interest in accumulating accounts on Indian tribes. To begin with, among others, anthropologists voraciously wrote descriptive details of the exotic customs and peculiar behaviour patterns of the tribal communities of tlie colonized India. With the end of the colonial regime, there has been a rapidly increasing concern with the problem of assimilation of the tribes into the mainstream of the state for their welfare. But, by and large, the colonial anthropological traditions have proved themselves to die hard.

Notwithstanding the shift it is still presumed that the tribals—arbitraily identified communities—are backward enbloc because of cultural inertia and thus justifying the positive protective discrimination. Being totally insensitive to class and national exploitation, these anthropologits have forwarded the thesis that without continuing diffusion of capital, culture and institutions, tribal communities cannot develop on their own. They propagated therefore that change/mobility should be gradual, as rapid changes are inherently harmful. Social mobility resulting from education and other facilities has been presented in a veneer of academic professionalism without cognizing the fires which blaze underneath the ''enculturcd55 societies. It was no worry for the ^value-free" scholars if the policies, geared to an unbalanced growth and reinforcement of inequality, forced the militant ethnic groups to meekly submit to the pillage—both internal and external—with a sembalance of power for the dominant and alienated sections who



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