ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mapping Violence in the Lives of Adivasi Women

A Study from Jharkhand

The Adivasi women of Jharkhand negotiate with power structures within the family system and society, and are further entrapped in gender hegemonies that are part of larger shifts in the political economy. Their lived experiences in the urban and rural landscape of Ranchi, a Schedule V district under the Constitution, and an analysis of the enforcement of legal machinery in removing or tightening the existing disparities provide crucial insights into the sociolegal realities of the lives of Adivasi women, thereby mapping their everyday experiences of violence and the means available to address their issues.

This article is based on research supported under the Adivasi Rights Programme Council for Social Development, Hyderabad and has been carried out under the supervision of director Kalpana Kannabiran. The author would like to thank Vasavi Kiro for intensive discussions and unconditional support, Rameshwar Oraon, erstwhile Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes for sharing his valuable experiences, Aloka, Dipika Prasad, members of the self-help groups (Mariyana, Sushila, Bibiana and Jowana) and other community members.

For indigenous women, gender-based violence is shaped not only by gender discrimination within indigenous and non-indigenous arenas but also by a context of ongoing colonisation, militarism, racism and social exclusion; andpoverty-inducing economic and ‘development’ policies” (FIMI 2006: 6). Active negation of the political, economic,social and cultural rights expounded under the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), 2007 has been most pronounced for the Scheduled Tribes (STs) situated in Jharkhand. Various scholars have engaged with their colonial and neocolonial exploitation, and this study is a limited attempt to capture the present burdens of the tribal women situated here.

The Annual Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Concerns (2015), a first on indigenous women, acknowledges that hitherto, the specific situation of tribal women has been neglected in policy and on the ground. This is further exacerbated by the fact that in India, state budgets and policies deploy gender or identity-based categories without accounting for the intersectionality of vulnerabilities as experienced by tribal women. Disparagingly, for a state with a significant chunk of tribal population—26.2% of the state population is tribal, as per the Government of Jharkhand (2018)—the state legislative assembly does not lay out a single provision specifically for Adivasi women in the state budgets.1

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Updated On : 23rd Nov, 2018
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