‘Adivasi’ is an identity of protest against the oppressive practices of displacement and dispossession faced by tribal communities across India. As the social and political scenario of the vast Central Indian Plateau (CIP), the homeland of many such communities, is shaped by the social dynamics of oppression and resistance, any social or political organisation working in this region for justice and equity has to not only understand this adivasi consciousness of resistance against the concentration of capital and accumulation of surplus through a process of dispossession but also evolve their strategy in the context of adivasi consciousness. The authors have many years of experience of working with women’s group in the CIP. In this reflective piece they critique their own action as failing to assimilate the important socio-political dynamics of the adivasi consciousness. As a result the women’s groups promoted by them have remained peripheral in the struggle against dispossession. Non-inclusion of women in traditionally male dominated forums in adivasi society is a hindering factor for the women to take leading part in the adivasi movements. The authors conclude that it is important to work with both men and women to fight against dispossession which will also change the culture of male dominated committees within the Adivasi society.

Author Biography

Parijat Ghosh, an engineer turned development practitioner, has more than 15 years of experience in working with marginalised people in Central Indian Plateau. Her work involved mobilising women in small groups to help them take up livelihood activities. She also has anchored early training programmes and organizational development processes for Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), a non-Profit organisation in India. Currently she is working with the Research and Advocacy team in PRADAN.

Dibyendu Chaudhuri is currently working in Research & Advocacy unit of Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), a non-profit organisation in India. A Geologist by education, Dibyendu has spent more than 22 years in mobilising people from indigenous communities in central Indian plateau and helped them in strengthening their livelihoods. He specialises in Human Resource Development, Monitoring-Evaluation-Learning, Integrated Natural Resource Management and Micro-finance.

Debasish Biswas is currently working in Indian Grameen Service (IGS), a non-profit organisation in India. With a master’s degree in Social Work, Debasish has worked with indigenous communities, especially women, in central Indian plateau for strengthening their livelihoods. He specialises in Micro-finance and Natural Resource Management.