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Books > History > Sacrificing People (Invasions of a Tribal Landscape)
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Sacrificing People (Invasions of a Tribal Landscape)
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About the Book

 

Sacrificing People is a provocative anthropological study of the structures of power and authority which the British rule imposed on a tribal people of Central India, the Konds. The Konds practised human sacrifice and in the pretext of rooting out this ‘barbaric’ ritual, the British waged wars of conquest against them subjecting them to a century of exploitation.

 

Recalling the violence during the colonial period, this book puts into perspective the violence and ethnic cleansing in the district of Kandhamal (2007-8) when Invading forces burnt dozens of Kond villages. It also brings to light how mining companies have invaded the Kond territory due to the rich Bauxite cappings dominating their largest mountains and displaced several million tribal people.

 

From colonial Intrusion to developmental displacement, the author draws attention to how the colonial mindset and system of exploitation continue till date. Who is an innocent victim? When is the taking of life Justified? Who claims the right to do so? Who is sacrificing whom? It IS through these questions that this book analyses the roots of human violence which sacrifices the essence of being human.

 

About the Author

 

Felix Padel is an anthropologist trained In Oxford and Delhi universities. He connects his life and work with that of his great-great grandfather Charles Darwin.

 

Foreword

 

I first read this book almost ten years ago, not long after having made my own journeys into tribal India-journeys that had brought me into the very centre of debates about human sacrifice. Some of those I met, including one of India’s most inspiring and humane social activists who had spent much of his life deep in Madhya Pradesh, had told me in hushed and awed tones, about the sacrificing of children in remote villages in the forests. And others, including First Ministers and senior economists, had told me, in less hushed voices, about the need for some of these villagers to sacrifice themselves and their families for “the good of the nation.”

 

It is impossible to read Felix Padel’s work without being drawn into its flow of history, anthropology and profound insights into the way colonial projects have shaped how we see the world in general, India as a nation and tribal peoples in particular. With the help of this book, I was able to interrogate, at least in retrospect, the ideas and beliefs of the famous activist in the forests as well as the economists and politicians. And to see that alongside philanthropy and profound enthusiasm, for the Adivasi-’ original dwellers’, there is a history of colonial misconception in those whispers about human sacrifice-a need to see and to think of the “primitive” as embedded in the forests, savage and awesome in its customs. To sacrifice children to an unseen God, hidden in the wildest territories of both terrain and psyche-there is an appeal to this that has its origins in a particular kind of history. Felix Padel shows that however powerful the sense of elusive mystery, the portrayal of the tribal world in India since the early 1800s has been tied to the need to exploit and, if advantageous to those who exploit, to dispossess it. In this wonderful book, he explores this link between the way the picture gets painted and the destruction of that which is in the picture.

 

When leaders of Indian government and their eager civil servants, or the sanguine businessmen or sugar cane farmers of Gujarat, insisted to me that the people to be displaced by the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada River must, in the end, make and accept the sacrifice, they did not imagine the donation of human life for the propitiation of gods. They did not think in terms of people dying for the cause, and were not asking for the sacrifice that generals (and politicians) ask of soldiers. Yet loss of land and forced resettlement, especially for the tribal people who sustain themselves in what remains of the remote forests and great river systems of lndia, is indeed a sacrifice of both livelihood and lives. Many of those who lose their homes and lands find themselves struggling at the edges of destitution. Resettlement and rehabilitation programmes are flawed; compensation money is too little; corruption is too rampant; dislocation is too hard to manage; loss of culture and break-up of family all too easily ensue. Without the protections of land, culture and family, there are many kinds of grim, inescapable vulnerabilities. And there are deaths-from diseases of poverty, from the absence of all that secures health and sustains life. So the sacrifice to development is a human sacrifice, but one that is imposed in absence of mind rather than inherent in the plan. It is in this way, for those who are made to give up their lands and homes to large dams and great mining ventures, that the officials who urge such developments are indeed asking for and then insisting upon human sacrifice. Felix Padel also explores this link between a picture that is painted, in this case of “development”, and the destruction of those who are, or should be, at the centre of the image.

 

I remember visiting some of the villages where the people had been told that they must make the sacrifice, accept that their lands were going to be flooded, and had to move somewhere else. Almost all of those who faced this loss were adivasis, the tribal peoples of India who, despite special recognition in India’s Constitution and its Fifth Schedule, have so often had to pay the price for developments that are in the interests of others. Many of them lived deep within their lands and their heritage, dependent on subsistence farming, fishing and gathering, speaking their own languages and following their own spiritual beliefs. They did not read and write, did not have radios or televisions, and apart from occasional and often long walks to markets, lived their own lives within and yet somehow far removed from the Indian body politic. I remember group after group of men and women who were facing displacement from this self-sustaining world saying that they would not survive exile-as a family, a community, a culture. And they feared that some would be sure to die. They would say that they could no more move than could the ants and the tigers and their gods that were all going to be submerged. Some said they would refuse to move, that they would rather drown on their lands, with their gods, than go to places where they would not be able to live as they needed to live. Very few, if any, accepted that they were some kind of sacrifice that should be made for the sake of a state called Gujarat or even a nation called India-places from which they neither sought nor received benefits and by which they had never before been given more than token recognition.

 

At the time of these meetings with villagers in the Narmada Valley, and then, ten years later, when returning to visit western India, I also met with families who had been displaced by both Sardar Sarovar and other dams or their canals. Some lived on plots of land provided by a resettlement package, others lived in makeshift hovels at the sides of city roads. Some had stayed together as families; many had not. All had stories to tell of the terrible hardships they had been through and, often, still had to endure. And many had died who, they said, would have lived if they had not been forced to move. They carried the details of the sacrifices they had made. Their stories were the reckoning of costs in the unreckoned cost-benefit analysis of any such project.

 

I also remember visiting the construction sites at the Kevadia Colony where the vast concrete wall of the Sardar Sarovar dam was being built. Huge numbers of workers were engaged on this, as also on the digging and lining of canals. There were impressive machines, yet much of the labour was by hand. In particular, the moving of sacks of cement was done by relays of men, stripped to the waist in the heat, carrying these sacks on their shoulders from offioad to concrete mixers. The lime- rich cement trickled down onto their bodies, burning the skin, finding its way into their lungs. Presumably it would have cost a lot more to use forklift trucks. Were these men, or those of them who suffered the worst consequences of such work, being sacrificed? Some of them had come from one or other of the thirteen villages that had been completely destroyed to make way for the dam site, and whose population had for decades been denied any form of compensation. How many of them had been sacrificed?

 

In the wake of the report that the Morse Commission submitted to the World Bank in 1991, in which we detailed many aspects of the Sardar Sarovar projects in the Narmada Valley, the Bank launched its own internal investigation into how many people its projects had displaced. In a 1996 report in which the findings of this investigation were set out, the Bank revealed that in India alone, projects to which the World Bank had made loans, some 10 million had been displaced. Only a very small proportion of these had received resettlement and rehabilitation packages or programmes. The millions of others had been forced to pay the price of development, to make the sacrifice.

 

It may seem fanciful to suggest that the rhetoric and arguments that explain or justify such large-scale developments-be they the words of politicians, developers or economists who thus obscure the human costs to those displaced and dispossessed-are a kind of superstition. From the point of view of those who are forced into the sacrifices that this book describes, these advocates and defenders of development are seeking or sustaining power through destruction of people. It is possible to see this as a modem kind of devilish mysticism. But this is to anticipate the explorations of this book, and in this foreword I wish above all to emphasize the force, importance and poignancy of the intellectual journey Felix Padel takes us on. A journey that begins and concludes in the domain of the Konds of Orissa. They are just one adivasi community that has known what it is to be censured and attacked by powerful strangers who do not speak their language and have minimal and self- deceived ideas about their system of life or links to their lands. Just one of the tribal peoples who now are having to struggle against another, and potentially even more menacing kind of stranger. The journey of the book, like the struggle of the Kond, is from colonial intrusion to developmental destruction.

 

This is a journey we all need to understand, for we are all implicated. The transformation-be it through flooding to make dams, clear-cutting to make timber and plantations, remoulding and blasting to create open- cast mines-is explained and justified by reference to some greater good. “Greater”, this is to say, than the lesser good, which is the harm, that is being done to those who live in and depend on that which the development transforms or destroys. We are this “greater good”-its beneficiaries; the victims are the ones being asked to make the sacrifices of themselves. Yet we the beneficiaries also are being sacrificed. The unthinking development that destroys the lands and lives of the adivasi (or of ‘original dwellers’ in Amazonia, the Arctic, Australasia-all the places where people are defending their lands and rights) also destroys the world that everyone depends on. A world in which there is a balance between global gases that does not push towards catastrophic warming of the planet; a world, this is to say, in which the well-being of forests, rivers and oceans is given priority over their “development”. And a world in which the rights of people to live as well as they can in their own landscapes, without needing to sacrifice human life-their own or others’-to some abstract, alien and perhaps self-defeating notions of progress.

 

These are reflections that many have made, fears to which many give voice. This book is of great importance, however, because it digs far down into the way the idea of human sacrifice has been seen and not seen, misunderstood and exploited. The anthropologist can excavate in ways that others do not, looking into the details of culture and aspects of social and cultural history while also knowing about particular peoples in great and illuminating detail. Felix Padel moves in this way between the close, precise knowledge of a place and a society, and the large historical and global forces that bear down on that place and that society. Yet he also offers inspiration and hope: resistance also must come from the single, small, vulnerable places as well as from those who realize that this resistance is necessary for the survival of us all.

 

Sacrificing People is a book about a tribe in India and a particular history. It is also a book about everyone and everywhere, and about a moment in time that is now. The Dongria Konds are threatened with destruction of the mountain that they have known, cared for and worshipped since the beginning of their time. By caring for and believing in this place they have ensured the abundance of its forests and plants and creatures, from which cascade the health that they depend on. There could be no more clear example and no more compelling metaphor of that which confronts us and why we have to defy those who are determined to destroy the one mountain, which is the one world, that we have. This is a book that shows what cascades down from the forest that is on the crown of our lands, and takes us to at least one people who know what it will mean if we sacrifice that place, and with it these people. It may be that all societies, in their way, have believed in human sacrifice as a way of saving lives. But no society will survive that believes in sacrificing what it means to be human and what it means to sustain the earth itself.

 

These are thoughts that this book inspires and develops. I have looked into it to understand the history of India and the challenge that must be issued to unthinking development. Let us hope that it will be read by many, many people-there is no one whose life is not implicated in the stories it tells.

 

Preface

 

In the fifteen years since this book was written, our world has seen a lot of lives sacrificed in a lot of ways and a lot of wars. A new age of a new kind of war has started, known as the war on terror-a concept full of the very contradictions which the book took as its central theme. Who is an innocent victim? When is the taking of human life justified? Who claims the right to take human life? Who is sacrificing whom?

 

In a way, the war on terror is fuelled by this very clash over the worth or innocence of different human lives, and the validity or otherwise of different ways of inflicting pain and killing. While civilians in the richer countries are outraged by the dramatic terrorist attacks in the world’s top cities (New York September 2001, London June 2006, Mumbai November 2008 ... ), the terrorists arc outraged at the death and daily terror of countless civilians in countries tom apart by the actions of the most powerful governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, Congo--and at the double standards that count some civilian lives so highly, and others, in poorer countries such as these, at so little.

 

Fuelled by these rival claims and contradictory victim identities, the war on terror has no end in sight, as those American ideologues who first promoted it warned us: defeating terrorism could take many years. The scale of war is escalating. How can it end? The more we attack terrorists, the more they multiply, fuelled by a martyrdom complex and outrage at the double standards. And what distinguishes counter-terrorists from the terrorists they fight, apart from their greater fire-power and government backing? Both sides use terror, and in many ways, state-backed use of terror and violence is the greater. Often, we (the reading public) do not perceive this because of how our reality and sense of normalcy is constructed through the media-The Social Contruction of Reality (Berger & Luckmann 1971) through Manufacturing Consent (Herrnan &, Chomsky 1988).

 

Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex constantly feeds the war on terror with replacement hardware and research that forges new weapons and surveillance systems. Reciprocally, the war on terror feeds the military-industrial complex: the ‘aerospace’ industry (i.e., arms companies), defence contracts, mining and oil companies, commodity traders, and all the financial institutions investing in these industries. The end result is a state of insecurity for all of us, diminishing our quality of life in the present, as well as sacrificing the future of our planet as we squander its precious resources to feed an insane war-without-end.

 

Sacrificing People concerns the colonial conquest of a tribal people. Few people outside Orissa know much about the Konds. Even now, Frazer’s mention of their custom of human sacrifice in The Golden Bough may be some people’s only source of knowledge. But deconstructing their conquest by British administrators, which was done in the name of suppressing human sacrifice, has great relevance for understanding our present predicament. Anyone who wishes to penetrate the surface of the war on terror needs to face the shadow side of the society we live in. In essence and origins, what this means is: understanding human sacrifice. Not (just) as a barbaric ‘survival’ -custom from humanity’s ancient, superstitious past, but as something happening now, that has spread and escalated even in the last fifteen years. Not just in the number of lives being sacrificed in thousands upon thousands of simultaneous tragedies around the world, but in the sacrifice of human being-a throwing away of the vast potential we are all born with.

 

This book has also come into a new relevance locally in Orissa, and in India as a whole. For a start, the whole Kond area-which in colonial times was often called Khondistan-is under a new invasion by mining companies, in pursuit of Bauxite, the ore for aluminium. It so happens that India’s largest and best quality Bauxite deposits lie at the top of the Konds’ largest mountains, where they form a layer averaging five to tenmetres thick, spread over these mountains’ distinctive flat summits. But for the Konds, these mountains are sacred entities. To Census officials enquiring their religion, Konds often replied simply ‘mountains’ (see chapter 9). This is far from some idle superstition. Tribal people have a deep understanding of the ecosystem of their mountains-of how they hold the precious water that falls in the monsoon, storing it throughout the year, and releasing it in perennial streams. In this, Kond religion represents a remarkably sane synthesis of the material and the spiritual, based around the reality of the land’s fertility. What mining companies, politicians and financial investors view as resources to be turned into money-as fast as possible, regardless of the sacrifice-Konds view as sources of life itself.

 

So a monumental culture clash underlies this new invasion-the subject of a new book, which I have co-authored over the last seven years with Samarendra Das: Out of this Earth: East India A divas is and the Aluminium Cartel, which follows the same mode of analysis that proved so fruitful in analyzing the colonial invasion of Khondistan. The social structure of aluminium companies is highly complex, compared with the colonial roles of administrator, merchant, missionary and anthropologist. Yet beneath the surface complexity of metals traders, hedge funds, credit rating agencies, hierarchies of company officials, World Bank staffers, administrators and politicians, with complex subordinate roles played by NGOs, environmental scientists and the media, lurks a similar simplicity, that boils down to different value systems: seeing Bauxite as dead matter-a resource to be exploited for profit-versus a view that combines spirit and matter, seeing it as something that should be preserved inviolate in the mountains to keep the earth fertile and in balance.

 

The fact that India’s richest deposits of Baxite, Chromite, Iron-ore, Coal, Manganese and other minerals are to be found in the East of India, in Orissa and its neighbouring states, recalls the original role of the British in India: the East India Company (EIC). The British entered India through two main centres on the East coast: Calcutta (Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai), and their manipulation of finance, law and politics were what gave rise to the Government of India, unifying the country, but in a colonial mould, geared towards making a profit out of the land’s crops and natural resources. Nick Robins’ recent book on the EIC terms it the worlds first multinational-the mother of all companies. So in there mote Kond hills, and the history of scarlet-uniformed sepoys obeying orders from EIC officers, certain trajectories meet of great relevance for all of us.

 

Kandhamal (Khondmal), the district where EIC sepoys first encountered the Konds and entered their territory, has recently become notorious throughout India for extreme violence and a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Since Christmas celebrations were disrupted by riots in December 2007, and Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was assassinated by Maoists in August 2008, an explosion of orchestrated attacks on Christians has occurred on a scale comparable to the violence of the British invasion. Over 50,000 Christians have been driven out of their homes, with numerous accounts of gang rapes and gruesome murders. The burning of their homes and villages recalls dozens of Kond villages burnt under colonial orders, as a tactic to ‘pacify’ the area in the 1830s- 60s. Analyzing the role and words of the first missionaries in Orissa, who targeted this district in particular, is necessary to comprehend recent events.

 

The role of missionary was not confined to religion. European missionaries saw themselves as supplementing the spread of’ civilization’, and this included science, technology, and markets, which missionaries helped propagate in schools and hospitals. The role of missionary was internalized by administrators, school-teachers and engineers. From Keynes onwards, the people who set up the World Bank and ran it saw themselves as missionaries, seeding a new economic order around the world. The role of missionary is everywhere, in each of us-wherever we find the attitude ‘we have the truth and it’s our role to bring it to people’.

 

Nowhere is the missionary influence more evident than in the way that ‘development’ is imposed in tribal areas. The aluminium and dam projects are all justified in the name of development-a development that is extremely one-sided, confined to material constructs, and often masks the looting of land and resources. Big factories and mines, and the companies that build and run them, are thoroughly hierarchical affairs, as closed to learning from or adapting to tribal culture as the most bigoted of missionaries. Development of equality before the law and justice for all, an end to corruption and exploitation, a property ceiling that controls the accumulation of wealth by the few, a system of health and education accessible and accountable to everyone: these measures would count as real development. Orissa’s poverty has one main cause: a system of exploitation stretching from the village level to the dissemination of World Bank funds and mining company bribes. Until this is confronted, mining projects may invest millions, but this money will only intensify the exploitation, ‘flooding us out with money’, as several Konds have expressed it.

 

One basic problem in the written discourse about adivasis is that it rarely quotes what they say, making them into objects, closed to their understanding, which is often enlightened by more intelligence and wit than a library-full of books! Out of This Earth draws on the words of many adivasis and dalits, especially from a documentary film made by Samarendra and Amarendra Das: Wira Pdika (in Kui)-Matiro Poko, Company Loko (in Oriya)-Earth Worm, Company Man (2005).

 

Running through the film is a commentary about the Kashipur movement against the Utkal alumina project in Kashipur, and the terrible police firing that killed three adivasis in December 2000. This commentary is by Bhagaban Majhi, from the Kond village of Kucheipadar, who describes an interaction with the Superintendent of Police as follows:

 

I put a question to the SP. I asked him, Sir, what do you mean by development? (Agya, unnoti boile kono?) Is it development to displace people? The people, for whom development is meant, should reap benefits. After them, the succeeding generations should reap benefits. That is development. It should not be merely to cater to the greed of a few officials. To destroy the millions of years old mountains is not development. If the government has decided that we need alumina, and we need to mine bauxite, they should oblige us with replacement land. As Adivasis, we are cultivators. We cannot live without land.

 

Several million tribal people have been displaced by industry. In the new, final chapter we shall see that the proper description of what is happening is not just mass impoverishment, but also Cultural Genocide. The place where these processes of displacement and Cultural Genocide assume their worst form is just west of Orissa in Dantewara district (formerly part of Bastar, in the new state of Chhattisgarh). Since June 2005, a tribal militia formed by politicians and police called Salwa Judum (‘purification hunt’ in Gond language) has displaced an estimated 200,000 adivasis, committing uncounted murders and rapes, burning one village after another. This is where the War on Terror has taken root in India. In the wake of the Kandhamal violence, this model is being set up in Orissa, even though it is a recipe for civil war. This book offers a way of understanding the roots of human violence by understanding ourselves and our place in the structure of power. The main technique presented to anthropology, and to anyone interested in a holistic understanding of the roots of conflict, is to subject a power structure to structural analysis, so that one sees the actions and ideology of different actors in relation to each other: missionaries, government officials, anthropologists, economists, journalists, lawyers, schoolteachers, company directors, adivasis, dalits, Hindus, Christians- all of us. Analyzing this in a historical context sheds light on how structures have changed-or endured, shifting their outward form only superficially. In the case of the colonial administration analyzed below, the power structure emerges with clarity from the distance of time, and comprehending it reveals how much of the colonial minds et and system is still in place.

 

In the case of the aluminium industry, the social structure is considerably more complex, involving engineers, banks, credit rating agencies, PR firms, arms companies, foreign aid and NOO workers, construction contractors, timber mafia, the judiciary and many more. The mountains in Orissa which are capped by Bauxite were named Khondalite by geologists who recognized that they were of prime importance to the Konds, and stood in their territory. Analyzing the aluminium industry starts from another invasion of this territory, that has many parallels with the first, British invasion, but branches out from here to assess the cost of living which involves all of us in a rarely questioned dependence on hundreds of aluminium artefacts. In particular, the costs which the industry externalizes onto areas where Bauxite is mined and the metal is manufactured, are beyond imagining, and sacrifice the quality of life of thousands of Konds and Oriyas, now and for centuries to come.

 

Further historical research has convinced me that the Konds, Kuinga in their own language, are basically the same people as the Kalinga, whom Ashoka attacked with such violence around 2,270 years ago--an event that stands at the threshold of Indian history, since he recorded it, alongside his repentance for killing 100,000 Kalinga people and enslaving 150,000. The Konds’ gradual retreat from the coastal areas of Orissa is recorded in many records (e.g., Cobden-Ramsey 1910). This identification-in fact the whole history of Ashoka’s genocidal war waged against the Kaiinga-makes the naming of Kalinganagar supremely ironic: an industrial enclave of steel plants, drawing chromite from the Sukinda mines (counted among the ten most polluted spots on earth), and displacing yet more adivasis. When police opened fire at Kalinganagar on 2nd January 2006, after a police constable had been killed, shooting dead 14 adivasi protestors against a Tata steel plant, the resonance with the ancient story of Kalinga brings this irony to a savage climax. But who has even noticed? Meanwhile, through these ongoing invasions of tribal territory, steel and aluminium from Orissa are feeding the world’s arms industry, and therefore its wars.

 

Moving on from aluminium, a third book is in process- Transfiguring the Terrorist Within-which turns the mode of analysis developed in the first two books towards analyzing the War on Terror itself-3,000 years of history leading up to it, and how the war gets internalized in each one of our lives.

 

Ivwon Ewv (Gnothi sown )-Know Thyself-inscribed over the entrance to the oracle at Delphi (the ancient Greeks’ holiest shrine): this seems the only way that growing conflicts in the world can be resolved. Christians need to understand the intolerance that missionaries brought to Orissa, and to change this pattern. Hindus need to understand that the only forced conversions going on in Kandhamal are by Hindus of Christians, and that the violence and expulsion of Christians pollutes and debases the Hindu dharma. People of both religions need to open to the shared truths which underlie both religions. All of us need to learn from other truths, at the centre of adivasi religion, whose respect for nature forms the basis for real sustainability. Without returning to this respect, we are a species hurtling to self-destruction from which no gods or science can save us. Kond reverence for mountains has a lot to teach the world.

 

All the events and situations described above are explored in the new chapter. I am grateful to the publishers for commissioning it, to Hugh Brody for writing the new Foreword, and to Samarendra Das for inside information about the Kandhamal events. My deepest wish is that this new edition will help spread more understanding and tolerance in the world.

 

Contents

 

 

List of Maps

ix

 

List of Abbreviations

xi

 

Foreword to this edition by Hugh Brody

xiii

 

Preface to this edition

xix

 

Foreword to the first edition by Veena Dos

xxvll

 

Preface to the first edition

xxxlll

1.

A Case Study of Colonialism

1

 

Nirantali and the creation of earth-On the meaning of sacrifice-’The enlightened treatment and strong hand’ -The Kond tribe- Tribal culture-’ A conquest over their minds’ -The colonial power structure-Anthropology full circle

 

2.

Conquest: The Ghumsur Wars

35

 

‘Pacification’-The deadly pursuit of honour-Punish and reward

 

3.

Suppressing Human Sacrifice: The Meriah Agency

64

 

‘The right ofthe Government....did not admit of a question’-Macpherson’s war-A war of words-Campbell’s regime

 

4.

Human Sacrifice As a Kond And Hindu Ritual

109

 

The meriah rite-Female infanticide- The context of Kond religion-The brotherhood of clans-The role of the Hindu rajahs-The Dom’s child-Interpreting human sacrifice

 

5.

The Colonial Sacrifice of ‘Enlightened Government’

142

 

Saving meriahs: a Robinson Crusoe complex-Human sacrifice versus Christian sacrifice: the conscious contrast-Human sacrifice versus public execution: the unconscious contrast-After the Agency-Indian intermediaries: old and new elites- The sacrifice of life, land and liberty

 

6.

‘Soldiers of Christ’

185

 

Complementing the administration-’Giving his life for the Konds’-Missionary dualism-School and hospital: diffusing Christian knowledge-Conversion: a religion of fear-Dividing the community

 

7.

Merchants of Knowledge: Anthropologists in a Social Structure

242

 

A gulf of understanding-The conquerors as anthropologists-’The Kandhas do not take any thought for the morrow’ -A hierarchy of knowledge- The sacrifice for science-A human anthropology?

 

8.

In the Name of Development

288

 

Cycles of exploitation- The colonial roles-Sacrificing the present for an unreal future-What is real development?

 

9.

Questioning the Sacrifice: A Postscript

315

 

Different levels of human sacrifice-Colonial roots of the

 

 

modem sacrifice-Conflict in Kandhamal-Mining and cultural genocide

 

 

Notes to the Text

341

 

Glossary

422

 

Bibliography

425

 

Index

453

 

Sample Pages















Sacrificing People (Invasions of a Tribal Landscape)

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About the Book

 

Sacrificing People is a provocative anthropological study of the structures of power and authority which the British rule imposed on a tribal people of Central India, the Konds. The Konds practised human sacrifice and in the pretext of rooting out this ‘barbaric’ ritual, the British waged wars of conquest against them subjecting them to a century of exploitation.

 

Recalling the violence during the colonial period, this book puts into perspective the violence and ethnic cleansing in the district of Kandhamal (2007-8) when Invading forces burnt dozens of Kond villages. It also brings to light how mining companies have invaded the Kond territory due to the rich Bauxite cappings dominating their largest mountains and displaced several million tribal people.

 

From colonial Intrusion to developmental displacement, the author draws attention to how the colonial mindset and system of exploitation continue till date. Who is an innocent victim? When is the taking of life Justified? Who claims the right to do so? Who is sacrificing whom? It IS through these questions that this book analyses the roots of human violence which sacrifices the essence of being human.

 

About the Author

 

Felix Padel is an anthropologist trained In Oxford and Delhi universities. He connects his life and work with that of his great-great grandfather Charles Darwin.

 

Foreword

 

I first read this book almost ten years ago, not long after having made my own journeys into tribal India-journeys that had brought me into the very centre of debates about human sacrifice. Some of those I met, including one of India’s most inspiring and humane social activists who had spent much of his life deep in Madhya Pradesh, had told me in hushed and awed tones, about the sacrificing of children in remote villages in the forests. And others, including First Ministers and senior economists, had told me, in less hushed voices, about the need for some of these villagers to sacrifice themselves and their families for “the good of the nation.”

 

It is impossible to read Felix Padel’s work without being drawn into its flow of history, anthropology and profound insights into the way colonial projects have shaped how we see the world in general, India as a nation and tribal peoples in particular. With the help of this book, I was able to interrogate, at least in retrospect, the ideas and beliefs of the famous activist in the forests as well as the economists and politicians. And to see that alongside philanthropy and profound enthusiasm, for the Adivasi-’ original dwellers’, there is a history of colonial misconception in those whispers about human sacrifice-a need to see and to think of the “primitive” as embedded in the forests, savage and awesome in its customs. To sacrifice children to an unseen God, hidden in the wildest territories of both terrain and psyche-there is an appeal to this that has its origins in a particular kind of history. Felix Padel shows that however powerful the sense of elusive mystery, the portrayal of the tribal world in India since the early 1800s has been tied to the need to exploit and, if advantageous to those who exploit, to dispossess it. In this wonderful book, he explores this link between the way the picture gets painted and the destruction of that which is in the picture.

 

When leaders of Indian government and their eager civil servants, or the sanguine businessmen or sugar cane farmers of Gujarat, insisted to me that the people to be displaced by the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada River must, in the end, make and accept the sacrifice, they did not imagine the donation of human life for the propitiation of gods. They did not think in terms of people dying for the cause, and were not asking for the sacrifice that generals (and politicians) ask of soldiers. Yet loss of land and forced resettlement, especially for the tribal people who sustain themselves in what remains of the remote forests and great river systems of lndia, is indeed a sacrifice of both livelihood and lives. Many of those who lose their homes and lands find themselves struggling at the edges of destitution. Resettlement and rehabilitation programmes are flawed; compensation money is too little; corruption is too rampant; dislocation is too hard to manage; loss of culture and break-up of family all too easily ensue. Without the protections of land, culture and family, there are many kinds of grim, inescapable vulnerabilities. And there are deaths-from diseases of poverty, from the absence of all that secures health and sustains life. So the sacrifice to development is a human sacrifice, but one that is imposed in absence of mind rather than inherent in the plan. It is in this way, for those who are made to give up their lands and homes to large dams and great mining ventures, that the officials who urge such developments are indeed asking for and then insisting upon human sacrifice. Felix Padel also explores this link between a picture that is painted, in this case of “development”, and the destruction of those who are, or should be, at the centre of the image.

 

I remember visiting some of the villages where the people had been told that they must make the sacrifice, accept that their lands were going to be flooded, and had to move somewhere else. Almost all of those who faced this loss were adivasis, the tribal peoples of India who, despite special recognition in India’s Constitution and its Fifth Schedule, have so often had to pay the price for developments that are in the interests of others. Many of them lived deep within their lands and their heritage, dependent on subsistence farming, fishing and gathering, speaking their own languages and following their own spiritual beliefs. They did not read and write, did not have radios or televisions, and apart from occasional and often long walks to markets, lived their own lives within and yet somehow far removed from the Indian body politic. I remember group after group of men and women who were facing displacement from this self-sustaining world saying that they would not survive exile-as a family, a community, a culture. And they feared that some would be sure to die. They would say that they could no more move than could the ants and the tigers and their gods that were all going to be submerged. Some said they would refuse to move, that they would rather drown on their lands, with their gods, than go to places where they would not be able to live as they needed to live. Very few, if any, accepted that they were some kind of sacrifice that should be made for the sake of a state called Gujarat or even a nation called India-places from which they neither sought nor received benefits and by which they had never before been given more than token recognition.

 

At the time of these meetings with villagers in the Narmada Valley, and then, ten years later, when returning to visit western India, I also met with families who had been displaced by both Sardar Sarovar and other dams or their canals. Some lived on plots of land provided by a resettlement package, others lived in makeshift hovels at the sides of city roads. Some had stayed together as families; many had not. All had stories to tell of the terrible hardships they had been through and, often, still had to endure. And many had died who, they said, would have lived if they had not been forced to move. They carried the details of the sacrifices they had made. Their stories were the reckoning of costs in the unreckoned cost-benefit analysis of any such project.

 

I also remember visiting the construction sites at the Kevadia Colony where the vast concrete wall of the Sardar Sarovar dam was being built. Huge numbers of workers were engaged on this, as also on the digging and lining of canals. There were impressive machines, yet much of the labour was by hand. In particular, the moving of sacks of cement was done by relays of men, stripped to the waist in the heat, carrying these sacks on their shoulders from offioad to concrete mixers. The lime- rich cement trickled down onto their bodies, burning the skin, finding its way into their lungs. Presumably it would have cost a lot more to use forklift trucks. Were these men, or those of them who suffered the worst consequences of such work, being sacrificed? Some of them had come from one or other of the thirteen villages that had been completely destroyed to make way for the dam site, and whose population had for decades been denied any form of compensation. How many of them had been sacrificed?

 

In the wake of the report that the Morse Commission submitted to the World Bank in 1991, in which we detailed many aspects of the Sardar Sarovar projects in the Narmada Valley, the Bank launched its own internal investigation into how many people its projects had displaced. In a 1996 report in which the findings of this investigation were set out, the Bank revealed that in India alone, projects to which the World Bank had made loans, some 10 million had been displaced. Only a very small proportion of these had received resettlement and rehabilitation packages or programmes. The millions of others had been forced to pay the price of development, to make the sacrifice.

 

It may seem fanciful to suggest that the rhetoric and arguments that explain or justify such large-scale developments-be they the words of politicians, developers or economists who thus obscure the human costs to those displaced and dispossessed-are a kind of superstition. From the point of view of those who are forced into the sacrifices that this book describes, these advocates and defenders of development are seeking or sustaining power through destruction of people. It is possible to see this as a modem kind of devilish mysticism. But this is to anticipate the explorations of this book, and in this foreword I wish above all to emphasize the force, importance and poignancy of the intellectual journey Felix Padel takes us on. A journey that begins and concludes in the domain of the Konds of Orissa. They are just one adivasi community that has known what it is to be censured and attacked by powerful strangers who do not speak their language and have minimal and self- deceived ideas about their system of life or links to their lands. Just one of the tribal peoples who now are having to struggle against another, and potentially even more menacing kind of stranger. The journey of the book, like the struggle of the Kond, is from colonial intrusion to developmental destruction.

 

This is a journey we all need to understand, for we are all implicated. The transformation-be it through flooding to make dams, clear-cutting to make timber and plantations, remoulding and blasting to create open- cast mines-is explained and justified by reference to some greater good. “Greater”, this is to say, than the lesser good, which is the harm, that is being done to those who live in and depend on that which the development transforms or destroys. We are this “greater good”-its beneficiaries; the victims are the ones being asked to make the sacrifices of themselves. Yet we the beneficiaries also are being sacrificed. The unthinking development that destroys the lands and lives of the adivasi (or of ‘original dwellers’ in Amazonia, the Arctic, Australasia-all the places where people are defending their lands and rights) also destroys the world that everyone depends on. A world in which there is a balance between global gases that does not push towards catastrophic warming of the planet; a world, this is to say, in which the well-being of forests, rivers and oceans is given priority over their “development”. And a world in which the rights of people to live as well as they can in their own landscapes, without needing to sacrifice human life-their own or others’-to some abstract, alien and perhaps self-defeating notions of progress.

 

These are reflections that many have made, fears to which many give voice. This book is of great importance, however, because it digs far down into the way the idea of human sacrifice has been seen and not seen, misunderstood and exploited. The anthropologist can excavate in ways that others do not, looking into the details of culture and aspects of social and cultural history while also knowing about particular peoples in great and illuminating detail. Felix Padel moves in this way between the close, precise knowledge of a place and a society, and the large historical and global forces that bear down on that place and that society. Yet he also offers inspiration and hope: resistance also must come from the single, small, vulnerable places as well as from those who realize that this resistance is necessary for the survival of us all.

 

Sacrificing People is a book about a tribe in India and a particular history. It is also a book about everyone and everywhere, and about a moment in time that is now. The Dongria Konds are threatened with destruction of the mountain that they have known, cared for and worshipped since the beginning of their time. By caring for and believing in this place they have ensured the abundance of its forests and plants and creatures, from which cascade the health that they depend on. There could be no more clear example and no more compelling metaphor of that which confronts us and why we have to defy those who are determined to destroy the one mountain, which is the one world, that we have. This is a book that shows what cascades down from the forest that is on the crown of our lands, and takes us to at least one people who know what it will mean if we sacrifice that place, and with it these people. It may be that all societies, in their way, have believed in human sacrifice as a way of saving lives. But no society will survive that believes in sacrificing what it means to be human and what it means to sustain the earth itself.

 

These are thoughts that this book inspires and develops. I have looked into it to understand the history of India and the challenge that must be issued to unthinking development. Let us hope that it will be read by many, many people-there is no one whose life is not implicated in the stories it tells.

 

Preface

 

In the fifteen years since this book was written, our world has seen a lot of lives sacrificed in a lot of ways and a lot of wars. A new age of a new kind of war has started, known as the war on terror-a concept full of the very contradictions which the book took as its central theme. Who is an innocent victim? When is the taking of human life justified? Who claims the right to take human life? Who is sacrificing whom?

 

In a way, the war on terror is fuelled by this very clash over the worth or innocence of different human lives, and the validity or otherwise of different ways of inflicting pain and killing. While civilians in the richer countries are outraged by the dramatic terrorist attacks in the world’s top cities (New York September 2001, London June 2006, Mumbai November 2008 ... ), the terrorists arc outraged at the death and daily terror of countless civilians in countries tom apart by the actions of the most powerful governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, Somalia, Sudan, Congo--and at the double standards that count some civilian lives so highly, and others, in poorer countries such as these, at so little.

 

Fuelled by these rival claims and contradictory victim identities, the war on terror has no end in sight, as those American ideologues who first promoted it warned us: defeating terrorism could take many years. The scale of war is escalating. How can it end? The more we attack terrorists, the more they multiply, fuelled by a martyrdom complex and outrage at the double standards. And what distinguishes counter-terrorists from the terrorists they fight, apart from their greater fire-power and government backing? Both sides use terror, and in many ways, state-backed use of terror and violence is the greater. Often, we (the reading public) do not perceive this because of how our reality and sense of normalcy is constructed through the media-The Social Contruction of Reality (Berger & Luckmann 1971) through Manufacturing Consent (Herrnan &, Chomsky 1988).

 

Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex constantly feeds the war on terror with replacement hardware and research that forges new weapons and surveillance systems. Reciprocally, the war on terror feeds the military-industrial complex: the ‘aerospace’ industry (i.e., arms companies), defence contracts, mining and oil companies, commodity traders, and all the financial institutions investing in these industries. The end result is a state of insecurity for all of us, diminishing our quality of life in the present, as well as sacrificing the future of our planet as we squander its precious resources to feed an insane war-without-end.

 

Sacrificing People concerns the colonial conquest of a tribal people. Few people outside Orissa know much about the Konds. Even now, Frazer’s mention of their custom of human sacrifice in The Golden Bough may be some people’s only source of knowledge. But deconstructing their conquest by British administrators, which was done in the name of suppressing human sacrifice, has great relevance for understanding our present predicament. Anyone who wishes to penetrate the surface of the war on terror needs to face the shadow side of the society we live in. In essence and origins, what this means is: understanding human sacrifice. Not (just) as a barbaric ‘survival’ -custom from humanity’s ancient, superstitious past, but as something happening now, that has spread and escalated even in the last fifteen years. Not just in the number of lives being sacrificed in thousands upon thousands of simultaneous tragedies around the world, but in the sacrifice of human being-a throwing away of the vast potential we are all born with.

 

This book has also come into a new relevance locally in Orissa, and in India as a whole. For a start, the whole Kond area-which in colonial times was often called Khondistan-is under a new invasion by mining companies, in pursuit of Bauxite, the ore for aluminium. It so happens that India’s largest and best quality Bauxite deposits lie at the top of the Konds’ largest mountains, where they form a layer averaging five to tenmetres thick, spread over these mountains’ distinctive flat summits. But for the Konds, these mountains are sacred entities. To Census officials enquiring their religion, Konds often replied simply ‘mountains’ (see chapter 9). This is far from some idle superstition. Tribal people have a deep understanding of the ecosystem of their mountains-of how they hold the precious water that falls in the monsoon, storing it throughout the year, and releasing it in perennial streams. In this, Kond religion represents a remarkably sane synthesis of the material and the spiritual, based around the reality of the land’s fertility. What mining companies, politicians and financial investors view as resources to be turned into money-as fast as possible, regardless of the sacrifice-Konds view as sources of life itself.

 

So a monumental culture clash underlies this new invasion-the subject of a new book, which I have co-authored over the last seven years with Samarendra Das: Out of this Earth: East India A divas is and the Aluminium Cartel, which follows the same mode of analysis that proved so fruitful in analyzing the colonial invasion of Khondistan. The social structure of aluminium companies is highly complex, compared with the colonial roles of administrator, merchant, missionary and anthropologist. Yet beneath the surface complexity of metals traders, hedge funds, credit rating agencies, hierarchies of company officials, World Bank staffers, administrators and politicians, with complex subordinate roles played by NGOs, environmental scientists and the media, lurks a similar simplicity, that boils down to different value systems: seeing Bauxite as dead matter-a resource to be exploited for profit-versus a view that combines spirit and matter, seeing it as something that should be preserved inviolate in the mountains to keep the earth fertile and in balance.

 

The fact that India’s richest deposits of Baxite, Chromite, Iron-ore, Coal, Manganese and other minerals are to be found in the East of India, in Orissa and its neighbouring states, recalls the original role of the British in India: the East India Company (EIC). The British entered India through two main centres on the East coast: Calcutta (Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai), and their manipulation of finance, law and politics were what gave rise to the Government of India, unifying the country, but in a colonial mould, geared towards making a profit out of the land’s crops and natural resources. Nick Robins’ recent book on the EIC terms it the worlds first multinational-the mother of all companies. So in there mote Kond hills, and the history of scarlet-uniformed sepoys obeying orders from EIC officers, certain trajectories meet of great relevance for all of us.

 

Kandhamal (Khondmal), the district where EIC sepoys first encountered the Konds and entered their territory, has recently become notorious throughout India for extreme violence and a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Since Christmas celebrations were disrupted by riots in December 2007, and Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was assassinated by Maoists in August 2008, an explosion of orchestrated attacks on Christians has occurred on a scale comparable to the violence of the British invasion. Over 50,000 Christians have been driven out of their homes, with numerous accounts of gang rapes and gruesome murders. The burning of their homes and villages recalls dozens of Kond villages burnt under colonial orders, as a tactic to ‘pacify’ the area in the 1830s- 60s. Analyzing the role and words of the first missionaries in Orissa, who targeted this district in particular, is necessary to comprehend recent events.

 

The role of missionary was not confined to religion. European missionaries saw themselves as supplementing the spread of’ civilization’, and this included science, technology, and markets, which missionaries helped propagate in schools and hospitals. The role of missionary was internalized by administrators, school-teachers and engineers. From Keynes onwards, the people who set up the World Bank and ran it saw themselves as missionaries, seeding a new economic order around the world. The role of missionary is everywhere, in each of us-wherever we find the attitude ‘we have the truth and it’s our role to bring it to people’.

 

Nowhere is the missionary influence more evident than in the way that ‘development’ is imposed in tribal areas. The aluminium and dam projects are all justified in the name of development-a development that is extremely one-sided, confined to material constructs, and often masks the looting of land and resources. Big factories and mines, and the companies that build and run them, are thoroughly hierarchical affairs, as closed to learning from or adapting to tribal culture as the most bigoted of missionaries. Development of equality before the law and justice for all, an end to corruption and exploitation, a property ceiling that controls the accumulation of wealth by the few, a system of health and education accessible and accountable to everyone: these measures would count as real development. Orissa’s poverty has one main cause: a system of exploitation stretching from the village level to the dissemination of World Bank funds and mining company bribes. Until this is confronted, mining projects may invest millions, but this money will only intensify the exploitation, ‘flooding us out with money’, as several Konds have expressed it.

 

One basic problem in the written discourse about adivasis is that it rarely quotes what they say, making them into objects, closed to their understanding, which is often enlightened by more intelligence and wit than a library-full of books! Out of This Earth draws on the words of many adivasis and dalits, especially from a documentary film made by Samarendra and Amarendra Das: Wira Pdika (in Kui)-Matiro Poko, Company Loko (in Oriya)-Earth Worm, Company Man (2005).

 

Running through the film is a commentary about the Kashipur movement against the Utkal alumina project in Kashipur, and the terrible police firing that killed three adivasis in December 2000. This commentary is by Bhagaban Majhi, from the Kond village of Kucheipadar, who describes an interaction with the Superintendent of Police as follows:

 

I put a question to the SP. I asked him, Sir, what do you mean by development? (Agya, unnoti boile kono?) Is it development to displace people? The people, for whom development is meant, should reap benefits. After them, the succeeding generations should reap benefits. That is development. It should not be merely to cater to the greed of a few officials. To destroy the millions of years old mountains is not development. If the government has decided that we need alumina, and we need to mine bauxite, they should oblige us with replacement land. As Adivasis, we are cultivators. We cannot live without land.

 

Several million tribal people have been displaced by industry. In the new, final chapter we shall see that the proper description of what is happening is not just mass impoverishment, but also Cultural Genocide. The place where these processes of displacement and Cultural Genocide assume their worst form is just west of Orissa in Dantewara district (formerly part of Bastar, in the new state of Chhattisgarh). Since June 2005, a tribal militia formed by politicians and police called Salwa Judum (‘purification hunt’ in Gond language) has displaced an estimated 200,000 adivasis, committing uncounted murders and rapes, burning one village after another. This is where the War on Terror has taken root in India. In the wake of the Kandhamal violence, this model is being set up in Orissa, even though it is a recipe for civil war. This book offers a way of understanding the roots of human violence by understanding ourselves and our place in the structure of power. The main technique presented to anthropology, and to anyone interested in a holistic understanding of the roots of conflict, is to subject a power structure to structural analysis, so that one sees the actions and ideology of different actors in relation to each other: missionaries, government officials, anthropologists, economists, journalists, lawyers, schoolteachers, company directors, adivasis, dalits, Hindus, Christians- all of us. Analyzing this in a historical context sheds light on how structures have changed-or endured, shifting their outward form only superficially. In the case of the colonial administration analyzed below, the power structure emerges with clarity from the distance of time, and comprehending it reveals how much of the colonial minds et and system is still in place.

 

In the case of the aluminium industry, the social structure is considerably more complex, involving engineers, banks, credit rating agencies, PR firms, arms companies, foreign aid and NOO workers, construction contractors, timber mafia, the judiciary and many more. The mountains in Orissa which are capped by Bauxite were named Khondalite by geologists who recognized that they were of prime importance to the Konds, and stood in their territory. Analyzing the aluminium industry starts from another invasion of this territory, that has many parallels with the first, British invasion, but branches out from here to assess the cost of living which involves all of us in a rarely questioned dependence on hundreds of aluminium artefacts. In particular, the costs which the industry externalizes onto areas where Bauxite is mined and the metal is manufactured, are beyond imagining, and sacrifice the quality of life of thousands of Konds and Oriyas, now and for centuries to come.

 

Further historical research has convinced me that the Konds, Kuinga in their own language, are basically the same people as the Kalinga, whom Ashoka attacked with such violence around 2,270 years ago--an event that stands at the threshold of Indian history, since he recorded it, alongside his repentance for killing 100,000 Kalinga people and enslaving 150,000. The Konds’ gradual retreat from the coastal areas of Orissa is recorded in many records (e.g., Cobden-Ramsey 1910). This identification-in fact the whole history of Ashoka’s genocidal war waged against the Kaiinga-makes the naming of Kalinganagar supremely ironic: an industrial enclave of steel plants, drawing chromite from the Sukinda mines (counted among the ten most polluted spots on earth), and displacing yet more adivasis. When police opened fire at Kalinganagar on 2nd January 2006, after a police constable had been killed, shooting dead 14 adivasi protestors against a Tata steel plant, the resonance with the ancient story of Kalinga brings this irony to a savage climax. But who has even noticed? Meanwhile, through these ongoing invasions of tribal territory, steel and aluminium from Orissa are feeding the world’s arms industry, and therefore its wars.

 

Moving on from aluminium, a third book is in process- Transfiguring the Terrorist Within-which turns the mode of analysis developed in the first two books towards analyzing the War on Terror itself-3,000 years of history leading up to it, and how the war gets internalized in each one of our lives.

 

Ivwon Ewv (Gnothi sown )-Know Thyself-inscribed over the entrance to the oracle at Delphi (the ancient Greeks’ holiest shrine): this seems the only way that growing conflicts in the world can be resolved. Christians need to understand the intolerance that missionaries brought to Orissa, and to change this pattern. Hindus need to understand that the only forced conversions going on in Kandhamal are by Hindus of Christians, and that the violence and expulsion of Christians pollutes and debases the Hindu dharma. People of both religions need to open to the shared truths which underlie both religions. All of us need to learn from other truths, at the centre of adivasi religion, whose respect for nature forms the basis for real sustainability. Without returning to this respect, we are a species hurtling to self-destruction from which no gods or science can save us. Kond reverence for mountains has a lot to teach the world.

 

All the events and situations described above are explored in the new chapter. I am grateful to the publishers for commissioning it, to Hugh Brody for writing the new Foreword, and to Samarendra Das for inside information about the Kandhamal events. My deepest wish is that this new edition will help spread more understanding and tolerance in the world.

 

Contents

 

 

List of Maps

ix

 

List of Abbreviations

xi

 

Foreword to this edition by Hugh Brody

xiii

 

Preface to this edition

xix

 

Foreword to the first edition by Veena Dos

xxvll

 

Preface to the first edition

xxxlll

1.

A Case Study of Colonialism

1

 

Nirantali and the creation of earth-On the meaning of sacrifice-’The enlightened treatment and strong hand’ -The Kond tribe- Tribal culture-’ A conquest over their minds’ -The colonial power structure-Anthropology full circle

 

2.

Conquest: The Ghumsur Wars

35

 

‘Pacification’-The deadly pursuit of honour-Punish and reward

 

3.

Suppressing Human Sacrifice: The Meriah Agency

64

 

‘The right ofthe Government....did not admit of a question’-Macpherson’s war-A war of words-Campbell’s regime

 

4.

Human Sacrifice As a Kond And Hindu Ritual

109

 

The meriah rite-Female infanticide- The context of Kond religion-The brotherhood of clans-The role of the Hindu rajahs-The Dom’s child-Interpreting human sacrifice

 

5.

The Colonial Sacrifice of ‘Enlightened Government’

142

 

Saving meriahs: a Robinson Crusoe complex-Human sacrifice versus Christian sacrifice: the conscious contrast-Human sacrifice versus public execution: the unconscious contrast-After the Agency-Indian intermediaries: old and new elites- The sacrifice of life, land and liberty

 

6.

‘Soldiers of Christ’

185

 

Complementing the administration-’Giving his life for the Konds’-Missionary dualism-School and hospital: diffusing Christian knowledge-Conversion: a religion of fear-Dividing the community

 

7.

Merchants of Knowledge: Anthropologists in a Social Structure

242

 

A gulf of understanding-The conquerors as anthropologists-’The Kandhas do not take any thought for the morrow’ -A hierarchy of knowledge- The sacrifice for science-A human anthropology?

 

8.

In the Name of Development

288

 

Cycles of exploitation- The colonial roles-Sacrificing the present for an unreal future-What is real development?

 

9.

Questioning the Sacrifice: A Postscript

315

 

Different levels of human sacrifice-Colonial roots of the

 

 

modem sacrifice-Conflict in Kandhamal-Mining and cultural genocide

 

 

Notes to the Text

341

 

Glossary

422

 

Bibliography

425

 

Index

453

 

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