Colonial Rule versus Indigenous Knowledge in Bengal’s Western Frontier


In India, Adivasis had, over generations, evolved a complex system of resource-management in consonance with their natural surroundings, which enabled various communities with very different ways of life to earn their livelihoods in a difficult terrain. British colonial rule and its knowledge regime, by reducing local complexities into a monolithic system, tended to bring about far-reaching changes in Adivasis’ relationship with nature. This included the extension of cultivation and increased sedentarization, with sometimes disastrous results.