Book Announcement


Defeat of innocence is accompanied by the violent integration of the vanquished into the mainstream on the conquerors' terms of exploitation. Such integration is catastrophic for all concerned. While some bear the brunt immediately with their livelihood resources emaciated and their innocence annihilated, others degenerate in the course of historical time subsumed by the material immorality. Societies and cultures therefore should be circumspect in the use of exploitation (of Nature as well as other societies and cultures) to foster economic prosperity, since innate in this exploitative paradigm is decline and degeneration.

DEFEATED INNOCENCE

Adivasi Assertion, Land rights and The Ekta Parishad Movement

Rahul Ramagundam

What happens when the written tradition collides with the oral tradition? The collision at presently is leading to the defeat of innocence of those who belong to the oral tradition. This book explores the many facets of this defeated innocence. Its underlying theme is drawn from the idea of innocence and its progressive erosion with concomitant integration into the modern world.

Defeated Innocence is a book on the Adivasi resource alienation and their assertion to reclaim the community confidence and self-respect. In the book, there is a narrative that interlaces instructive facts with evocative visuals of India's most interior regions. The book provides a peep into the rumbling at the grassroots. The saga of a social movement is rendered here with passion, commitment and conviction.

It would be of great support and a valuable contribution if the book gains wider readership. The book shall be of great interest for activists, teachers, government and administrative officials, and academies. It details the case studies and campaign strategies. The book also targets a general reader who is sensitive to the social and political emancipation of the marginalized.

The book is dedicated to grassroots activism. The GrassrootsIndia Publication will donate 5% of the list price to an adivasi village ('Dhanauli', Bilaspur) in Chattisgarh where an experiment in the holistic education is an ongoing process.

The book is priced at Rs. 299 (plus shipping charges of Rs 40 in India) and US $ 15 for international orders (includes shipping charges). For outstation cheques in India please add Rs 10. (ie. for outstation orders by cheque, the total cost is Rs 299 + 40 + 10). Copies may be ordered from the author. The cheque may be drawn in the favor of the author, Rahul Ramagundam. The postal address of the author is :

Rahul Ramagundam
60, Brahmaputra Hostel,
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi, 110067

AN EXTRACT

Does 'To Know' mean standing up against the corrupt Forest Guards? The Baigas got cash once a year. In May-June, every year, they - men, women, and children - went deep inside the jungle to pluck the Tendu leaves-leaves from which bidis are made. Bidis (cylindrical smoking pipes stuffed with tobacco) sells cheaply in the countryside. Every morning, very early in the morning, in hordes, oblivious of slithering reptiles and howling brutes, the Baigas march on foot into the jungle to pluck and pick leaves. With tied up leaves on their heads, they return only in the afternoons. And then, while men and children sort the leaves, the women cook their first meal of the day. For fifteen to twenty days every year, the routine is repeated without fail. In these days, it is pluck and pick, it's packaging in neat bundles of thousand leaves that is primary. Around it, lore is woven, dreams are made, hopes are carried, and lives are lost. Life is leaves. Leaves are life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rahul Ramagundam is a PhD Research Scholar at the Centre for Historical Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Born in Bihar and with schooling in Andhra Pradesh, Rahul is involved with grassroots activism in Madhya Pradesh. For his doctoral thesis he has been researching on the history of the Khadi Movement in the pre and post independence India. In the last five years of his grassroots association, he has taken part in many campaigns focusing on the livelihood resources such as land, forest and adivasi rights. He has been regular contributor to the newspaper and journals on issues as varied as Gandhi and his philosophy and social action.

During the six month-long Bhu-Adhikar Satyagraha Padyatra undertaken by Ekta Parishad from which this book derives its inspiration, he was the Campaign and Communication Coordinator.

He presently lives in the Brahmaputra Hostel of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and can be contacted at: rahulelm@ndb.vsnl.net.in

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