Have India's tribal leaders failed their people?
India has the largest tribal population in the world. Tribals number 8.6 per cent of its total population. They are also among the country's most marginalised. Why has India's political democracy not given its tribals their due? What is in India's political system that prevents the tribal voice from being heard? Or have tribal representatives in the high echelons of India's politicaldom failed their constituencies? What exactly is wrong?
For one, the post-independence Indian state treats tribals with the same condescension as its colonial predecessors. The ethnographer-colonial official saw the tribal as the Noble Savage in urgent need of benign protection and development. Experts on tribal affairs say the Constituent Assembly