1 Role of Tribal Politicians - Dr Lalit Latta Joshua

Who is to Blame for Tribal Backwardness ?


1 Role of Tribal Politicians

As we all know, tribals face social, economic and religious exploitation and excesses which brings the role of tribal politicians into question because they have failed to tackle these problems by mobilizing the community into a movement. The main reason of this failure on their part is the lack of leadership among the tribal community. In addition, after Independence the community panchayats have been usurped by party politics, which has become a bane of the tribal society. The party politics has divided the tribal society into various party ideologies. As a result, most of the tribal leaders, instead of making the tribal development and upliftment their objective, only fulfill their political ambitions. Most of the tribal leaders work to mobilize crowds for their party rallies. They seldom work toward solving the problems of the community. Consequently, even after a period of 59 years, there has been a lack of programmes and schemes to put a planned and special area like the “Adivasi Upyojana Kshetra” (Tribal Subplan Area) on the path of development for the overall development of the tribal community. Of the 150 most backward districts of the country covered under the Food For Work Programme, three districts of Udaipur, Dungarpur and Banswara fall in Rajasthan where the government has to undertake famine relief every year. This only shows that this area has remained still backward because of which many villages lack even basic amenities like drinking water and electricity, there is a lack of irrigation facilities, transport and communication facilities. The tribals of these areas may be found wandering in states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi to make ends meet. Most of the tribals are unable to benefit from government and non-government run employment schemes for the lack of information and rampant corruption.

When some tribal politicians, rising above party politics, dare raise the issues concerning the development of tribals, they are accused of promoting casteism, and their party concerned retaliates by downsizing their political stature and putting checks on them. The threat of denial of tickets for the next elections is the most potent one that makes the tribal leaders helpless. Furthermore, there is no dearth of talented people among tribals, but they are being divided gradually along party lines and social groupings, and they are engaged in pulling down each other and fulfilling their political ambitions. This has only harmed the interests of the tribal society. It has been observed that the tribal leaders from southern Rajasthan have little grip over in the government administration. Lack of education, no influential positions in political parties, lack of awareness about constitutional provisions and rights, lack of information on development programmes and procedures of government departments are some of the reasons for this. The tribal leaders are worried only about their own future and work as yes man of their political masters, to the detriment of the larger interests of the tribal society.



Dr Lalit Latta Joshua
Senior Research Officer,
Institute Of Applied Manpower Research ( Planning Commission, Govt. of India ) Plot No. 25, Sector A-7, Institutional Area, Narela, Delhi-110040.

The views expressed in this paper are of the author and not of the institute in which he is employed.

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