Local History and the Postcolonial State: The Invisibility of Gonds

  • Smita Yadav


In this chapter, Yadav provides an overview of the Panna district in the village of Mahalapur, where the Gonds live. She describes the geographical, historical and cultural significance of the region for Hindu religion and Indian society. Later, she will explain its political and administrative structure and how it is related to the everyday lives of the Gonds. Later, she also describes in detail the Gonds in the region and how they settled and integrated with the wider populations gradually. The chapter provides details of Gonds’ memories of the older days of living in forests and compares it to today’s relations of the Gonds with the forests, the state, and the economy. She concludes by describing the Gonds’ journey out of poverty and desire to remain debt free and independent within the wider local political economy which is to diversify their sources of income. This progression from being isolated communities to becoming an integrated people with the modern Indian-nation state also meant a slow death of their indigenous and unique culture and identity to meet the homogenous administrative and bureacratic needs. This chapter shows how in the process of becoming visible for the modern state, the Gonds are also becoming invisible.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Smita Yadav
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BrightonBrightonUK
  2. 2.University of SussexBrightonUK

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