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 The RoFR act recognizes the dwelling site, religious places, burial grounds, village council sites along with places of MFP, water resources, biodiverisity etc and also PVT tenures. As the implementation boils down to title deeds for house sites and lands under cultivation, SAKTI engaged the Chenchu youth to document their traditional knowledge in their idiom and dialect, in encouraging them to assert as inborn foresters, capable of managing these resources as envisaged in the Act.

"Since SAKTI activities are mostly issue based and covering a large area, here we concentrate on the forest-related programmes of SAKTI for the present study."


The Tribal Struggle for Property Rights

-Arun Kumar

SAKTI: Review Report by: Mukta Srivastava, Programme Officer, Oxfam GB in India - Hyderabad . DATE : 20-25 November 2002




Bhukya Bhangya

Asst. Professor of History

Nizam College,

Osmania University,


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Women and Governance in South Asia

Edited by:

Yasmin Tambiah

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Bhukya Bhangya

Asst. Professor of History

Nizam College,

Osmania University,


Panduvari Kannaiah, an adivasi of West Godavari, points to a field and says, “This whole land is ours, it was our forefathers who cleared the forest and brought it into cultivation. Today, the villagers are claiming that it is their land. We believe that those who clear the land have the right to cultivate it”1. He continued to say, `We are completely ignorant of paper mayas (the magic of paper and document) but help us to restore our land from the villagers’. Kannaiah’s statement must be seen in the context of adivasi outlook on the land question being different from that of general society. In adivasi perception, land is not a commodity to be exchanged. Right over land is symbolic and a purely natural one. Right over land is intrinsically linked to their territorial sense and organic relationship with their habitat. They have very strong roots in land as the children of the soil. They maintain a spiritual relationship with land which resonates in their cultural celebrations.2

The advent of British rule in India substantially opened the doors of the adivasi world and facilitated the entry of outsiders into the autonomous life of the adivasis. With this entry, conflict began between the outsiders and adivasis over land and other forest resources. This conflict is increasingly getting intensified in the adivasi tracts of India. West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh is one region which has experienced such encroachment and is now confronting tribal rebellion on an every day basis. Since colonial rule, land has been the central point in almost all adivasi movements.

This paper intends to examine the land question and reasons and nature of the land struggle of adivasis in West Godavari district of A.P. in independent India. The Andhra agency area came under British rule in two periods – in 1765 and in 1862. In 1839, it was brought under special administration and a series of acts were passed in 1874 and 1917 to protect tribal lands from outsiders.3 Despite protective acts of the colonial rulers, adivasis had launched a historical struggle for land question from 1839 to 1924.4 The dominant adivasi groups in the region were Koyas, Konda Reddis, and Konda Doras. Among them Konda Reddis were accorded a privileged position as they were said to be distantly related to the Kapu and Telaga peasant castes. Koyas were a branch of Gond adivasis, spoke the Kui language, and shared many Gond social and religious patterns. Konda Doras might have also been a section of the Gonds. They were more Teluguized in speech and social behaviour than the Koyas.5

The independent Indian state has also continued colonial policies with regard to the adivasi land question, and allowed non-adivasi in-migration into the agency. This has resulted in a series of adivasi revolts in the agency area in 1969, known as Srikakulam adivasi revolt, and almost continuously from the 1990s. This adivasi mobilization is more active in Polavaram, Jeelugumili and Buttaigudam Mandals of the District, which constitute more than 39.31 percent of adivasi population, according to 1991 census. The three mandals cover 41,725 hectares of cultivable land among which 28,367 hectares of land is in the hands of non-adivasis.6 It is noted that the entire land was under the control of the adivasis in 1902 and there was no evidence of outsiders’ entry into the agency.7 It was only from the early twentieth century that peasants from the plains started infiltrating into the agency and literally evicted adivasis from their land.

Statement showing population of adivasis and non-adivasis in the mandals of West Godavari.





1) Polavaram




2) Buttayagudam




3) Jeelugumili





44,627 (39.31%)

68,891 (60.69%)


Source : 1991 Census

Migration of outsiders into the agency tracts might be understood in terms of geographical proximity of the region and the revenue policies of the colonial and post-colonial state. The rich flora and fauna of the three mandal have attracted a gigantic wave of in-migration of settlers from the coastal plains of Krishna, Guntur and the Godavari districts. These mandals are adjacent to the Godavari river and possess rich black soils which yield generous harvests of tobacco, chilli, cashew nut, sugar cane, mango and paddy. The region is well irrigated with tanks, check dams, tube wells, and private bores. The average annual rain fall of the district is 1081.7 mm. The rich forestry of the region was an added cause of in-migration.8

The colonial state had created property right in lands and introduced commercial crops in the plains. It had created a great demand for land and thus facilitated influx of land-hungry non-adivasis from the plain areas in search of virgin lands and lands at much cheaper rates. On the other hand, the colonial and post colonial states, with their paradoxical notions of adivasi development, have extended roads and communication system to the adivasi areas. Thus the development agenda of the state has accelerated the inflow of outsiders into the agency areas and reduced the adivasis to the level of wage labourers.9

I have noted, in my field study, that Darbhagudam village of Jeelugumili Mandal, on the Khammam to Eluru highway, has come into existence only forty years back with the coming of three Komati families (Traders) from Krishna district. They were followed by thirty Reddy families from the neighbouring plain areas. Within no time, a full-fledged village has emerged. The adjacent koya hamlets (called gudems) - Panduvarigudem, Cheemalavarigudem and Thapasivarigudem were caught in the clutches of upper castes, Reddy and Komati, of the village,. The Koyas were alienated from their lands and reduced to the status of labourers and Jeethagallu (Contact Labourers).

The Government’s project in the transformation of the adivasis requires further elaboration. Road construction in the hills stimulated the growth of market at their feet. A large number of small towns mushroomed in the Hill tracts of Yeleshwaram, Gokavaram, and Krishnadevipet. Trade activities also began in the principal villages, Chodavaram, Kota, Lamasingi and Addatigala. The plains traders kept their centres in these towns and operated their trade in the Hills. Komatis were the principle traders and money lenders in the Hills. Other dominant peasant castes especially Kapus, Rajus, Kammas and Reddis joined with them. A few Banjara, petty traders and other backward castes and SCs are also found in the Agency area.10

In the beginning, the Komatis purchased minor forest products from adivasis at cheap rates and forwarded them to the main markets at Rajahmundry and Kakinada. The prevalent mode of operation in trade was barter in which adivasis paid for their household needs of salt, oil and tobacco with grains. Later money lending became a dominant feature in the trade. Money lenders advance money or lend commodities, mostly for sustenance, social and productive purposes (instruments and fertilizers) during the lean months to adivasis on the condition that it will repaid in full along with interest at the time of the harvest; in the event of default, the interest accumulated on the principal will merge with the principal on which interest again will be charged. After a bad harvest, the money lender harasses him for the immediate settlement of the debt. Such repeated harassment often resulted in the execution of a deed or lease by the adivasi in favour of the non-adivasi in repayment of his debt.11 On the one hand, the imposition of heavy taxes12 on adivasis by the colonial state forced the adivasis to the clutches of money lenders. In this process more than half of adivasi land was transferred to non-adivasis.

Politics of Land Alienation :

Land alienation in the agency area of West Godavari district is an interesting phenomena. The district has 102 agency notified villages which spread over three Mandals – Polavaram (20 villages) Buttayagudam (53 villages and Jeelugumili (29 Villages), under the scheduled area (Part-A states) order 1590.13 The three Agency Mandals constitute an extent of 1,05,170 acres of land14 as shown in the table below.






Govt. Wet



Govt. Dry
















Source : A.P. State Cabinet Sub-Committee report.

Though the three agency mandals have large extents of arable land, the adivasis have remained as landless labourers. It is found in my field notes that 80% of the total cultivable land was in the control of non-adivasis. Moreover the land under adivasi cultivation is completely dry and poramboke (waste land). Non-adivasis have captured all rich fertile lands. There are villages in which adivasis have been completely deprived from any land holding. The adivasis of Darbhagudem of Jeelugimili Mandal are left with only twenty acres, though it was shown in the 1997 village records that out of 4957.97 acres of patta land, adivasis are holding 157.61 acres; non-adivasis are holding 3399.86 acres.15 In the three Mandals, there were 77,022.12 acres of patta land among which 53,670.80 acres were registered in tribal names. But in reality, tribals are hardly holding lands in the villages. Moreover most of their holdings are Porambokes16 and non-patta as shown in the below table.

Land holdings of Adivasis and non-adivasis in acres in the three Mandals 





1) Adivasis




2) Non-adivasis








Source : A.P. State Cabinet Sub-committee

The above table illustrates a very impressive land holding of adivasis. However there is no comparison between paper titles and actual holdings. When I started proceeding into adivasi tracts I have welcomed with hard realities - except for a small number, all adivasis were working on non-adivasi fields.

It has been a practice in the agency area that whenever the adivasi lost his land against meager debts to the non-adivasi, he shifted to a new place and brought waste land into cultivation. When the new land started yielding good produce, the non-adivasi again grabs this land, alleging that the land is his, or by attributing debts taken by the tribal’s father or forefather.

 A Koya named Tellam Beerappa of Cheemalavarigudem of Jeelugimili Mandal lost his 6.30 acres to a Komati, Kanakala Muthaiah against doubtful debts. Later he cleared 2.24 acres in the new area. But it was against taken by Dasari Somi Reddy of Darbhagudem alleging that the land is his patta. On the other side, the forest department does not allow adivasis to clear new land; Beerappa was then left with nothing except work on non-adivasis’ field as a daily wage labourer.17

Interestingly, migration patterns have been reflected even in the land alienation process. Land in the agency areas had gone first into the hands of Komatis (trader), and was later transferred to the upper castes of plain peasantry, like the Reddy, Kapu, Raju and Kamma.  

Caste dimension of land alienation in Darbhagudem, JeelugimIli mandal


RSR 1902 Name & Caste

RSR 1933 Name & Caste

Enjoyment Survey 1997 Name & Caste

Extent in acres


Pandu Dharappa (Koya)

Kanakala Venkat Rao Ramaiah (Komati)

M. Janshi Laxmi Reddy (Reddy)



Pandu Buchanna (Koya)

Repaka Chinna Narsaiah (Komati)

R. Ramchandaiah Reddy (Reddy)

2.72 0.96


Pandu Mutyalu (Koya)

Kanakala Muthaiah (Komati)

Janga Purushotham Reddy (Reddy)



Tellam Beerappa (Koya)

Kanakala Muthaiah (Komati)

M. Srinivas Reddy Ramesh Reddy P. Laxmi Reddy



Pandu Pasanna Pandu Dulappa (Koya)

Ch. Chinnavenkata appaiah (Komati)

M. Sathi Reddy (Reddy)



Modians Seethaamulu Kaka ramulu

Ummaneni Vijaya Kumar

M. Sathi Reddy (Reddy)


Source : RSR 1902, RSR 1933, enjoyment survey, 1997 of Darbhagudem Village.

 We can understand, from the above table, that the colonization of the agency area had taken place in two phases. In the first phase, after roads were established, Komatis (traders) infiltrated into the agency area. When trade expanded in large quantities, they settled down in the area itself, and widened their base. Within no time, the autonomous adivasi life became dependent on newly emerging market forces in the area, and tribals lost their land to Komatis gradually. In the second phase the plains upper caste, infiltrated into the area from the 1930s, and began cultivating the land, now owned by the Komatis for rent. Consequently a large amount of land was transferred to the new invaders from the Komatis as well as the adivasis. Through this process half of the agency land has been alienated from the adivasis. In this kind of encroachment, the plains upper caste nexus with government officials played an important role. Colonial and post colonial states, in fact, facilitated the outsiders with a variety of concessions to migrate into agency areas. The rich who maintained good relations with the revenue officials could move into the agency areas and grabbed land with permission of the administration. The Izara and zamindari villagers especially received more migration consisting of peasants and labourers from plains.18

 On the pretext of lakhs of acres remaining uncultivated, migration was encouraged even in the post independent period. A special crash program gazette was published inviting application from farmers from the plains until 1969. Accordingly, a huge number of non-adivasis acquired land in the agency and settled.19 In my field study, I found another dimension of land alienation resorted to in the Agency – this is through marriage. Half of the Agency land has been transferred from adivasi to non-adivasi in this way and continues to this day. The non-adivasi is often already married. He marries an adivasi woman as a second wife, some times as a keep. Through her he acquires access to the land which is otherwise not possible. His children born to the first wife enjoy the fruits of the land, and control it, while the second wife and her children are eventually reduced to labourers working for the non-adivasi.20

Posturing of the state

Having faced adivasi revolts, the colonial and post-colonial states have brought in a number of acts and regulations to protect the adivasis and their land from the non-adivasis. After the 1879-80 rebellion of Rampa, the Madras Government passed the Agency Tracts Interest and Land Transfer Act, 1917. It prohibited the alienation of land from an adivasi to a non-adivasi without the consent of the agent, the District Collector. This Act also purported to protect adivasis from money lenders. However this act, in Aiyappan’s words, did not bring any change in the agency area. The Madras government also constituted an Aboriginal Tribal Welfare Enquiries Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Aiyappan in 1946, to suggest modules for adivasi welfare. The committee submitted a report to the government after a year with a wide range of alternative action schemes.21 But unfortunately the committee’s suggestions remained on paper as the British were in a hurry to leave India.

 After the formation of Andhra Pradesh, the Governor repromulgated the 1917 act as I of 1959 act which was originally made applicable to Andhra agency, and later extended to Telangana agency by a Regulation of II of 1963. These acts were observed more in their breach than in their implementation. The apathetic attitude of the state towards the adivasi land question, has given a clear advantage to non-adivasis and continued to push out the adivasis from their habitat. It resulted in a revolutionary revolt in Srikakulam district in 1969, grounded in Marxism. Once again, and as usual, the state machinery focussed its attention on the adivasi land question, and rushed to promulgate another legislation, known as Act 1 of 1970 Regulation. The significant feature of the Act is the laying of the burden of proof of the deed on the non-adivasi.22 The adivasis of West Godavari have been demanded implementation of the Regulation on innumerable occasions. However the state has never been sensitive to their demands. Stemming from this deep-rooted frustration, the adivasis of West Godavari have been up in arms since the 1990s and have started to implement the law themselves.

The Struggle for land :

Adivasis are vexed with government inaction, revenue and police officials connivance with the attacks by the landlords. The adivasis have reconstructed the history of their land with the help of NGOs, in particular Sakti (Strength for Action, Knowledge for Tribal Initiation). There were, historically, two factors which moved the adivasis towards a struggle for land. One, the adivasis of West Godavari have a history of struggle for land since the colonial period. It is this struggle culture that has eventually prepared them to rise up with arms against the non-adivasi peasants. Secondly, the socialization of democratic politics in the state awakened the illiterate adivasis and helped them reassert ownership of lands that their father and forefathers had forfeited against malafide debts to outsiders. The installation of Telugu Desam Government in the state in 1983 and populist policies of N.T. Rama Rao, Supremo and Chief Minister of Telugu Desam Party, impacted the socialization of democratic politics at the grass root level, even in the isolated adivasi gudems. The inauguration of the mandal system and introduction of three tier Panchayat system has created a new leadership by providing space to all sections of the people in democratic politics. For the first time, the neglected adivasis, have got a space in the operations of the state; this has resulted in an awakening of the adivasis about their constitutional rights. The adivasis then began to demand the implementation of 1/70 regulation.23 SAKTI, NGO is an added force in the land struggle. SAKTI was started in 1985 by Dr. Sivaramakrishna with its head quarters at Rampachodavaram, East Godavari district with the aim of working for tribal welfare and upliftment. When the adivasis started battling with non-adivasis for land in Polavaram mandal of West Godavari in 1990, Sakti shifted its attention to these mandals and began to assist the rising of the adivasis. Among the significant activities of the organization was the collection of land records and documents related to land problems. SAKTI also arranged for a systematic training to adivasis in locating titles of land. It also conducted awareness classes in almost all the villages of Polavaram, Buttayagudem and Jeelegumili Mandals to explain ways to recapture their land. Another strategic role of the organization was that it involved adivasi youth, mostly school and college dropouts, in its activities.24 It then became very easy for the organization to mobilize adivasis. With its efforts the adivasis are today able to locate, the survey numbers and title of holding of their village. It is not untrue to say that every Gudem head has the Resettlement Survey Registrar (RSR) of 1902, 1993 of his village, a crucial document for any land mobilization.

As a result of this awakening, the adivasis began to assert their control over land. The first incident was in Polavaram mandal in 1990 when the adivasis of Kunkala village raided non-adivasis’ land under the leadership of the Marxist Leninist Party. The police instituted false cases and arrested adivasis involved in the incident. Despite recurrent raids by the police and rich landlords on their Gudem, the adivasis have continued their struggle and recaptured some amount of land from the non-adivasis. This incident created hopes among other adivasis that they could also reclaim their land. The adivasis begain raiding the lands controlled by non-adivasis, with the help of SAKTI, OPDR, and CPM, in the region. Of course, it has resulted in out non-adivasi attacks on adivasis. In March 1996 Rampandu, the landlord of Kunkala Village, along with a truck load of non-adivasis, armed with hand bombs and spears, attacked the adivasis of Nanugopala, Kunkala and Basaraupalli gudems. They beat up men and women and ransacked the houses. They tortured the adivasi youth Karam Venkateshwara Rao and threatened to burn him alive in a tobacco barn. This brutal attack was taken casually by the administration. Not a single person was arrested. The enraged adivasis attacked the Mandal Revenue Office in Polavaram and demanded the arrest of Rampandu under the Atrocities Against SCs and STs Act. He was arrested to satisfy adivasis, but was released on bail, though the offences under this act are not bailable. The adivasis of Nanugopala and Kunkala continued their struggle and occupied 300 acres of land possessed by Rampandu and distributed it among themselves.25

The Busarajupalli incident, of Buttayagudam Mandal, organized the adivasis into a force in the district. The casual treatment of the brutal attacks of Rampandu on adivasis by the police enraged the adivasis. On August-5, 1996 in a pitched battle, the adivasis terrified the non-adivasis by shooting arrows and beating up a few. Soon after the incident, 115 adivasis were arrested and sent to the Central prison at Rajahmundry.26 This incident received the attention of the State Assembly and become a state wide issue. In fact, it was a minor incident compared to the brutal attacks and raids by non-adivasis. But print media picturised it as a hunt by adivasis, evoking memories of the adivasis as hunting animals. It was deliberately blown up by the media, members of the Assembly and politicians to get support from larger society for the non-adivasis’ cause. 

The Busarajupally incident began the series of violent conflicts between adivasis and non-adivasis in the region. The adivasis of Veerannapalem and Chenchuvarigudam of Buttayagudam mandal, under the leadership of Poolam Bhodevi armed with bows and arrows, obstructed the tenant while ploughing his land in August 1997. Kovvada Durgaiah and 15 other adivasis of Marrigudem smashed crops in about 50 acres belonging to non-adivasis. About 100 adivasis armed with bows and arrows marched under the flag of the CPM in Buttayagudem, demanding implementation of the 1/70 Regulation.

The adivasis of Panduvarigudam and Cheemalavarigudam of Jeelugumili Mandal played a decisive role in the struggle. In May 1997 they attacked the police at Panduvarigudem when police attacked them at a SAKTI meeting. On the same day, 200 adivasi women kidnapped the MRO of Jeelugumili mandal.27

In the struggle the adivasis were treated as offenders, and the police and revenue departments hunted them, taking assistance of non-adivasis. Very often, it was very difficult for the adivasis to distinguish police and non-adivasi, as the non-adivasi often raided the Gudams in police uniform. In the raids police and non-adivasis usually smashed adivasis belongings, poured kerosene into rice and grains, burned the family clothes, tore up the school books of their children and documents.Alleging that the adivasis had harvested the crops of the non-adivasis, Brahma Reddy, DSP of Kovvur, led a raid of 200 Police men, in October 2002 on Panduvarigudam, Cheemalavarigudam and Thapasivarigudam and tortured the adivasis brutally. In the raid, Krishnaveni of Cheemalavarigudam, a SAKTI activist, was targeted and all her belongings and ration items were burned publicly. The police misbehaved with women. Women were dragged from their baths, half naked, and pushed into trucks.28.

After the Nanugopala village incident the non-adivasis have changed their strategy in the face of the adivasi’s cry for land. They have begun targeting government offices and police stations during the later struggle while taking part in raids on adivasi Gudems along with police. On the following day of the Busarajupally incident in which adivasis attacked the non-adivasis, the latter attacked the MRO’s Office of Jeelugumili and burned land records, smashed the furniture of the MRO’s office at Jangareddygudem and Koyyalagudem. A number of dharnas, processions and rasta rokos were observed by non-adivasis in the District. They gheraoed Ministers and MLAs on their visits to the district. The interesting aspect in the struggle is that rich non-adivasis instigated SC small holders and landless labourer against adivasis, telling them that they would also lose their land if the 1/70 Regulation was implemented. But the adivasis rarely targeted the SC small peasants; their raids were always only on big landlords throughout the struggle.29

In the whole conflict two non-adivasis of Polavaka, Rajavaram and T. Narsapuram were shot dead by arrows of the adivasis; one adivasi, Karam Parvathi of Nanugopala, was killed by non-adivasis. As on April 5, 2001, 4000 adivasis have been arrested by the police in various incidents in the struggle.30

To deal with the tension created between adivasis and non-adivasis in the region, the State Government as usually summoned meeting after meeting with officials and simultaneously appointed a Cabinet Sub-committee and House Committee to look into the dispute. After initiating meetings with state, district and Mandal level officers, all political parties and NGOs, the government has promulgated modalities to carry out a fresh survey to verify the position on the land. The Dy. Collector and Mandal revenue officers of the three mandals carried out an enjoyment survey with District, Mandal and village level communities consisting of officials, adivasis, non-adivasis and NGOs. The survey was conducted on the basis of Resettlement Survey of Revenue 1933. According to the modalities the Mandal Revenue Officer read out the title of holdings in the presence of village committee and villagers. The committee was to decide and reconstruct the right over particular holdings.31 The particulars of LTR cases disposed as on 31-8-1998 is shown in the below table.

 Particulars of LTR Cases disposed 



No. of cases

Extent (in acres)


No. of cases under LTR




No. of LTR cases disposed




No. of cases decided in favour of non-adivasi




No. of cases decided in favour of adivasis



Source : Information provided by the Special Dy. Collector K.R. Chandrapuram.

As it is shown in the table, out of the 7077 settled cases of LTR, 4280 cases have gone in favour of non-adivasis, and only 1466 cases in favour of adivasis.32 Understanding the biased strategy of the revenue officials, the adivasis boycotted the conduct of survey in many villages. The very pre-condition laid for the redressal of LTR cases betrayed the adivasis, and created further tension between adivasis and non-adivasis. Accordingly, the deeds under LTR had to be redressed on the basis of 1933 RSR. But, by the time itself, 80 percent of the adivasi land had been alienated to non-adivasis. As a result a large amount of land has gone to the non-adivasis in the settlement. In many villages, records were not read out clearly. There were innumerable incidents in which cases were settled even without the presence of adivasis.

Adivasis who are not satisfied with the settlement have gone to court. But the cases are still pending with officials. The cases pending at the Dy. Collector were 776 (2716.53 acres), in the court of the agent, 185 cases (1084.32 acres) revision petitions before the High Court, 51 cases (247.27 acres), Writ Petitions before the High Court, 106 cases (465.95 acres), Writ Petitions allowed, 41 cases (511.02 acres), and appeals allowed 175 cases (1087.83 acres). The adivasis are illiterate and unable to represent their cases properly. In addition their financial position does not allow them to engage advocates though SAKTI has helped them in some cases. Some non-adivasis slow down the process of legal redressal by filing appeals (that they were not given reasonable opportunity to represent their cases) cases have been remanded. Thus the cases have dragged on for years together.33

With these half hearted provisions, an assumption is created that the land of adivasi is protected from encroachment by the non-adivasi. But what has been happening at the ground level seems to be entirely different. The adivasis do not have any documentary proof of title. Their ownership of land is only in terms of an oral tradition with which the revenue officials and the law is not satisfied. Even in the few instances where their claim is acknowledged and land is granted, the non-adivasi uses legal means to delay and frustrate the process of land transfer to the adivasi. 

A systematic reconstruction of the history of land has taken place in the agency of West Godavari; despite this, the government has shamelessly declared the land as disputed and ordered resurvey only to legalise the illegal holdings of non-adivasis. The adivasis, for the first time in the history of India, have led a largely peaceful struggle and within the confines of land legislations, though the non-adivasis have employed violent and unconstitutional methods. Adivasis, after locating the deeds of land with the help of SAKTI, petition revenue officers to restore their land. It is only when the officials have been indifferent to their pleas have they used their own methods to recapture the land. Women, unlike in other struggles, have played a decisive role in the struggle. They participated almost in all the raids on non-adivasis along with men and have gone to jails. There were 40 women out of the 115 adivasis arrested in the Busarajupally incident.. Krishnaveni of Cheemalavarigudem, SAKTI activist, is a living testament to the spirit in the adivasi women. Women were subjected to sexual harassment and rapes by police and non-adivasis. Ironically, no political party, except CPM and OPDR, (ML), have supported the adivasi cause because of their larger political implications.

Another underlying feature of the struggle is that it has no political vision as it is grounded in voluntarist ideology. Consequently it has not been able to produce a spirited leadership which can play a creative role in the later times. Having been experiencing the state apathy to land question, the only hope left to the adivasis is embracing to struggle path. The struggle should be restrengthend and redirected with in the adivasi spirit so as to restore the adivasi land

Foot Notes :

1 Interview with Kannaiah of Jeelugumili Mandal on 25-12-2002.

2 Koyas celebrate Bhumi Panduga (earth festival) after the rainy season in which bulls are killed and blood is taken and sprinkled over land.

3 A. Aiyappan, Report on the Socio-Economic Conditions of the Aboriginal tribes of the Province of Madras, Government Press, Madras, 1948, pp.7-8.

4 David Arnold, Rebellious Hillmen : The Gudem Rampa Rising, 1839-1924, Subaltern studies. Vol-I, pp.88-41.

5 Ibid, pp.94-95.

6 Resettlement survey of Revenue (RSR), 1933, Polavaram Division of Godavary District, No.51, Govt. Press, Madras 1934, pp.1-120.

7 RSR 1902, Polavaram division, Godavary district, No.66, Government Press, Madras, 1903, pp.1-50.

8 A.P. District Gazetteers, West Godavary revised ed. Govt. Central Press, 1979, pp.15-16.

9 David Arnold, Op.Cit.P.110-112.

10 Ibid, pp.109.

11 The colonial state collected Cheegurupannu, (Toddy tax) Kalapa pannu (Wood cutting tax) and Pullari Pannu (Grazing tax) from adivasis.

12 Atluri Murali, Manyam Rebellion, Social Scientist, Vol.12, Number, 4, April 1984. pp.5-9.

13 District Collector note on the problems in scheduled area West Godavari district, July 1996.

14 A.P. State Cabinet Sub-committee report on land problems in agency areas of West Godavari District, 24-9-1997.

15 Enjoyment survey note of Jeelugamili, Polavaram, Buttayagudam Mandals, January, 1997.

16 A.P. State Cabinet Sub-Committee Report Op.cit. p.3

17 RSR 1933, Op.cit. pp.20-24.

18 Godavari District records, Vol. 384. pp.120-121.

19 A.P. Scheduled area Chattalu Oka Pariseelana, (Telugu), Published by A.P. Scheduled area Rythu Sangam (R.No.780), Bhadrachalam, pp.48-51.

20 Interview with Krishnaveni of Cheemala Gudem of Jeelugumili Mandal on 25-12-2002.

21 A. Aiyappan, Op. cit, pp.10-11.

22 Jaswanth Rao, Tribal struggle against land alienation, EPW, Vol.XXXIII, No.31, Jan. 17-23. 1998. p.81.

23 G. Krishna Reddy, New Populism and liberalization, Regime shift under Chandrababu Naidu in A.P. EPW, Vol.XXXVII, No.9, March 2, 2002, p.874.

24 Think Globally, Act Locally, a booklet published by SAKTI, pp.25-30.

25 Jaswanth Rao, Op cit, p.81.

26 Ibid, p.82.

27 A.P. State Cabinet Sub-committee report, Op cit, P.15.

28 Gita Ramaswamy, Cops Hound Gutsy Tribal Women, Deccan Chronicle, Nov.16, 2000.

29 Interview with Dr. Sivaramakrishna, SAKTI, on 2-12-2002.

30 A.P. State Cabinet Sub Committee Report, Op cit, p.15.

31 Minutes of Meeting on conduct of survey held in chamber of the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare at Hyderabad on Oct. 22, 1993.

32 Interview with Dy. Collector, K.R. Chandrapuram on 26-12-2002.

33 Law for Tribal Women, The New Indian Express, May 20, 1999. 






W.P. No. 5515/87 M.P.No.7398/87 Date:May 1987

W.P. No. 6175/87 M.P.No.8273/87 Date:May 1987

 "Managing Director Godavari plywoods ltd. Rampachodavaram E.G.Dt. be and hereby is directed not to cut any mango trees, jamun and jack trees and cutting the forests of Maredumilli mandal, E.G.Dt."

 Only matured or dying trees were to be felled. Jeelugu (Caryota urens) palm, trees yielding minor forest produce like tamarind or cane brakes, creepers were not to be touched. A gap of 20 meters from a stream.)         --Times of India, April 30, 1991.


The candidate has chosen a topical subject, very relevant to our thinking on culture, cognition and language. He has red widely and is familiar with the literature that matters. His linguistic and anthropological reasoning is sound. His language is clear and simple.

...evidence of the investigator's ability as a linguist by special training and as a linguistic anthropologist by self - cultivated interest.

Prof. A.Munirathnam Reddy, Head, Department of Social Anthropology,S.V.University, Tirupati - 517502


Enabling the Community to Gain Command Over the Administrative Process is Empowerment.


"Today the development is manaement without governance and governanace is without proper participation."



A.P.Cabinet Sub - Committee Report on Left Wing Extrremists. - P.Sivaramakrishna.

The only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters, never the violations of the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, mismanagement of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of Socio-economic entities etc. 



if the R & R is found to be lagging with reference to the fixed bench marks, the construction should accordingly be deferred / stopped;



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