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They span different situations and social patterns but all of them relate to rights in landed property, and their own troubled identities in the
backdrop of harsh living conditions, social discrimination and lack of state support. Land for the Santal women is not a mere economic resource. It stands for security, social position and identity, and in this men have a distinct advantage. Soon after, writing in a personal vein, the author unfolds how these anxieties of the Santal women resonate her own.
The author traces the relationship between Santals and their land from historic times to the modern era when they have access to both the modern legal system and their own customary laws. She also examines the role of external agencies in this struggle—
government administrative bodies, non-governmental organizations and political leaders. As modern influences crowd out traditional mores the author asserts that development is not always a benign process of social advancement but a highly political struggle for re-negotiating power relations between men and women, and among social groups. Based on rich ethnographic material, this sensitive book lays bare the reality of being an adivasi and an adivasi woman, in all its nuances, in the modern globalized world.
2. A Personal Journey
3. Faces of Poverty: The Villages Profiled
4. Reinventing Tradition: Agrarian Movements in History
5. Land as a Productive Resource
6. Locating Identities
7. Women’s Claims to Land
8. Custom and Courts: Bargaining with Modernity
9. Development Interventions: Can One Size fit all?
10. Conclusions; Bibliography