This book examines diverse aspects of the social history of the tribals and dalits/outcastes in Orissa. It delineates how the socially excluded sections were further impoverished by both colonial government policies and the chiefs of the despotic princely states who worked in tandem with the colonizers.
In the book, Biswamoy Pati studied several key issues including 'colonial knowledge' systems, the stereotyping of tribals as violent and brutal, and colonial constructions of the 'criminal tribe'. Additionally examined are colonial agrarian settlements, adivasi strategies of resistance, (including uprisings); indigenous systems of health and medicine; the colonial 'medical gaze;' conversion (to Hinduism); fluidities of caste formations in the nineteenth century; the appropriation by princely
rulers of adivasi deities and healing methods; the rituals of legitimacy adopted by these rulers; as well as the development of colonial capitalism and urbanization. Also explored are the connections between marginalized groups and the national movement, and the way these inherited problems have
remained unresolved after Independence.
Drawing upon archival and rare sources, this important book would interest the general reader, besides students of history, social anthropology, political sociology, cultural studies, dalit studies, social exclusion, and the social history of medicine. It would also attract NGOs and planners of public policy.