Behind the Indian Boom, an exhibition in London and its catalogue



Catalogues attract catalogues—who knew? We had just finished Mark Elliot’s exhibition catalogue—Another India: Explorations and Expressions of Indigenous South Asia, when Alpa Shah, who’d been to the exhibition contacted us  to collaborate on another one.  The London School of Economics, Department of Anthropology and the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, at the University of London were planning an exhibition dealing with the exclusion dalits and Adivasis suffer under the neoliberal economic policies applied in India. With the scholars behind the project approaching adivaani our newest title in our imprint One of Us came to life —  Behind the Indian Boom: Inequality and Resistance at the heart of economic growth.

In this volume, our readers can explore the powerful collection of images displayed at the Brunei Gallery of SOAS, that tell the stories of everyday, backbreaking labour that our peoples engage in to survive in this country. These images are testimonies of Adivasis and Dalits living with rights denied, identities, culture and languages undermined.

So please, grab a copy at our usual online platforms and bookstores too or buy it directly from us with at Instamojo.

Here’s a little treat—a preview of the introductory paragraphs of the book:

Much has been made of the boom currently taking place in India. One of the world’s fastest growing economies, it is predicted that by the middle of the century India will be one of the two largest, alongside China, leaving the West behind. But what does this growth look like for the people on whose land and labour it is based?

Although India is now home to more than a hundred billionaires, around 800 million people still survive on less than two dollars a day, and eight Indian states have more poor people than twenty-six of Africa’s poorest countries put together. It could be said that while the wealth of the West is founded on colonising other countries, the extreme wealth of a small minority in India is based on colonising parts of its own country and its people. Since the 1990s, when India liberalised its economy, foreign corporations have also been investing in India, benefiting from and also exploiting its resources and its cheap labour.

BEHIND THE INDIAN BOOM travels across the country to meet some of its Dalits and Adivasis—its low caste and tribal communities—historically stigmatised
as ‘untouchable’ and ‘wild’, in order to understand the roles they play in the Indian and the wider global economy. Despite India’s significant economic growth, these tribal and low caste communities remain at the bottom of its social and economic hierarchies. Though economists have said that some advances have been made in the reduction of absolute levels of poverty, they have also shown that some groups have fared much worse than others and that income and wealth inequality is increasing in India. Adivasis and Dalits are some of the people who have gained the least from growth in India and, as this visual essay shows, millions have lost out because of it. They are a source of cheap labour from which much of the world economy benefits, and some of the lands on which they have traditionally lived for generations are today important crucibles of global industry. Dalits and Adivasis count for more than 200 million and 100 million people respectively; that is a staggering one in twenty-five people in the world. Their situation also reveals insights into the conditions of other oppressed people across the globe.

BEHIND THE INDIAN BOOM draws on material collected by researchers affiliated with the London School of Economics, Department of Anthropology, Programme of Research on Inequality and Poverty. It also includes the work of local journalists and activists. The social anthropologists involved have lived for several years, sometimes decades with the people whose lives they are documenting. The aim is to give a sense of the everyday struggles that Adivasis and Dalits go through
to survive in the contemporary economy, and also their fight back against the situations they find themselves in.


One thought on “Behind the Indian Boom, an exhibition in London and its catalogue

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  1. Just visited your ‘store’ also. Adivaani has grown very impressively. Congratulations to all of you.

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