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.


Buy directly from us with Instamojo

Exciting things are happening at adivaani, and as we reach the 5 year mark, we’re happy to share an upgrade to the way we operate. We’ve finally been able to enable a direct online purchase from our website using a safe and tested payment gateway option—Instamojo.



If you are going to purchase online, we’d encourage you to do so directly from us. Our overseas readers can also use this platform to acquire our books.

We’re asking for our buyers to bear the shipping charges and hope you won’t mind that.

Our books are still available at the bookstores that have kept us in circulation all these years as well as the usual online portals. Do keep up with our activities on our website and social media. And should you need to contact us directly, please email, phone or drop in.

Thank you for supporting adivaani all these years and cheer us on as we move into yet another year of cultural documentation and dissemination work.


Another India: an exhibition and a book

The exhibition Another India: Explorations and Expressions of Indigenous South Asia, opened on the 7 March 2017 and will continue until April 2018 at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), Cambridge University.

Curated by Dr. Mark Elliot, this exhibition “explores the tangled histories of artefacts from indigenous populations in India and how they came to be in the collections in Cambridge.”

The assemblage being exhibited is a combination of artefacts, paintings and photographs from MAA’s collection, many of which have never been exhibited before, and artworks by contemporary artists from the Indigenous and Adivasi communities represented.

We’re happy to announce that the catalogue from the ongoing exhibition—which is a remarkable account of the objects, the people who made them and who collected them and their complex legacies, is now available for sale at adivaani’s regular distribution channels.

Legal Status

adivaani was registered as a Trust with the Additional Registrar of Assurances in Kolkata, West Bengal on July 19, 2012. Our Registration number is 4326.
adivaani is registered u/s 12AA (1)(b)(i) of the Income Tax Act 1961, and has the following tax exemptions:~ Approval under section 80G (5)(iv) of the Income Tax Act,1961 (50% exemption).

Adivaani and Tribal Intellectual Collective India’s second book is out!


Adivaani and the Tribal Intellectual Collective India is proud to present its second title from the Tribal and Adivasi Studies series—Social Work in India, Edited by bodhi s. r.

bodhi. s. r sums up the book for us: ‘This specific volume of the TAS series attempts to unravel key constitutive elements of perspectives from within in Tribal and Adivasi Studies. This being a subject area not sufficiently explored by scholars and whose myriad questions remain definitively unanswered to this day, both in academia and within progressive activist scholarship. Evidences to assert and augment propositions related to unraveling this distinct methodological position have been sourced from a practice discipline–social work. Discursive in nature and drawing extensively from the experiences of those who have directly engaged in critical and strategic practice in Tribal/Adivasi empowerment, this volume; also an act in epistemological reconstruction, envisages asserting and achieving greater depth and clarity of the said perspective in the identified subject domain’.

We released the book at the Second National Congress in Bihaband, Orissa on 6th October 2016 at the inaugural session of the three-day jatra.

Here are some snapshots from the book release, the congress and the tribal and adivasi students, scholars and postgraduate students who attended the event.


Illustrated Pursuits: Why we chose to do the book?


Illustrated Pursuits by Ngaire Gardner


Almost two years ago adivaani received the proposal for Illustrated Pursuits: a collection of drawings, published articles and maps by Walter Stanhope Sherwill, who spent a total twenty-seven years in India since he first arrived as a young man in 1834 to work for the British East India Company. He served as an ensign, Assistant Revenue Surveyor, Revenue Surveyor of what was then known as the Bengal Presidency. He held positions of Lieutenant; Captain—a position he held until 1859 when he became Major Sherwill. On his retirement in 1861 he was given the title Honourable Lieutenant Colonel.

When Ngaire Gardner, the author, a retired school teacher who taught History of Art, Classical Studies, Visual Arts, Design and Photography and also great-great-granddaughter of Sherwill contacted us; we knew little of Sherwill except that the iconic drawing of Sidhu Murmu in jail, one of the brothers famous for leading the Santal Rebellion 1855-57, was in all probability drawn by him.

‘Hot Wells and Springs in the bed and on the banks of the Bum Buklesir Nullah – Zillah Beerbhoom’; W. S. Sherwill, 1851; Indian ink on paper; © Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 40.8 x 27 cm.

That image has been in circulation and used by Santals and Adivasis for years now to represent and assert our identity rights and self-determination.

What are the odds that an Adivasi publisher comes in contact with Sherwill’s descendant and has access to more material that serves as the only window to the life and times of our people over a century and half ago. Well, it happened and Illustrated Pursuits came to life.

‘The Great Tree embedded Gun, at Moorshedabad’; W. S. Sherwill, 1850; Indian ink on paper; © Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 41 x 27 cm.

Sherwill’s “Notes Upon a Tour of the Rajmahal Hills” (1851) and “Notes Upon a Tour of the Sikkim Himilayahs” (1852), both published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and included in this book, give us a glimpse of the tribal people and their customs in those regions. Actually, Sherwill’s work does reflect British colonial positions and this book will help us engage with those thought patterns and approaches.

We did not want to pass up the prospect of having this historical material, curated in one place and made available to the descendants of Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu and the others who have been represented in Sherwill’s drawing.

Ngaire Gardner sums up the intention of the book: ‘the consequences of British colonial attitudes to the land, resources and indigenous population of India continue to reverberate today and readers will inevitably bring their own perspectives to Sherwill’s images and words. My aim has been to share the material he has left behind and to allow readers to form their own opinions of his legacy’ .

Ngaire Gardner

Ngaire Gardner

The book, from our imprint ONE of US, is now available for you to read. Go ahead and grab your copy.


Jacinta Kerketta’s first poetry book: Angor


Our authors and readers make adivaani what it is…they are the fuel and passion that keeps our work going.

As proud as we are to announce our first poetry book; the poet and her brilliance far surpass everything we stand for.

Do join us at the launch of Jacinta Kerketta’s first collection of bi-lingual poems in Hindi and English: Angor on Friday, the 20th of May, 2016 in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Jacinta’s Angor–meaning Ember in the local Adivasi dialect–has been translated into German, Glut (Hindi-German) in collaboration with Draupadi-Verlag and Jacinta and Ruby will embark on a tour to Germany soon after, promoting both books.

We invite you to come over and interact with Jacinta and hear her recite some of her poems.

Venue: Dr. Camil Bulcke Hall,

St. Xavier’s College. Purulia Road

Time: 15:30 hrs.

Hope to see you all there.