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Title: Criminal tribes & the raj : ideology of control in colonial India
Other Titles: SOCIAL TRENDS Vol. 7, 31 March 2020, p 40-52
Authors: Saha, Anjan
Keywords: Criminal tribes
The Raj
East India Company
Criminal Acts under colonial rule
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2020
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: ‘Criminal tribes’, born criminals or ‘Denotified Tribes’ represent a concept etched onto the minds of people at the time of British rule, varnished over with legislation and preserved for considerable period. The arbitrary categorisation was first made by the company raj in 1871 and this dubious status reigns even today, reducing them to one of the most neglected elements of Indian society. In India in the late 19th century there existed several wandering groups akin to gypsies of Europe. There were travelling magicians, traders, cultivators, pastoralists and forest dwellers. Their so called rootlessness caused severe headache for the authorities. Not only did their wandering existence reinforce an economy the East India Company was attempting to replace with settled agricultural production, but these wanderers might well have proved themselves indistinguishable from roving bands of thugs. Their desire to feel in control of this floating population encouraged the production of official stereotypes like criminal tribes. They have taken recourse to theories of criminology and social control prevalent in the western world, to justify the passing of the Criminal Tribes Act 1871, branding for the first time some tribes as a whole, as criminals. Therefore, in a nutshell, in this essay an effort has been made to find out the philosophical justification/rationalisation of this notorious act and its operation
ISSN: 2348-6538
Appears in Collections:Vol. 07 (March 2020)

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