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- 'In this country, groups which correspond closely to the anthropologists' conception of tribes have lived in long association with communities of an entirely different type. Except in a few areas, it is very difficult to come across communities which retain all their pristine tribal character. In fact, most such tribal groups show in varying degrees elements of continuity with the larger society of India (...) In India hardly any of the tribes exists as a separate society and they have all been absorbed, in varying degrees, into the wider society of India. The on-going process of absorption is not recent but dates back to the most ancient times'. ... 'ethnically speaking, most of the tribes in present-day India share their origins with the neighbouring non-tribal population. India has been a melting-pot of races and ethnic groups, and historians and anthropologists find it difficult to arrange the various distinct cultural, ethnic and linguistic groups in the chronological sequence of their appearance in the sub-continent.'
- Prof. André Béteille, quoted in Dalit Voice, 16-4-1992. quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
- 'Every Hindu knew not only that he belonged to a particular caste but also that others belonged to other castes of whose respective places in a broader scheme of things he had some idea, whether vague or stereotyped. Hardly anything corresponding to this exited in the case of those we know today as tribes. The consciousness of the distinct and separate identity of all the tribes of India taken as a whole is a modem consciousness, brought into being by the colonial state and confirmed by its successor after independence.
- André Béteille: 'Colonial construction of tribe', (column in Times of India), Chronicle of Our Time, p. 187. quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
Sunlight on the Garden, 2012
- I must have been truly excited over those journeys, my heart yearning for the train to steam into Chandannagar station, for even after fifty years, I can still remember the name of every station on the route and in the correct order: Liluah, Belur, Bally, Uttarpara, Konnagar, Rishra, Serampore, Sheorapuli, Baidyabati, Bhadreshwar, Mankundu and then, finally, Chandannagar.
- p. 81