Tribal rights in the forest from a subaltern perspective: an ethnographic study in West Bengal

The indigenous peoples of India, commonly referred to as tribes or Adivasis, have always lived in hilly, forested areas in various parts of the country, most of which are inaccessible. These tribes have been exploited, subjugated and marginalized from their forest rights, which were once part of their customary practices. This paper critically examines how tribal forest rights have been systematically violated in the post-colonial period from a subaltern perspective. It also analyzes how contemporary laws to restore tribal customary rights over the forest have failed to empower the indigenous population. To uncover the reality of this issue, this study employs anthropological methods that are important to gain a deeper understanding of tribal cultural practices and beliefs and their relationship with the forest.