By J.M Girglani at Prof. B. Janardhan Rao Memorial Lecture on 27 February 2007

Late Prof. Janardhan Rao had studied problems of the tribal areas and had rendered significant service in the cause of the tribals. It is therefore appropriate that the memorial lecture should cover the subject pertaining to the cause, which was dearest to his heart. I had the opportunity of studying Tribal Land Issues in Telangana and had submitted my report on the subject on 16th August 2005 to the Land Committee appointed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh under the chairmanship of Sri Koneru Ranga Rao, Hon’ble Minister for MA & UD. I shall therefore dwell on this theme for today’s memorial lecture.

Saga of the tribals in India is a story of Nirbal se ladai balwan ki – yeh kahani hai diye ki aur tufan ki. This is a story of the struggle of the weak against the powerful, of the oil lamp and the storm. It is said that a lamb cannot lie beside the lion even with a fence between them, for long, and will ultimately land up inside the lion.

This memorial lecture comes at a time when we have before us a very significant legislation on tribal rights, The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Tribal Rights) Act, 2006, Act 2 of 2007 passed on December 29, 2006. It comes in the wake of the Draft National Tribal Policy (A policy for Schedule Tribes of India), issued by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, in July 2006.

I shall confine myself to the tribal land issues in the areas of Telangana, listed in Schedule V of the Constitution, viz. Eturunagaram in Warangal District, Bhadrachalam in Khammam District and Utnoor in Adilabad District.