The important problem here is of tribal leaders being lured by the profits that can be earned by participating in the corporate grab of natural resources to jettison the mass organisations through which they have fought for tribal rights and even turning against the non-tribal activists who had earlier helped them to do so. Almost all tribal mass organisations including the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath have faced this problem to a lesser or graeater degree. In fact the KMCS has not been able to evolve into a much stronger organisation precisely because of this problem which has led to the attrition of good grassroots tribal leaders who have gone over to the mainstream political parties. Even though none of the non-tribal activists of the KMCS have ever been killed there have been threats from time to time. Also since there is now no important mineral resource to be mined in Alirajpur, big corporations are not involved and neither is big money.
Thus, the story of tribal activism these days is a chronicle of death foretold. Even if activists are not murdered the spirit of tribal activism certainly is. The cooption of the tribal leaders into the system of natural resource exploitation inexorably leads to the death of the mass organisations of the tribals which try to oppose modern development as being inherently unjust and unsustainable.
Yesterday, I attended an academic seminar on development induced discontent in tribal areas where several speakers spoke about tribals having lost their traditional characteristics and especially the increasing phenomenon of stratification in once economically homogeneous societies. There was no appreciation at all among these speakers of the simple fact that given State sponsored capitalist development and the tremendous media onslaught promoting consumerism it is only to be expected that such a change would occur. Neither was there any realisation among the academics that such a change was detrimental to the larger interests of the tribals in that it weakens their mass movements for justice. In fact as I have stated before on a number of occasions if the KMCS did not access funds through its sister NGO, Dhas Gramin Vikas Kendra then it would not have been able to carry on the minimal mobilisation work that it is still doing. This is also the case for many other mass organisations.