ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Multivalence of Adivasi Culture and its implication for Archaeology in India


Srivastava Akash Kumar - Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) Varanasi, Department of Humanistic Studies, Varanasi, India


38 – Adivasis and Adivasi Studies


India revels in the diverse ways of living of its inhabitants which present it as an amalgamation of many hues of human life and the most striking of the different colours of this vivid nation is that of Adivasi. These people make the map of India culturally oriented and regionally separated. Equally fascinating as the diversity of the Adivasi culture is the breadth of its spread and thus a myriad of different traditions flourished in India, each suited to various geographical locations. Adivasis are deliberately translated as the ‘Indigenous peoples of India’ and some scholars argue that the term ‘Adivasi’ refers to a particular historical development and helps to underline the distant past of human life in the land of India. In this regard, the distinctive traditional patterns of their daily life hint at a connection between prehistoric society and contemporary Adivasis. For archaeologists, the traditional knowledge system, primitive way of life and association with the remnants of our early ancestors such as rock art, megaliths etc. become a great deal of interest in interpreting archaeological data.

Hence, in this paper, I try to look at Adivasis from an archaeologist’s lens and provide a holistic account of the Adivasi culture in India that will feed a dialogue between archaeology and the study of these autochthonous people. So, the paper analyses different domains of Adivasi culture and traces its connotation with the most associated physical remains of the past.