Elwin-Ghurye Debate in Retrospect: Lecture by Virginius Xaxa

Virginius Xaxa delivered a lecture on ‘Elwin-Ghurye Debate in Retrospect’. It was chaired by Prathama Banerjee. 


In the 1940s, there was a heated debate between Verrier Elwin and G.S.Ghurye on policy to be adopted towards tribes. Elwin was critiqued for taking a position to keep tribes in isolation and social backwardness. In contrast, G.S. Ghurye argued isolation at the root of social backwardness and assimilation as the only way out. Scholars say that both abandoned their respective position later and opted for integration. Integration is embodied in the provisions made for tribes in the Indian constitution, the most glaring being the 5th and 6th schedules among others. The lecture revisits Elwin and Ghurye debate, not in the literal sense but in the spirit, they stood for and makes a case for the vindication of Elwin’s approach to the development of tribes. 

Virginius Xaxa, formerly Professor of Sociology at Delhi School of Economics, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati campus, and Tezpur University is presently a Visiting Professor at Institute for Human Development, Delhi. He is the author of State, Society, and Tribes: Issues in Post-Colonial India (2008), Economic Dualism and Structure of Class: A Study in Plantation and Peasant Settings in North Bengal (1997), and the co-author of Plantation Labour in India (1996). 

Prathama Banerjee is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Friday, 27 August 2021, 5 pm, Zoom https://bit.ly/3jXb9AI