Adivasi resident of one village in the region say that only a quarter of them have received titles -- and to less land than they say is due to them. | Alison Saldanha/IndiaSpend
In the heart of India, there is a land called Gondwana. Geologists borrowed the name to provide an identity to Gondwana or Gondwanaland, a prehistoric supercontinent that gave birth to India before humans evolved. It is also a name derived from some of India’s most ancient people, a tribe called the Gonds.
Demands for a state of Gondwana date back to before India’s independence in 1947. It was proposed as a home for India’s original people, the Adivasis, who include the Gonds. Today, they are some of the country’s most disenfranchised people, consistently occupying the lowest ranks of national development indicators. There are about 90 million Adivasis, and they are India’s poorest and most illiterate, more prone to ill-health and death than any other group, and least likely to achieve the Indian dream.
In the years after independence, many groups got a homeland, including the Gujaratis, the Telugus, the Kannadigas, the Maharashtrians, the Manipuris and the Mizos. Uttar Pradesh split into Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh into Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh into Telangana.