Yes, Kundan I agree with you that the Panos are not the biggest exploiters in the district. Unfortunately the Kandha tribals perceive them as the real exploiters because they have been functioning as the local agents of the outsiders who control the trade in turmeric and ginger. Since they have become direct small time moneylenders, they have also alienated tribal land. But both the Panos and Kandhas remain poor. Probably the survival of the Panos depends on this land. So in this vicious circle those who really control trade in their farm produce can easily give this tension a communal bias. So it is very important to solve the land issue. There were some social activist groups trying to settle this issue amicably but unfortunately they have been sidelined in the present context.
Dr Walter Fernandes Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre 110 Kharghuli Road (1st floor) Guwahati 781004 Assam, India __._,_.___
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