Photo: Speculators marketing country lifestyles to wealthy patrons from Mumbai drive eviction of the poor from their land.
Forthcoming: Research with marginalized communities is the weft and warp of my professional life, embodied more than anywhere in work with Rajeev Khedkar, Bansi Ghevde and the Katkari of Maharashtra in south western India. The Katkari are a former “Criminal Tribe,” labeled as such by 19th Century British lawmakers and sociologists who believed that the offspring of nomadic groups were born to criminality. The Katkari carry this stigma even today, and it was a key factor enabling other groups and individuals to forcibly push the Katkari out of home and hamlet. This chapter shares stories of the remarkable lives of the Katkari through firsthand accounts by my co-authors of the book “Fighting Eviction.” It also summarizes my reflections on the role of participatory methods in changing the course of Katkari responses to the crisis. It is a hopeful story, and one that sustains my approach to activism to this day.