Traditional adivasi governance systems such as Gotti (Konda reddy/ Konda Dora) Dakurjangber (Savara), Gujjidi (Koya), Kutuva (Koya) and Panch (Gond, Kollams, Pardhans) historically governed every aspect of adivasi life and territories. Today we find that the boundaries of their jurisdiction including customary laws, have been forcibly circumscribed and weakened. This has come to pass, because of the systematic structural negation of adivasi self-rule and systems of governance, by governments over the years. Despite the enactment of the Panchayat Raj (Extension to Schedule Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), the administration continues to treat village Gram Sabhas as institutions to merely implement government programs and entitlements. These entrenched attitudes and operational frames, undermine the vast canvas of rights under PESA, and are a huge obstacle to adivasi self-rule.
We are working in Scheduled V and non-scheduled areas, to expand the jurisdiction of adivasi governance systems, to become vibrant democratically empowered Gram Sabhas. 354 villages across 9 districts are leading this process.