Adivasis, A Tribe without a voice
Across Assam, the Adivasis (tribal group) face multiple deprivations which have their root in the historic exclusion and denial of tribal status to the community. The present day population of the tea labour community in the state is estimated to be 20 percent of the state's population, which according to conservative estimate comes to five million. Despite their numerical strength and long history in Assam stretching more than a century, they remain outsiders without the tribal status as has been accorded to them in their place of origin, and are deprived of benefits availed by the other backward castes. There are patterns of lang grabbing by the dominant community which pushed the Adivasis to work in tea gardens some of which are now vigorously downsizing to cut the production costs. This has resulted in loss of jobs for the tea community and has compelled them to take up daily wage labour in absence of an alternative.