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Nomadism, Ambulation and the 'Empire': Contextualising the Criminal Tribes Act XXVII of 1871

Author(s): Subir Rana

Journal: Transcience : a Journal of Global Studies
ISSN 2191-1150

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Colonialism | Representation | Historiography | Ambulation | Criminal Tribes | Racism | Nomadism

This article tries to foreground certain cardinal issues regarding movement, racism, colonialism and historiography in order to contextualize the conditions under which ambulation, vagrancy and nomadism become criminal acts leading to the promulgation of CTA in 1871. It attempts at analysing why the CTA of 1871 was seen as a necessary evil, the very basis of its imposition and its aftereffects in independent India. The article traces the colonial raison d'etré behind CTA; a law that had its germ in 'biological determinism,' social Darwinism and 'Eugenics' that divided population into 'marital races' and 'criminal castes'.
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