In the early twentieth century, Adivasi villages typically comprised small wooden huts amid a thickly forested landscape. Today, Adivasi dwellings are larger, more permanent, built of mud and often covered with elaborate murals. Drawing out stories of everyday lives that have largely remained hidden from history, In Forest, Field and Factory: Adivasi Habitations through Twentieth Century India uncovers how and why Adivasi dwellings changed, and what it reveals about communities’ relationships with their environments. The book focuses on Santals, one of the largest Adivasi communities in eastern India, who are particularly renowned for precision and craftsmanship in domestic architecture and mural art. Why did Santal families shift from using wood to building with mud? How did different Santal villages develop distinctly different mural art traditions? In answering these questions, a new kind of historical narrative emerges—one that is not about buildings alone but also provides insights into Adivasi people’s lives and their engagements with social, environmental and historical environments via architecture. This book will be of equal interest to students and scholars of architecture, history, environment studies and anthropology.
Introduction: Foregrounding Change
The Orak and Its History
Materials and Making
Of Technology and Memory
The Transformation of Domestic Art
Of Kulhi and Community
Domestic Space, Mobility and Patterns of Everyday Life
Epilogue: Whither Adivasi Modernity?