Centre for World Environmental History

Dr Felix Padel


Felix Padel, BA/MA (Oxon), M.Phil (Delhi), D.Phil (Oxon)

email: felixorisa@yahoo.com

Schooling at University College School, Hampstead, London
A levels 1973: Latin, English & Music, each grade A

Exhibition to Exeter College, Oxford 1974-78:

BA (Hon) in Litterae Humaniores
Diploma in Social Anthropology, Oxford, 1978-9
M.Phil in Sociology at Delhi School of Economics 1979-80
D.Phil is Social Anthropology 1980-86, affiliated to DSE



1995 The Sacrifice of Human Being: British Rule & the Konds of Orissa. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

2000 2nd edition, paperback, with Forward by Veena Das

2010 Sacrificing People: Invasions of a Tribal Landscape. Delhi: Orient BlackSwan  (expanded & updated edition of The Sacrifice of Human Being)

2010 with Samarendra Das. Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel. Delhi: Orient BlackSwan.
See reviews

2013 with Ajay Dandekar and Jeemol Unni. Ecology, Economy: Quest for a Socially Informed Connection. Delhi: Orient BlackSwan.

Articles (selection)

1998 ‘Forest Knowledge: Tribal people, their Environment and the Structure of Power,’ in Nature and the Orient: The Environmental History of South and Southeast Asia, ed. Richard H. Grove, Vinita Damodaran & Satpal Sangwan. Delhi: OUP.

1999 ‘The Silence of the Forest’, in Index on Censorship vol.28 no.4, special issue on Tribes, pp.86-90. London: Routledge.

Autumn 2001 ‘Circle of Sound: Dhrupad, the ancient Indian tradition of giving birth to the cosmos’, Caduceus, issue 53, pp.12-15, Leamington Spa, UK.

2007 ‘Reverse Anthropology’, review of Kirsch 2006.

22 Sept 2007  ‘A Cry Against the Hidden War: Bastar’s Civil War,’ in Tehelka, Delhi

Feb. 2008  ‘Mining as a Fuel for War’ in The Broken Rifle issue no.77 p.1. (London: War Resisters International)

July 2010  ‘Searching Peace and Justice in Eastern Central India’, Gandhi Foundation website, London

November 2010  ‘Deconstructing War on Terror’, in Radical Anthropology, London, Issue 4, November 2010 pp.31-34.

10 January 2011  ‘The most dangerous fundamentalism’, The New Indian Express.

Jan.-March 2011 ‘Tribal Culture and the Roots of Militancy’, Gandhi Marg (Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi), vol.32, no.4.

2011 ‘Mining Projects and Cultural Genocide: Colonial Roots of Present Conflicts’, in Biswamoy Pati  ed.  Adivasis in Colonial India: Survival, Resistance and Negotiation, Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, pp.316-337.

Oct.-Dec. 2011 ‘England in Flames’, New View, issue 61, issue 18-19, London.

Jan. 2012 ‘Adivasi Voices in an Age of Investment-Induced Displacement’, The Tribal Tribune (E-journal published from Bhubaneswar), vol.4, issue.2

7 April 2012 ‘Epicentre of Corruption’, Economic and Political Weekly, review of The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein, London: Hamish Hamilton, 2011.

July 2012  ‘How Best to Ensure Adivasis’ Land, Forest and Mineral Rights?’ In Standing on the Threshold: Food Justice in India, IDS Bulletin vol.43 Special Issue July 2012, pp.49-57, Institute of Development Studies {Sussex, UK] and Oxfam, eds. Lawrence Haddad, C.P. Chandrashekhar and Biraj Swain. Oxford: Blackwells.  

August 2012 ‘Is central India’s civil war basically a resource war over metals for arms?War Resisters International.

13 October 2012. 'Kurdish Quest': Review of Abdullah Ocalan's Prison Wrings: The Roots of Civilization, Economic and Political Weekly.

3 November 2012.  'Structural Violence and the Bengal Famine of 1943': review of Madusree Mukherjee's book, Churchill's Secret Wars, in Economic and Political Weekly.

28 December 2012  ‘Ramifications of Industrialisation on the Peoples of Western Orissa’, for the Western Orissa Forum, Bhubaneswar.

February 2013. Review of Gladson Dungdung: 'Whose Country is it anyway?'

February 2013 'Rapists Uniformed' in Hard News, Feb edition.

July 2014  ‘The Niyamgiri Movement as a Landmark of Democratic Process’, Vikalpsangam.

2014  ‘Health and Identity in Tribal India’, in Achieving Healthy Tribal Communities in India< eds. Nirmalya Mukherjee & S. Nagarathinam. Delhi: Excel Publishers, for MANT (Manbhum Ananda Ashram Nityanda Trust), Kolkata.

2014  Foreword (pp.xiii-xviii) for R. Umamaheswari’s book: When Godavari Comes: People’s History of a River, Journeys in the Zone of the Dispossessed. Delhi: Aakar.

26 April 2015. ‘What’s the main strength of the 2015 Land Bill? Implicit rejection of 1894 Land Acquisition Act’, Economic Times.

2015. Foreword for Gladson Dungdung’s book Mission Saranda: A War for Natural Resources in India. Ranchi: Deshaj Prakashan..

2015. ‘The Bauxite-Aluminium industry and India’s Adivasis,’ pp.101-112 in Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples, by Cathal M. Dyle, Helen Tugendhat and Robeliza Halp eds., for Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Forest Peoples Programme & IUCN.

2015. ‘Identity and Ecosystems in Northeast India: Challenges from Rapid Changes,’ 3rd Jayashree Roy Memorial Lecture, November 2014. Delhi: NEISP (North East India Study Programme), JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University).

November 2015. ‘Without Justice and Security, Development is a Lie’, in Journal of People’s Studies, vol.1 issue 2, pp.14-26.

8 July 2016. 'Adivasi Economics & Re-Awakening the Indigenous Mind'.

2016. ‘In the name of Sustainable Development: Genocide masked as “Tribal Development”’, in Meena Radhakrishna ed. First Citizens: Studies on Adivasis, Tribals and Indigenous Peoples in India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

2016. ‘Investment-Induced Displacement and the Ecological Basis of India’s Economy’, Chapter 8 in Sita Venkateshwar and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay eds. Globalisation and the Challenges of Development in Contemporary India, pp.147-170. Singapore: Springer.

2016. ‘Negotiating Knowledge and Power in Indigenous Movements and Development Plans’, Chapter 7 in Uday Chandra and Daniel Taghioff eds. Staking Claims: The politics of social movements in rural contemporary India, pp.237-58. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Articles with Samarendra Das

Caterpillar and the Mahua Flower13 March 2004 ‘Exodus part two: Lanjigarh,’ in Tehelka, Delhi.

2006 ‘Double Death: Aluminium's Links with Genocide', Social Scientist no.394-5, pp.55-81. Delhi.

2006. 'Anthropology of a Genocide: Tribal Movements in Central India against Over-Industrialisation', presented at South Asia Anthropology Group, UK.

2007 ‘Agya, what do you mean by development?’ in Kalshian ed. Caterpillar and the Mahua Flower: Tremors in India’s Mining Fields, Delhi: Panos, pp.24-46.

2008 ‘Cultural Genocide: the Real Impact of Development-Induced Displacement,’ in H.M.Mathur ed. India: Social Development Report 2008. Development and Displacement, pp.103-115. Delhi: OUP for Council for Social Development.

Dec. 2008 ‘Orissa’s highland clearances: The reality gap in R & R’ in Social Change vol.38 no.4, pp.576-608.

2010 ‘Cultural genocide and the rhetoric of sustainable mining in East India’,Contemporary South Asia, special issue on ‘Rhetorics of Change in South Asia’, vol.18 no.3. Manchester, U.K.

20 Oct. 2010 ‘People can’t be made to bathe in red mud’, The New Indian Express.

2011 ‘Resettlement Realities: The Gulf between Policy and Practice’, in H.M Mathur ed. Resettling Displaced People: Policy and Practice in India. Delhi: Council for Social Research & Routledge.

2013 ‘Battles over Bauxite in Eastern India: The Khondalite Mountains of Khondistan’, in Robin S.Gendron, Espen Storli and Mats Ingulstad eds. Aluminium Ore: The Political Economy of the Global Bauxite Industry, pp.328-352. Vancouver: University of Vancouver Press. See an earlier version of this article.

2014 ‘Development Wisdom and the Reality Gap’, in M.C. Behara and Jumyir Basar eds. Resources, Tribes and Development, pp.49-73. Delhi: Rawat.

2015 ‘Flooded out by money: Samarendra Das and Felix Padel report on the battle of India’s indigenous communities over the mining of bauxite and other minerals, and the extreme repression this brings’, Planet Magazine no,217, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK.

2015 ‘Mouvements contre l’industrie minière en Inde : Les Adivasis pourront-ils arrêter le nivellement par le bas?’ [‘Movements against the mining industry in India: Can Adivasis stop the race to the bottom?]  In Terres, territoires, ressources : Politiques, pratiques et droits des peuples autochtones [Lands, territories, resources: Politics, practices and rights of indigenous peoples]. Paris: L’Harmattan.

Articles with Magdalena Krysinska-Kaluzna

April 2012 ‘Cultural Genocide: An Appropriate Concept in Today’s World?The Tribal Tribune, vol. 4, issue.3

Jan.- June 2012 ‘Cultural Genocide: a Necessary Concept in Anthropology Today?’ In Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, vol.61 no.1, pp.87-108. Kolkata: Anthropological Society of India, Government of India.

2016 ‘Nature’s Defenders? Indigenous Resistance to Protect Ecosystems – a Historical Overview of the People-Resources Interface’, in [Behara ed] Interventions, Familiarity and Continuity: Dynamics in Tribal Communities, pp.149-179. Delhi: Commonwealth Publishers.

Articles with Malvika Gupta

March 2016. ‘Adivasi Education: Forced Assimilation, Gandhi’s Nai Talim and Contemporary Alternatives’, Gandhi Foundation website, London.

October 2016. ‘Education oriented to an Ecology-based Economy’, for Leaflitter, newsletter of Non-Timber Exchange Programme India, issue 1.4, 2016.

2017. Review of Social Policy, Essays from Economic and Political Weekly, ed. by Jean Dreze, Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 2016. In Social Change, March 2017. Delhi: Council for Social Development

[forthcoming] ‘Indigenous Knowledge and Value Systems in India:  Holistic Analysis of Tribal Education and the Challenge of Decentralising Control’, for Perspectives on Tribal Situation in India, ed. Prof. M.C. Behara.  

[forthcoming]: ‘Mining, Development and Environment’, Chapter 23 in Research Handbook on Law, Environment and Poverty, eds. Philippe Cullet and Sujith Koonan. London: Edward Elgar.

Presentations in Seminars, Conferences & other functions

Speaker at ‘Neo-liberal State and its Challenges’, at OKD Institute for Social Change and Development’, Guwahati, Assam, 20-21 December 2011.

Speaker at ‘Challenging Capitalist Modernity – Alternative Concepts and the Kurdish Quest’, Hamburg University, 3-5 February 2012.
This talk entitled 'Capitalism as arch-enemy of ecological societies: Adivasis and Kurds', is published in Kurdistan Tribune.

Special Lecture at International Seminar on ‘Resources, Tribes and State’ in Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh, 13-15 February 2012.

Key speaker at Seminar on ‘Processes of Exclusion and Adivasi Rights in India’, School of Social Sciences, Hyderabad University, 15-16 February 2012.

Speaker at Seminar on ‘Tribal Unrest, State Policy and Empowerment in Contemporary India’ at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalay, Bhopal 22-23 March 2012.  

Special Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture, in sixth national seminar at Barkatullah University, Bhopal, on ‘Globalization, National Development and Tribal Identity’, 27-28 April 2012.

Speaker at Gandhi Foundation Peace Prize Presentation to Dr Binayak Sen and Bulu Imam, House of Lords, London, 12 June 2012.

Speaker at ‘The Internationalisation of Dalit and Adivasi Activism’, Senate House, London University, Institute of Commonwealth Studies with Human Rights Consortium, 25-26 June 2012,

Speaker at Special Session on Kurdish Situation at ‘Marxism 2012: Ideas to Change the World’, London University, 5-9 July 2012.

Speaker at Launch of IDS/Oxfam Report Standing on the Threshold: Food Justice in India, Constitution Club, Delhi, 17-18 July.

Special Guest and Speaker at opening of ‘Darwineum’, Rostock Zoo, Germany, 7 September 2012. At The opening of the Darwineum at Rostock zoo, Germany, 7th September 2012 [PDF 182.78KB]  See also: Darwineum news [PDF 209.47KB]

Key Speaker at UGC sponsored National Conference on ‘Rethinking Development’, Mumbai University, 11-12 December 2012 [forthcoming]

28 December 2012: 'Social Movements: Reformulating Development to Promote Grassroots Democracy', A.R.Desai Memorial Lecture at international conference of the Indian Sociological Society, Udaipur.

Annual talk at Rishi Valley School, Andhra Pradesh, 12 January 2013, on ‘Activism, Music and Holistic Thinking’

Co-organiser and speaker at a workshop at Sussex University, UK, on Activism and Academia, 10th May 2013

Talk at a seminar on the Kurdish situation at the Department of Political Science, Delhi University, with members of a Kurdish delegation to India of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), 14 August 2013

Special Talk at Hyderabad University of English and Foreign Languages, on ‘Democracy and Real Development: an Urgent Need in Adivasi Areas’, 23 August 2013

Special plenary guest speaker at annual conference of Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa New Zealand at Raglan, 1-3 December 2013, on ‘Cultural Genocide in India’s Indigenous Landscapes’

Keynote Speaker at Indian Government-sponsored ‘National Consultation on Repositioning Tribal Question for Public Policy’, at Indian Institute of Public Administration, Delhi, 19-20 March 2014

Special Lecture at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, on ‘Adivasi Economics, Past and Present’, at 3pm on 27th March 2014

Special Lecture at Department of Economics and Politics, Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan, on 28th March 2014: ‘The Economics of War and Peace’

Special Lecture at JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Delhi, celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, 9th August 2014

Speaker on ‘Investment-Induced Displacement and the Resource War in Central India’ at conference on Emerging Markets in Copenhagen University, Denmark, 25-26 September 2014

‘Mining, Adivasis, and Investment-Induced Displacement’: Special Lecture at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London University, UK, 1st October 2014

‘Identity and Ecosystems in Northeast India: Challenges from Rapid Changes’, 3rd Jayashree Roy Memorial Lecture, JNU, Delhi, 14th November 2014

Speaker at Workshop on ‘Thinking Futures: The PVTGs of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands’, at the Andaman and Nicobar Tribal Research and Training Institute, Directorate of Tribal Welfare, Port Blair, Andaman Islands, 4-5 December 2014

Speaker at an international conference on ‘Aluminum as a Material for Creativity, from the 19th to the 21st century’, EHEES (École des Hautes études en sciences socials), Paris, France, 11-12 December 2014  

Adivasi Heritage: What is so significant about India’s tribal cultures?’ 5th Durga Bhagwat Memorial Lecture, Mumbai Asiatic Society, 8th January 2015

Special Lecture at TISS (Tata Institute of Social Studies), Mumbai, on the significance of India’s Tribal Cultures, 9th January 2015

Series of special lectures on ‘What is Real Development?’ at Centre for Advanced Studies, Osmania University, and Tata Institute of Social Studies, Hyderabad, 27-31 January 2015

‘Upholding Indigenous Identity & Rights in an Age of Rampant Capitalism’, at International Conference, ‘Rethinking Nagas in the Contemporary’, JNU, Delhi, 21-22 March 2015  

‘Ecology, Economy: Quest for a Socially Informed Connection’. Special lecture at Gokhale Institute of Economics and Politics, Pune, 9th April 2015

‘The Economics of War and Peace’. Special lecture at IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education & Research), Pune, 10th April 2015, followed by a special musical performance-talk, ‘The Gifts of Harmony: Differences and common threads between musical cultures’

‘What is Real Development?’ Special Lecture at IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Guwahati, 29th July 2015.

‘Rethinking “Underdevelopment” in NE India: Indigenous Economics and Rights over Natural Resources’, at Conference on “Rethinking Development in North East India”, OKDISCD, Guwahati, 30-31 July 2015.

Keynote speaker at launch of book by Lungthuiyang Riamei, The Kurdish Question: Identity, Representation, and Struggle for Self-Determination, at School of International Studies, JNU, Delhi, on 8th August 2015.  

Keynote speaker at national conference on “Tribal Governance and Tribal Development” at National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi Jharkhand, 4-5 September 2015.

Unconscious Impacts of Investment’, 15th August 2015. Keynote speaker at World Indigenous People’s Day Celebration at SSS-1 auditorium, JNU, Delhi, on 9th August 2015. 

Speaker on ‘People’s Movements and the need to question Investment-Induced Displacement’for Lucknow Sociology conference on Social Ecology & Environmental Movements, 11-12 October 2015.

‘Questioning Economic Growth’, Guest lecture at Centre for the Study of Rural Development (CSRD), JNU, Delhi, 16th October 2015.

Keynote speaker at 23rd National Children’s Science Congress in Haryana, DAV Multi-purpose School, Sonepat, on 28th November 2015: ‘Evolution in Nature, Society and Self – Darwin’s Tradition and the Place of Humans in Nature.’

‘Human Rights and Self-Determinations as Prerequisites for Real Development’, 5th Naorem Sanajaoba Memorial Lecture, Manipur University, Imphal, 29th December 2015.

‘Tribal Systems of Education – Developing a Culture-Sensitive Model’, at International Conference on Rural Development, at Xavier Institute of Development Action and Studies (XIDAS), Jabalpur, 5th February 2016.

‘An Anthropology of Anthropological Objectification: Tribal People as Nature's Defenders, Links binding Mining and Arms Companies, and the Hidden Logic of Resource Wars’, Seminar paper for Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (JNIAS), Delhi, 10th August 2016.

Keynote speaker at Malhar Independence Day Festival, St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, on ‘What is Real Development? ‘"A Conquest over their Minds": the colonial tribal policy of Assimilation and its unacknowledged continuation post-Independence’, at the History department seminar series, JNU, Delhi, 28th September 2016.

‘The Conflict of Environment and Development’, at University Grants Commission Seminar on “India’s Development Challenges: Ideas for the Next Generation”, Jesus and Mary college, Delhi University, 6th October 2016.

‘Food, Water and Sustainable Livelihoods in an era of Investment-Induced Displacememnt and Over-Industrialization’ at international conference on food security at Banaraes Hiindu University, 29th September 2016.

Special Lecture at National Conference on ‘Develeopment, Dispossession and Resistance’, at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, Odisha, 15th November 2016

‘The Ashramization of Tribal Education in India’, with Malvika Gupta, for Oxford Education Research Symposium, St Cross College, Oxford University, 7-9 December 2016 

‘Reverse Anthropology: Revisiting the fieldwork behind The Sacrifice of Human Being in the context of colonial & present day structural violence in tribal India’, at a Workshop on Tribal India, at Centre for World Environment History, Sussex University, 13th  January 2017 

‘Indian industrialization and Gandhi’, at a workshop on “Gandhi’s Path of Non-violence to a Sustainable and Equitable Future”, inaugural session of the Sussex India Society, Sussex University, 30th January 2017


11 March 2016.  'Living with the Durwas' in The Hindu

January 2016. ‘Half-forgotten Vital History’, Review of Inside Chhattisgarh: A Political Memoir, by Ilina Sen (Penguin, 2014), Economic and Political Weekly, vol.51 no.1, 2 January.  April 2016.

6 April. Review of Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization: Vol I. Civilization. The Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings by Abdullah Öcalan, translated by Havin Guneser, Gandhi Foundation website.


15 March 2015. ‘Felix Padel (great great grandson of Charles Darwin),’ on NallaMannu, Asianetnews

3 February 2015. ‘Meet Anthropologist-Activist Dr. Felix Padel’, Sanctuary Asia

2014. ‘Felix Padel,’ Survival International website

23 August 2015.   Interview in Sunday Tribune.