Author: Felix Padel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195655192
The Sacrifice of Human Being analyses the structures of power and authority which British rule imposed over a tribal people of Central India: the Kinds of the forested interiors of Orissa.
Since the Kinds apparently practiced human sacrifice, British rule was imposed to eradicate this brutal custom and thus 'civilize' them. Yet in their regime of police and forest guards, the British established a system of control through habitual extortion and the threat of violence which continues in modern India. Such a system, Padel argues, involves a cruelty and inhumanity that go beyond human sacrifice, sacrificing the essence of what it means to be human.
This work is meticulously researched and an exceptionally original contribution to understanding India's colonial past and the place of tribal people in Indian society. With a new forward by Veena Das, this book is accessible to lay readers and experts alike, and is a compelling read for sociologists, anthropologists, historians and philosophers.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS:
This is a very straight-forward and unpretentious book, whose great strengths are the very considerable and detailed archival and filed research on which it is based and the powerful moral commitments of the author. - Journal of Modern Asian Studies
Padel has taken a courageous first step towards the acknowledgement and integration of an ugly and little recognized part of the British national heritage. - Resurgence