What drew you to the East Indian tribals?
I was drawn to adivasi structures as they are egalitarian, have excellent environmental knowledge—close to an ideal society we are far from.
How is Out of This Earth a step ahead from your previous book, Sacrificing People?
The earlier book was on how colonial structures impacted adivasis. Ironically, the same areas exploited then are being impacted by corporate rule now. The book is about this.
Your book is based on eight years of research. How has the experience been?
It was hard work; there was little funding.
Samarendra Das, an activist, is a co-author—a fusion of activist, academic insights?
Yes, Samarendra directed the research on the whole while I did the writing.
So, are Darwin’s ideas of survival of the fittest being translated into reality in Orissa?
That all societies develop through one path of...