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“Who Is Healthy among the Korwa?” Liminality in the Experiential Health of the Displaced Korwa of Central India

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Abstract

The Korwa, an indigenous community of Central India, were displaced from their forest abode four decades ago because of the state's forest policy. The resettled Korwa do not consider the new space their home and summarize their journey of displacement from hill forest to lowland villages in terms of deprivation of healthy life. The Korwa complain of fever, diffuse aches, fatigue, and frail bodies forming a part of their everyday lives thereby signaling the loss of experiential health attributed to alienation from the forest. During an intensive ethnographic fieldwork in Chhatisgarh, the Korwa informants were found to be drawing a sharp contrast between the “health-generating” attributes of forest life and the “health-threatening” miseries of current wage labor economy. Using liminality framework, this article attempts to understand health experiences of the displaced Korwa as embodiment of their social and material conditions of existence.

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