Ashok Kujur

Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


William O'Neill


The uprooting of Adivasis from their land raises theological, anthropological, and ethical questions regarding the intrinsic dignity of Adivasis as human persons, created in the image of God. This thesis argues that the looting of Adivasi land on the part of the multinational corporations (MNCs) is an unethical and sinful reality. It proposes a paradigm of prophetic dialogue and critical pedagogy that joins the effort to conscientize Adivasis about their own oppression, the power of the political dynamics, and to empower them in their struggle for freedom and liberation.

In this project I analyze and critique the issue of displacement caused by neo-liberalism, economic growth and unjust societal structures through the lens of a rights-based ethics, which advocates the protection of the rights of Adivasis and other vulnerable people who cry out for rootedness in their land. This study is located within the broader area of Christian theological ethics, with a particular focus on the issue of land rights of Adivasis, whose survival and way of life are being severely threatened by the mass development projects of the MNCs in India today.

The fundamental question this thesis explores is how best to address the injustice of the uprooting of Adivasis from their ancestral lands. The study first analyzes the current anthropological, socio-cultural, political, and spiritual reality of Adivasi uprootedness and suffering in light of the historical background of land grab and alienation in India. Second, through the lens of a rights-based ethics, the study looks at the issue of Adivasi displacement and alienation induced by the MNCs. Third, it considers how land can be a ground or revelatory text to assess the theological, moral, economic, anthropological, and ecological significance of human dignity, drawing resources from the natural law theory of Thomas Aquinas and key papal encyclicals to show how human dignity has been the first principle of social justice. I treat this issue by employing a deontological approach and a social inter-connection model to forge a constructive proposal which exerts a moral claim on the Brahmin culture and the MNCs. Here, my effort is to include every Indian citizen, urging them to say no to any kind of development that is not humanizing and yes to those projects which protect bio-diversity, promote bio-centrism and enshrine ecoegalitarian culture. Finally, it discusses the problem of the caste system and critiques the collusion of the Brahmin class and the MNCs, which amplifies the land grab from Adivasis, threatening their survival and way of life.

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