District administration of Panna in Madhya Pradesh state in India use the term Hirashasan for the rules that govern the mining and trade of diamonds. Extracting diamonds from the ground in Panna encompasses diverse extractive practices including those by Ramu, an indigenous Gond. However, unlike the Hirashasan office, Ramu’s diamonds inhabit an uncertain realm between modern and the mythical, and are neither magic nor commodities in their entirety. The seminar would discuss this realm of the Gonds as a ‘particular place’, where money does not always rule the imaginations of diamonds. The paper is based on fieldwork carried out with my young colleague, Dr Arnab Roy Chowdhury, and argues that the diamonds, their mining and trade by indigenous miners in Panna can be better understood through the prism of the particular regional history, myth, geography, and culture of the place.
A brief tour of the complex organisation of diamond mining in central India can be viewed at here.