Territorial identity of Rajasthan dates back to 7th century A.D. It gave way to that of Rajputana, romanticised by colonial administrators and ethnographers. After independence the old historical notion of Rajasthan was revived in its present day extended form. Rajasthan, bioculturally is part of the north-western region of the country. Like other ethno-cultural regions, Rajasthan has its own cluster of communities. A stable region, its history, ecology and culture explain the features that relatively stand out: a greater ecological diversity (Rajasthan is the most colourful state in the country), linguistic and social heterogenity (with more extensive network of clans), an old bardic tradition, a larger proportion of vegetarianism, a higher incidence of junior levirate, extensive prevalance of patrilineal norms and so on. Still a traditional and backward society, the development process at work has been relatively slow. A home of droughts and famines, Rajasthan has witnessed the depletion of natural resources and degradation of environment on a scale that is a cause for alarm. And yet there are signs of hope in increased social mobility and the movement towards growth and political equality.
Kumar Suresh Singh (1935–2006) was an IAS officer, who served as a Director General of the Anthropological Survey of India. He is well-known in academic circles for his compilation of the massive survey, People of India, which is a series with more than 40 volumes.
He wrote another pioneering book Famine in India in 1967. He said that famine and drought is usually man-made and its catastrophes are due to corruption. He was constantly transferred from one posting to another, till he was made Director General of the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI).
People of India, a monumental survey of the entire human surface of India, was launched in 1985 when Kumar Suresh was leading the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI). It was the first post-colonial survey of people in this part of the earth, and took more than seven years to complete. It sought to create a fair and unbiased anthropological profile of the communities living in India and to study the changes and impact of the development process in the post-1947 era. The project was gigantic and involved personnel not only working in the ASI, but also university scholars, social and political activists, tribal researchers as well as historians.