British colonial rule in India precipitated a period of intense rebellion among the country's indigenous groups. Most tribal conflicts occurred in the British provinces, and many historians have documented how a host of colonial policies gave rise to widespread rural unrest and violence. In the post-independence period, many of the colonial-era policies that had caused revolt were not reformed, and tribal conflict continued in the form of the Naxalite insurgency. This article considers why the princely state of Bastar has continuously been a major centre of tribal conflict in India. Why has this small and remote kingdom, which never came under direct British rule, suffered so much bloodshed? Using extensive archival material, this article highlights two key findings: first, that Bastar experienced high levels of British intervention during the colonial period, which constituted the primary cause of tribal violence in the state; and second, that the post-independence Indian government has not reformed colonial policies in this region, ensuring a continuation and escalation of tribal conflict through the modern Naxalite movement.