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Accepted Paper:

Disjunctures of colonial and postcolonial discourses of forest management and conservation in India: An indigenous perspective   
Smita Yadav (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

How have colonial accounts natural heritages in India influences the postcolonial discourses of heritage preservation and what are its impacts on the relationship of the native tribal populations and the forests?

Paper long abstract:

While there is an anthropological space of responsibility to hold the autocratic forest regimes accountable, this involves considerable challenges, such as the conflict between universal and particularist interpretations and claims to non-human heritages. The paper will compare the works of native anthropologists' claims on native indigenous rights with those from scholars trained in Western anthropological traditions to show how the latter anthropologists' own assumptions of responsibility to universal heritage ecologies were in direct conflict with ethnographic aspects of Gonds' own indigenous notions of forests. Historical archives and oral histories reflect the authentic indigenous ontologies of nature. The paper shows disjunctures between the discourses of colonial administeted knolwdge productions and the local and regional level indigenous struggles of rights and identities. Here, native refers to indigenous people, the Gonds, one of India's largest indigenous population. Their cultural heritage and preservation has been paralysed by autocratic forest conservation efforts coupled with a weak welfare state. Ironically, nothing has changed since colonial times for the Gonds and even today they are deemed as backward by the postcolonial forest authorities. As an ethical consequence, the Gonds are slowly losing their lands, and, therefore their indigenous identity. Their indigenous knowledge of conservation and forest management has been replaced by a secular and modern discourse of a joint forest-management system since more than a century.

Panel Evid04b
Many are the pities of history: animals, plants and other forms of life in the historiography of the Global South II
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -