Accepted paper:

Indigenous People and Forest Rights in Jharkhand

Authors:

Jagdeep Oraon (Sidho Kanho Birsha University, Purulia,W. Bengal)

Paper short abstract:

Forest dwelling tribal people and forests are inseparable. One cannot survive without the other. The conservation of ecological resources by forest dwelling tribal communities have been referred to in ancient manuscripts and sculptures.

Paper long abstract:

Forest dwelling tribal people and forests are inseparable. One cannot survive without the other. The conservation of ecological resources by forest dwelling tribal communities have been referred to in ancient manuscripts and sculptures. The colonial rule somehow ignored this reality for greater economic gains and more probably for good reasons prevalent at that time. After independence, in our enthusiasm to protect natural resources, we continued with colonial legislation and adopted more internationally accepted notions of conservation rather than learning from the country's rich traditions where conservation is embedded in the ethos of tribal life. The modern conservation approaches also advocate exclusion rather than integration. It is only recently that forest management regimes have in their policy processes realized that integration of tribal communities who depend primarily on the forest resource cannot but be integrated in their designed management processes. It underlies that forest have the best to survive if communities participate in its conservation and regeneration measures. Insecurity of tenure and fear of eviction from these lands where they have lived for generations are perhaps the biggest reasons why tribal communities feel emotionally as well as physically alienated from forests and forest lands. Jharkhand state, the name itself suggests the presence of dense forest. Today, the estimated forest cover is 29 % of the total geographical area of the state, with many districts having more than 35 % area under forest cover.

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Indigenous culture at the cross roads in the Indian subcontinent