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Accepted Paper:

Colonial and Post-Colonial Forest Policies in India: Impact on Tribals and Pastoral Nomads  


Bikku Bikku (University College London)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper aims to critically examine the impact of both colonial and post-colonial forest policies as well as the FRA 2006 and analyses - how far or what extend these policies and acts helped the tribal and pastoralists in India in rectifying/addressing historical injustices.

Paper long abstract:

The colonial and post-colonial forest policies have been severely impacted the free movement of tribals, pastoral nomads and other Forest Dependent Communities in their traditional habitats, especially in the context of the continuation of their cultures, management of livelihoods and protection of natural environments (NEs) in a sustainable manner.

As like elsewhere in the world, tribals and Pastoralists in India, with egalitarian ethos, enjoyed enormous freedom in protecting and using forests, and have been acting as custodians of NEs - habitats, resources, etc since centuries. Over a period of time, they have been pushed to margins and deprivation due to various reasons. They have been fighting for their rights over waters, forests and lands, through their protests and unrest since historic times. As a result, the appropriate governments have passed several regulations including the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006. FRA raised new hopes as they get titles (pattas) for their lands under cultivation through by claiming their rights over lands, grazing rights, NEs, etc. but in practice, the appropriate governments have failed in implementation of these in its letter and true spirit.

The aim of the paper is to examine the process of these policies in the journey of tribals from original inhabitants to the situation where / how their rights have been to pushed to mere privileges and concessions. The paper is an outcome of my field study conducted among the tribals - Gonds, Nayakpods, Kolams. and Lambadis in Kawals and the Raika nomadic pastoralists in India through anthropological perspectives.

Panel B12
Forests and the Indigenous Communities Worldwide through Ages: A Struggle for Survival