Guest Post by KAMAL NAYAN CHOUBEY
The inclination of the Indian State to suppress any movement related to the just demands of marginalized sections has increased immensely in recent times. There is no question of dialogue. Coercive methods are generally employed to contain these movements. This is what has happened with the movement of tribal people are struggling against the Kanhar Dam in the Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh. In this movement, women activists play a crucial role, and in order to contain it, the UP Police arrested two key women activists Roma and Sukalo, and six other women activists from the Robertsganj office of All India Union for Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on 30th June 2015.
Roma is the General Secretary of the AIUFWP.
The UP police has registered cases of inciting rioting against the women activists and it has also reopened old cases against them, particularly against Roma. Apart from them, another tribal woman activist Rajkumari was arrested on 21st April.
Continue reading Saving ‘Development’ From Dangerous Women Activists: Kamal Nayan Choubey
Guest Post by UJITHRA PONNIAH
In what is known as the heart of Shiva, the majestic Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, a trekker writes about a chance encounter with a Russian man and the impending destruction of the valley.
My growing alienation with Delhi and city life in general has been buttressed by my frequent, life breathing trips to the mountains. One such getaway took me on a week long trek to the beautiful Parvati valley in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh along with a friend. The valley is home to majestic waterfalls tucked away at every turn, lush green forests with the promise of thriving wildlife, unique flowers and a well marked trekking trail. The waterfalls are generous and since we went in the rainy season every shade of green was visible in the forest. The forests are generously sprinkled with their share of marijuana plants that provides a living to many locals and keeps the travellers, especially a large number of Israelis in states of bliss.
Russian Baba with Prem
The trek to Kheerganga begins from Barshani village, which is the last motorable point. It is a 14km uphill trek through the forest. The forest is alive and buzzing with life and the Parvati River accompanies you through your walk. Having recuperated from our long trek to Kheerganga and enjoyed the dip in the hot spring and rejuvenating sight of the first layer of snow on the surrounding mountains, we trekked further with the hope of reaching Tunda Bhuj, a place adorned with a wide variety of sub-alpine forests. About half way into our journey it began to get dark and started pouring. The mist was setting in impeding our vision and we were happy to see a couple of tents in the middle of the forest, next to a small brook. When we stopped by we were warmly greeted to join in for a cup of hot tea. This is where we met a foreigner, in his late 60s and his two companions – Prem and Mansingh (both from Nepal). The initial round of niceties revealed that the foreigner was from Russia and I realised this is the ‘Russian baba’, we had heard about in Kheerganga. He had dreadlocks in his hair, a pair of torn shoes, a torn t-shirt and a bundle of beedi that he constantly drew on. He could not hear too well and retained a thick Russian accent. Continue reading The Majestic Parvati Valley – Paradise Lost: Ujithra Ponniah
Guest post by ARUNA CHANDRASEKHAR
If we cut the entire forest down, where will we live?’- Muria adivasi, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh
I don’t even know how to begin addressing a story as blindly biased in its premise as this one in the Wall Street Journal, which draws an obtuse line between loss of forest cover and land usage by adivasis, when it is land grab by industrialization that is endangering all we have left.
So I’m going to do this paragraph by paragraph.
India’s forest cover decreased by 367 square kilometers between 2007 and 2009, and it was primarily tribal and hilly regions that were to blame.
The tribal and hilly regions are the last vestiges of India’s forests. How can you blame entire regions, without casting any aspersions on institutions or practices responsible? Continue reading What the Wall Street Journal Can’t See in India’s Forests: Aruna Chandrashekhar