ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Special IssuesSubscribe to Special Issues

Promise and Performance of the Forest Rights Act

The Forest Rights Act, 2006 has the potential to democratise forest governance by recognising community forest resource rights over an estimated 85.6 million acres of India’s forests, thereby empowering over 200 million forest dwellers in over 1,70,000 villages. However, till date, only 3% of this potential area has been realised.

Political Economy of Community Forest Rights

The various dilutions, contradictory policies and litigations challenging the constitutional validity of the Forest Rights Act reveal the range and depth of opposition from an entrenched forest bureaucracy on the one hand and non-state actors on the other. The lack of implementation support to it also indicates a refusal of the political system to embrace the historic opportunity created for democratic governance of forests in India.

Forest Rights in Baiga Chak, Madhya Pradesh

Translating the potential of the Forest Rights Act into reality is a challenge even in regions “meant for” Adivasis, such as the Baiga Chak in eastern Madhya Pradesh, given the weak capacity for collective action, tangled relationship with the forest department, changing youth aspirations, and people’s conception of the environment at variance with some provisions of the act.

Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Rights Act

Several wildlife groups have opposed the Forest Rights Act as being anti-conservation. However, field experience indicates that the act can and is being used by local communities for arresting biodiversity decline by opposing the diversion of forests to mega-development projects and by using situated knowledge and values to bring about conservation.

Forest Governance

The Forest Rights Act provides a much-needed counterweight to state-centric forestry, as it reinstates the rights of forest dwellers in all dimensions of forest governance. However, the multi-stakeholder ecosystem of forests requires a multilayered governance framework in which the regulatory, funding and operational roles are separated and democratised. This will help resolve the prevailing tension and confusion regarding forest governance in the post-FRA era.

Tebhaga–Telangana to Naxalbari–CPI(ML)

Even as the Naxalbari uprising was quickly crushed, the revolutionary communists painstakingly spread the movement and founded the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries and the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist). Naxalbari differed from the Telangana uprising, which did not spread to other provinces and left no immediate trail after the setback mainly because no all-India party was built for the purpose. The movement–party dialectic is explored to better understand the radical communist movement in India.

From Naxalbari to Chhattisgarh

Even as the Naxalite/Maoist movement continues to haunt the Indian state, its future is not secure, for Mao’s revolutionary strategy for China of the 1920–40 period is no longer applicable in today’s India. The movement has, however, unwittingly acted as a catalyst of progressive reform in rural India. A post-Maoist revolutionary strategy is, nevertheless, long overdue.

The Caste Question in the Naxalite Movement

The period following the Chundur massacre of Dalits in August 1991 has witnessed an intense theoretical and ideological debate on the caste question in Telugu society, ignited by the growth of the Dalit and women’s movements. The article examines the debate on the caste–class question in theory and in practice in the Naxalite/Maoist movement in Andhra Pradesh.

Humaneness and Contradictions

Based on long-term ethnographic field research in the Adivasi-dominated forests of eastern India, this article explores how and why the Naxalites have persisted in the subcontinent and the challenges that beset revolutionary mobilisation. The focus is on how communist ideology for a casteless and classless society translated into the humaneness of revolutionary subjectivity, creating relations of intimacy between the guerrilla armies and the people in its strongholds. Crucially, also analysed are a series of contradictions that constantly undermine revolutionary mobilisation, tearing the Naxalites apart and destroying them from within.

Class Struggle and Patriarchy

​In the 50 years since Naxalbari, women have made a significant contribution to the growth of the Maoist movement, breaking free from many of the shackles that bind women down in Indian society. This article discusses the role of women and the question of patriarchy in this stream of the Naxalite movement on the basis of the literature available.

A Savage War for ‘Development’

The Maoists have come under relentless attack and have suffered a setback in their main stronghold, the Bastar division in southern Chhattisgarh, but, contrary to official claims, they are far from being wiped out over there. Fifty years after the Naxalbari uprising, the resilience displayed by the Maoists provides continued political relevance to the “spark” that lit Naxalbari in May 1967. But there is a long road uphill and ahead.

Adivasi Swaraj Is the Answer to Violence

The Indian state’s strategy to combat Naxalism has wrecked havoc on the Adivasi and tribal communities. A heavily militarised area of operations is certainly not the answer forpeace and security. It might make those in power feel less insecure, but eventually such a strategy will have disastrous effects, whenthose who have been alienated, exploited and displaced take up arms against the state. The rightstrategy for developing Adivasi communities is through thede-escalation of military operations and providingthem with autonomy and institutional support.

Pages

Back to Top