ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Mukul Sharma

Governing Sacred Groves

Sacred groves are widely recognised for their religious, cultural, and ecological value. They are an intrinsic part of traditional and indigenous practices of forest governance. However, the contemporary sacred forest system is not an autonomous world. Its sociopolitical landscape is not confined only to the village either. Based on extensive fieldwork in Jharkhand, this paper argues that sacred groves have evolved to be dynamic spaces of multilevel institutional interactions and contestations. Their conservation is contingent on the intersectional dynamics of indigenous, state, and institutional processes. Classical approaches of sacrality of the nature and forms of forest worship need to be combined with the concerns of the local environment, democracy, gender, caste, conservation, and culture.


The Vrindavan Conservation Project

The Vrindavan Forest Revival Project, later called the Vrindavan Conservation Project, was launched in 1991 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, to restore ecological order in the region. A study of the project shows certain processes of religious revivalism in environmental politics. The power given to place imagination and the effective use of the symbol of Krishna as an environmentalist in this project finds resonances in sectarian Hindu politics. There appears to be an implicit affinity between the two, often creating a common language.

Passages from Nature to Nationalism: Sunderlal Bahuguna and Tehri Dam Opposition in Garhwal

This paper focuses on the shifting contours of the anti-Tehri dam movement in the past three decades. It examines the changing declarations of environmentalists, especially Sunderlal Bahuguna and other leaders of the movement on the one hand, and the involvement of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the anti-dam politics on the other. Exploring the evocations of nature, religion and nation in different phases by these two groups of actors, it argues that through a regular use of certain mythical beliefs and simplified dichotomies, there was an inadvertent collaboration between green and saffron. The Tehri dam became a means of combining sacredness with impulse, gravity of high politics with solemnity of daily worship, and nature with nationalism.

How Not to Fight Terrorism

The "war on terror" launched by the United States of America has undermined the rule of law, and poses significant challenges to the protection of human rights worldwide. Ignoring all of this, following the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, the government of India has rushed through the problematic Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill 2008, and there are calls for tougher measures on the lines of those implemented by the US. It is time to take stock of the key elements of Washington's "war on terror" with a brief review of the type of human rights violations committed in the pursuit of counter-terrorism measures by the US regime.