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

Forest dwellersSubscribe to Forest dwellers

Decolonising Decentralised Governance

Three decades since the initiation of decentralised governance, and more than a decade since the first community forest resource right was recognised in Maharashtra, forest-dwelling communities still have limited space in decision-making about their forest resources. This article describes three cases from Maharashtra where bureaucratic overreach has impeded emerging forest management by forest dwellers holding community forest resource rights. It reflects on the need for changing the prevalent colonial mindset in the bureaucracy to facilitate genuine decentralised democratic governance.

Thenga Pali

Forest communities in India and elsewhere are central to protecting forests and forest resources.

Protected Areas, Forest Rights, and the Pandemic

The complex nature of contestation between the forest department and the local communities (that is, Van Gujjars) in the Rajaji National Park is explored, with special reference to the recent violent ­attacks by the forest department officials on Van Gujjars. An analysis of the intricate aspects related to the claims of both the Van Gujjars and the forest department underlines that the existence of legal pluralism in forest governance creates a situation of legal indeterminacy, which has been used by the forest department to overlook and violate the demands of local communities.

Forest Rights Act Enables State Control of Land and Denies Most Adivasis and Forest Dwellers Land Rights

Over a decade after the landmark Forest Rights Act, 2006 was enacted, a relatively small number of claimants have been able to access the rights it promises. The author identifies limitations built into the legislation and investigates the obstacles that have hampered the provision and recognition of forest rights in three districts of Himachal Pradesh.

Forest Rights Act

The implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 has been opaque and there is serious lack of awareness about its provisions not only among the benefi ciaries but also among the officials in charge of implementing it. Given the complaints from either side, it is time the government reviewed the law and also looked at the objections raised when it was first tabled as a bill.

Contested Spaces, Democratic Rights

The Maharashtra government's village forest rules seek to overturn the rights regime established in the letter of the law by the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act and the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 in terms of both community rights, as well as the rights over minor forest produce. Moreover, the rules write away the future rights of the community over forests and their management and control over minor forest produce in perpetuity. These are also ultra vires of the rules regime agreed and enacted by an act of Parliament.

Blurred Boundaries

This paper critically analyses the politics of claim-making, vis-à-vis, the Forest Rights Act by illustrating how three distinct political actors in Gudalur, Tamil Nadu, have used the FRA. In this analysis the law has not been taken as an immutable category, but rather as a political instrument that various groups use to assert their identities and political imaginaries. In doing so, these imaginaries invoke unique histories and reference multiple "genealogies of belonging." By highlighting the multiple uses and interpretations of the FRA in Gudalur, this study opens up space for a discussion around some larger concerns implicated within issues of forests, rights and conservation, particularly, the limits of seeing Adivasis as the only authentic traditional forest-dwellers by highlighting the blurred boundaries between various categories--Adivasi and non-Adivasi, forest and non-forest, legality and illegality. It is in these liminal spaces, where boundaries are blurred, this study offers an analysis informed by the analytic of governmentality to argue that local actors exercise agency in either taking on or resisting environmental subjectivities framed by the FRA.

Forests, People and State

This paper focuses on the differences between pre-colonial and colonial constructions of nature and how the two interacted with and absorbed one another, with reference to the forests of the Gorakhpur region. The East India Company, while continuing the Mughal framework and institutions in the management of the forests, also embarked upon reinvention of traditions and recreation of customs. Its commercial and strategic interests always remained prominent as it sought to reinforce its notions of power and authority.

Forests Are for Burning

The forest fires raging in the hills of northern India for more than two months now are not only leaving a trail of destruction but are illuminating, in no uncertain way, the consequences of a narrow concept of environmental protection, one not organically linked to current understanding of development. The fires are just the most visible signs of a piecemeal approach to protecting forests, of delinking people from processes. In their glare, the state's calculations in incorporating environmental 'concerns' in its agenda lie exposed.
Back to Top