Thursday, December 14, 2017

VKIC Newsletter, April 2017-September,2017

From the Director’s Desk

Human lives have since time immemorial been shaped by forces of Nature, more than by any other power made by their will and efforts. Settlements grew near forest lands where fruits and flesh were not scarce for hunter gatherers. The first of the civilisations took root in the valleys of rivers where water was copious. Long migration routes unfolded through natural mountain passes connecting ancient societies enabling trade and commerce. In India too, natural spaces evolved over thousands of years and created a rich tapestry of community life where Nature determines or influences the rhythm of life. Our Adivasi communities, or Vanbasi communities exemplify such a Nature-reliant, Nature-inspired lifestyle, which from another perspective can be understood as a deeper appreciation of something sublime. Amid their day to day activities they adhere to traditions, rites and rituals which in a way pays obeisance to one forest deity or another. A sense of gratitude towards Nature is evident in even many of their mundane activities.

Today, the scenario is rapidly changing across the world; India being no exception. The winds of globalization and accompanying economic onslaught are sweeping the developing world in particular. Age old practices, centred on reverence towards Nature are being buffeted by forces of consumerism where naturally occurring objects are seen through the lens of resource exploitation. With its extensive experience of building ties with indigenous communities of North East India, VKIC is well appraised about these developments and, therefore, has taken up initiatives which will enable us to have deeper insights about the Nature-Human inter-linkages. One such attempt is to unravel this hitherto ignored treasure trove of knowledge and practices is our ongoing series of lectures on Forest-Community Interface. Through the lectures a number of issues relating to forests, their ecosystem services, degradation of natural landscapes and water bodies and strategies to conserve Nature are coming to the fore. Experts who have worked with such issues have shared knowledge that has led to better understanding of the fact – we all have much to learn from the communities who have dwelled in and around forests since time that predates our oldest written chronicles. It is our hope that VKIC will be able to justify before you how our fate is finally linked to that of the state of our forests and the way we perceive and treat them. 

                                                                                           Dr Parimal Ch. Bhattacharjee