Democratizing Nature, Politics, Conservation, and Development in India

ghnp_ashwini.gifThis book explores two principal contradictions in environmental politics in India—between conservation and large-scale development projects, and between short-term electoral politics and long-term imperatives of environmental conservation.

The Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) in Himachal Pradesh, north-western India, is home to the western Tragopan—an endangered pheasant. It shares its habitat with the local population living on the park’s fringes. In 1999, the final notification of the GHNP banned grazing and plant collection by locals—ostensibly in the interests of conservation. At the same time, the State de-notified a portion of the Park, thus enabling construction of the Parbati hydro-electric project.

The authors use the story of Parbati and Tragopan as symbolic representations of development and conservation to enter into a larger discussion on the politics surrounding these seemingly contradictory processes. The state, while espousing a conservation ideology, also promotes developmental (hydel) projects that go against the grain of conservation. This contradiction is resolved through a strategic reading of the law which enables the state to de-notify protected areas.

Additionally, the law is bypassed to ‘unofficially’ permit grazing and plant collection to continue, so as not to alienate potential vote-banks. Ultimately, it is the management of these contradictions that shapes the politics of state formation.

The authors argue that a coalition approach bringing together biologists, local residents, the forest department, political actors, and social activists might achieve more than the current process that pits one against the other. This book demonstrates that both conservation and development are inter-related and inherently political. An improvement on either front will require greater strategic engagement with political actors and processes.

Author Details
Vasant Saberwal Program Officer, Environment and Development, Ford Foundation, New Delhi.
Ashwini Chhatre Research Fellow, Center for International Development, Harvard University.

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An IT professional for 17 years, based in the US since the last 12 years. Founded NGO My Himachal and then Himachal Media Pvt. Ltd.. A Himachali forever. Always trying to bring together people whose hearts beat for the state.

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1 Comment

  1. says: sushil

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
    Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

    FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

    SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

    A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

    A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.

    To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

    PlanetSave

    EarthNewsWire

    sushil_yadav

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