Sacred groves are maintained by many tribal communities across India, including Santals or those inhabiting the Nilgiri mountains of Tamil Nadu. Several ancestral forests, sacred streams and mountains – like those in the adjoining Wayanad region of Kerala and other regions across the nation – are even listed among India’s “biodiversity hotspots“. Such conservation efforts by researchers and NGOs supplement a wide range of measures including the “Hyderabad biodiversity pledge”. | Learn more >>
Due to the ‘fear factor’, and restricted location, the ecosystem of many such forest fragments remains undisturbed, permitting them to form their own natural eco-balance over the years. “With the accumulation of falling leaves, deadwood, plant and animal remains and other debris for decades, the soil bed at sacred groves becomes rich in humus, making the land immensely fertile. This also helps absorb and retain water, boosting the groundwater level. It acts as natural filtration too. This can be tapped as a good source for drinking water,” says Thulasidas G., a technical officer of the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute. | Read the full article in The Hindu (12 January 2018) >>
Some activists identify with customary meeting places including sacred groves as to get enumerated in the Census as members of a separate religion (“Sarna dharm”): “Otherwise, we stand to lose our tradition both ways. Some give in to the Church, others migrate, and a few of them get to recite Hanuman Chalisa in the morning […]” – Krishna Kant Toppo (quoted in the Indian Express, August 13, 2017), in response to the Religious Freedom Bill (or “anti-conversion” bill) which was passed by the Jharkhand Government in August 2017 “to penalise religious conversions through coercion or allurement” | Read the full article “Under the faith microscope” by Prashant Pande >>
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