Sacred groves: Traditional practice and modern ecology

Sacred groves are maintained by many tribal communities across India like the Santals and tribal communities in the Nilgiri mountain range of Tamil Nadu, adjoining Wayanad District, and the Kaani community Kanyakumari region on both sides of the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Some of their ancestral forests, sacred streams and mountains are now listed among the world’s “biodiversity hotspots” entitled to protection in accordance with 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 >>

See also

“[A] common perception of conversion, prevalent in India, is that all conversions take place only among deprived lower caste or tribal groups, which are considered more susceptible to allurement or coercion. The reality of upper caste conversions is ignored in this climate of cynicism.”– Ivy Imogene Hansdak in “Pandita Ramabai Saraswati: the convert as ‘heretic’”

Find up-to-date information provided by, for and about Indian authors, researchers, officials, and educators
Search tips: in the search field seen here, type the name of any tribal (Adivasi) community, region, state or language; add (copy-paste) keywords of special interest (childhood tribal education language sacred grove women); specify any issue you want to learn more about (biodiversity ecology ethnobotany health nutrition poverty), including rights to which Scheduled Tribes are entitled (Forest Rights Act Protection from illegal mining UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) | More search options >>

For a list of websites included in a single search, click here. To search Indian periodicals, magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here. To find an Indian PhD thesis on a particular tribal community, region and related issues, click here >>

About website administrator

Secretary of the foundation
This entry was posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Biodiversity, Community facilities, Customs, Eastern region – Eastern Zonal Council, Ecology and environment, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Government of India, Health and nutrition, History, Hyderabad biodiversity pledge, Misconceptions, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Networking, Nilgiri, Organizations, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Revival of traditions, Sacred grove, Success story, Tips, Trees, Tribal identity, Wayanad, Western Ghats - tribal heritage & ecology, Worship and rituals and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.