Video | Honey gathering tribes assert their ancestral rights and way of life – Tamil Nadu & Karnataka

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The Kattunayakans are a honey gathering community in the Gudalur valley. Over generations they have mastered the skills required to take honey out of hives. – Priyashri Mani (upload information 3 July 2012 on Youtube) | Credits: Adivasi Munnetra Sangam | Learn more >>

“Don’t fund our eviction”: honey-collecting tribe pleads with US government
January 20, 2020

Two tribal communities famed for their honey-gathering skills have written to the US authorities urging them to scrap support for a conservation project that could lead to the tribe’s eviction from their ancestral forests.

The villagers, members of India’s Jenu Kuruba (“honey collectors”) tribe, object to the US Fish and Wildlife Service funding a project in Karnataka state, home to the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, which was created on their tribal lands.

The project is a partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society-India. Its first objective is to “facilitate government-sponsored, voluntary relocation of forest-interior families to new sites outside the forest.” But the Jenu Kuruba are determined to stay in their forests, and view U.S. government money being used in this way as “Aiding and abetting the government and WCS’s plans to evict us from our forests.” 

Other Jenu Kuruba people were previously evicted from Nagarhole, where WCS-India has worked for decades. They told Survival that they were pressured to “voluntarily relocate” after their lives in the forest were rendered impossible, and they were left with no choice. One described it as “a kind of torture.”

Gurumala, a Jenu Kuruba man who was evicted from a nearby tiger reserve 30 years ago, told Survival: “Our children were once independent and free; the whole community was their teacher. After the government came, we lost so much, they moved us out of the forest and restricted our lives. Now our children who grow up here have no freedom. I’m sad that our children have to live like this. I feel very sad that I have to tell our children and grandchildren about our way of life as if it were just a story from the past.”

The WCS is the parent organization of the Bronx Zoo. One of its founders, Madison Grant, was a notorious eugenicist and author of “The Passing of the Great Race”, a book Hitler referred to as his “bible.”

Survival’s research into Indian government-sponsored “voluntary relocations” of tribal people from tiger reserves has found them to be forced evictions, and so illegal under Indian and international law.

The letter comes just weeks after members of the US government’s House Committee on Natural Resources started to investigate WCS’s role in conservation grants tied to human rights abuses. In December the committee wrote to WCS President and CEO, Christián Samper requesting information “related to WCS’s awareness of the occurrence of  human rights abuses, funding for eco-guards or law-enforcement that committed human rights abuses, and policies addressing the rights of indigenous and local peoples.”

A member of the US Congress has also submitted a law that would prohibit the government from funding international conservation groups that fund or support human rights violations.

Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: “Tribal people have long been considered disposable and just “in the way” by big conservation NGOs who want to kick them off their land. But now at least some of them are able to lobby the government funders behind the schemes, which usually do a worse job of conservation than the original inhabitants themselves. Governments shouldn’t fund illegal land grabs and conservation NGOs must learn to treat people with respect. Times are changing.”

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MADURAI: The lifestyle of Paliyar community, a tribal people found in mountains in southern districts, is far more progressive than modern society in the plains, say the participants of a three-day programme organized to get closer to the community in Kodaikanal hills. […]

If Paliyars uproot one plant to gather roots, they plant in five places. When they go for gathering honey, they will extract only a part of honey from the hive. Similarly, they will not cut any living tree as they worship them as god.

They still lead a living a life far away from the consumeristic and greedy society found in plains. Only recently, they have started using basic gadgets such as mobile phone and television. […]

Source: Paliyar tribes more progressive than modern society Times of India, July 22, 2019
, Date accessed: 27 January 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“We shall first have to give up this hubris of considering tribes backward. Every tribe has a rich and living cultural tradition and we must respect them.”

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on India’s Constitutional obligation to respect their cultural traditions
Gandhiji at Prayer Time, Parnakuti, Poona (1944) by Chittaprosad, the great advocate of the rights of workers and revolutionary artists. | Learn more in “Gandhi, Secularism, and Cultural Democracy” by Vinay Lal >>
Gandhian social movement | Constitution >>

“Air is free to all but if it is polluted it harms our health… Next comes water… From now on we must take up the effort to secure water. Councillors are servants of the people and we have a right to question them.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi, Ahmedabad address on 1 January 1918; quoted by his grandson, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in “On another New Year’s Day: Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘khorak’ a 100 years ago” (The Hindu, 1 January 2018)

Learn more about the above issues by using the search field below: Google custom search – Indian press coverage of tribal culture and education

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EQUATIONS envisions a just and equitable world, where all people have the freedom and the right to determine their lives and future. | Learn more on the Equations website | Equations blog >>

We envision forms of tourism which are non-exploitative, where decision making is democratised, and access to and benefits of tourism are equitably distributed. EQUATIONS believes in the capacity of individuals and communities to actualise their potential for the well-being of society. We work toward justice, equity, people centred and movement centred activism, democratisation and dialogue.

Everyday we hear that tourism brings economic development, it creates jobs and revenues. But who really benefits from it? The local community, the village elite, or the owner?

There’s been an exponential increase in tourism in India over the last several decades, fueled by the growing economy and disposable incomes. The tourism industry in India has expanded wildly in an unregulated fashion with no regard for environmental, social and cultural impacts.

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

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