ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Sudha VasanSubscribe to Sudha Vasan

Models and Reality Case of Forest Communities

Models and Reality: Case of Forest Communities Sanjay Kumar Sudha Vasan THE following comments are triggered by the critique by Rahul (EPW, February 5) of Drafting a People's Forest Bill: The Forest Dweller-Social Activist Alternative, edited by Walter Fernandes, and the counter critique by Amita Baviskar et al (EPW, June 7). The impetus to write them came from lay observations made during a short trip to Himachal Pradesh. Though very general and accessible to any traveller, these observations highlight a theoretical lacuna prevalent in most of the discussions on social relations over forests, and which is shared by both of the above parties in their debate. These discussions are premised upon an external and static relationship between the state- cum-industrial-urban complex and forest communities. In face of the emergingcapita- list reality, which is more complex than their simplistic assumption, these discussions often succumb to populism, as in the book edited by Walter Fernandes and the note by Amita Baviskar et al. The other tendency is to romanticise forest dwellers, as done by Rahul. The simplistic model of social relations over forests we critique is closely related to a particular type of social activism. We end by making a short comment on the location of such activism in current society.


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