Individual Paper: World-view of local people of Korchi Ilaka (Korchi Territory) on Well-being and Development
Mainstream development models have failed to fulfil their promise of achieving minimum well-being of a very large part of humanity, and severely compromised the long-term security of both humans and nonhuman beings. The world over, indigenous peoples and other traditional communities and their habitats are being obliterated due to the current demand for industrial growth and development. The communities nevertheless are not only resisting the ongoing onslaught of ‘accumulation by dispossession’, they are also voicing the urgency of looking for fundamental alternatives to the current global order.
While much is written on the struggles, few studies have partnered with communities to document and analyse how they view the notion of ‘well-being’. Do these alternative formulations emerge outside of the developmentalist, modernist, economistic, and linear frameworks? In a bid to address these issues, we are exploring through ethnographic methods the notions of well-being, that are not tied to a material or individual plane; instead, it includes collective and spiritual dimension along with the ecological sensibility as articulated by the Gond adivasi (indigenous) community based in Korchi, Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, India. Gadchiroli district is heavily forested with several adivasi communities, with culturally flourishing initiatives through the study circle processes, collective action at the grassroots, collective and consolidated advocacy. In early 2000s, adivasis and others in India pushed for a legislation recognising their customary rights to forests, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006. Adivasis in Gadchiroli region have successfully got the Act implemented (unlike in most other parts of India), and are moving towards establishing governance and management processes for the forest commons.
Collective management of the commons however in the neo-liberal scenario is complex as the public policies are pressuring for extractive use of its natural resources, including mining. In addition, there is an increasing influence of religious right-wing forces that are in subtle ways (primarily through education) trying to threaten the existence of indigenous lives and alter their way of being. The adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers of the region have protected their water, forests, and land using their traditional knowledge generation after generation. Along with resisting state-sponsored mining in their region, communities are actively engaged in building local governance institutions by revisiting their traditional systems. This research, co-produced with the adivasi community, is intended with the belief that the articulation of such alternative worldviews where they exist is crucial in defining, living, supporting and propagating the paradigms of well-being that are just, equitable and ecologically wise, resulting in a coherent narrative that is an alternative to a seductive development discourse.
Start time: 11:15
Room: Moriskan (Stora Salongen)
Track: The Pluriverse: Articulating alternatives to development