TIGER RESERVES AND TRIBAL ECOLOGIES: ARTICULATING THE ECO-CULTURAL LANDSCAPES OF THE MANNAN (INDIA)Gnana Bharathi B.
My article discusses of how in accordance to any indigenous peoples perception, a territory is not only an environment for providing the necessary means of survival but rather a space for their social relationship with their surrounding ecosystem. An indigenous communitys territory hence is not a finite area shaped by the inherence limited to its own existence but rather a fabric in the process of constitution and reconstitution towards framing of life. Indigenous cosmologies could be considered as a form of ecological knowledge, a subjective space and as a metaphorical model describing the intricate network of interactions flowing between living beings within that of their habitat. The various myths, rituals and other cosmic set of belief systems are carefully implemented by the community through their traditional value laden cultural prescriptions that have played a crucial role in maintaining their local ecosystem in a desired state of homeostasis throughout history. In this context, the paper here would broadly analyse certain vital endemic practices followed by the indigenous community called the Mannans residing in the Southern Western- Ghats mountain ranges of Kerala, specifically in the province of one of the prime Tiger reserve zones of India namely the Periyar Tiger reserve. The paper would analytically focus on the aspect of to recognizing their indigenous eco-cultures prior to be tagged them as intruders and evicting them out of the forest spaces in the act of designing and designating national parks in their habited. The paper hence endeavours to validate the authenticity of such native practices of the community and their perceptions in deeply articulating the sustainability of such enviro-cultural praxis that sustain both life and rights of these communities against the forces of development modernity.
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