Mandala Of Indic Traditions
International Conference on Indigenous Indic Traditions in Forestry:
Lessons for Contemporary Sustainable Forest Management,
February 8-10, 2001, Bhopal, India
The International Conference on Indigenous Indic Traditions in Forestry: Lessons
for Contemporary Sustainable Forest Management at Bhopal in February 8-10, 2001.
The event is sponsored by The Infinity Foundation, USA and organised by the
International Network on Ethnoforestry and Indian Institute of Forest Management,
Bhopal, India. Deep N Pandey shall facilitate conference.
This conference is intended to bring together practicing foresters, natural
resource managers, scientists, community forestry experts, Indologists, and
scholars who are working on Indigenous Indic Traditions in Forestry in an effort
to discuss and move forward beyond the barriers that either continue to hamper
the revival of Indic Traditions or restrict the integration of Indigenous Indic
Traditions and indigenous knowledge and the formal sciences.
Participation is open to the foresters, historians, Indologists, natural resource
managers, educationists and development practitioners from around the world.
Participation is also solicited from the foresters working on indigenous knowledge,
ethnoforestry and Indic traditions in forestry.
Newspaper article covering the Infinity
Foundation sponsored conference in India.
Theme of the Conference
It is interesting to note that forestry traditions have existed even before
the known sources of Indic traditions were encoded. And, these have continued
to exist in vedic period, later vedic period and the puranic literature. In
fact, if we consider the vedic reference closer to theory then the later vedic
and puranic texts are definitely the practice manuals! Following these manuals
common masses replicated the prescriptions on the ground for the benefit of
the humanity. The most important fact is these traditions still continue to
survive and continue to be practiced by the masses.
For instance, since the Rigvedic period through Puranic times there are numerous
descriptions of the trees groves and tanks (talabs) in India. Varahamihira in
5th century AD wrote and with great detail on the tanks and trees relationship.
These prescriptions were considered sacred and ethic demanded that the people
should practice for the common good of the humanity. This phenomenon can be
understood as a proven fact getting institutionalized by the cultural traditions.
What resulted from this is amazing! A total of 1.53 million village tanks built
from 2000 BC onwards still survive in India today. These tanks vary in size
(0.5 ha to several hundred ha. of water harvesting area and a grove of few trees
to very large groves). If India wants (there is no choice, though) sustainable
development no science alone can solve the water problem. It must revive and
support the traditions that are useful and have stood the test of time. In fact
at several places revival of such traditions has been very encouraging. Examples
suggest that this has resulted in the sustainable forestry and livelihood security.
Another case, for instance, is the ethnoforestry or the indigenous knowledge
on forests in India. Several references are available on the role that forests
and trees play and how to manage these resources in Vedas, Upanishands, Mahabharata,
Ramayana, Arthasastra, and Brihatsamhita etc. These are also reflected in the
contemporary landscape and indigenous management forms. This has been illustrated
with assessments of the various types of indigenous forests, trees and landscape
management in several parts of India. This has a great relevance for the history
of forest management and the future of sustainable forest management in India.
To clarify the issue of equity of knowledge adopted here is the framework of
empowerment, security and opportunity (from the discussions on draft World Development
Report, The World Bank 2000):
- 1. Equity of knowledge as Empowerment: This can be understood as making
the state institutions pro-people and pro-people's knowledge, thereby reducing
the social barriers to participation and enhancing the capacity of the poor
to make choices to address the livelihood security and sustainability.
2. Equity of knowledge as Security: By making the productive use of collective
wisdom of formal and traditional sciences we shall be able to help the poor
to manage the risks they face because of the destruction of the resource-base
and societal hindrances.
3. Equity of knowledge as Opportunity: The process of access, transmission,
integration and field application of indigenous knowledge and Indic traditions
with formal strategies promises to enhance the productivity and efficiency
of context specific developmental interventions for attacking the poverty
and addressing the sustainability of natural resources.
The conference will also explore the empirical evidences across cultures and
nations to prove that when indigenous knowledge, indigenous institutions and
indigenous strategies are combined with scientific strategies and knowledge
the result is far more productive than as understood currently.
The Conference will explore five basic questions:
- 1. What are the indigenous Indic traditions in forestry?
2. What is the history of the neglect and destruction of these traditions?
3. How are these traditions reflected in contemporary landscape in India?
4. How can the society benefit from Indic Traditions in order to achieve the
objectives of sustainable forest management? In other words, how the equity
of knowledge can be achieved between the local communities possessing the
indigenous knowledge and formal forestry scholars?
5. What are the contemporary examples of integration of Indic traditions with
Contributions that examine the above issues may relate to:
- 1. Indigenous Indic Traditions in Forestry including various ethnoforestry
practices such as sacred groves, sacred gardens, home gardens, sacred corridors,
tanks and trees, community-conserved landscapes etc.
2. Ecological, Economic and Societal dimensions of Indigenous Indic Traditions
3. Indigenous Indic Traditions in Natural Resource Management
4. Indigenous Indic Traditions in Water Management including Traditional Water
5. Role of Indigenous Indic Traditions for Sustainability
6. Case studies that demonstrate the applicability and integration of Indic
traditions with modern science?
7. Role of Indigenous Indic Traditions in Forestry for Empowerment, Opportunity
and Security; Carbon Sequestration; Watershed Protection; etc.
8. Indigenous Indic Traditions and Intellectual Property Right
Registration fee (US $ 200/- for foreign participants and Rs.1,000/- for Indian
participants). Participants shall have to pay for their travel, stay etc.
Abstracts for proposed papers and presentations shall not be more than 1 page
in A4 size, with single line spacing in 11 point font size (Times New Roman)
in msword format. Include the paper title, author name(s), proposed presenter(s),
affiliation(s), the mailing address, phone, and email for the contact person.
It should also accompany an abbreviated curriculum vita for each participant
in not more than 125 words and a brief letter of intentions to participate in
Final papers should not be more than 30 pages in A4 size, with single line
spacing in 11-point font size (Times New Roman) in MSWord format. Include all
illustrations, table, photographs etc. in one file. Name the electronic file
as abbreviation containing initial letter for the first, middle and last name
(for example a contribution being sent by Deep N Pandey shall be saved as DNP.doc).
Prospective participants should keep in mind an interdisciplinary consultation
attempting to facilitate the integration of indigenous Indic traditions in forestry
and formal science rather than a specialist audience.
1. Expression of interest for participation: as soon as possible, preferably
by November 10, 2000.
2. Abstract and Proposals for presentation are due no later than November 30,
3. Notification of acceptance will be sent on December 20, 2000.
4. Final papers and presentations must be submitted on or before January 15,
Send abstracts and proposals for presentation electronically to:
Deep Narayan Pandey, IFS
Associate Professor & Coordinator,
INEF-International Network on Ethnoforestry,
Indian Institute of Forest Management,
We will prefer to receive the abstract, proposals and final papers by e-mail