The Oriental Anthropologist : A Bi - Annual International Journal of The Science of Man

ISSN: 0972-558X
e-ISSN: 0976-3430
Subject: Anthropology
Periodicity: Half Yearly
Month(s) of Publication: June & December
Current Volume: 17 (2017)

USD 350.00

The Oriental Anthropologist (OA) is a Peer Reviewed, International Journal that publishes original articles of theoretical, empirical, and applied nature, book reviews, news items, reports of meetings and professional announcements, and debates on current issues in the field of social science in general and anthropology in particular.




Special Edition, Oriental Anthropologist, 2017

It is undeniable that Eco-systems and local Environs alter not just due to natural patterns of long term evolutions but also due to parallel countries- wide socio-political and economic trends all over the world. In India too, diverse factors that remain interactive, combine to affect the relationship between human beings and their Habitat in many ways. For some, these changes in the Lifeworld signify the unforeseen and the unpredictable. For others, who become directly impacted or concerned, these changes come to rest in realms that may traverse discursively between the conflictual and/ or the unacceptable. The question is then, does Public Policy in India reflect the principled guide to action in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs as it is supposed to? If we search for answers keeping in mind the growing environmental discontent portrayed by certain groups, activists and communities in India, what do peoples’ voices and their perceptions on the issue indicate with respect to their relationship with the state? Conversely, what do the strategic silences of some marginalised communities mean- do they protect their own interests by remaining quiet? Lastly, what do lapses in public policy mean for overt and covert changes in inter-community subjectivities on ground? For instance, the Bishnois of Western Rajasthan have been waging a grassroots protest in defence of certain ‘protected’, ‘endangered’ or depleting species in their vicinities. Their collective struggles have prominently featured the protection of State animals as the Chinkara(the Indian Gazelle) and other wildlife species as the Black Buck or the National bird as the Peacock from ‘poachers’. The well -being of the dying state Tree ‘Kejhri’ (Prosopis cineraria) also evokes active interventions from the Bishnois, especially since the close of the twentieth century.

The Bishnois dialogue the system by raising voice against policy discrepancies and legal loopholes in order to project their values and perceptions into the larger debates on environmental conservation and damage in India. But others, such as the Bhils and the Ban Bawarias of Western Rajasthan prefer maintaining strategic distances and silences. Registering as well as actively processing the changes in environment as much as the state policy from their own perspectives, these two communities on the ground may not coincide with the Bishnoi visions to natural resource management. Instead, the Bhils and the Ban Bawarias represent the discursive greys between the two extremes of ‘hunting’ and ‘poaching’. In either case- of actors’ Voice as much as of Silence- the relationship between communities themselves and the state is changing. Hence the changes in environment and resulting modes to manage it through emerging socio-political, legal and economic frameworks both combine to make a powerful and compelling set of factors that trigger engaged grassroots responses. Together, these seem to be an effective lens from within which we can began to problematize upon the emerging social discontent and the environment related organic visions from all over India. Environmental movements and the related peoples’ perspectives in India are studied in at least two different ways .

First, the perspective that looks at the environmental movement as a displaced form of class struggle, and having its roots in the class-divided Indian society.

The second perspective looks at the environmental movements as new social movements and struggles against the centralized state.

This perspective although acknowledges the movement as a by-product of (class) exploitation, yet it focuses on a particular, issue-specific nature of the newer movements. However, the ever-emerging and coalescing newer forms of concern from the grassroots prompt us to search for fresher connections between environmental policy, people and the state.

There is yet another issue worth examining relating to public policies, people’s perceptions and environment/forest management in India. There exists a perennial schism between the Forest Department (i.e. the State) and people living in the Forest Villages, and the villages situated in and around the forests. Forest Villages are those which were established by the British, who brought chiefly poor tribal families as labourers to clear the jungle for commercial use of timber; and provided them some forest land to settle inside the forest. These are not revenue villages, and the dwellers have no right over the land. There are 2474 such Forest Villages in different Tiger Reserves and wild-life sanctuaries of the country. Due to the present National Forest Policy, they receive very little concessions to use minor forest produce from the jungles around them. Above all, if a tiger or any other wild animal kills a man or even his cattle, a meagre amount of compensation is given to the victim’s family. On the contrary, if a villager kills a tiger or any species of bird or animal of the forest, he is often jailed, and has to undergo a long legal battle to get relief, if any. Such confrontation between the villagers and the forest department has been the cause of unending discord between the two.

The question that arises is: Amidst varying legal-environmental provisions, interpretations, loopholes and stalemates, do the rising community articulations on environmental well- being and justice indicate a paradigm shift at the grassroots level of active citizenship? Can peoples’ actions and responses provide relevant milestones to make policies and dominant opinions centred around the National Forest and the Wildlife Protection laws more participatory, grounded and inclusive?

This Special Edition of the Oriental Anthropologist invites papers from scholars, activists, specialists, legal experts, policy makers, community lawyers and peoples’ organisations in response to the questions articulated above We would welcome contributions that employ inter- and/ pluri-disciplinary, multiple actor based approaches. The objective is to underline innovative grassroots experiences and visions by sharing grounded knowledge towards an integrated and inclusive approach to management of natural resources in India.

This journal is in 17th year of publication and it is indexed/Abstracted in Proquest , EBSCO Publishing, IBSS, Anthropological Index Online, Genomics (JournalSeek) etc


Public Policy, Peoples’ Perceptions and Environment Management in India: Discourses of Discontent and Creative ways forward

Guest Editors:

Madhulika Banerjee,


Bobby Luthra Sinha

Subject Covered


Instructions to Authors


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