To read the detailed report for this programme, click here.
Awareness is defined as the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. So it would seem natural that the children of the forest would already be aware of the need to protect the forests. However, the fact remains that the term ‘awareness’ applies to both rural and urban communities. In order to understand their problems, it is important for us (urban communities) to first understand the forests from their perspective.
For example, to us, a forest fire raging unchecked through the forest causes destruction, thereby killing the trees and other live forms existing in that area. But for the tribal, fire does not signify death. To them, it signifies new life! They burn patches of forests to ensure a good cultivation of their crops, growth of new grass for the cattle to graze on, it is also used as a method to clear up the dry leaves etc from the ground, which makes it easier to collect the flowers like mahua flowers, tendu fruits from the cleared ground.
However, these man-made forest fires when set off in an uncontrolled and unchecked manner can cause more harm than good. Hence, knowledge of both sides of this problem helped us bring up this point during our sessions. The challenge therefore, was to raise this point after assessing and understanding both sides of the problem. For example, when Archana a student living in Rohaniya village told us, “Tiger ki raksha karne se pehle humein apni raksha karna zaroori hai!”, we were indignant. We wondered why they didn’t want to save the tiger and how they expected to survive without it!