Traditional Forest Related Knowledge Essay


Discuss about the Traditional Forest Related Knowledge.



The Indian subcontinent is regarded as the great landmass of the South Asia. It is known as the home of the single most world’s ancient civilization and foremost influential. This subcontinent is usually regarded as ‘India’ for historical purposes. It comprises of the area the present-day Republic of India and republic of Pakistan having been portioned from the India in the year 1947 as well as Bangladesh that made up the eastern region of Pakistan until 1971’s independence. Right from the early period, the Indian subcontinent seemed to have offered attractive habitat for occupation by human. The Himalayas ranges to the north massively protected this subcontinent as well as sheltering it from the Arctic winds as well as air current of the Central Asia.

Most of ancient contacts with the outside world occurred via northwest and northeast that were the solely regions easily accessed by land. The extensive alluvial plain of river basins offered environment and emphasized for rise of two significant stages of city life: the civilization of Indus valley called Indus civilization during third millennium BCE, along with during first millennium BCE, which of Ganges. The forest to the south of this zone separates India from peninsula proper. It runs generally from west to east which was inhabited by trial people. The region never formed a focal point of principal regional cultural development of South Asia and it remained thinly populated.

The Indian forest offered home to the crores of individuals encompassing several scheduled tribes. These tribes dwelled in or nearby forest areas of India. These tribal communities showed a strong knit relationship with forests and dependent on such forests for existence and livelihood. Such association remained mutually beneficial. The rights of these tribal communities were never acknowledged by the civilization and they remained highly marginalized. They even had no right over the land as they were fully discriminated. Indeed, the forest dwellers were even not regarded or acknowledged as Indians.

They struggled with modernity and ‘civilization in a losing battle for the preservation of their identity. They were viewed as those cohort of families that had a shared tradition of shared descent, language and culture residing as close-knit community and held no private property. They were tainted by racist ethology that viewed them as primitive, barbarous groups and belonged to inferior races. All sorts of stereotyping was used when defining these forest dwellers coupled animism. This derogatory phrase was used during the early civilization to sideline the tribal religions. To date, this notion has stayed that such people are marginal to the mainstream society.

The above notion of mainstream verses marginal duality marred the ancient Indian society. The system of caste advanced it individual classification, but the tribal remained unrecognized as sharply distinct from ‘mainstream’ society. They were referred mainly as forest dwellers or the mountain dwellers but not tribe. As a result of the race-obsessed colonial ethnology, they coined ‘Adivasi’ thereby labelling each Indian community as either ‘Aryan’ or ‘non-Aryan’. However, India had no notion of ‘original inhabitant’ that colonial powers had. Sociologist have helped that the notion of civilizers to regard certain tribe or the others as native owner of soil was utterly unscientific.

Civilization coded the notion of how the Mahabharata list three-hundred and sixty three communities (jatis or janas) crossways the map based on the political, ecological or geographical terms some of whom have stayed recognizable as ‘tribes’ like ‘Mundas and Kokuratas. This notion is currently being decoded. The Epic never seemed to distinguish between ‘tribe’ and caste with an exemption that the janas happed to reside in forests or mountains. There is however, barely evidence to showcase that in the shared consciousness of India, there is any distinction between the 2 sets of Janas.

The janas list increases to about seven-hundred if all ancient literature is included. The forest tribes live in individual territory and were copious, valiant, fight in daylight as well as with the capability to seize along with ruin nations hence a notion of being behaving like kings. The ‘atavika’ was coined to refer to tribe which is the forest dweller. The feared conquering impulse which paints a reflection of a historical fact that several tribes took to warfare, enlarged their territories as well as converted into as many Kshatriya clans. The mainstream India’s perception of her tribes stays blinkered by the colonial strategy, upon which missionary agenda rode piggyback, searching to detach substantial masses of non-Aryans.

State Formation Process

The ancient-formation in maritime Southeast Asia were Malaccra Straits alongside southern sea of Java shore. These were hub of wealth accumulation alongside trading activities along with shared various basic political concepts. Developments politically took place in the area owing to the reaction provided by the coastal communities to similar outside economic stimuli. The rising wealth in such 2 sub-regions was highly concentrated in hands of politically powerful elite that exerted control over prestige-good economies.

The contacts with additional regions led to advancement I metallurgical techniques along with improved resource-base of the area for trade. The enlargement of economic bases of various trading communities together with escalated exposure to additional advanced political cultures. Culminated to the formation of a sequence, first of chiefdoms, and subsequently of nascent states, on appropriate coasts of peninsula as well as wester islands.

The same case with Funan, that emerged on account of advanced traded along with port facilities due to the strategic location as well as backing by the agrarian base. Some have argued that it is rational to consider Funan as the 1st Southeast Asian ‘state’ since it remained an economic hub, with the economic foundation which backed additionally sophisticated level of political integration while acting as locus of contact amid several regional alongside local marketing networks.

Effects of State Formation Process on Tribe Cast Dynamics Relationship

The pre-existing native cultural as well as ethnic diversity remained synthesized with the outside ideology to establish a novel systematic higher order cultural foundation. This is recorded in the rising utilization of Sanskrit in Funan, utilization of Indian vocabulary as well as technical knowledge. The Southeast Asian states borrowed primarily from vaster Indian religious traditions. This was in a manner which suggest that a self-conscious balancing of ideas thought to be useful for the upholding power in economies at once mercantile and agrarian.

The habits in consumption shifted following Indian export thereby stimulating innovations in production locally. The cultural and religious influence was limited to rulers and elite sections of society hence never penetrated local levels. Therefore, economic competition as well as mutual impact instead of coerced contribution marred the relations between India and Southeast Asia thereby countering Indianization or colonization theory.


Avari, Burjor. India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Subcontinent from C. 7000 BCE to CE 1200. Routledge, 2016.

Ramakrishnan, P. S., K. S. Rao, U. M. Chandrashekara, N. Chhetri, H. K. Gupta, S. Patnaik, K. G. Saxena, and E. Sharma. "South Asia." In Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge, pp. 315-356. Springer Netherlands, 2012.

Scott, James C. The art of not being governed: An anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press, 2014.

Thapar, Romila. The Penguin history of early India: from the origins to AD 1300. Penguin UK, 2015.

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