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Pramod Parajuli teaches anthropology, ecology, and social movements at Syracuse University, New York. His research interests are in analyzing the intersection of social movements, ecology and traditions of knowledge among ecological ethnicities--peasants, indigenous peoples, rural peasants, fisherfolks, etc. Recently, he completed a book manuscript entitled: Tortured Bodies and Altered Earth: Ecological Ethnicities in the Regime of Globalization He is actively involved in various ethno-ecological movements and movements for sustainable livelihoods in his home country, Nepal, and in India.

Abstract of paper given at Hinduism and Ecology conference:
Sacred Plants and Forests: Lessons from the Ramayana

Frederique Apffel-Marglin and Pramod Parajuli
The events of the Ramayana spanned the major ecosystems of India, which will be summarized in this presentation. The Ramayana mentions by name a large variety of plants (over 200 species), although the scientific identities of some are controversial. The plants are primarily (1) limited to the central and northern portions of the subcontinent; (2) important for medicinal and economic uses; (3) important as sacred plants today, and mentioned in other sacred texts. These descriptions of plants and forests tell us much about classical attitudes toward nature, and the Ramayana still may influence these attitudes in India and other areas of tropical Asia.

Abstract of paper given at Indigenous Traditions and Ecology conference:

 

Rituals of Resistance, Ecology and Adivasi Identity in India
Based on a decade-long ethnography of the Jharkhand region in East-Central India, I show in this paper that today, discourses on adivasi identity have to be couched in relation to ecology and their mediums of resistance. I explore how the alteration of power relations are in-built into the adivasi system of governance through rituals such as the annual hunting enactments. These rituals are not merely a safety-value for infusing a "rebellion in the making" as Max Gluckman suggested. These are the precise social sites that inculcate and sustain a mass-accepted notions of what is just and what is unjust, what is power and what is leadership, what is moral, and what is immoral. When such moral codes are violated, communities reach to a consensus about why to resist and how to do so. These are the cultural resources through which adivasis and other ecosystem people have been able to resist large dam projects or social forestry proposal in Jharkhand, in the Narmada valley and the rest of India.

 

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Hinduism and Ecology conference participants

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