Hul to Ulgulan: Locating Adivasi revolts in the history of Indian forest laws

Adivasi revolts of the 18th and the 19th centuries were the response to a progressive alienation of their land and forests by the State through enactment of laws and use of force. Today, there are laws to stop this continuing uprooting of people but only on paper, writes Goldy M. George

Forest and human habitation have been symbiotically connected to each other for centuries. In India, historical evidence, such as seals and painted pottery recovered from the Indus Valley, shows the symbols of peepal and babul indicating the use of forest produce during the Mohenjodaro-Harappa civilization (about 5000-4000 BC). The Gupta period (200-600 AD) recorded the distribution of forests similar to that of the Mauryan period. The Mughal period (1526-1700) was characterized by an unhindered clearing of forests for timber and cultivation. With the advent of the British rule, direct confrontation with the Adivasis began, which had much to do with the forests.

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