बणःतु हको कथाःरे Bana-Tu Haqo Kathare | Forest Rights Chronicles || A film by Himdhara Collective

By Himdhara CollectiveonMar. 08, 2024in Environment and Ecology

Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective ( https://www.himdhara.org/ ) Present “बणःतु हको कथाःरे” Bana-Tu Haqo Kathare | Forest Rights Chronicles

Film synopsis ||

“बणःतु हको कथाःरे” Bana-Tu Haqo Kathare (Forest Rights Chronicles) is a 44-minute documentary film from the trans-Himalayan Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. Forest conservation in the Himalaya has been a global concern since the decade of the Chipko Movement. Eco-feminist narratives coupled with concepts of ‘social forestry’ projected women as ‘forest saviours’ and centered their participation in programs implemented by the State led Forest Department.

The film traces through indigenous testimonies traces the evolution of socio-ecological systems in Lahaul, from colonial times when British imperialism exploited the forests for commercial purposes to post-independence periods. A catastrophic avalanche in 1979 profoundly impacted the valley, leading to the complete destruction of villages and triggering a collective effort to regulate forest usage. Local women’s collectives, stepped in to oversee regulation of forest access even as their voices remained on the sidelines in conservation policy, governed by top down forest conservation laws and now climate change adaptation strategies.

A still from the film

The film spotlights the uphill battle for the legal recognition of forest rights, and the hurdles posed by bureaucratic interests in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006, a law aimed to strengthen community tenure on forests. The Forest Department retains control as the legal owner of the forests, influencing both policies and day-to-day operations, ultimately perpetuating colonial notions of forest ownership. The documentary concludes by highlighting the concerns of local women regarding the impacts of rapid commercialization in the region. The film aims to generate a dialogue that centers indigenous communities, especially women, as the custodians of their commons.

First Published by Endangered Himalaya Youtube Channel on 08 March, 2024.

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