Thursday, November 28, 2013

Condition of Tribal areas prior to onset of modern development

I'm copy-pasting this from an email from another person: I think the
content is important to note here:

My association with ecology and human community-cultures developed
rather accidentally over 30 years ago when I reached Bastar in the
course of my work and wanderings with some Gandhians, many of whom I
still fondly remember and admire. Once in Bastar, I got into
field-research project (1980-85) in Abujhmad region of Bastar on the
thematic of Adivasi world view and the modern world. Spread over 4000
sq kms of, at places, impenetrable vegetation and with a somewhat
stable population of 13000, Abujhmad is the 'back of beyond' in
Bastar. It had had little or no contact with the outside world. More
interior villages as Ehnaar had never known the impact of wheels. The
small community lived on food gathering and hunting, with shifting
cultivation as a supplement. In a somewhat primeval stage it had
neither trade, nor industry, livelihood, occupation or other modern
apparatus. But neither was there hunger, starvation, beggary or
lingering disease.

There are big promises by development agencies and governments to make
people's lives better by bringing in modern infrastructure, commerce,
education, modern amenities etc to places that didn't have them. But
there is, till date, not a single "modern" system that has clearly
been able to provide to its people a system where there is no hunger,
starvation, beggary or lingering disease. When we talk about
modernization today, we are destroying thousands-year-old systems that
were delivering on these, and replacing them with systems that have
repeatedly failed the people AND harmed the environment which our
future generations need.

Here is my assertion: All that glitters is not high-tech; just because
something is new doesn't make it better. We are imposing inferior,
immature, unsustainable and self-destructive technologies upon people
who don't want or need them. Our high-tech gadgetry, our technology,
our chips and wires and wireless... is all INFERIOR to the natural
systems. Not superior; inferior. For the simple fact that it's all so
pathetically dependent, wasteful, non-regenerative,
non-self-sustainable and it has no future once certain limited
resources run out. We have taken shortcuts to accomplish things, and
those shortcuts are at too high a cost to be used again and again. We
are using inferior technology. We have a long way to go still in
developing it further. There is no reason to impose an inferior
technology on anyone; it will only cause more damage.

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