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COMMUNITY & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION– IN SEARCH OF THE LOST STRING OF HAPPINESS OF THE NORTH-EAST...

Section: A

Category: Research Paper

Paper Code: RP-SB-13

Page Number: 91 - 106

Date of Publication: February 10, 2021

Citation: Dr. Sujata Bhattacharyya, Community and Environmental Protection- - In Search of the Lost Spring of Happiness of the North-Eastern Region, 1, AIJACLA, 91, 91-106, (2021).

Details Of Author(s):

Dr. Sujata Bhattacharyya, Principal, Nowgong Law College


ABSTRACT Indigenous people, who are known as Adivasis or Tribals in India wherever else, all the time live in normally rich yet financially helpless territories. More than 160 indigenous networks with particular social characters live in the North Eastern Region of India. The solid connection with their property and the information they have gained overages through stories and fantasies cause them to comprehend the complexities just as the soul of nature. Happiness and biological resources are the two sides of the same coin for the indigenous communities of the North Eastern Region. The traditional ways of their worship shows the symbiotic relationship with nature. The various customary practices, festivals and religious practices, traditional values and believes, livelihood practices and trade, traditional administrative and financial management policies, etc has a great level of co-existence with peaceful, sustainable, and happy verve of nature. The paper highlights the overlapping of the abundance of biodiversity with the existence of an indigenous community of North-East in Particular. Tribal people of the NE Region had methods to protect, preserve and live harmoniously with nature. Analysis of the linkage between the environment and sustainable development of this region is the need of time as the society of the region is fast losing its last strings of happiness due to the exponential pace of change because of certain issues which may or may not be directly under the control of the gene pool in the region. The blending of traditional and modern techniques and the revival of old tribal beliefs and knowledge regarding the preservation of the environment may be the ultimate response. The objective of the paper is to explore the relationship of the indigenous community with the nature that leeway effective conservation of natural resources that can restore the peace and happiness of the region. A doctrinal methodology is adopted for the study. KEYWORDS indigenous people, traditional knowledge, biological diversity, sustainable development, environment protection, North East India.


INTRODUCTION We are fast losing the living world around us and many living creatures are disappearing before our eyes. Different factors are responsible for their disappearance and most importantly many are being human-driven factors, such as population growth and unsustainable consumption of natural resources. Indigenous people, who are known as Adivasis in India or tribals everywhere else, very often live in naturally rich but economically poor areas. Nearly 20% of the planet is under tribal inhabitation.[1] The phenomenal correspondence with the land, water, and other natural resources make them the earth’s most important stewards. Northeast India is a constellation of seven states lying on the crossroads between India and Southeast Asia. The verdure landscape, geological and ecological diversity, and the exotic range of communities are the unique characteristics of the region which make it quite different from other parts of the Indian subcontinent. The indigenous community of the region who account for 27% of the total population with their peculiar ethnic and cultural traits formed the most important factor in the region’s physical attributes in a geological sense. Each state is a traveler’s ecstasy with picturesque hills and green meadow that home thousands of species of flora and fauna. The use of the term indigenous peoples is a perplexing and challenging issue in India. The group isn't formally perceived or utilized in India. The official situation of the Government of India is that the term as perceived in the United Nations isn't material in India as all Indians are indigenous to India. By and by, the term has been progressively reciprocally used to the socially acknowledged term 'Adivasi' which in a real sense implies the 'first' or the 'original' one. The equivalent has additionally gotten well known out in the open talk in the north-eastern States. The Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission established by the Government of India additionally alluded to the clans as indigenous in their report of 1960.[2] Happiness and biological resources are the two sides of the same coin for the indigenous communities of the North Eastern Region. The traditional ways of their worship shows the symbiotic relationship with nature. The various customary practices, festivals and religious practices, traditional values and believes, livelihood practices and trade, traditional administrative and financial management policies, etc has a great level of co-existence with peaceful, sustainable, and happy verve of nature. The paper highlights the overlapping of the abundance of biodiversity with the existence of an indigenous community of North-East in Particular. Biodiversity is privately overseen assets having more extensive cases as a public decent esteemed for the diffuse real or likely incentive to all humankind around the world. In like manner utilization, biodiversity implies the whole of living things and the natural cycles related to them. The natural and biological diversity on the globe provides ecosystem services and thus becomes an important prerequisite for human existence. Nevertheless, enduring threats to biodiversity because of loss of habitat, overexploitation, pollution, introduction of alien species, and climate change has been on an exponential scale. Tribal people of the NE Region had methods to protect, preserve and live harmoniously with nature. Analysis of the linkage between the environment and sustainable development of this region is the need of time as the society of the region is fast losing its last strings of happiness due to the exponential pace of change because of certain issues which may or may not be directly under the control of the gene pool in the region. The blending of traditional and modern techniques and the revival of old tribal beliefs and knowledge regarding the preservation of the environment may be the ultimate response. The objective of the paper is to explore the relationship of the indigenous community with the nature that leeway effective conservation of natural resources which can restore the peace and happiness of the region. A doctrinal methodology is adopted for the study.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN INDIA- THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK The ‘environmental law’ is concerned with the contesting situation where the actions of the world community are in a constant state of flux. Unlike other branches of law, the workable frames of legal actions under the environmental law have tormented complexities as the actors, interests, preferences and thus rights and responsibilities are not easily identifiable.[3] The legitimacy and effectiveness of environmental governance depends upon consistent economic, political, social, and legal framework for the conservation of natural resources for future generations. Economic and political globalization has accelerated the growth of international environmental law over the last five decades. In the last three decades, the development of international environmental law has been increasingly driven by the concept of sustainable development. The principles and concepts related to sustainable development permeate the various provisions of recent international instruments and in the same line influence the legal principles adopted at the national level. In India, the concept of environmental protection can be traced back to the religious literature including Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, and Dharmashastras that preached a reverential attitude towards the sky, air, water, plants, trees, and animals enshrining environmental harmony and conservation. Many animals, birds, and trees were associated with the name of God and Goddesses and regarded sun, air, water, earth, and forest as God and Goddesses. The legal provision environmental concern however started with the enactment of the Indian Penal Code 1860 during British rule.[4] During the British regime, some legislation was enacted to check pollution even though pollution was not so serious a problem during those periods because of a low rate of population growth and lack of industrialization and urbanization.[5] After independence, with the adoption of the Constitution of India, the environment protection has got a firm grip with the legislative and administrative authority between the state and the center to make necessary intervention on the issues relating to environmental concern. Giving the dominant role to the central government on matters relating to environmental protection and enshrining environment protection and conservation as a fundamental duty as well as right to the citizens, the Constitution of India happens to be the unique documents in the world that make the environment as the basic concern of the nation with formal procedures in the basic law of the land. In the justification of this statement, various provisions of the Constitution are worth mentioning. Article 246 divides the subjects for legislation into three lists namely Union List, State List, and Concurrent List. The Centre and the State legislature have exclusive powers to make laws on the subjects mentioned in the Union List and State List respectively. Under the Concurrent List, both Parliament and state legislature has the power to make laws. Under Article 248 the Parliament has the residual power to legislate on the subjects not covered by the three lists. Article 249 empowers the Parliament to make laws concerning the subjects mentioned in the State List in the national interest. As indicated by Articles 251 and Article 254 a central law regarding any matter in the Concurrent List by and large beats a state law on a similar subject. Article 252 states that the center can likewise pass laws on state subjects if at least two state lawmaking bodies agree to such enactment. Article 253 engages the Parliament "to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body". These arrangements of the Constitution of India give a predominant function to the central government on issues identifying with ecological assurance. After the Stockholm Declaration 1972, maybe the main significant endeavor at the global level to monitor and ensure the human environment, the Indian Parliament changed the Constitution and embedded two Articles, Article 48A and Article 51A, in the year 1976. Article 48A is a direction to the State to secure and improve the climate and to protect the woodlands and natural life of the nation. Clause (g) of Article 51A forces a key obligation on the residents to ensure and improve the indigenous habitat including woodlands, lakes, waterways, and untamed life, and to have sympathy for living animals. Under these two arrangements of the Constitution, both the citizens and the State are under established commitment to secure, preserve and improve the ecosystem. Aside from Constitutional arrangements, different enactments have been ordered to secure and improve the ecosystem. It is additionally relevant to specify here that the legal executive in India assumes a significant function in deciphering different arrangements of the Constitution for environmental insurance. In India, the worry for environmental safeguards has not exclusively been raised to the status of essential tradition that must be adhered to, yet additionally linked with common liberties approach and it is currently settled that it is the fundamental basic liberty of each person to live in contamination-free climate with full human nobility. More than 200 multilateral ecological deals are covering various zones including biodiversity, environmental change, marine contamination, and harmful synthetic substances. So far India has consented to 35 ecological arrangements. An investigation by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on the execution of ecological settlements by India has reasoned that the plans for usage are not acceptable. Numerous lacunae in the legitimate, viable, and on-field plans remain.[6] The 186th Report of the Law Commission of India recommended the constitution of specialized Environmental Courts to strengthen and revitalize environmental governance.[7] The Law Ministry has formulated the required draft legislation[8] and the National Green Tribunal thus constituted under the NGT Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases that are related to the protection and conservation of environment, forest, and other natural resources.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THE BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES WITH REFERENCES TO NORTH-EASTERN REGION The relationship of the indigenous people with their land and territories are said to form the core part of their identity and spirituality and to be deeply rooted in their culture and history. The people of the indigenous community see a clear relationship between the loss of their land and situations of marginalization, discrimination, and underdevelopment. Around the globe they are fighting to own, manage and develop their traditional lands, territories, and resources. Indigenous communities and indigenous knowledge are at hand in every developed and developing country. The knowledge alive in these communities is typical who intuitively and consciously work in active dialogue with their natural and biological habitat. While the symbiosis of culture and nature is fundamental to such communities they show distinct understanding and unique mechanisms in regulating the environment. Their inimitable culture and heritage are so diverse that foster unique characteristics for each tribe exclusive to their society. The locale incorporating Northeast India along with Myanmar is one of the 25 major biodiversity zones of the world and one of the 18 biodiversity hotspots. The Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, which has been at present scaled up as Indo Burma hotspot is the second biggest biodiversity hotspot in the zone. The area contains the marshes of western Nepal and the mountain regions of central and eastern Nepal; the State of Sikkim, the northern part of West Bengal in India including Darjeeling District; Bhutan completely; and the north-eastern Indian regions of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.[9] Occupying an area of 263,000 square kilometers comprising 8.06% of India’s total land area, the North-Eastern region is characterized by hilly terrain along with the plain areas in Assam, two districts of Tripura, and the Imphal valley of Manipur. The region is geographically isolated from the rest of the country. 98% of the region’s border is international leaving only 2% border within the country. The geographic and geopolitical location of the region makes it strategically important for India. The basic statistics and demography of the region as per the Census report 2011 is given in Table 1. Besides its rich floristic diversity, NE India can be called a living anthropological museum as it is the abode of a large number of tribes with varied social-cultural traditions and they lead an intricate life dependent on the surrounding plant resources.[10] All the tribes are a storehouse of a range of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) which are yet to be fully documented.[11]


Table 2. Statistics and Demography of NER


Geological, social, social, verifiable, and institutional components propose that the North Eastern Region speaks to a world in itself. The assorted land residencies display solid between State and intra-Regional varieties. Each ancestral network in this area have their particular frameworks of Land Management with prevailing community life. Despite the State and intra-provincial varieties, the base of the framework is fiery community life. A chamber of older folks chose or named deals with the land and arrangement of land according to utilize and necessity. Families filled in as the unit for land apportioning. The arrangement of community possession and the board are commonly fairly determined and forestall aggregation of land assets while giving libertarian food to the general public. There are likewise occurrences of Chieftainship where responsibility for assets dwell with the Chief however it is restricted.[12] The land residencies framework in the North Eastern Region can be ordered into community woodland, State Forest, ensured backwoods, unclassified timberlands or zoom land, land under habitation, family land, and individual grounds. The people's community forests are ensured and overseen by the communities and satisfy the community needs regarding their essential prerequisites. Various communities have advanced their techniques for assurance and the enhancement of the community timberlands. State timberlands in certain occasions while the Protected Forests perpetually are overseen by the town communities and their returns are shared. Private property rights are generally a scant wonder in such ancestral territories and stretch out principally to lodging and versatile properties.[13] However, the nature of land tenure and the role of community as well as women on it are not the same all over the region.[14]Traditional patterns of governance and customary laws prevail in the region. Uncodified traditional laws govern the land rights and other land-related matters. In the perception of tribal communities of the Northeastern region, the land is not merely an asset that generates income. For them, land is a living space that carries the soul of their ancestors and a shelter of their ancestry. The abundance of natural resources is one of the important features of this region.[15] Community land ownership and the bondage of the community to the land proved to be an effective technique for nature conservation from time immemorial. The India State of Forest Report 2019 shows the decline of total forest cover area in the North Eastern Region to the extent of 765 sqkm which is 0.45% in the region. Except for Assam and Tripura, all the States in the region show a decrease in forest cover. According to the key findings of the Report, there has been a decrease of 741 sq km of forest cover within the Recorded Forest Area/ Green Wash (RFA/GW) in the tribal districts and an increase of 1,922 sq km outside. There has been a decrease in tree cover inside woodlands because of ancestral populaces getting "land titles" (Patta) and there has been an ascent in trees outside the timberland zone because of an expansion in tree estate and afforestation exercises. Indigenous knowledge plays an important role in decision-making in food preparation, health care, natural resource management, and agriculture in tribal communities of the North-Eastern region. Some of the community-based natural resources management practices based on traditional knowledge are highlighted in the following paragraphs. The Apatani eco-cultural landscape in the Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh signifies an excellent example of a district community-based natural resource management practice. This progressive agricultural community of Arunachal Pradesh has its indigenous knowledge of land management. In the Apatani valley, about 48.38% of land is under paddy- cum-fish cultivation, followed by 32.64% clan forests, 16.41% bamboo forests, and 2.75% home garden. While shifting cultivation is the major land-use practice in the hilly regions of Northeast India, the Apatani tribe inhabiting the Ziro or Apatani valley have been known to practice sedentary wet-rice cultivation integrated with pisciculture and rural forestry in the restricted flat valley land. This age-old practice has not only maintained sustainable productivity levels but has also been very energy efficient. The rich conventional environmental information framework rehearsed by the Apatani clan for the upkeep of their maintainable vocations embodies their situation as proficient asset administrators, which has likewise drawn the consideration of the UNESCO to assign the Apatani/Ziro valley as a World Heritage Site.[16] Akas are another small tribal group of Arunachal Pradesh. These people practice the traditional jhum or shifting cultivation. The Akas have their indigenous knowledge system useful in the conservation of forest resources. Different beliefs and accepts are a lot of relevant in securing the woodland assets including sacrosanct forests. Woodland and backwoods items have an incredible effect on the way of life and economy of individuals and all the exercises of individuals spin round the timberlands. They worship woodlands as Thouw-new meaning one who attendants and one who takes care of. They likewise worship mountains and waterways and think about some zone as sacrosanct forests. Visiting and extraction of any sort of material from such forests are carefully precluded. This ancestral gathering meet their everyday necessities and prerequisites from woods. In any case, their conventional methods of chasing, fishing, food social event, and extraction of materials for the development of houses are feasible and traditionalist. The in-fabricated conventional social and social instruments made them frugal on abuse just as protection of nature.[17] With a very rich flora and fauna diversity, Nagaland falls within the 18 mega bio-diversity hot spots region of the world. Except for south and west stretches, the entire Naga region is hilly mountainous terrain where the ArakanPatkai extension of Myanmar meets the Eastern Himalayan range. Besides bewildering physical features, Nagaland is a land of great socio-cultural diversity. It is home to 16 major tribes which represent the different ethnic groups with entirely different cultures, language, customs, legends, and history, the remaining tribes belong to the same group ‘the Naga’. Although they have similar culture, history, habits, and beliefs occupying their ancestral land that is geographically contiguous, they speak different dialects and often vary in social-political systems within their respective tribal world. For centuries the community-based tribal customary laws and ethos have looked upon the natural resources around them as renewable and consequently built a culture, based on their sustainable use. Their vast understanding and respect for nature and everything that surrounds them is deeply embedded in their rich folklore and folksongs. It is linked to their inter-generational cultural development, survival, beliefs, spirituality, and medicinal systems. They worshipped nature and have a strong belief that man, God, animals, aquatic creatures, and plants symbiotically co-existed since time immemorial.[18] Observance of taboos and genna was a guiding principle in the lives of the Nagas as far as their relationship with the natural environment is concerned. Taboo implies a prohibition on something that is regarded for religious or other reasons as not to be done, touched, used, speak, etc. and the genna applies to abstaining oneself from going to fields and work on certain occasions. Taboos take place in different duration and intensity according to the respective tribe and occasion. Observations of taboo vary from a day to several days while some last even for weeks. Free from hard work and engagement it is also a time of reflection and to contemplate their approach to nature, agriculture, animals, and the Supreme Being. Observation of taboo therefore brings critical support to human-environmental relationships and their interdependence among the Nagas and its environment. In a way, the taboo has not only enriched the spiritual understanding of the Nagas towards his physical environment but has restrained them for overexploitation of nature. Genna is observed if for instance when the paddy fields are being destroyed by the pests like rats or grasshoppers, during the birth of a new baby in the family, the rise of the new moon, sowing of seeds, harvesting of crops, unnatural death of a person who is either killed by wild animals, fire or drowned in water, etc. During genna, nothing is taken out or brought in the house or village, no one is allowed to work or to go to fields neither are guests entertained. Genna possesses serious social and religious attributions and is believed to produce evil effects. Therefore it is to be strictly observed to avoid consequences upon one’s life which may come through fellow being in the society or from supernatural forces.[19] About 70% population of Nagaland depends on agriculture. Rice is the staple food and it occupies about 70% of the total area under cultivation and constitutes about 75% of the total food production in the state. The people also produce horticulture crops like ginger, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, pineapple, passion fruit etc. They growAlder, a multipurpose nitrogen-fixing tree species along with the crops to enhance soil fertility. The majority of other Naga clans do jhum cultivation, the Angamis are known for their porch which relies essentially upon the downpours. The individuals of the area are dedicated to where the majority of the work in the field is finished with their hands. The customary arrangement of rehearsing porch cultivation along the slope slant in advanced cultivation is an important record of logical information on the individuals since early occasions. Patio fields are valued property of the ancestral individuals. The dirt richness remains practically steady without being crumbled notwithstanding the way that a specific plot of land is continually under cultivation for quite a long time/many years together. Individuals customarily utilize the excrement of the droppings of their homegrown creatures, for example, bovines, pigs, and so forth to revive the dirt condition. Leaves of trees and roughages which are the extra of the reap are utilized to expand the dirt ripeness. By and large, the field close by the town produces a consistent stockpile of food all through the season, in this way expanding the maintainability of farming items. Till today, the strategy and practices of patio cultivation have not changed much aside from the utilization of counterfeit sources of substances like urea, and some little hardware devices which have been present as of late. Agro-ranger service which is the intentional development and the executives of trees alongside rural harvests and domesticated animals is another significant work design unfathomably rehearsed among the individuals of the district which is naturally, socially, and monetarily feasible. This framework is appropriate to the nearby agro-biological condition, the particular means and money needs of ranchers, their social and social setting, and the ecological protection. The Naga ancestral gatherings are profoundly joined to nature. They are subject to nature for each movement, and they generally do whatever they need to do just in cadence with the mandates of nature. 'Zobo' framework is an indigenous cultivating framework drilled by Chakhesang clans of Kikruma town in the Phek region of Nagaland. Zoho signifies 'seizing of water' and the framework has a mix of woodland, farming, and animal cultivation with a preservation base, soil disintegration control, water the board and its usage, and climate security. Another cultivating framework with birch most likely began in the sixteenth century and this time-tested technique for development is as yet common among the ranchers of Angami, Chang, Chakhesang, Yimchunger, and Konyak clans. The framework began in the Khonoma town in the Kohima region.[20] The State of Meghalaya, comprising of Khasi, Garo, and jaintia hills, is one of the species-rich and mega biodiversity centers. There are numerous sacred forests along the hill ranges of Garo and Khasi hills districts. More than 90% of the total forests in the State are under the control of the indigenous tribes. The people of Meghalaya believe that the sacred forests are the abode of deities that bestow welfare to the people, their cattle, and land and keep evil spirits away. Varieties and kinds of orchids, medicinal, ornamental plants, bamboo, canes, timber and resin yielding plants, wild relative of cultivated plants species are found in these forests. Plants collected from sacred groves are mostly used in primary health care. The taboos, religious faith, and folklore have protected the medicinal plants and precluded only a systemic collection of raw material from the groves. These sacred groves also harbor various globally threatened animals and birds. It plays a crucial role in soil and water conservation. This in-situ conservation practice of the tribal communities is the traditional ecological heritage that promotes conservation and protection of many endemic, endangered, and relict biological species as well as keeps the habitat protected for future generations.[21] Agroforestry is an integral component of natural resource management, particularly in the northeastern hill region. The area under agriculture in the hill region is very less and settled agriculture is quite uncommon among the local tribes. Shifting cultivation is the dominant agriculture practice in this region except for the plains and valleys of the State of Assam. In the northeast hill region, trees are deliberately integrated with the crop and livestock production system. The traditional agroforestry system has high productive potential as people derive multiple benefits from a piece of land with intact soil quality. Horticulture based Agroforestry System, Multipurpose Trees based Agroforestry system, Three Tier Agroforestry System, Fish Based Agroforestry System, Sericulture Based Agroforestry System, Intensive Integrated Farming System are the traditional agroforestry systems extensively practices in the region. In Assam, a large group of ancestral individuals live in the fields of the Brahmaputra valley of the state. They have awesome knowledge about the characteristic assets of the environmental factors which structure a necessary piece of their material and otherworldly culture. The Tai-Khamyangs or Khamjangs famously known as Shyams are a part of the incomparable Tai stock. The diverse Tai gatherings of individuals relocated to Assam from Southwest China and North Myanmar in the verifiable past. The Khamyangs relocated to Assam from North Myanmar after intersecting the Patkai slopes in the mid-eighteenth century AD. Today, they are a particular planned clan of Assam having their own remarkable culture and custom. The Tai-Khamyangs are considered as one of the most learned clan in the field of ethnomedicine in upper Assam. Their prestigious customary natural prescriptions are a lot of successful and both Khamyang and non-Khamyang individuals from all over come to benefit from the administrations of the conventional professionals. Their collected abundance of plant-based ethnomedicinal information alongside different magico-strict convictions and practices are generally gone through oral custom and some through Tai literary works starting with one age then onto the next. The individuals of this network have high regard for their encompassing plant assets. The nature-based indigenous knowledge keeps up man-nature balance along these lines advancing reasonable utilization of assets of the environmental factors.[22]

THE CODA There is a growing realization around the world that people’s participation is crucial in sustainable development. The traditional knowledge of the local and indigenous communities seems to be a valuable method for the protection and conservation of biodiversity. The vibes of a symbiosis of tribal people of the NE region with nature in particular is unique. The people of the NE region ethically see life. The tribal people leading a community life do not have greed for individual assets. They are concern about happiness rather than material possessions. The study of tribal culture and belief of this region shows the symbiosis with nature beyond doubt. In the name of national development, however, in the last two decades, the people have been deprived of their natural resources. They are losing their cultural and ethnic identity because of deforestation in the name of national development, displacement, and other forms of land alienation. Global change as an ecological phenomenon is the impact of globalization which is an economic phenomenon. Globalization has a direct link with policy decisions and institutional arrangements that are the key drivers of natural resource degradation and environmental uncertainties in the region. Perception and performance of local communities towards social development with proper management of forest resources in the northeastern region is based on social arrangements of particular tribal community. The unique and inherent strength of the traditional institutions as well as the nature of community decision making as we have discussed in the above paragraphs promote the natural resource-based income and livelihood sustainably. It is the economic greed that is often typified as commercial interests that steer environmental problems in the region. Unsustainable extraction of forest products for local industries and export markets resulted in tremendous loss of biodiversity particularly in the region. In contrast to the other part of the Indian subcontinent, the administrative control of forests in the Northeast region is predominantly by the community. Indigenous institutions such as village councils, councils of elders, chieftainship, have been protecting forest resources for collective needs and interests. Nevertheless, this community-based forest management is under growing pressure, from both external and internal. To some extent, the government had become the prominent agent of the commercialization of natural resources. Commercialization has changed the cultural ties of the community and the pressure from the national and state government has weakened the indigenous institutions. As a result, the region is experiencing rapid forest defragmentation that leads to a decrease in forest area. Population growth, urbanization, as well as the introduction of so-called modern institutions, severely affected once common forest resources that have been managed by vibrant traditional socio-cultural institutions. The current trend threatens the sustainability of forest resources. Globalization has lead to a new trend of homogenization in the development process. People of this region had become vulnerable to the changes brought by globalization. Traditional knowledge is failing at an alarming rate as the new technology and machinery tools are making the work faster and easier. Moreover, the oral transmission of traditional values and knowledge are on the verge of extinction in the fast modern world.

CONCLUSION It has been established beyond doubt that man shares a close and loving relationship with the environment. When the matter comes to the tribal people, the relationship is somewhat typical and special. In context to the northeastern region, the man-environment relationship is something extraordinary. The tribal people of the region perceive the natural resources as the source of their happiness. It is pertinent to mention here that India had made effort to conserve biodiversity and indigenous ecological knowledge. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act, 2001, the Biological Diversity Act 2002, and the Patents Amendment Act 2005 was enacted to address the problem of biopiracy and loss of biodiversity. Rightful high priority on the national level of the issue of equitable sharing of benefit arising from commercial use of natural resources or any traditional knowledge associated with it should be made. At the same time, the Government should allocate a significant budget for the implementation of legislative effort on this matter. The pace of the existing implementing system needs to accelerate for better results. To address environmental issues, pragmatic initiatives call for actions at all levels – global, regional, national, local, and community. Decartelization of power to the community level in the forest conservation policy will be an important factor in the control of natural resources. Providing legal rights and powers to the communities can be an effective tool for the sustainable management of natural resources. There is an urgent need for a scientific study of traditional knowledge in the agroforestry of the region. In the era of globalization, the traditional knowledge of natural resource management will be an excellent rationale for designing efficient technology for the sustainable management of biodiversity. Blending of traditional knowledge with modern technology for the well-being of the local people in general and the northeastern region in particular lies with the choice of policymakers and administrators. The valued century-old traditional ecological resource management of the region is crucial as undermining of such values of the traditional tribal society of the northeastern region is creating disturbances both in social and ecological settings.


[1] WWF International 2008, Indigenous Peoples and Conservation: WWF Statement of Principles. Gland, Switzerland: WWF International. [2] Bijoy,C.R., & Nongbri, T., (2013), Country Technical Notes in Indigenous Peoples, Issues Republic of India, IFAD, AIPP. [3] Fisher, Elizabeth, (2013), Environmental Law as Hot Law, JEL , 25:3, 347-358. [4] Indian Penal Code 1860, Chapter XIV (sec. 268-294) - offences relating to Public health, safety, convenience, decency and morals. [5] The Shore Nuisance (Bombay-Kalova) Act 1893 -to check wastes disposal and marine water pollution; the Oriental Gas Company Act 1857, the Bengal Smoke Nuisance Act 1905 to prevent and reduce atmospheric pollution in and around Calcutta; the Cattle Trespass Act 1871, Indian Forest Act 1927 for preservation of forests; the Indian Easement Act 1882 to guarantee property rights of riparian owners against unreasonable pollution by upstream users; Municipal and Public Health Acts conferring powers on the local bodies for controlling water pollution caused by industrial effluents and to take necessary actions against erring industries. [6] A R, Srinivas. (2013 April-June). Legal Effectiveness of Multilateral environmental Treaties: Indian Context.Journal of Environmental Research and Development., 7(4) 1727-1734. [7] Law Commission of India, 186th Report on Proposal to Constitute Environment Courts, (Sep. 2020, 23, 01:45 AM), http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/186th%20report.pdf. [8]Raghav, Sharma. (2008), Green Courts in India: Strengthening Environmental Governance?, 4/1 Law, EDJ, 4/1. P.50, (Oct. 2020, 22, 07:15PM), http://www.lead-journal.org/content/08050.pdf. [9]Ibid. [10] Sonowal, R. & Baruah, I. Indigenous knowledge and bioresource Utilization Among the Tai-Khamyangs of Assam ,1(7), IRJBS, North East India. [11]Ibid. [12] Committee on State Agrarian Relations and Unfinished Task of Land Reforms, 1, Draft Report, , Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India, New Delhi, March 2009. [13] Ibid. [14] Walter & Fernande,. (May 2005), North Eastern India: Land, Identity and Conflicts, Silver Jubilee Lecture, GB Pant Institute of Social Sciences, Allahabad. [15] Chakraborty, R. De,B. et.al., (2012). North-East India an Ethnic Storehouse of Unexplored Medicinal Plants, Journal of Natural Product and Plant Resources. 2 (1). 143-152 - Some of the important species of biodiversity found in this region are mentioned below- 1. 6 important vegetation types out of the 9 of India found in the North Eastern region. 2. More than 8,000 out of 15,000 species (in India) of flowering plants found in the North Eastern region, which includes 40 species of gymnosperms, 500 species of pteridophytes, 825 species of orchids, 80 species of rhododendrons, 60 species of bamboo, and 25 species of canes. 3. A total of 3,624 species of insects, 50 molluscs, 236 fishes, 64 amphibians, 137 reptiles, 850 birds and 160 mammalian species have been so far reported, but still a lot of species yet to describe. 4. Three families of primates’ occur in India with 15 known species, 9 of these species found in North east India. 5. Out of the 6 largest cats of the world recorded from India, north easter region sustain four of them, and the Indian population of the Clouded Leopard is mainly restricted to the North Eastern region. 6. 51 different types of forest are found in the region, which includes tropical moist deciduous forests, tropical semi evergreen forests, tropical wet evergreen forests, subtropical forests, temperate forests and alpine forests. [16] Rai, Apatani paddy-cum-fish cultivation; an indigenous hill farming system of North East India, 4(1), IJTK 65-71, Baruah & KK. Slowik, J. Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Community-Based Suatainable Natural Resource Management in the Eastern Himalayas – A Case Study of the Apatani Tribe, Centre for Nature Conservation, Department of Conservation Biology, Georg-August University, Germany, (Oct. 2020, 23, 09:29 PM), www.uni-goettingen.de/.../TRADITIONAL%20ECOLOGICAL%20KNOWLEDGE.pdf, Kumar, A. & Ramakrishanan, PS. Energy Flow Through an Apatani Village Ecosystem of Arunachal Predesh in North East India, Hum Ecol, 18(1990) 315, Dollo, M,. Samal, et.al., (2009), Environmentally Sustainable Traditional Natural Resource Management and Conservation in Ziro Valley, Arunachal Himalaya, India, JAS, 5(5), 41-52. [17] Imachow, G. JOSHI,RC. Dai, et.al., Role of Indigenous Knowledge System in Conservation of Forest Resources – A Case Study of the Aks Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, 10(2), IJTK, 276-280. [18] Lanusashi, L. Martemjen et.al., Biodiversity Conservation Ethos in Naga Folklore and Folksongs, 1950, IJAR, 1008-1013. [19] Ibid. [20] Yano, Keneikhoto, Lanusosang,T. Globalization and its Impact on Agriculture: an Overview of Kohima District, Nagaland, 4(4) IJBRSM, 651-654, Sing, R.A. Gupta, et.al., Traditional Land and Water Management Systems of North-East Hill Region, 1(1)IJTK, 32-39. [21] Jeevs,S. Mishra, et.al., Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity Conservation in the Sacred Groves of Meghalaya, 4(1), IJTK, 563-568. [22]Sonowal, R. Baruah, I. op.cit.

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VINEETA SHARMA V. RAKESH SHARMA

Section: D Category: Case Commentary Paper Code: CC-NC-01 Page Number: 458 - 460 Date of Publication: February 10, 2021 Citation: Namrata Chakrabarty, Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, 1, AIJACLA, 458