13-Jan-2008

Imposing Progress

From The Hindu:
Survival International has just released its hard-hitting report, ‘Progress can kill.’ If you think the title is challenging, the contents are even more shocking: the report clearly shows that forcing our ideas of ‘progress’ on tribal peoples destroys their mental and physical health.

Even after working on the report for three years, I’m still shocked, choked and outraged by what it lays bare: ‘progress’ forced on tribal peoples leads to desperate suffering and, all too often, to the total destruction of whole tribes.

India’s Great Andamanese are one tragic example. The British brought ‘progress’ to them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by forcing them out of their forest and into a ‘home’ in Port Blair, where 150 babies were born and every single one of them died before their third birthday. Overall, 99% of the tribe died, leaving just 53 people alive today.
Relatedly, this. The move for forming CWHs seems to be nothing but a workaround to get around the Forest Rights Act.

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