ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Gadgil Report on the Western Ghats

Reading Ecology, Reinventing Democracy

The Gadgil report on the Western Ghats is a major ecological tract and a significant reflection on the politics of ecology. It illustrates how a theory of nature, lives, livelihood combined with local knowledge, decentralisation, and diversity add to the dynamism of democracy. In contrast, the Kasturirangan report is an antidote to such therapeutic ecology and shows how development creates the asymmetries of injustice and representation. The article explores the implications of these two different ways of reading ecology.

Sometimes, at a moment of play, one asks oneself, what is the stuff of the great Indian novel, the great tropes of storytelling? The paucity of answers strikes you till you switch your style of thinking. Then it immediately dawns on you that it is the inquiry commission report. It is an act of interrogation that has epic dimensions; its many volumes enact the morality plays of the time. It is a tract of governance ­enacted in public spaces. The examples are easy to cite from the Report of the Indian Industrial Commission of 1919 to the Shah Commission report on the Emergency. Despite its many anecdotes, it has an Old Testament quality-evoking governance as theology. Epic and anecdote interact as the interrogation proceeds; one senses that interrogation evokes governance while storytelling as it dissects policy. Of late, one can evoke few such masterpieces. The one recent exce­ption would be the Gadgil report on the Western Ghats, a report submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in August 2011.

Eco-literate Democracy

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Updated On : 5th Sep, 2022
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