Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, August 19, 2018 03:56:02 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Intangible culture of the Himalayas; is it instrumental in conserving environment?

The Himalayas is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world and most communities living here revere nature. They have a repository of oral tales, legends and myths built around this intrinsic relationship which might be effective in protecting the environment

By
04th-May-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Weekend Plus Desk :
“While it may look like any other forest to you, it is sacred to us. We revere and respect it,” explained Daya Prasad Gurung, while I sat and listened to him under a dim light in his house in Nepal.The 69-year-old, who lives with his wife Hosuba Gurung, in Khilang, an interior village in the Annapurna mountain range of Nepal, belongs to one of the many communities living in the Himalayas who is closely associated with the environment.
For those who aren't aware, the Himalayas is one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. Most communities living here revere nature and have a repository of oral tales, legends and myths built around this intrinsic relationship.
Co-existing comes easy to them and is further strengthened by their age-old narratives, some of which are so old that even the locals don't know the time of its origin.
While some of the folklores have religious connotations, others are strong on beliefs, and cultural and traditional ties. Whether it's Arunachal Pradesh in India, the locals of the Annapurna Mountain Range of Nepal or Bhutan, societies at large display a strong natural alignment towards their environment.
For people in Khilang, the patch of forestland overlooking the village is sacred. Popularly known as ‘Kuliphi,’ it centres around the ‘Thanku asthan’ - a holy place which symbolises the abode of their deity ‘Thanku.’ Locals believe that the ‘asthan’ was brought to its current location about 500 years ago from a place called ‘Komu’ in the Himalayas. At present, its resources are preserved and conserved to the best of their knowledge and ability. Similar is the story of the religious forest of Bajra Barahi which is located close to the city limits of Latitpur, a few kilometres from Kathmandu city.
The 16th-century temple of Bajra Barahi is surrounded by a thick green deciduous forest of approximately 19 hectares. The temple was built by King Shree Niwas Malla of Patan in 1666 AD in respect of Goddess Bajra Barahi, who is believed to be the guardian deity of the valley. This forest patch is conserved by the local communities and is maintained by a committee named Jyotidaya Sangh.
Dirang basti located in West Kameng district of western Arunachal Pradesh in India carries an age-old narrative of how animal sacrifice was banned in the area through an interesting challenge which took between the head priest of the people following Bon religion and a Buddhist lama Lopon Rinpoche visiting from Tibet.
While animal sacrifice was an important ritual of the Bons, Lopon Rinpoche advocated for non-killing of any beings. This soon resulted in a challenge to which both agreed - it was to reach the Dzangto Peri mountain first. The head priest of the Bons lost the challenge and thereby, promised never to sacrifice any animals during their religious performances, especially while worshipping their sacred mountains - ‘Bangle’ and ‘Dunphu.’ Following this, till date, not only animal sacrifice is banned in the area but the killing of animals in the village for dietary consumption is also prohibited. Not far from Dirang Basti, there is the picturesque valley of Sangti where one can find oral narratives in abundance. Similar sentiments also echo in the mountains of Bhutan.
A common string which connects these places irrespective of their local and national boundaries is the fact that they are conserving their backyard forests and hence, the biodiversity. No resources from the sacred forests are taken out for personal or community use by the locals.
There is an understanding that there should be no felling of trees or lopping of branches in the sacred groves. Such practices strengthen the eco-system and create an important refuge for biodiversity. Locals living in these areas seem to be interested in preserving their environment more for the reason of their ‘being’ than its economic or scientific value.
In a time when science-based conservation practices are prevalent, rekindling our past cultural ties with our natural surrounding is important so as to create a common language between the local communities and the modern-day conservationists. Developing such a language can open channels for establishing the much-needed balance between people, environment, science and culture.
Amongst many conservation initiatives which can be undertaken, documenting and preserving the oral narratives that connect people with the environment is a vital step. However, a brimming challenge in preserving them are the increasing dearth of storytellers in the region. With changing value systems and a shift towards individualistic society, these narratives might soon become a thing of the past. But what most don’t understand is that spreading the practice will not only help to preserve our culture but also strengthen people's natural alignment towards the environment. n

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Sanctions by USA and European Union are welcome but more effective measures will be needed


IN the latest development, the US Treasury on Friday slapped sanctions on four Myanmar military and police commanders and two army units for involvement in "ethnic cleansing" and other human rights abuses against the country's Rohingya minority. In response to Myanmar's crackdown on the Rohingyas, the sanctions are so far ...

Sports »

Bolt arrives in Australia on football quest


Usain Bolt says he's deadly serious about becoming a professional footballer and plans to show the world what he's capable of after arriving in Australia Saturday for a trial stint with an A-League club.The superstar athlete has been given the chance to prove his worth by the Central Coast Mariners, ...

Entertainment »

Sonali Bendre`s son posts an emotional message


Family and close friends of Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre have come out as the biggest support in her journey of fighting cancer. The actress who has been diagnosed with high-grade cancer is undergoing her treatment in New York. Being a true fighter, Sonali has not shied away from sharing her ...

Entertainment »

Poet Shamsur Rahman's 12th death anniversary observed


Entertainment Desk : The 12th death anniversary of Shamsur Rahman, one of the major poets in modern Bengali literature, was observed on Friday in a befitting manner.Marking the anniversary, different socio-cultural organisations placed wreaths at the grave of the poet at Banani graveyard and arranged Doa Mahfil.Jatiya Kabita Parishad and Kabi ...

City »

BNP Vice-Chairman Advocate Khondkar Mahbub Hossain speaking at a discussion on 'Next National Election Under Interrogation Without Reform of Election Commission' organised by 'Chetona Bangladesh' at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday.


International »

Ex-CIA directors issue unprecedented Trump condemnation


AFP, Washington :Former CIA directors and another half dozen of America's most senior spies have issued an unprecedented condemnation of President Donald Trump, after his decision to blacklist their colleague John Brennan.In a statement, ex-CIA bosses appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents - including Robert Gates, George Tenet, Porter Goss, ...

Editorial »

US editors slam Trump for exerting power over free press and strength of democracy


THE rebuke of the US President Donald Trump by over 350 US dailies and other media outlets in their editorials on Thursday has come as a coordinated response to Trump's dirty war against the media and in defense of the press freedom. His sustained attack on free media as 'fake ...

Sports »

Serena learned just before Konta loss that half-sister's killer had been freed


Serena Williams says she discovered just minutes before her match against Johanna Konta last month that the man convicted of killing her half-sister had been released on parole.Briton Konta inflicted the worst defeat of Williams' career by winning 6-1 6-0 in the first round of the Silicon Valley Classic in ...

City »

Convenor of Jatiya Oikya Prokriya Dr Kamal Hossain, among others, at a solidarity meeting organised by prokriya at the Jatiya Press Club on Friday demanding unconditional release of students who were arrested during quota reform movement.


Entertainment »

Radhika Apte gears up for her upcoming project in Mumbai


Radhika Apte who has been juggling multiple projects efficiently is in Mumbai currently promoting her upcoming series on an OTT.  The actress has a lot on her plate as she's currently promoting her upcoming Netflix original Ghoul which is her third project with Netflix followed by the success of her ...

Chittagong »

PSC Chairman expresses dissatisfaction


Sarwaruddin, Chattogram Bureau :Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Ministry of Railway ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury MP expressed dissatisfaction over the irregularities, corruptions and mismanagement in Railway East Zone . The dissatisfaction over the activities in East Zone office was expressed on Thursday while exchanging views with the ...

International »

Chinese bombers likely training for US strikes: Pentagon


AFP, Washington :Chinese bombers are likely training for strikes against US and allied targets in the Pacific, according to a new Pentagon report that also details how Beijing is transforming its ground forces to "fight and win."The annual report to Congress, released Thursday, highlights China's growing military, economic and diplomatic ...

International »

Ex-Trump aide releases recording of $15,000 job offer to "buy silence"


AFP, Washington  :Former "Apprentice" and White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman released an audio recording Thursday which appeared to show President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law trying to buy her silence.The disgruntled former Trump champion gave a recording to NBC, featuring Lara Trump-wife of the president's son Eric-saying the offer of a ...

Life »

New cure for migraine


Life Desk  :The first drug to prevent migraine has been approved by European health officials. According to a report in The Guardian, the drug Erenumab will now be examined by English and Scottish health agencies to determine if it is viable to be used by officials of National Health Service. ...

Business & Economy »

Erdogan, Macron vow to foster trade ties


AFP, Ankara :Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call Thursday to foster trade ties, a Turkish presidential source said, after the lira's dramatic fall in the wake of escalating tensions with the US."Both leaders emphasised the importance of fostering economic and ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news