Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, May 24, 2018 01:50:26 PM
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 »

About Rohingya children`s bleak future


FOLLOWING numerable foreign dignitaries, ministers, bureaucrats, Nobel laureates and the Pope -  a Bollywood celebrity  visited the Rohingya camps  commenting that the future of Rohingya children is deeply uncertain. The Indian actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra said Rohingya children can have a chance in the future only with ...

Football »

Diego Gonzalez of Argentina`s Racing Club (left) fights for the ball with Lucas Romero of Brazil's Cruzeiro during a Copa Libertadores soccer match in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on Tuesday.


Cricket »

South Africa's AB de Villiers retires from international cricket


South Africa's star batsman AB de Villiers on Wednesday announced he was retiring from all international cricket after a 14-year career. "I have decided to retire from all international cricket with immediate effect," he said in a statement. "After 114 Test matches, 228 ODI's and 78 T20 Internationals, it is ...

City »

Principal Golum Mahmudunnabi Dollar speaking at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday demanding implementation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's assurance for MPOs of the institutions in the upcoming national budget 2018-19.


Entertainment »

Amyra Dastur joins Kangana, Rajkummar for Mental Hai Kya


The young actress Amyra Dastur after making her impact in the south film industry is set to impress Bollywood with the announcement of multiple projects this year. Amyra received rave reviews for her performance in Kaalakandi early this year with Saif Ali Khan is now seems to have an interesting ...

Entertainment »

Tazin buried at her father`s grave


Entertainment Report :Popular TV actress and host Tazin Ahmed was buried in the city’s Banani graveyard on Wednesday afternoon. She was laid to rest at her father’s grave at about 2:50pm following a namaz-e-janaza at Gulshan Azad Mosque after Zohr prayers.  Tazin died of cardiac arrest at Regent Hospital in ...

International »

Speculation mounts over US push for Iran regime change


AFP, Washington :Speculation is swirling over the prospect of US willingness to push regime change in Tehran, as US officials including Washington's top diplomat urge Iranians to "choose for themselves" their government."The Iranian people get to choose for themselves the kind of leadership they want," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ...

Back Page »

Honest earning


Abdul Muqit Chowdhury :The acceptance of fasting or any prayer to Allah depends on lawful honest earning. The persons, related with trade and commerce, thus, should evaluate their earnings and background of economic relations in the society. This is very much applicable particularly in the month of Ramzan. Jakat and ...

Editorial »

Attitude is that supporters of government must enjoy all the benefits conceivable


THE day before yesterday, the Cabinet approved a draft of the Government Telephone, Cellular and Internet Policy-2018 raising the mobile phone allowance for ministers and secretaries to Tk 75,000 from Tk 15,000. The draft also introduced a number of changes to the existing policy framed in 2004.After a certain period ...

City »

Ship Tajuddin of Bangladesh Coast Guard left for India in a goodwill visit from Patenga in Chittogram yesterday.


Sports »

Zia finishes at 13th position in Kolkata Open Chess


GM Ziaur Rahman Zia finished at 13th position in the 3rd Kolkata International Open Grandmasters Chess tournament which was held in Kolkata, India. GM Zia bagged 6.5 points out of 9 games and tied for 7th to 18th places, in tie-breaking system GM Zia became 13th. In the 9th or ...

Football »

Montreal Impact's Saphir Taider (right) challenges L.A. Galaxy's Perry Kitchen during first-half MLS soccer game action in Montreal on Monday.


International »

Erdogan hints Turkey may ban some Israeli goods because of Gaza violence


Reuters, Istanbul :President Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that Turkey might consider imposing a ban on imports of some Israeli goods over the killing of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces on the Gaza border, media reported on Tuesday.Erdogan, who is campaigning for re-election in June, last week hosted Muslim leaders who ...

International »

Syrian army, police celebrate recapturing all of Damascus


AP, Beirut :Syrian state TV says the military and police forces are celebrating recapturing the last neighborhoods in Damascus that were held by the rebels and the Islamic State group.Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast footage of a ceremonial police motorcade entering the Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood with sirens blaring on Tuesday, a day ...

Business & Economy »

Hafizur Rahman, Chairman of Runner Group, receiving the 'President's Industrial Development Award-2016' from the President Md Abdul Hamid at Osmani Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday.


 
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