Adivasi women: Issues of Forest, Land and Livelihood

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Adivasi women: Issues of Forest, Land and Livelihood

Adivasi women: Issues of Forest, Land and Livelihood

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The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps with Dr Indra Munshi on Adivasi women: Issues of Forest, Land and Livelihood

Greetings from the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi!
On behalf of the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC) at IMPRI, GenDev Centre for Research and Innovation and Delhi Post Newswe invite you to a IMPRI #WebPolicyTalk –

The State of Gender Equality 

Details of the #WebPolicyTalk:
Date: December 22, 2020; Tuesday
Time: 18:30 IST (GMT+5:30)
Platform: Zoom and Facebook live

Indra Munshi
Prof Indra Munshi, Retired Professor, University of Mumbai

Professor Indra Munshi retired as professor and head of department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, Mumbai. She has taught courses on sociology of tourism, sociological perspective on environment, adivasi communities in India and methodology of social research in universities in India, Germany, and Austria. She has researched and published extensively in Indian and foreign journals on a variety of subjects, which include adivasi communities and issues of land and forest; adivasi women’s revolts; Indian forest policies and its impact on adivasi communities’ lives and livelihood; degradation of environment and its consequences; tourism and gender issues; and urban planning and design with special focus on Patrick Geddes’ work.

Her major publications include books, edited jointly with Manorama Savur,  Contradictions in Indian Society: Essays in Honour of Professor A.R. Desai, Rawat Publications, Delhi and Jaipur (1995); Adivasi Life Stories: Context, Constraints and Choices, Rawat Publications, Delhi & Jaipur (2007); edited, Adivasi Question: Issues of Land, Forest and Livelihood, Orient Blackswan, Hyderabad (2012); edited jointly with P. K. Das, On the Waterfront: Reclaiming Mumbai’s Open Spaces, P. K. Das and Associates, Mumbai (2011); Patrick Geddes’ Contribution to Sociology and Urban Planning: Vision of a City, Routledge (forthcoming).

Professor Munshi was on the Senate of University of Mumbai; the Governing Board of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. Currently, Chairperson, Institutional Review Board (IRB), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, TISS, Mumbai; Member, advisory board for Sambhāṣaṇ a free open access peer-reviewed bilingual interdisciplinary journal of the University of Mumbai; Trustee, Participatory Urban Design and Development Initiative (PUDDI), Mumbai; Trustee and advisor, Aseema, a Mumbai based NGO for education of underprivileged children. She is executive editor of Indian Journal of Secularism (IJS), Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Mumbai. 

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About the Talk

Adivasi women: Issues of Forest, Land and Livelihood

Indrani Munshi

The adivasi communities of India approximately 705 in number, constitute 8.8 per cent of the total population but continue to remain at the lowest level of deprivation, unknown and uncared for. Their history is inextricably bound with the history of forest and land policies in the last 200 years, which have resulted in the alienation of adivasis from forest that formed the very basis of their subsistence economy, socio-cultural practices and belief system. 

It is noteworthy that adivasi women, notwithstanding the regional variations, have enjoyed relative equality in every sphere when compared to their non-adivasi counterparts. In the last several decades, however, the rapid destruction of forests  for commercial reason, for projects like mining, infrastructure, irrigation, industry, tourism and others has unleashed two major processes in these communities—displacement and migration, largely seasonal, in search of employment for survival.

The entire communities have been reduced to insecurity, homelessness, new forms of oppression and exploitation, even poorer quality of life and loss of community, without any substantial protection from the state. Not only are women subjected to harassment by their new employers in unknown surroundings, lacking even the most basic facilities of water, toilet, or healthcare for them and their children, but they have also lost the support of the kin-group which is central to the adivasi existence.

Their special skills, and knowledge for example, of edible forest foods and medicinal herbs are increasingly devalued, loss of community life have resulted in loss of freedom and status. The recent lockdown has only meant less income; fewer employment opportunities; greater control in many areas by the forest department; closure of markets; lower prices for their produce; non-availability of basic necessities; and breakdown of the health system in interior villages. It has only made life more difficult for women who have lived through scarcity even in normal times, although not without protest.      

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22/12/2020 @ 06:30 PM

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