Forests are a treasure of tranquility, a symbol of integrity, source of diversity and a place of unity. We can find plenty of flora, fauna, trees, animals, birds and species living together with abounding love in the forest. Mixed fragrance, pure air, healthy herbals, roaring streams, descending falls and moving beings make a forest a lively playground of peace. Above all, its serene presence always leads into a celestial experience of all who enter in and experience it. This essay is an exploration of the contribution of forests to the welfare of humankind, and human response to forests in order to understand the present scenario and reflect on the future of human-forest relationship. Forest as thriller
From my childhood onwards I was indoctrinated about forests through various ways. Most of my childhood bedtime stories started with “there was a deep forest in which…” In addition, heroic adventures and especially thrillers are shown in movies from forest contexts. Christian missionary organisations often portrayed forests and tribal people more like people who were in danger with evil beasts, living in a threatened environment. In addition, Indian literatures mostly portrayed forests as appropriate places for hermits and as a place for divine mediation to escape from the chaos of this world. Being fed with this kind of imagery, I was led into believing that people who lived in forests, particularly tribes, lacked any culture. So on the whole, I was partially educated that forest is a dangerous place and the people who were living in forests were also dangerous. These kinds of notions and inputs led me into a kind of anti-forest sentiments until I took my intensive fieldwork in Similipal forest range in Orissa in August 2007. The 25 days stay at Similipal forest range and a life in the forest with the people of the forest changed my perception about forests and helped me to live and experience the real situation, rather than living in a strange...
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