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Mohan Sharma and Suvechha Ghatani
Date of Publish: 2019-04-01

Conversation on Conservation: Stitching up the fragmented approaches


Is there any kind of relation between the work of an animal geographer and a geographer who is working on urban water issues? Suvechha triggered a conversation on this topic to find an answer through questioning and answering. The discourse in conversation was whether the two divergent entities can be coupled. The dialogue went through continuous conversation by exchanging the ideas relating the water, wildlife and conservation.



Photo - Kanki Miri

The response was given in a very narrow form, yes, in a broader framework we both are environmental geographer. Not either one chuffed with the retort. The conversation went in-depth by pinpointing each other’s field experiences of Darjeeling and Arunachal Himalaya. Water shortages in Darjeeling are well known. The natural water supply systems are drying up and people are facing hurdle through acute water supply which are episode owing to physical and anthropogenic activities.

Similar illustration can be understood from the Arunachal Himalaya and Western Arunachal Landscape in particular. Though the region receives adequate rainfall the crisis of water predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas is beyond the acceptable limit.

Photo- Mohan Sharma

At one's convenience we blame climate change yet that might be not oftentimes. For instance, modernization/developmental activities has set a huge footprint towards loosing peoples (culture) tradition, norms, believes, practices, etc. Modern influences are bringing a newer dimension to people’s way of living. The socio-economic transformation has led to the change in landuse pattern. Such activities affect the other that cannot be ignored.

Besides Physical/natural system study we equally need to focus on the actors and networks which are functioning unequivocally to bring change in the ecosystem which directly and indirectly influences the water scarcity. The scarcity is better understood in the human dominated landscape but equivalent adversity might influence the wildlife to flourish.

It is very essential to understand the complexities of human-nature interactions which will enhance to understand the resilience and transformation in mountain communities and ecosystem. In a nutshell the coupling of two different entities fabricated.

Photo - Suvechha Ghatani

The idea of this article is not principled to link the two different entities (water and wildlife). Moreover the conversation throws light in understanding the importance to fabricate the physical/human entities. We could relate this discussion with the lecture delivered by our professor Dr. Uttam Lal who gave a notion of human-nature (co-construction). He quoted, “often, to protect the wildlife we separate it from humans however we must accept the fact that there is no pristine environment/wilderness, the wilderness that we see is a cultural or human-made wilderness.”

People have always co-existed with the nature. Foragers to urban dwellers are directly and indirectly dependent upon wildlife. Human culture has constantly affected the wildlife and so it is the wildlife that has always occupied the significant position in the different cultural institutions. The approach to see the human and non-human objects should be broaden into (hybridity that refers to mixture) so that we can understand the broader and newer dimension that exist through different networks.

Photo- Mohan Sharma

(Suvechha Ghatani is a Ph.D. scholar at the Department of Geography, Sikkim University. Mohan Sharma is an M.Phil Student in the same Department.)



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