This article discusses the changing access of an indigenous group to forests in the context of a changing power structure. In precolonial Singhbhum there was a wide variety of people dependent on the forest. Both the village and the state used its resources, yet the use of the forest resources was limited by socio-cultural and economic norms of the times. The village system being essentially non-competitive and subsistence-oriented, there was no competitive sharing of forest resources. The colonial state, on the other hand, had very different requirements and understanding of the forest. To them, the forest resource had a commodity value and therefore had to be utilized for profit. However, the needs of the imperial government too changed over time. At different periods, trading interests, the need to extend cultivation, the railway age and commercial forestry coloured colonial forest policy. In the final analysis, however, the state emerged as the sole right-holder in the forest and from this vantage point, the colonial state rewrote the history of rights and privileges, restricting the access of the tribal people who had hitherto utilized forest resources for personal use.

Impact of forest laws on an indigenous society: the Hos of Singhbhum, 1820-1932 / Das Gupta, Sanjukta. - In: THE INDIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW. - ISSN 0376-9836. - STAMPA. - 2:33(2006), pp. 39-65.

Impact of forest laws on an indigenous society: the Hos of Singhbhum, 1820-1932

DAS GUPTA, SANJUKTA
2006

Abstract

This article discusses the changing access of an indigenous group to forests in the context of a changing power structure. In precolonial Singhbhum there was a wide variety of people dependent on the forest. Both the village and the state used its resources, yet the use of the forest resources was limited by socio-cultural and economic norms of the times. The village system being essentially non-competitive and subsistence-oriented, there was no competitive sharing of forest resources. The colonial state, on the other hand, had very different requirements and understanding of the forest. To them, the forest resource had a commodity value and therefore had to be utilized for profit. However, the needs of the imperial government too changed over time. At different periods, trading interests, the need to extend cultivation, the railway age and commercial forestry coloured colonial forest policy. In the final analysis, however, the state emerged as the sole right-holder in the forest and from this vantage point, the colonial state rewrote the history of rights and privileges, restricting the access of the tribal people who had hitherto utilized forest resources for personal use.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/549322
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