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Tag: tribals

Change Through Education

by Ameen Ahmed and Anil Cherukupalli

(Note: First published on WWF-India’s website. The following modified version appeared subsequently on WWF’s Global Intranet.)

Meet the Pardis
Hardly a community in India’s recent history has been more affected by changing laws and times than the Pardis. A nomadic tribe spread across the central states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, the Pardis have depended on forests for their livelihoods for countless generations. In particular, they hunt wildlife.

The erstwhile Maharajas, recognizing the Pardis’ considerable skills, employed them to drive wildlife toward the kings’ hunting parties. Many farmers in central India employed Pardis to guard against crop-raiding wild animals; the deal was that the Pardis could keep the meat of the animals they caught.

Within the Pardis community, there are divisions according to various occupations and hunting practices. For example, the Phaandiya Pardis hunt their quarry using a rope noose. The Teliya Pardis sell meat and oil extracted from reptiles they capture. But the most remarkable aspect of hunting by Pardis is their total dependence on traditional means and basic equipment, like rope, wooden clubs and knives, to bring down wildlife. They rarely use a search light, vehicles or guns.

Troubled times: post-Independence and the Wildlife Protection Act
The British treated most Pardis as social pariahs. Most of their sub-sects were included in the list of “criminal tribes” in the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. Though the act was overturned after independence in 1952 and they were “de-notified,” the historical stigma remains.

Life for the Pardis took a dramatic turn for the worse in 1972, when the Indian government adopted the Wildlife Protection Act. Pardis were not only prohibited from entering many of the state-controlled lands, now designated as protected forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, but overnight they were also required to stop hunting.

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The Chenchus XIII

The Chenchus XIII

November 2008, Nallamalla Forest, Andhra Pradesh.

With this the second part of the series on The Chenchus posted earlier comes to an end. You can follow the complete photo essay here.

The old man is the chief of the Chenchu hamlet Appapur which is inside a protected reserve forest. He was a very jovial person but behind his ever present smile I sensed a sadness caught as he and his people were between an overbearing government on one side and until recently far left radicals who used to threaten him and his villagers if they co-operated with the police.

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The Chenchus XII

The Chenchus XII

November 2008, Nallamalla Forest, Andhra Pradesh.

This is the second part of the series on The Chenchus posted earlier. You can follow the complete photo essay here.

This is the wife of the chief of the Chenchu hamlet we visited last. She also serves as the priestess for the hamlet. You will see her husband in the next photo.

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The Chenchus XI

The Chenchus XI

November 2008, Nallamalla Forest, Andhra Pradesh.

This is the second part of the series on The Chenchus posted earlier. You can follow the complete photo essay here.

The house in the photo was actually built by the government for the Chenchus. But they prefe to stay in their traditional thatched huts. So the government built house is being used as a shelter for the calf.

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The Chenchus X

The Chenchus X

November 2008, Nallamalla Forest, Andhra Pradesh.

This is the second part of the series on The Chenchus posted earlier. You can follow the complete photo essay here.

The old woman in the photo was collecting fallen seeds from the tree behind her. The seeds which are not high in nutritious value were the primary but unreliable food source for her.

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The Chenchus-IX

The Chenchus-IX

November 2008, Kudichintalabayalu Village, Nallamalla Forest.

(To read this photo essay in sequence from the beginning please go here.) 

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The Chenchus-VIII

The Chenchus-VIII

November 2008, Kudichintalabayalu Village, Nallamalla Forest.

(To read this photo essay in sequence from the beginning please go here.) 

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The Chenchus-VII

The Chenchus-VII

November 2008, Kudichintalabayalu Village, Nallamalla Forest.

(To read this photo essay in sequence from the beginning please go here.) 

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The Chenchus-VI

The Chenchus-VI

November 2008, Kudichintalabayalu Village, Nallamalla Forest.

Kodala Bayanna contracted polio as a child. Both his parents passed away a few years back and he now lives with his old grandmother. A couple of years back the government had given him a tricycle but that soon fell into repair and he does not have the money to get it repaired. Now the only way for him to move is by crawling and sliding.

(To read this photo essay in sequence from the beginning please go here.) 

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The Chenchus-V

The Chenchus-V

November 2008, Kudichintalabayalu Village, Nallamalla Forest.

Ramulu lives alone. His wife left him taking their kids with her. He only replied in monosyllables and sat outside his house staring into infinity. The doctor with us speculated that Ramulu might be suffering from depression based upon his behavior and his wife might have left him because he might have contracted AIDS. Apparently, going to prostitutes is another vice that the Chenchus pick up upon exposure to civilization and not being aware of safe sex practices inevitably suffer the consequences of unsafe sex.

(To read this photo essay in sequence from the beginning please go here.)

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