Ethno-ecology of Bishnois and Swadhyayis

Date and Time: 
Friday, 17 May, 2013 - 18:20 to 18:40
JAIN, Pankaj


The traditional grass-root Hindu rural groups and tribes such as Bishnois, Bhils and Swādhyāya continue to live the dhārmic way of life in the sense that for them Indic Traditions are part of their daily way of life and thus there is no such thing as "religion" in their lives as there is no separation of sacred from profane. Therefore, there is no such thing as environmentalism distinct and separate in their lives. Being dhārmic automatically makes them environmentalist without being conscious about it. If Bishnois are saving animals and trees from invaders, they are simply living their traditions not "protecting the environment" per se. If Bhils continue to practice their rituals in their Sacred Groves, it is their ancient tradition, not "saving the bio-diversity". If Swādhyāyis are building Vrikshamandir, they are simply expressing their devotion and reverence for all creation according to the teachings of Gitā, not "restoring the environment". The traditional, comparatively much less modernized Indian groups do not see religion, ecology and ethics as separate entities. In line with the etymological definition of dharma, their duty, virtue, cosmic ecological order and spiritual aspects of their lives are all intertwined just as Dharma in its various definitions and meanings includes duty, virtue, cosmic ecological order and spiritual aspects of lives.