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March 29, 2011

The Last 30 Summers - First sixteen years

30 summers and how did I spend it.

It is not a consequential question for many, but me, for as long as I remember, have had my father and bade-papa exclaiming that India is a very hot country, and as a result - have been very excited about the impending heat and on the ways to enjoy it.

The First sixteen years is a period that I remember for watching Chooti-Chooti on the Bengal Doordarshan, usually in the afternoons, playing early morning cricket and again in the late evenings. As the chooti-chooti serial would begin at 12 or was it at 1 pm, we would assemble in one of the homes and basically eat and sleep while watching that iconic serial.

Evenings would be cycling invariably. However, soon, I started going out more and more with myself - mostly because most of my friends had their parents transferring themselves out the wilderness called Girmint. Invariably, the summers becam self discovery months.

I wold be cycling to really dangerous areas - even for adults. Chat up with illegal mine workers, check out how they wash the coal or burn it to make charcoal.

Once, and I remember it vividly. The monsoons had burst at its seams and the whole area was under a dense cover of water. I knew the illegal miners were around as I had seen them last evening. Walking upto to those mines through some heavy rains, I reached the mines but everything was changed. More than 2-3 acres of land had vanished. My stomping grounds were missing. And as suddenly as I watching, I saw land going under. Subsidence is as they call it in our part of the world and it had begun right in front of me. I stepped back and more, and then more. Finally, I stood as the ground seemed harder and barely a couple of feet away, it ended. A big pond was being created right in front of my eyes, no illegal miner was killed and the ladies will have nice place to wash their clothes.. It was the dawn of a new pukur

March 3, 2011

Competing Claims

Where do Competing claims take us....

It is a complex, complicated and confusing scenario.

All conflicts have claims on them. A good one or a bad one. Conflicts exist everywhere, they may be good or bad, but they exist.

The claims various stakeholders place on the resource is what makes it interesting to understand the various competing claims on these resources.

I am confused about how does one analyse the various competing claims. But nevertheless, the theory of competing claims is a better way to look at conflicts than traditional conflict management models.

Imagine a scenario - a forest is to be opened for exploitation where indigenous people live. They want to cut timber, someone else wants to mine coal, the community wants to harvest NTFPs, the oldies want to continue worshiping to the spirits, newer generation wants to open a little land for agriculture. So many claims on a piece of land.

What does one do....Bring them all together and draw a rich picture of the scenario.

Analyse who are the stakeholders. See how much stake they have.
See the power they exercise....

Take a look at the various rights of each of the stakeholders as well as the duties of each of them. Make a matrix crossing each others rights with respect to the duties they have to perform.

See what the institutions can do and how can they be developed.

Make an economic valuation of the various resources at stake....

Develop scenarios of future events and try to develop a strategy for dealing with favorable as well as unfavorable scenario and then move on to develop assumptions that defines our final strategy....

Maybe, then one day the claims will be met or atleast partly met of each of the stakeholders. Some will lose out, some will benefit....

March 1, 2011

The Forest is Still Tonight

The Forest is still tonight, No sound can I hear,

The winds have died down,
the rivers flow silent,
Trees look morose and so do beings.

For silence spins yarns around wisdom,
Perhaps, the wise must speak.
Talk silently about our follies,
But do we hardly listen.

The wise forest speaks,
and yet we do not listen.

Warns us of the impending doom,
yet we do not listen.

Yes, I know. The forest is still tonight