Indian Environmental Perception

India with a 6000 year of long history had been a very obedient citizen of NATURE.

Indians accepted, adapted and adjusted themselves in a variety of ways to their environment.

  1. Indians have been using of local water harvesting technologies like Ahar, Johad, Pyne, Jing, Thingal.
  2. Environment was not an object of description rather it was a ritual, a religion to learn something, to know the summary of living things.
  3. River worship was symbolic in form to worship water as was evident in the names that has been used to denote them- Ganga as Mata, Yamunaji,
  4. Trees in their natural form were glorified. Places were named after trees as a mark of respect for trees; for example-Champaran meant a place for Champa trees, Vaishali was named after Sal, and Sal was used for various types of buildings like Goshala, Pathshala, etc.
  5. Names were based on this environmental symbolism rather than on functional entity.
  6. Nature was something to be revered, respected and feared.
  7. Disaster was perceived as valuable enough to learn from our mistakes, as a tool to wipe out all our mistakes.
  8. Cities were sustainable.
  9. The cropping pattern was sustainable and so was inland water transportation.
  10. the availability and management of the resources were decentralised. Decentralisation was the core mantra of adaptation to environment, and to environmental management.

In Indian conditions, it offered a variety of benefits

  • there was decreased spatial interaction to save on movement of goods.
  • There was increased spatial specialisation to help utilisation of resources in the best possible manner.
  • A niche lifestyle suited to tropical conditions, like clothing line, fashion, clay-building evolved.

Why these perceptual distortions took place

The colonial imprint and the mindset brought about a lot of change in the thinking of the masses.

Colonialism more than anything else, tries to bring about a change in the way colonised people think, it dents their psyche, makes them feel inferior,convinces them to be inferior in terms of their language culture, lifestyle, their identity itself so much so that they become slaves in their mind

The environmental management followed in India after independence was based on the thinking of the colonising countries and represented a western European mode of thinking.

The Western European countries had not had enough experience in managing their resources and environment largely on account of low biodiversity, short history of development and insufficient trail and error through which they have gone for.

Western countries thinking about the use of words was the product of thinking of a society not rich in terms of values, education (not information) towards environment, consequently they did not attach much significance to the choice of words and semiotics. The use of the words was careless.

India abandoned its traditional wisdom, local genius, and adapted Nehruvian ideas of resources management whose mind, psyche, lifestyle, thinking, management was heavily, under the British influence. Indians used to describe the nature and natural phenomena sedated by colonial injection heavily influenced by Nehruvian thinking,

A heavily sedated person of colonial injection, Nehru followed everything that was western ignoring and sometimes insulting the availability of local wisdom and genius. Everything was copied and against Indian thinking and whatever India had learnt.

As a first lesson and ‘solution’ to any environment related aspect, and also as the first step to solve the problem if it is, what we require is the change in the perception of the people about their surrounding and their nature, about mother Earth and all the components of environment. People must be prompted to correct their perceptual distortions, or else nature over which no one can win will continue to be viewed wrongly. In essence, in spirit, in form it is NATURE that knows best. Environment is our life, It must be our love.

Leave a Comment