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Issue No:75
  • :January
  • :2017

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
—a Native American saying

Analysis / INDIA

Tempered Down

On temperaments, communities and conflicts in the river fisheries of Bihar, amidst rigidly persistent caste and class discrimination

This article is by Nachiket Kelkar ( of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India and Subhasis Dey (, Department of Botany, T.M. Bhagalpur University, Bhagalpur, India

Social and institutional interactions impinge significantly on how resource declines are experienced by fisherfolk, as local scarcity of resources can aggravate and transform historically entrenched conflicts over fishing rights, access and ownership. Owing to conflicts emerged from historical relations, or institutional changes, or state-driven policies, a dichotomous ‘fishing communities versus the rest of the world” framing of the problem is commonplace.

The primary assumption in this outlook is that the heterogeneity of socio-cultural practices within these fishing communities could, or should, be glossed over to focus on broader inequalities and injustices meted by the state and other institutions. But often this leads only to a coarse-resolution awareness of fishing conflicts and their potential outcomes for human livelihoods.

Often there is a need to...

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