Impact of Globalisation on Culture of Sacred Groves: A Revival of Common, But Decay of the Traditional Institution

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2002
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"Globalisation intends to bring homogeneous and uniform environment of management with number of specialised institutions for respective corresponding functions whereas in small-scale societies single cultural institution performs multiple functions in the society. Cultural organisations maintain diversity in belief, function and organisation activities. "Sacred Groves are one such cultural institution that provides many functions to the community, which owns the sacred grove. Sacred Grove is a traditional multipurpose religious commons of the villages; it is a patch of forest, which is considered to be an abode of village deities and ancestor, and is managed by a religious priest. This common is governed and managed by traditional pattern. The significance of common was maintained by regular interaction generated among the community members on the occasion of different seasonal festivals and celebration. "With the adoption of bureaucratic administration system by the country, on the global pattern of rational management, brought a change in scene and created confusion over the ownership, worldview about the common and relevance of the sacred grove institution. Simultaneously, the influence of great tradition culture (GTC) like Christianity and Hinduism created an impact on the traditional institution through their activities. This paper looks into problems of governance of the religious commons faced by the imposition of rational secular structure of governance. It further explores the implication of external phenomena like political, cultural on traditional community and the commons. "The study area is from Jaspur district of Chattishgarh state of central India. The finding shows that ownership of the grove is with the revenue department of the district, though the use right is with the villagers. Generally villagers carry out the rituals and related management of economic, social and political activities on traditional lines, on the other hand, development work started by the bureaucracy in sacred groves has created a conflicting situation and impinges on the existing faith system. Similarly, the rational education system, categories such practices as superstition and primitive, which resulted in the new generation shying away in practising the ritual and belief. "Secondly, traditional schools (village dormitories) where the knowledge of the village social system was transmitted and embedded in holistic pattern were converted to modern school by the propagator of GTC, which led to decay of traditional knowledge canter. Thirdly modern local level political institution (village panchayat) is based on rational system of administration and election is held on the principles of universal franchise for the post of Sarpanch at an interval of five years. This Panchayat is bestowed with the ownership and use right of the village commons. This has created a situation of incompatibility between the decision-makers as they can belong to different belief system. Apart from this no role has been given to the traditional manager of the grove. This has led in decline in his status, which in turn has impacted on the use of the grove. "This paper concludes that the conserved religious commons were effected and depilated between traditional and rational management at micro level should be taken in consideration in the era of sustainable development."
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IASC, common pool resources, globalization, culture, ethnography, sacred forests--case studies, ritual and religion, land tenure and use, panchayats
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