Centre for Community Knowledge
Ambedkar University Delhi
CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE (CCK)
Traditional measuring utensils used by the local argriculturalists in Narmada valley.
Explaning the different seed types and their traditional value
The crops grown from traditional farming practices
A Narmada Valley agricultural plot with the Satpura rang as the backdrop
Gathering oral narratives of farmers from the Narmada valley
Farming Traditions : Stories of Human Settlements along the Narmada Valley
The area south of the Narmada, called the Satpura region, is historically unique for many reasons. From imprisonment of Gond and Korku tribal chiefs after the revolts in 1857, the political cultural shift in these years, the establishing of a colonial outpost in the hills of the Central Provinces (Pachmarhi), the first forest sanctuary in the country (Bori), the first dam on the Narmada (Tawa) to the early NGO activities in primary education (Kishor Bharati and Eklavya), it continues to leave its mark in the economic and socio-cultural space.
NIF-CCK Fellowship Program
This collaboration between CCK and National Innovation Foundation started in June 2012. One field fellow was engaged under the CCK - NIF (National Innovation Foundation) Fellowship Program financially supported by NIF at the Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK) Ambedkar University, Delhi. The duration of the fellowship was for one year and one field fellow, Mr Chandra Prakash Maurya was based at Pipariya (Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh) to coordinate and conduct the work entailed.
The documentation was inclusive of an exhaustive listing of non-intensive chemical farming practices being carried out. They are seen to be more popular in non-irrigated dryland farming villages, and have successfully stood the test of time. Some of the seeds and practices in this zone are pre-HYV seeds (not always traditional) which farmers have been using, and with changing rainfall patterns,they are gaining ground. More information on this will help ensure food security of dryland farming communities.
Several farming traditions were documented in the villages visited in the districts of Hoshangabad, Narsingpur, Chhindwara. The field fellow and his team also gathered information on traditional implements and techniques used and collected seed samples.
Additional tasks also included, organising Jatan tape archive, attending Sehore Shodh Yatra of NIF for training in recognising innovative practices in grass roots, studying the culture and musical traditions during different seasons, origin stories around seeds, weather myths and agricultural phrases and sayings, and other kinds of local agricultural knowledge of farmers.
A report on the 'Status of Traditional Knowledge and Farm Innovations' was put together to capture all the field documentation as a part of this project. To map practices across the region, enthuse contributions and correlate with changing rainfall patterns, it is necessary that public exhibition of collected information be made. Such an exhibition is being planned for March-April 2017.
People's Heritage Gazetteer
In recent years, the research at Honshangabad is being revived through renewed field fellowship programmes. There are attempts to create a limited first volume of a Peoples Heritage Gazetteer, that documents the multiple histories and understandings of local life and challenges. A community sourced ethnographic study of a region of the country, where a legacy of in-migration remembered by many trading and farming communities, and is paralleled by memories from long resident tribal (Korku and Gond) and dalit (Basor and rajhar) communities, who over the last five decades, find themselves in the centre of the development-displacement conundrum. Oral narratives and life stories describe changes in ecology, environment, society and livelihoods by residents of a rural region and the outcomes from this project will be used to widen collaborations with academic and local community organisation to expand the Gazetteer in future.
The proposed oral history and knowledge documentation project plans to systematically expand local efforts to collect life stories, histories and livelihood related knowledge from villages and communities in the region. And in this way, balance archival accounts with oral histories, and official texts with local memories.