Faunal nationalism: Science, policy and society in India's Project Tiger , 1973-93
Welcome to the Research Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons Spring seminar series! This seminar is co-organised with the Critical Environments Workshop.
Lecturer Mahesh Rangarajan, Ashoka University, Sonipat, India
Title Faunal nationalism: Science, policy and society in India's Project Tiger , 1973-93
Abstract India’s Project Tiger was launched in 1973 as a preservation effort for mega fauna under threat of extinction. The tiger thus made a leap from potential pelt in foreign exchange to becoming a national animal and symbol of ‘unity in diversity’. In the wake of Bangladesh independence war 1972 and following on three severe droughts, economic upheaval, and political changes, India’s global standing gained from conservation of global heritage.
The Project Tiger trajectory has highlighted collisions of interests, including local populations often under threat of forced relocation, the new middle class, the forest industry, and the timber mafia. What is striking is how the tiger and forest gained legitimacy and were invoked by different interest groups in new ways, unthinkable before the early 1970s. Mahesh Rangarajan will discuss how the tiger survives in key habitats in a crowded country under economic pressures where debates on science and society contributes to how best to reconcile peace with nature with inclusive development continues.