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Showing posts from January, 2015

In God's Garden

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This place is inviolate, said the little girl who was our guide of her forest village Supegaon. It was noon in the middle of summer. We were forbid from eating any karvanda once we crossed into the boundary created by tall trees along the edge of browning fields. The girl informed us that we have entered the God’s abode – locally called devrai – and everything was silent save for the leaves that crumbled under our feet. The ambiance of this place was cooler than the fields that surrounded it, and we were silent not out of choice but by an involuntary hush that settled upon us. I’ve still not come to explain the effect devrai’s have on people. Perhaps it is psychological, perhaps just natural. But the fact rooted in the keepers of the devrai is that the silence is because of the Gods that dwell here: the protectors of the village, and the belief is shared almost uniformly throughout India. Ecologists today call it sacred groves, the most ancient community-based conservation initiative,…