New Delhi, Nov 23 Jungles are destroyed by the nexus between politicians and mafia and not by forest dwellers, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said today underlining the need for government and society to "decolonise" the mind and change the way one looks at the issue of forests.
Noting that India does not need to understand forestry from the world as it was "in-built by default" in the people of the country, the minister said that there is a need to "decolonise" India.
"India became independent on August 15, 1947 but did not get decolonised. Let us decolonise India.
The same old system, administration, police, taxation, remains. In the same way the way of looking at forest remains the British vision," he said at an event here.
He said that British rulers came out with law barring tribals from keeping weapons as it saw them, including tribal leader Birsa Munda, as revolutionaries who fought against their rule in numerous uprisings.
Following this, the Britishers started saying forest dwellers destroyed forest and started bringing them out of forests, he said.
"And we too followed the same story for the last 70 years saying the scheduled tribes living in the forest cut jungles and destroys it," he said.
"Deforestation is done by politicians, mafia and officials. The jungle is cut by the nexus between them. But you put the forest dwellers out of the forest? And we are towing the same line? There is a need to decolonise this country," he said.
Noting that there is a need to change the way we look at forests, Dave said that the forest dwellers, forest and wildlife "coexists" with each other.
"There is a need to change the way government, society and people look at forest. The scheduled tribes residing in the forest, the jungle and wildlife, they are friends and co-exists. They (forest dwellers) do not kill tigers. That is done by poachers and sold into international market," he said, adding that there is a need to make all this a public movement.
He said that if India has to achieve its climate targets and expand forest cover, there is a need to focus on the grass-root level and take issues like climate change, carbon footprint and others to the village level.
Back from the recent climate change conference in Marrakech, Dave also talked about the stubborn way in which countries negotiated at the summit.
He also stressed the need for adopting a sustainable and Gandhiyan lifestyle with minimum carbon footprint.