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QUERYING RELEVANCE OF THE TERM INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

IN A THREE-LEVEL-APPROACH
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO RAJBANSHI COMMUNITY OF NORTH BENGAL, WEST BENGAL, INDIA

By

ASHOK DAS GUPTA

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QUERYING RELEVANCE OF THE TERM INDIGENOUS PEOPLES


IN A THREE-LEVEL-APPROACH
WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO RAJBANSHI COMMUNITY OF NORTH BENGAL, WEST BENGAL, INDIA

By

ASHOK DAS GUPTA


FISCA, UGC FELLOW, DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH BENGAL PO. NORTH BENGAL UNIVERSITY, RAJA RAMMOHUNPUR, SILIGURI, DT. DARJEELNG, WEST BENGAL, INDIA 734 004 Email ID: nbu_ashokanthro@rediffmail.com, ashok.dasgupta@yahoo.com

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PREFACE
Indigenous peoples are those communities living in close to nature. They are the folk people or ethnic communities who are regarded as aborigines or natives during the colonial period. They have historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies. They have their own territories where they now have become non-dominant sectors. They consider themselves distinct from rest part of the society. They have appraisal for their land, their ethnicity, culture, social institutions and even legal systems. They however might be influenced by various outside influences. They maintain intimate understanding of nature, generationwise intellectual reasoning and informal experimentations on trail and error method. So, definitely Indigenous Peoples in each case develop a set of indigenous knowledge traits or traditional knowledge traits. When these knowledge traits work systematically in accordance to mode of production, division of labor, social system and faith-fear-belief systems, it is the indigenous knowledge system (IKS). IKS related to the ecosystem or microenvironment could be community specific or area specific. It serves for those who stay far away from modern facilities and meets the ends for basic livelihood. As modernity can cause harm to humanity and nature in various ways, the alternatives have to be learnt from IKS. We cannot separate IKS the rational part from its non-rational part. However, IKS can be broadly divided into so many forms in the context of folk life, such as, agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, fishery, handicraft, agro-forestry, biodiversity management, sustainable development, alternative ways of disease treatment, weather forecasting, disaster mitigation, and so forth . Knowledge is a philosophical term and can be conceptualized as a set of various facts and information traits. It is of two types: scientific and indigenous. Both work as systems and hence we use the terms like Scientific Knowledge System and Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS). These two together constitute Global Knowledge System. Scientifically proved knowledge is the scientific knowledge, whereas knowledge of the Indigenous Peoples can be treated as Indigenous Knowledge (IK). There is actually no universally accepted definition of IK. This is the major obstacle in doing research with IK. However, there is no universal scale of measuring indigenousness of a community or society. Here, in this book the author tries to trace out some paradigms for searching indigenousness.

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CONTENTS An Overview INTRODUCTION Definition of IK Classification of IK Gist of definitions of IK Characters of IK Indigenous Knowledge and Scientific Knowledge Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge System Confusion with terminology of IK/IKS Indigenous Knowledge holders Types of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) IK and Folk Life Criticism of IK/IKS IKS and Culture Indigenous Culture (IC) Necessity of Indigenous Culture Challenges in front of Indigenous Culture Indigenous Rights (IR) Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Peoples (IR & IP) Challenges faced by IP Some Theoretical Questions Methodological issues in IKS study Practical Problems THREE-LEVEL APPROACH Domains of Indigenous Knowledge Indigenous Community and Indigenous Peoples Indigenous Rights A Brief Note on Rajbanshis I: ATTACHMENT WITH THE LAND AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (With special reference to Rajbanshi Community of North Bengal in the Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent) PRE-COLONIAL PERSPECTIVE OF INDIAN SOCIETY (with special reference to Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent including North Bengal) COLONIAL PERSPECTIVE OF INDIAN SOCIETY (with special reference to Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent including North Bengal) Permanent Settlement System Plantation and Gorkha Regiment Influence of the Peasant Movements POST-COLONIAL PERSPECTIVE OF INDIAN SOCIETY (with special reference to Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent including North Bengal) II: INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES Challenges towards the IKS Possible Way to Face the Challenge International Science Congress Association iv 01 02 03 05 05 06 08 08 08 09 10 10 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 18 20 23 27 29 39 40 43 44 49 51 52 70 71 78

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Probable Contributions of Rajbanshi IKS in agro-based Public Services Rajbanshi in Agriculture Rajbanshi Womenfolk and Agriculture Some plants around agro-system of North Bengal- local & scientific names Some animals, birds & fishes living in and around agro-system of North Bengal III: GLOBALIZATION AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CONCLUSION Appendix Bibliography Further reading ABOUT AUTHOR

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STATEMENTS, MAPS, TABLES, SLIDES and PHOTOS Statement-1: Population and Proportion of Sixteen Major SCs of West Bengal, 2001Census Statement-2: Literacy Rate among Sixteen Major SCs of West Bengal, 2001Census MAP.1: Location Of North Bengal MAP. 2: Districts in North Bengal under West Bengal jurisdiction Fig. 1: Relationship of Indigenous Rights with other fields Fig. 2: Diagrammatic Representation of Rajbanshi Social Fold Table A: List of Vegetables Slide 1: Empirical Facts (A, B, C) Slide 2: Seed management Programme (A, B) Table1: Major vegetables propagated by the Rajbanshis Table 2: Bamboo and its use Table 3: Major fruits propagated by the Rajbanshis Table 4: Categorization of agro-oriented IKS of the Rajbanshi Social Fold of North Bengal
Photo 1: Paddy cultivation on Teesta river bed Photo 2: Fishing in a local river of Teesta Torsa water system

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An Overview
Application of the universally accepted dogma of Indigenous Peoples upon all the aborigine folk peoples scattered world wide asks for systematic approach. Such a given community situated within a specific geo-ecological region of northern West Bengal, India for long could be subjected for postulation of the approach. Rajbanshis here have transformed from a simple community to a complex social fold and adapted certain regional characteristics that could promote their separate identity again with certain local variations. They in the age-old trans-national trade route of North Bengal have admixed with other peoples and saturated with their cultures and vice versa. These people are chiefly pastoral cum agriculturists, know well about the ancient river routes passed through dense forests, belong to agrarian caste stratification and occupy the rank path of Bratya-Kshattirya with traces like Buddhism, Hinduism (both caste-based close-ended as well as egalitarian versions), animism, magico-religious practices, syncretism, prayer to snakes and rivers, worship of fertility cults (including Shiva) and folk deities extended upto regional versions of Islamic heritage. No doubt they have developed certain values and beliefs. The approach towards investigating the applicability of the label Indigenous Peoples upon a given population demands an in depth observation on indigenousness. A three-level-approach could be used as the methodology for such justification(s)firstly, attachment with land and historicity; secondly, role of Indigenous Knowledge System and lastly, the effect of globalization (most viable way of external impact). Here, the Rajbanshi Social Fold within the multicultural scenario of North Bengal has been taken as the reference for this very discussion.

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INTRODUCTION
Indigenous as a term is much conflicting, ambiguous and with strong moral load. It might have similar connotations with native and aboriginal from the view of western society to indicate the folk or tribal. The term indigenous is more acceptable than the other two too much restrictive and confusing with a political condition. Indigenous though political term is associated with the essence of colonialism by the Westernized. Indigenousness has no universal measuring scale. Indigenous is applied to indigenous knowledge, indigenous knowledge system, indigenous culture, indigenous community, Indigenous Peoples, indigenous rights and intellectual property rights. Thinking apolitically, indigenous is a term that indicates components close association and prolonged habitation with nature. The distinction between indigenous and non-indigenous is specific to a regional and again to historical connotations. Treating a community indigenous needs much more ethnographic works. We can go through a three level approach: quality of its knowledge system, attachment of the community to nature and response to globalization (or various other international, national, regional issues). There is no universal scale to measure indigenousness, while indigenous being truly political. Indigenous Peoples are as important as being holders of Indigenous Knowledge that can provide us various public services that we cannot neglect fully. The Global Knowledge can be broadly disassociated into two types: Indigenous and Modern. Indigenous or Traditional Knowledge traits are scattered worldwide among the folk people. These are oral and undocumented, subjected for loss and rediscovery and outcome of trial and error from informal experimentations during the course of folk life. These traits unite to form a knowledge system known as the Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS). IKS is very closer to the religious organization (basically non-adaptive) and hence gets stability in terms of myth and belief- often looking extra- scientific, postmodern and superstitious. IK deals with modes of production and reproduction (substructure); IKS gets assistance from fear, faith and belief systems (supernature or International Science Congress Association 2

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superstructure); together IK and its cognate IKS hold the structure of the society made up of social, economic, political and religious institutions as well as their organization on the ways of communication among nature, human and even supernature. Indigenous knowledge is integral part of culture containing other components: art, belief, custom, law, moral, norm, value and skills acquired by human.

Definition of IK Indigenous knowledge (IK) is the local knowledge- knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. IK contrasts with the international knowledge system generated by universities, research institutions and private farms. It is the basis for local level decision making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education, natural-resource management and a host of other activities in rural communities (Warren, 1991). Indigenous knowledge is the information base for a society, which facilitates communication and decision making. Indigenous information systems are dynamic and are continually influenced by internal activity and experimentation as well as contact with external systems (Flavier et. al., 1995). IK refers to the unique, traditional, local knowledge existing within and developed around the specific conditions of women and men indigenous to a particular geographic area. (Grenier, 1998) Indigenous knowledge systems are tuned to the needs of local people and the quality and quantity of available resources. They pertain to various cultural norms, social roles, or physical conditions. Their efficiency lies in the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. (Pretty and Sandbrook, 1991) Indigenous knowledge may not be as abstract as scientific knowledge. It is often concrete and always dynamic. It relies strongly on intuition, directly perceivable evidence and an accumulation of historical experiences (Farrington and Martin, 1987). Indigenous knowledge is the systematic body of knowledge acquired by local people through the accumulation of experiences, informal experiments and intimate understanding of the environment in a given culture (Rajasekaran, 1993).

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IKS encompasses the following issues of factual data, theory, interrelations, concepts and attributive information of a high degree of accuracy. It is a multidisciplinary subject and incorporates the following dimensions: physical sciences and related technologies, social sciences and humanities [Atteh, 1989] Haverkort (1991), indigenous knowledge is the actual knowledge of a given population that reflects the experiences based on traditions and includes more recent experiences with modern technologies. IK is more practical rather than theoretical and repeating with time (Hobsbawn and Ranger, 1983). IK is unevenly distributed in fragments throughout the globe, that is, socially clustered (Hobert, 1993). IK is knowledge on environmental components is based on tradition, superstition and worship of the departed dead and fear of the unknown. IK is adaptive skills of local people usually derived from many years of experience, that have often been communicated through "oral traditions" and learned through family members over generations (Thrupp, 1989). IK is trial-and-error problem-solving approaches by groups of people with an objective to meet the challenges they face in their local environments (Roling and Engel, 1988). IK is time-tested agricultural and natural resource management practices, which pave the way for sustainable agriculture (Venkatratnam, 1990). IK is strategies and techniques developed by local people to cope with the changes in the socio-cultural and environmental conditions. IK is practices that are accumulated by farmers due to constant experimentation and innovation. IK is traditional ways of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Poultry, Ethno-Fishery, Disease Treatment and Ethno-Medicine, Traditional economic and political organizations, Environmental Management System, Disaster Management and Weather Forecast of an indigenous society (Banarjee, Basu, Biswas and Goswami, 2006).

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Classification of IK Holistically, IKS could be classified into several sectors like agriculture, animal husbandry, (+ethno-fishery and poultry) handicrafts, tools and techniques, nutrition, health care practices and bio-medicines, psycho-social care, natural and biological resource, management of environmental and bio-diversity resources, disaster mitigation, human resource management, saving and lending, poverty alleviation and community development as well as education and communication each with its respective area and manifestation maintained by folk people within a community that is again stratified on the basis of gender, age group, occupational groups and various personalities like local leaders, shamans, healers, medicine man, Wiseman, chiefdom, priest, magico-religious practitioners, craftsmen, art performers and so on (Mondal, 2009). On the community basis, IKS could be divided into various domains like Agriculture and Post-Agricultural Practices; Animal Husbandry and Poultry; Ethno-Fishery; Hunting and Gathering; Artisan; Disease Treatment, Ethno-Medicine and Folk Remedy; Traditional Economic and Political System (Banarjee et. al. 2006).

Gist of definitions of IK IK? relies on intuition, informal experiments (local, orally transmitted, practical continually influenced by (i) internal activity and and empirical knowledge) Knowledge)

experimentation as well as (ii) contact with external systems (Functional or dynamic adapted to local cultural, social, environmental conditions and changing negotiated with experiences based on circumstances (Static or concrete knowledge)

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traditions, experiences with modern technologies, historical experiences, intimate understanding of the environment (traditional knowledge) perceivable evidence accumulation of (unqualified and only justified knowledge, partial knowledge) area (hypothetical folk knowledge)

information unique to a given culture or society or population or particular geographic mechanisms to ensure minimal livelihoods for local peoplefulfilling needs of local people at per quality and quantity of available resources. basis for local level communication and decision making (Traditional Ecological and/or Environmental Knowledge, Indigenous Technical Knowledge, Peoples Science) elaborate information base for a society (Ethnology) not abstract as scientific knowledge (still to be scientific proved qualified situated theoretical knowledge so to be treated as truth and wisdom) Muchena and Williams in 1991 cited the argument of Bennett (1980) and mentioned that human components are actually analytical equivalents to environmental components and related information/knowledge in a given socionatural system. Muchena and Williams also cited Brokensha et al., 1980 and Posey, 1983, as they had indicated to the difficulties in front of encoding in religious beliefs, rituals, ceremonies and myths highly related with the IKS. Rational and non-rational parts are inseparable here. But even then in order to gather the IKS of a given community, the researcher has no better option to decode these symbols.

Characters of IK Roy Ellen and Holly Harris (1996) provide characteristics of indigenous knowledge: IK is local. Transferring that knowledge to other place runs the risk of dislocating it. IK is orally transmitted IK is the consequences of practical engagement in every day life product of many generations of intelligent reasoning . a good way of Darwinian fitness as Hunn [1993] nearly puts it, tested in the religious laboratory of survival. Indeed, to a considerable extent, it is developed not in individuals at all, but in the practices and interactions in which people themselves engage. International Science Congress Association 6

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IK is empirical rather than theoretical knowledge. IK is functional and hence constantly changing, discovered, lost and rediscovered in a new form. though it is often represented as being somehow static. IK is characteristically situated within broader cultural traditions; separating the technical from non-technical, rational to non-rational is problematic [Scooners and Thompson, 1998]. That is why functional IK becomes static. Despite claims for culture-wide existence of IK (indeed universal) and its abstract classification is based on non-functional criteria [Berlin,1992 and Atran,1990], IK .is essentially functional Repetition is a defining characteristic of Tradition/wisdom/theory [Hobsbawn and Ranger, 1983], even when new knowledge is added to give rise to a new hypothesis and eventually a new theory. Tradition is repeating like a fluid and transforming agent with no real end, when applied to knowledge, negotiation is a central concept [Hunn, 1993]. IK distribution is still in segments, that is socially clustered. It is usually asymmetrically distributed within a population, by gender and age, for example and preserved through distribution in the memories of different individuals. Specialist may exist by virtue of experience, but also by virtue of ritual and political authority. Although IK may be focused on particular individuals and may achieve a degree of coherence in rituals and other symbolic constructs, its distribution is always fragmentary. IK shared to a much greater degree than other forms of knowledge, including global science. IK while justified through repeating traditions, it seems to be hypothetical. And when it is proved and becomes a truth through formal objective experimentation, it transforms into scientific theory or situated knowledge or wisdom. In short, IK has the following 10 characteristics: Local, orally transmitted, of trial and error method, empirical, asymmetrically distributed/segmented/socially clustered/fragmentary, functional, negotiated with repeating Tradition, culturally embedded (and hence static), only justified and not International Science Congress Association 7

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scientifically proved (hence hypothetical- no as such separation into rational and nonrational/technical and non-technical) and finally extra-scientific but still pedestal of global science.

Indigenous Knowledge and Scientific Knowledge Knowledge could be categorized into two types: Indigenous Knowledge which is again spoken off as Traditional Knowledge, Folk Knowledge, Peoples Science or Ethno-science, is result out of informal experimentation aided by trial and error method, more practical, unqualified, extra-scientific/hypothetical/humanitarian and oral in nature; (and) Scientific Knowledge that is result out of formal experimentation, qualified, scientifically proved, theory based and well-documented.

Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge System Indigenous knowledge is functional, subjected to loss and discovery; but IKS is rather non-functional and highly stable as because of the reason that it is well-organized, systematic, structures, documented and if not, at least symbolically illustrated in the unwritten book of culture.

Confusion with terminology of IK/IKS Regarding IK and IKS, many terminologies, definitions and cognitive concepts could be promoted from various sources mentioned in different journals, books, annual reports of development agencies, seminars, World Bank reports, reviews of concerned authorities and organizations working on various management programs and knowledge rights by different fellows mentioning different geographical, local-global perspective from various disciplines. These terms are affected by high risk of inter-subjectivity and often used interchangeably and there is arguably enough overlap. Indigenous knowledge (IK), indigenous technical knowledge (ITK), ethnology, local knowledge, folk knowledge, traditional knowledge, traditional environment/ International Science Congress Association 8

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ecological knowledge (TEK), Peoples science say something of the direction from which we approach the subject and the assumptions we make about it. IK derives locally hence local knowledge. Separation of technical and non-technical parts is not possible regarding IKS study; technical part can however extracted from the non-technical part (i.e. the cultural part) whose norms and symbols provide it stability. IK derives from informal experimentation through trial and error on how to exploit natural resources with feed-back. Its dealing with modes of production or nature makes it environmental or ecological. IK is empirical and functional. So, it takes support from repeating traditions for justification, hence being traditional knowledge. IK is subjected to discovery and loss. For prolonged sustenance, it takes shelter within culture and becomes a part of folk life. It is known as Folk Knowledge. IKS as cognate of justified IK is still scientifically unqualified. It is humanitarian, extra-scientific, value-loaded, subjective and hypothetical. It can provide a set of public service and hence considered Peoples Science. IK/IKS can be extracted from IC through proper ethnographic documentation of a community, so it is also known as Ethnography.

Indigenous Knowledge holders Local people, including farmers, landless laborers, women, rural artisans and cattle rarer, are the custodians of indigenous knowledge systems. Moreover, these people are well informed about their own situations, their resources; what works and doesn't work; and how one change impacts other parts of their system (Butler and Waud, 1990) Farmers are not passive consumers, but active problem solvers who develop for themselves most of the technology they use. For many hundreds of years before today's national agricultural research systems were set up, farmers did their own research (Pretty, 1991; Prain, 1992). And, by integrating technology from different sources and International Science Congress Association 9

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continuing to adapt it on their farms, they still do so today (Roling, 1989; Warren, 1991). It should not be forgotten that Indigenous knowledge is a very sensitive issue, related with cultural identity and ethnicity. It reflects the dignity of the local community and puts its members on an equal footing with the outsiders involved in the process of technology development (Haverkort and Zeeuw, 1989).

Types of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Indigenous Knowledge is very closer to nature and common people. Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is of two types: open-ended and hidden; the former is practiced by many and regularly; the second one is held by some specialists and occasionally performed. IK is basically local, oral, functional, empirical and undocumented and therefore subjected to easy loss. To become stable, IK takes help from Traditions where they take shelter, becomes culturally embedded and in this way procreates its cognate called IKS. IK is justified but unqualified that can provide Public Services and asking for proper ethnographic documentation before being scientifically proved. IK is hypothetical, believed, feared and faith; thus extra-scientific, humanitarian, subjective, value-loaded, inseparable with non-rational and non-technical parts and related to nature-human-supernature relationship of a particular community staying in a particular ecosystem with particular culture.

IK and Folk Life Here, IK targets into the Folk Life maintained by a tribal/aboriginal/indigenous/folk community: folk etymology and chants, folk proverb, folk riddle, folk rime, folk poem, folk song, folk music, folk dance, folk play, folk lore, folk tales or fairy tail, myths and legends, folk literature, folk recreation, folk painting, folk sculpture, folk art and craft, dialectology of folk speech, folk dialect to folk technology, folk customs regarding household affairs and production systems, the notion of time in folk society, weather forecasting, folk cookery, folk settlement and patterns, International Science Congress Association 10

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folk architecture, sense of right and wrong (folk ways), folk norms and values regarding kinship relations and rites-de-passage, superstitions, folk magic, folk religion, ethnomedicinal practices as well as various institutions and organizations (viz. political, economic, religious and social) that is all the material and the non-material, tangible and intangible, verbal and non-verbal aspects of life of a traditional or better to say, an indigenous community.

Criticism of IK/IKS Norgaard in 1984 mentioned that the traditional knowledge has been viewed as part of a romantic past, as the major obstacle to development, as a necessary starting point and as a critical component of a cultural alternative to modernization. Only very rarely, however, is traditional knowledge treated as knowledge per se in the mainstream of the agricultural and development and environmental management literature, as knowledge that contributes to our understanding of agricultural production and the maintenance and use of environmental systems. Lack of objectivity that often brings the research of IK/IKS hurriedly towards the religious realms of cultures must be reconsidered (Sithole, 2004). Indigenous knowledge is chiefly local, oral, set of generationwise intellectual reasoning, result out of informal experimentation by virtue of trial and error, empirical, asymmetrically distributed, spread through informal folk communication, functional, adjusted with repeating Tradition, part of unreflective many, shared by many, justified unqualified facts that are not scientifically proved truth or theory but extra-scientific hypothesis, culture-oriented, humanitarian, value-loaded, subjective, static due to dependence on religious laboratory of survival, information base of a given society close to nature, non-separable into rational and non-rational or between technical and nontechnical, open-type and hidden both, associated with semantic cognates, capable of providing various public services (pro-people, nature-friendly, sustainable and low-cost)

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and prone to be tested in various fields of global science in order to become qualified proved facts, universal truth, theoretical, holistic or situated knowledge and wisdom.

IKS and Culture IKS has got higher longevity due to constant support from so called religious laboratory of survival. It is associated with belief, fear and faith. It has its own place in World View of a certain community that has its own culture and cognition. IKS is based on interrelationship among nature-human-SuperNature, among artifactssociofacts-mentifacts and even issues related to substructures, structures and superstructures.

Indigenous Culture (IC) Culture possessed by Indigenous Peoples of an indigenous community could be regarded as indigenous culture, whereas indigenous knowledge is an important part of it. This culture of indigenous communities behaves like an unwritten book which takes care of all indigenous empirical knowledge traits of that community, generated through trial and error methods, local and asymmetrical in distribution, orally transmitted, negotiated with repeating Traditions, parts of unreflective many, utilized by the folk people living so close to nature, communicated by virtue of norms and symbols, culturally embedded, tested on religious laboratory of survival, subjective, unqualified, justified but not experimentally proven, hypothetical but not scientific truth, non-separable into rational and non-rational parts, functional to stable information base of a community.

Necessity of Indigenous Culture (IC) The future of our planet depends on saving both the remaining biologically diverse ecosystem and the culturally credible diversity of the tribal peoples of the world. The ancient cultures of native peoples, threatened by modern assimilation International Science Congress Association 12

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are the only known, proven time tested models of the sustainable consumption of the Earths threatened natural resources. (Ref: http//: www.nativeplanet.org/indigenous/indigenous.shtml) IK and its cognate IKS can be decoded from symbols and norms of IC. Study on symbol, logic and phenomena, covert on overt, mode of communication and cognition is essential here from both etic and emic perspectives. Post-structuralist view on behalf of researcher is also needed for proper documentation of IK/IKS from IC with least subjectivity and for avoiding bias.

Challenges in front of Indigenous Culture This kind of culture is often suffered by thriving modernity that so far neglect the subordinated indigenous communities, but sustenance of these communities, their indigenous cultures and indigenous knowledge banks are now highly needed and thus to be protected for the proper management of our environment, flora and fauna, ecosystems, biodiversity, traditional modes of production with feed-back as well as sustainable development.

Indigenous Rights (IR) [International Labour Organization. 1991. Convention No. 169 in International Labour Conventions and Recommendations vol.2. International Labour Office, Geneva (1919-1991) (concerning indigenous and tribal peoples in independent countries, 1989)] According to this convention of ILO, Indigenous Rights encompass the domains like general policy (1-12), land (13-19), recruitment and conditions of employment(20), vocational training (21-23), handicrafts and rural

industries (21-23), social security and health (24-25), Education and means of communication (26-31), contracts and co-operations across borders (32), administration (33), general provisions (34-36)

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Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Peoples (IR & IP) ILO has postulated some indigenous rights (IR) on the global basis and not specifically concentrating on a single indigenous community, included all of them under the category of Indigenous Peoples (IP). IR are applicable to all the indigenous communities which are brought under the common umbrella of Indigenous Peoples. The peoples affiliated to Indigenous Rights are known as Indigenous Peoples (IP). IR holders or IP spread in numerous fragments all over the world as indigenous communities associated with respective indigenous cultures. They are the and inventors of IK/IKS as practical/empirical/functional technological/culturally and again concrete/partial/justified but not qualified/traditional/folk/traditional ecological environmental/indigenous embedded/ hypothetical/ethno-scientific knowledge. The Public Services from such IKS can fill in various defaults in Western Knowledge System, make harsh way of unilinear development a pro-people and nature friendly shape, make people aware about nature and natural resources. But still then they are in hypothetical stage, believed after tested in religious laboratory of survival, faith and fear; but not scientifically tested to be qualified as situated universal truth or theory. If one research foundation can separate its technical part from the non-technical one, properly document it and prove its qualification in research lab of pure or bio-sciences; who would be the actual owner of that intellectual property? The community or the foundation!

Challenges faced by IP Indigenous Peoples have to be provided with universally applicable protective measuresIndigenous Rights for all the Indigenous PeoplesThere are again two distinct problems: 1. New way of colonialism and 2. Scope of ethnic conflict among various folk communities regarding their degree of indigenousness (Das Gupta, 2010a).

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It should not be forgotten that Indigenous knowledge is a very sensitive issue, related with cultural identity and ethnicity. It reflects the dignity of the local community and puts its members on an equal footing with the outsiders involved in the process of technology development (Haverkort and Zeeuw, 1989).

Some Theoretical Questions 1. Could it be possible to encode the hidden part of IK of a community from its nonfunctional cultural symbols? 2. Is traditional mindset of a folk community or any peasant society (living either in isolation or within a multicultural situation) ever capable of preserving Traditional Knowledge (TK)/ Indigenous Knowledge (IK) from the risk of degradation? 3. How could IK protect itself from modern aspects of civilization, development, global market economy and cultural lag? 4. What is the necessity to postulate global phenomenon like Indigenous knowledge System (IKS) instead of being satisfied with only community-specific Indigenous knowledge System (TKS)? 5. Whether could the IKS provide us good type of public services in favor of biodiversity conservation and ensure sustainable development? 6. How far is the issue of IKS related with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), cultural identity and politico-economic movement?

Methodological issues in IKS study Studying IK/IKS is highly methodological: 1. Emphasis on Local-level innovation; Repealing the hidden IKS; studying the Cultural Symbols: A journey from symbolic expression to proper documentation and truth; 2. Folk taxonomy and folk linguistics: A journey from mind to reality: finding out of the logic (covert) behind the phenomenon (overt); 3. Overlap between etic and emic; study basically qualitative, objective and deep micro-level: Proper documentation without primary level analysis; International Science Congress Association 15

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4. Researcher being Post-Structural on his/her behalf; 5. Communication System (formal and informal, within and outside): Transmission of IK/IKS from person to person and community to community; 6. Issue of sustainability; 7. Cultural Lag: between non-subjective part of culture that keeps TKS/IKS intact and the changeable part consisting of material apparatus vigorously linked up with rational external system and civilized world. 8. Indigenous Knowledge Systems could be classified into four categories: ecological, historical, serendipity and economical (Capoor et. al., 1990). 9. Rajasekaran (1993) has cited statement of Jorgensen (1989) that historical knowledge on traditional food production system for minimum ten years without any involvement from other domains could be the prime criterion for selection of key informants in agro-based IKS related study.

Practical Problems Inge Kaul, Isabelle Grunberg and Marc Stern in 1999 described the rapid developmental activities of the Western-Modern Society in search of a wider global market economy as the root cause of six major problems as pointed out in UNDP report: Challenges of global warming, Rapid loss of bio-diversity, Crisisprone financial market, Growing international inequality, Emergence of new-drug resistant disease strains & Genetic engineering. Solution of these problems lies within the IKS which is the summation of all the TKS and not a single TKS of certain locality. Therefore, there is a need for IKS rather than community-specific TKS. Truly, the Article 8(j) of the Convention of Biological Diversity (Rio, 1992) has indicated the importance the noble deed of: "respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional life-styles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity".

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Das Gupta and Saha in 2009 have discussed the connection between Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity. They have tried to characterize Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) as a part of IKS and clarify how this TEK could help in providing global public service in favor of nature and biodiversity in one hand and on the other, in service of human systems from rural to urban and vice versa. Managements of agriculture, animal husbandry and poultry, fishery, folk cookery, handicraft, hunting and gathering, forest resources, soil and water, irrigation, pest control and fertilization, post harvesting practices and disasters are all ensured in a rural life by TEK traits interlinked by well established network. So, proper systematization of TEK would develop themselves into IKS with particular global public service in form of Natural Recourse Management (NRM). Ultimately, the resultant outcome from NRM would facilitate Sustainable Livelihood Development (SLD) in favor of both nature and world humanity. Cooperatives can play a good role if they are provided with bank and government assistance. That would be helpful for both Micro-Economies as well as traditional economy of rural society- the precious source of IKS. This is actually telling the scope for saving the current globalization by the virtue of a new one with IKS (Dasgupta, 2010). By capitalizing the collective wisdom of formal and traditional sciences, we shall be able to help people address the problem of declining common property and to manage the risk they face because of the destruction of the resource base and ecological crisis.

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THREE-LEVEL APPROACH
Relevance of the term Indigenous Peoples is going to be checked out for the Rajbanshi Social Fold of North Bengal, West Bengal, India through a three-level approach. Attachment with the land, role of IKS and impact of Globalization are these three approaches. For a community living in rural areas and sharing the attributes of folk life, is it possible to mention it under the category of Indigenous Peoples when it is actually passing through the process of modernization and has started loosing its IKS and the related non-reflected domains are in the process of transformation or replacement? Importance of these three-way approach had been discussed here in brief. 1. Ideally, if the community is in touch with the land for long so far to be recognized it the aboriginal or assimilated with the aboriginal, it may be considered as Indigenous Peoples, at least for its traditional rights on the land according to the indigenous rights prescribed by ILO. But these autochthones may not be deprived and part of the mainstream. They may be also in the process of this mainstreaming. 2. Now, there may be a case where a community, modern or modernizing with time, has its attachment with the land very close where it inhabits today and lost most of the IKS; only the fragile non-reflective domains of their culture have remained as the proof for their once indigenous condition. But that community may still remain backward to some extent and getting some reservations from the State. Therefore, the on-going debate of development and sustainable development, issues of understanding their feelings and World View, improvement of the human resource, planned way of utilizing the natural capital, protection of bio-diversity and ecosystem, facing the challenges of disaster, protection of cultural identity and ethnicity, their demand for being affiliated with globally accepted indigenous rights, application of intellectual property rights and Patent Laws to check bio-piracy and illegal transfer of technologies and capitals regarding intelligence-instruction and knowledge traits, clash between globalization and antiglobalization, protest against homogenization and monopoly causing localization and disintegration in the name of ethnicity-language-culture, terrorism and war, bio-diversity management by applying both the indigenous rights and the intellectual rights have all shown the need of integration between the IKS and advanced knowledge system, International Science Congress Association 18

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especially in a country like India with a multicultural texture. The IKS with the risk of complete elimination has now got a sudden relevance. Revival of IKS is not only necessary for the rural peoples today, but also for the Policy Makers, Scientists, Government, Defense System and the Mainstream. So, at least for the sake of IKS, both the indigenous rights and the carriers of IKS under the category of Indigenous Peoples have remained very much essential. Even when, there would be no need for providing protective measures to these peoples form the side of the State, still then the concept of Indigenous Peoples would remain the same for the protection of the folk life, folk culture, traditional technologies and IKS; these aspects are no more inferior than advanced mode of life, Great Civilizations, modern technological assistance and great inventions and philosophies. These so called primitives are the elements close to nature, realizing the natural happenings in natural ways, less polluting and even free from the concepts of exploitation, pure economy, economic crisis, inflation and poverty. The so called advanced and modern peoples may have a lot to learn from these folks. 3. In the last approach which is about the effects of Globalization, this is found that the IKS is one of the most important measures to make up the environmental damages caused by Globalization. Criticisms may be there, but a proper way of negotiation between Globalization and rural folk may appear with a helpful attitude to the both. At a time when they are in favor of this type of negotiation, trying to make them modernized and use the modern technologies and do not oppose much against loss of bio-diversity and IKS, the rural people, the most of which are the Rajbanshis, in Bidhan Nagar area of North Bengal, have made protest against any kind of land alienation. Land alienation is a more serious issue for the rural folks than rapid process of modernization and even Globalization in a Leftist State and that could lead them up to the way of generating terrorist activities, disintegration, protection, autonomy and claiming for a protected land through the formation of a separate state in the name of historicity, language, culture and ethnicity that they have nearly forgot for a long period and need to restudy them. Even this type of movement has got a passive support from frustrated bulk of non-Rajbanshi folks associated with the peasantry at least on the moral ground. This sense of attachment with land therefore is to be studied to invade the authenticity of saying the Rajbanshis International Science Congress Association 19

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Indigenous Peoples. The solutions were chiefly two: separation, localization, protective land and return back to the old non-reflective domains of economy and polity far away from modernity, way back to IKS and even actual communism without any attachment with the external world and the good things that could be provided by the same; and secondly, awareness among the folk, bringing them to the mainstream, development of the human resource, involving them into the developmental works, honour to their tradition, attaining a equilibrium between the traditional and modern, awaking their IKS and acknowledging them that how parallel to the advance knowledge system IKS and their sustenance with their own identity in an integrated way is essential! If the second way could do the journey properly, development should be noticed in the way of living of the Rajbanshis not at the cost of losing their traditional culture and indigenousness. These last two things would not be then any threat to the national integrity, but promote the basic theme of Indian Civilization: Unity within Diversity. If their needs are fulfilled in the way of modernization and Globalization without causing any unwanted and forceful alteration to their cultural identity, then they would neither utilize their culture for any political achievement harmful to the others interests nor have exerted any opposition against the somewhat positive sides of Globalization process, especially when the State Machinery continues to fail improving their slandered of living. So, in this era of Globalization, neither the IKS nor the indigenous rights have lost their relevance and the issue of Indigenous Peoples remains the same.

Domains of Indigenous Knowledge This Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS) not only includes the indigenous technological knowledge traits, but also the set of knowledge traits used to maintain a folk life and that is why, IKS is also termed as Peoples Knowledge. The folk peoples are closely associated with the nature and therefore, the Indigenous Knowledge System is also found to be closely attached with the nature; this close attachment gives IKS the name of Indigenous Ecological/Environmental Knowledge System. So, known by various names, IKS is found closely attached with social, cultural, natural and human capitals within the non-reflective population. It could also be classifies into various systems of gender and International Science Congress Association 20

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age-group. Though being functional in nature, IKS is closely associated with various nonfunctional symbols of human life. S. Sengupta (2003) wrote on perception of folk environment and folk taxonomy in land domain, plant domain, animal domain, colour categories, hierarchical classification of folk food items and categories of food taste associated with natural environment. That perception was somewhat a direct interpretation of the folk cognition important for the study of ethno-science, but could not claim to be totally free from the external influence upon the language and some other contrasting modernurban phenomena as could be found there. Three villages in the industrial enclave of the west Singbhum district of Jharkhand comprising of two closely related folk communities, namely Santal and Kol were taken for the investigation. S. Banarjee, D. Basu, D. Biswas and R. Goswami (2006) have studied on Indigenous Knowledge Dissemination by means of Farmer-to-Farmer Communication. Dissemination according to them is the last of the six steps of exchange of Indigenous Knowledge through recognition and identification, validation, recording and documentation, storage in retrievable repositories, transfer and dissemination. But for what this literature seems to be the most relevant in this paper is that from here one could get the meaning, proper definitions, characteristics and foremost the typologies of indigenous knowledge traits distributed into various domains as well as about the role of different types of communication patterns in the very exchange of Indigenous Knowledge traits altogether giving it a Systematic Figurine. The authors further goes into dividing the IKS into various types at the community level each with some selected features like the area of knowledge, bearers of knowledge and manifestation of knowledge and also showing clear-cut gender based division of labor here. It also reminds us the works on Structuralism, Social Morphology, Binary

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Opposition, Models and Neo-Structuralism believing in existence of complex human mind and relationships as variables. On the basis of community study, IKS could be divided into various domains like Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Poultry, Ethno-Fishery, Artisan, Disease Treatment Ethno-Medicine and Folk Remedy, Post-Agricultural Practices, Traditional Economic and Political System and associated Technologies, Material Apparatus and related socio-facts and psycho-facts expressed by means of various symbols. Holistically, IKS and the related non-functional domains directly indicate to the different dimensions of the folk life of a community and ensure whether that community is culturally indigenous, require any kind of protective measures in the name of indigenous rights so as to preserve its own dignity, cultural identity, traditional way of living, folk wisdom and traditional rights to the nature and hence could be included within the category of Indigenous Peoples or not! Further, IKS and the related non-functional domains could collectively play important role in controlling pollution and other kinds of hazards due to one-sided implementation of modernity and disaster, both natural and man-made, at a region with a particular ecology affected by a set of inputs from the outside modern society; the material apparatus of the mainstream society could here control the movement of the vehicle of folk culture causing personality divergence and even lead up to class formation. This IKS of the Rajbanshis and other tribal communities of North Bengal and the entire Indian North East have to be thoroughly studied 1. for conservation of bio-diversity and the natural resources; 2. to revive the way of utilization of natural resources in feed-back manner in agriculture, pre and post-agricultural works (from seed preparation to harvesting and storage, including various aspects like soil stratification, land categorization, weather forecasting and notion of time, day, week, month, season and year), ethno-fishery, International Science Congress Association 22

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poultry and animal husbandry, fuel collection, wood and bamboo collection, craft making, cloth production and dying, food production and food processing, ethnomedicine, ethno-toxicology; 3. in order to understand the way of use and management of natural resources and protection of the environment in natures own way ass done by the folk peoples; 4. for preservation and continuation of related non-adaptive domains at least the religious practices and other social performances and related folk culture, the craftmaking heritage and traditional technological implementation associated with the traditional material culture; 5. for protection of folk wisdom associated with the traditional pattern of polity and economy (another non-adaptive domain); 6. for preservation of another non-adaptive domain of traditional health system and protection of mental strength (at least the effective parts) in the forms of traditional concepts about health and nutrition, food habit and ethno-medicines; 7. and lastly, to form proper balance of these three non-adaptive domains (mentioned in the point numbers 4, 5 and 6) with the modern impetus; their total replacement by the new be never possible and if at least on the hypothetical ground so, that would be simply the development without any assurance of sustenance. So, study of IKS tends to be so important. The most influential non-functional domains associated with IKS are as follows: 1. the traditional ways of disease treatment 2. the magico-religious performances 3. the traditional economy with the following issues 4. the traditional power system 5. and the education system that includes

Indigenous Community and Indigenous Peoples A community being closely associated with forestry and peasantry with a given set of indigenous knowledge traits is treated as an indigenous community. These indigenous International Science Congress Association 23

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communities are once considered as the ethnic minorities staying inside or close to the forest region, more exclusively the scheduled categories like the Scheduled Tribes in India. But now the label of indigenous community or indigenous population is considered in a broader perspective so as to include the whole sector of rural communities, close or remote to the modern access, maintaining the attributes of Folk Life, indigenous technological skills, traditional ways of Environmental Management System, Disaster Management, Weather Forecast, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Poultry, EthnoFishery, Disease Treatment and Ethno-Medicine, traditional economic and political organizations and so on, at least to some extent. Such characteristics might be found beyond any forest-based tribal community and into the circumference of agriculturist tribal communities as well as caste societies and the complex type of agrarian rural society based on peasantry. They might be even connected with the urban-industrial sectors basically through the rural to urban migration, womenfolk and various types of communication by means of kinship, economic and religious ties. So, the IKS has actually a wider periphery but it gradually vanishes along with the increasing distance from the original habitat of the folk community associated with a specific type of ecosystem and bio-diversity. IKS could also be found beyond the folk community within which it originates, might be in a diluted form, through the very processes of migration, diffusion or culture contact between culture areas facilitating the process of acculturation of cultural traits. So, now basically the village peoples in a broader sense are collectively included under the category of indigenous community and when the discussion is going on the issue of protection and violence of the Rights of these indigenous communities and their folk life, it is all about the Indigenous Peoples. The terminology Indigenous Peoples is synonymous with the terms like aborigines, aboriginal peoples, native peoples, first peoples, first nations, autochthones and so on known differently in different parts of the World. So, now the term Indigenous Peoples is being used in a greater sense and that includes the scheduled, the non-scheduled and the excluded tribal communities and any non-tribal community sharing the Folk Life and assuring close attachment with the

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locality inhabited. Its periphery has now been expanded from the forest dwelling stalks up to the rural communities overlapped by both folk life and peasantry. This concept of Indigenous Peoples is closely associated with the study of poverty, human rights, indigenous rights, land and forest rights, bio-piracy and illegal knowledge transfer, globalization and market system, human resource development and implementation of modernity, setting up of urban-industrial sectors and economic growth, anti-globalization anti-capitalist movements and need of sustainable development to condemn these agitations and the risks of terrorism and national disintegration by forming a balance between the World Views of traditional and the concepts of modern societies, decision-making system for the Policy Makers in Governance about minority development-poverty eradication-economic growth-community development in terms of health, education and social welfare and so on. In the Journal of International Development, S.C. Babu, B. Rajsekaran and D.M. Warren (1991) published an article on how the Indigenous Peoples possessed certain trends of Natural Resource Management within them, highly integrated with their culture and social processes, thus contributing into the protection of nature and the process of Sustainable Development In Agriculture through application of their effective but alternative technologies in terms of bio-fertilizers, indigenous and natural way to control the pests and so on; and again their negative attitudes for what they should be brought under certain level of control. B. Chaudhuri (2003) emphasized on the need of proper interaction between modern and traditional ways of disease treatment for overall betterment of the health system of the folk communities. The traditional way of disease cure was an important part of their knowledge system. That could be considered rather as a discipline highly involved in the mental construction of the folk peoples. Many of their rituals were again connected to this system and therefore, deterioration or replacement of this traditional treatment process could cause harm to the stability of the indigenous social life. Md. Ayub Mallick (2004) in a comparative study among Santal, Kora and Oraon on their socio-economic, political and religious perspectives in the rural West Bengal, emphasized more on the ways of applying development programs up on the tribal International Science Congress Association 25

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scenario; a proper study on their conception about life and life situation [in the context of the problems, the prospects, the ways of mobilization, their needs, poverty, resource and quality of information that they have got from the modern parameters] would be very helpful in understanding the proper way for their empowerment in order to make them agreed for participating in the development programs launched for them with a good quality of sustainability. Therefore, this approach could become effective in tracing out the relationship between Sustainable Development and World View of one or more tribal or folk communities living in rural societies as the Indigenous Peoples leading their traditional life in peasantry under the increasing impacts of modernity. There is actually no internationally recognized definition regarding Indigenous Peoples; it is a contemporary terminology used by various internationally recognized institutions like United Nations, International Labour Organization and World Bank. It is highly related with Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Knowledge System as well as Indigenous Rights. The term Indigenous Peoples could again be defined in a very meaningful way and that follows like this: Indigenous Peoples are those cultural groups (and their descendants) having historical continuity (or association) to a region ( parts of a region) or formerly or currently inhabit the region either 1. before its subsequent colonization 2. or, alongside other cultural groups (during the formation of a Nation-State) 3. or, independently or largely isolated from the influence of the claimed governance by a Nation-State. Indigenous Peoples are supposed to be differentiated in some degrees from the surrounding populations and dominant culture. Even if all these criteria are fulfilled, some peoples may either not considered themselves as indigenous or may not be considered as indigenous by governments, organizations or scholars. Responses to non-Indigenous Peoples, dominant culture, western-modern civilization, modern political and economic machinery, State and State Policies, cultural diversity, International Science Congress Association 26

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Nation-State and Multiculturalism, Market Economy, Globalization, Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism, Cultural Lag (occurred due to non-functional attitude of the traditional religious and other cultural beliefs and practices, health system, politico-economic domain); and lastly, Social Transformations due to replacement of the non-functional domains by new form of political or economic activities) are highly important here. There might be handful of modern impetus very essential for a primitive society and at the same time, some sorts of IKS applicable in the mainstream; but for the rest part, a better understanding between traditional and modern is always required through proper way of communication and knowledge awareness program. Indigenous rights are highly integrated with the on-going debate between development and sustainable development.

Indigenous Rights Instead of being no universal scale for measuring indigenousness, the concern about Indigenous Knowledge System and Indigenous Peoples is day by day growing up in India since 1990s at various dimensions, for example, Peoples Science, Traditional Knowledge System, Indigenous Technological Knowledge, Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge, Ethno-medicine, Folk life, Indigenous Environmental Knowledge and so forth (mainly for reducing the harmful effects caused by pollution, unidirectional and highly exploitative modern technological implementation for the sake of rapid technological development, economic growth, modernization and market economy in this era of Globalization. In the Tenth Five Year Planning, emphasis has been given on Sustainable Development. Moreover, ILO has postulated some indigenous rights on the global basis and not specifically concentrating on a single indigenous community, included all of them under Indigenous Peoples- the broadest category for them. Indigenous Rights construct a wide domain of study and are intimately condensed with Actually, Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Rights are very intimately related to each other. Indigenous Rights encompass the domains like general policy (1-12), land (13-19), recruitment and conditions of employment(20), vocational training (21-23), handicrafts and rural industries (21-23), social security and health (24-25), Education and means of communication (26-31), International Science Congress Association 27

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contracts and co-operations across borders (32), administration (33), general provisions (34-36)- applicable to all the indigenous communities brought under the common umbrella of Indigenous Peoples [ as recommended in ILO International Conventions and Recommendations 1919-1991 Vol. II (1963-1991)International labour Office Geneva]. The indigenous communities or even a community with a IKS may be included within this largest domain of Indigenous Peoples: not for only sustainable development or community development, knowing each other properly or formation of a balance between traditional and modern, but also to stop their complete transformation and protect their potentiality to provide their environmental services (according to the IKS). In a more formal side, legalistic and academic setting, these rights are also related with other aspects like prevention of bio-piracy, illegal knowledge and technology transfer and in favor of sustainable development, basic Human Rights, Women Rights, Rights for the tribal communities, Intellectual Property Rights as well as suitable management of the various capitals likewise, nature capital, social capital, culture capital, human capital, intellectual capital, instructional capital and knowledge capital (in the forms of knowledge management, human resource management, natural resource management and so on). So, the concept of Indigenous Peoples therefore includes the aspects like folk life, indigenous communities, IKS, human rights, collective rights of an indigenous community, indigenous rights, sustainable development, proper communication with isolated peoples, knowledge awareness, culture survival of the indigenous communities, existence of the ethnic minorities, their historical attachment with the specific geography they inhabit, as well as the processes like Colonialism, Neo-Colonialism and Globalization. Bartholomew Dean and Jerome Levi, 2003, put emphasis on cultural and linguistic preservation, land rights, ownership and exploitation of natural resources, political determination and autonomy, environmental degradation and incursion, as well as from the from the side of the humanists living in the modern society, poverty, health and discrimination or inequality. These same issues could be different from the view point of indigenous societies and the non-indigenous view-point. It has also to be worked International Science Congress Association 28

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out that why and how the situation of Indigenous Peoples is improving in some places of the world, while their human rights continue to be abused in others. A Brief Note on Rajbanshis Here the discussion is specially pointed towards the Rajbanshi Social Fold staying in the plains of North Bengal under the state West Bengal (India). Rajbanshis are also found in the adjoining territories of Bangladesh, Assam, Bihar and Nepal. North Bengal comprises of Malda, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Cooch Bihar districts and two additional districts Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling that contain included areas from Royal Kingdom of Bhutan and formerly Princely State Sikkim. This has to be seen that whether a complex social fold like the Rajbanshis here from their historical perspective could be termed as Indigenous Peoples! West Bengal is a state out of total 29 such states and 6 Union Territories of India surrounded by countries like Nepal (Hindu dominance); Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Tibetan Autonomous Territory of China and Myanmar (Buddhist dominance); and Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asian states (like Uzbekistan), Bangladesh and Maldives (Muslim dominated). Northern portion of West Bengal is called as North Bengal and it still includes several excluded foothill regions from Sikkim and Bhutan. North Bengal is a multicultural region and Rajbanshi is a prominent element among them. They are also found in neighboring Purnia (Purnea) region of Bihar, Jhapa district of Morang region of Nepal foothills, Brahmaputra valley of Assam and Rangpur-Dinajpur part of Rajshahi division of Bangladesh. Rajbanshis also exist in middle of the state (Malda). Rajbanshi and Kashyapa are common identities of so many people in South Asia. Rajbanshis of North Bengal are overlapped with Koch, Mech, Pundra, pani-Koch, Khen, Kiranti, Desia, Pulia and so many. So, they may behave like community and show both tribal and nontribal affinities. Rajbansis constitute the backbone of the agrarian social structure on the planes of northern West Bengal. They have been thoroughly nourished by these animists, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic as well as Western connectivity; and could also claim their belongingness to the ancient state of Paundrawardhana of undivided Bengal. These rulers typically of Kashyapa-Bratya Kshattriya combination have now turned down to the status of simply International Science Congress Association 29

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agriculturists and in northern West Bengal and its adjoining areas and developed themselves as the Rajbansis. These people allied over various tribe and caste groups have gradually transformed from a simple community to a huge complex heterogeneous Social Fold. The latter has been incorporated with various aspects like Animism, pre-Aryan and Aryan versions of Hinduism, various mythical elements, Buddhism, Tantraism, Kashyap/ Bratya-Kshattriya combination, quasi-egalitarian versions (Sufism and Vaishnavism), status mobilization (Kshattriyaization/ approximately started from the date of RajputMughal interference on Cooch Behar state) and Western impact on local economy and polity (during rule of British and their Native Collaborators). The total population of West Bengal at 2001 Census has been 80,176,197. Of these 18,452,555 persons are Scheduled Castes (SCs), constituting 23 per cent of the total population of the state. The Rajbanshi and Namasudra having more than 32 lakhs population each constitute 35.8 per cent of the total SC population of the state.
Statement-1: Population and Proportion of Sixteen Major SCs of West Bengal, 2001 Census
SL. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Name of the Scheduled Caste All Scheduled Castes Rajbanshi Namasudra Bagdi Pod Bauri Chamar Jalia Kaibartta Hari Dhoba Sunri (excluding Saha) Dom Jhalo Malo Lohar Mal Kaora Tiyar Total Population 18,452,555 3,386,617 3,212,393 2,740,385 2,216,513 1,091,022 995,756 409,303 390,619 369,808 317,543 316,337 293,714 279,582 273,641 263,731 195,340 Proportion to the total SC population 100 % 18.4 17.4 14.9 12.0 5.9 5.4 2.2 2.1 2.0 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.1

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Statement-2: Literacy Rate among Sixteen Major SCs of West Bengal, 2001 Census

SL. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Name of the Scheduled Caste All Scheduled Castes Rajbanshi Namasudra Bagdi Pod Bauri Chamar Jalia Kaibartta Hari Dhoba Sunri (excluding Saha) Dom Jhalo Malo Lohar Mal Kaora Tiyar

Literacy Rate Total 59.0 60.1 71.9 47.7 72.1 37.5 47.0 64.9 49.5 73.9 82.5 46.0 60.3 46.5 39.6 53.0 62.1

(above 7+ years) Male Female 70.5 46.9 72.3 47.3 80.6 62.8 60.4 34.8 83.5 59.9 51.8 22.7 58.6 34.1 74.4 54.8 61.6 36.8 83.5 63.6 92.7 71.4 58.9 32.6 68.4 51.7 61.1 31.3 51.9 26.8 64.9 40.6 73.5 50.1

Rajbansi or Rajbanshi or Rajbongshi are the agrarian caste people of North Bengal looking like a huge social fold that interacted with Kirata people as well as Mech, Rabha, Dhimal, Bodo, Koch, Khen and various other caste groups; some of them even converted into Christianity and Islam: they exhibit both highland and lowland appearance and presence in foothills and plains of Nepal, Bihar, North Bengal, pockets of North West Bangladesh and western part of Assam. Rajbanshis are mostly Hindus believing in semi-egalitarian Vaishnavism and local deities worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists by various names as well as a bit animism like worshiping river, tree and snake. Rajbanshis have so many sub branches as Koch-Rajbanshi, Pundra-Rajbanshi, Khen group, Pulia-Rajbanshi and the Deshis or the aboriginal affiliations. Rajbanshis are associated with statehoods of Pundrabardhana, Kamtapur and Koch Bihar. Rajbanshis staying near the jungle areas are very good carpenters. These carpenter Rajbanshis might International Science Congress Association 31

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have more affiliations with forest dwellers. Carpenter Rajbanshis produced good quality wooden plough and agrarian Rajbanshis cultivated the land with plough and bullock. Rajbanshis are thought to be connected with Namasudras or Kaivarthas divisible into valley or agrarian sect or jele and fishermen-cum-river route groups or jele. According to the local myths, their ancestor Koch king Hajo established the kingdom of Kampur by the end of 15th century. There is also another legend concerning the ancestry of the Rajbanshis. When Parshuram had started destroying the Chhetria dynasty in India as his father's revenge, the Chhetri kings and their people escaped to save their lives. Ancestors of Rajbanshis themselves being Chhetries fled and started living in the forests of Nepal's Morang and Jhapa by hiding. In context of Nepal, King Prithvi Narayan Shah annexed the kingdom of the Rajbanshis into a unified Nepal state. From the perspective of physical anthropology, the body structure of the Rajbanshis of Nepal looks like that of Mongol-Dravid people. However, in complexion, they bear a resemblance to the Aryas (Arians). The Rajbanshis call themselves the descendants of Suryabansi and reveal their clan (gotra) to be Kashyap. They follow Chhetri character and customs and add Singh and Rajbanshi to their names. The Kochs call themselves the Rajput Chhetris. It is also said that Koch, Bhadai, Pulia and Desia including the Rajbanshi caste are the Dravidian castes of north-east and east Bengal. They are also thought to be the mixture of the Mongoloid blood but they use Brahmins as priests in some of their religious rituals and follow the Hindu religion. There is no discrimination by status and level in their community. They can marry their co-lineage partners under the conditions of seven generations gap. The Kamta kingdom appeared in the western part of the older Kamarupa kingdom in the 13th century, after the fall of the Pala dynasty. The rise of the Kamta kingdom marked the end of the ancient period in the history of Assam and the beginning of the medieval period. The first rulers were the Khens, who were later displaced by Alauddin Hussain Shah, the Turko-Afghan ruler of Bengal. Though Hussain Shah developed extensive administrative structures, he could not maintain political control and the control went to the Koch dynasty. The Koch Rajbanshis called themselves Kamateshwars (the rulers of Kamta/Kamtapur Kingdom), but their influence and expansions were so International Science Congress Association 32

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extensive and far reaching that their kingdom is sometimes called the Koch kingdom. Under His Highness Maharaja Naranarayan the then King of Kamtapur, the Koch dynasty flourished to the highest extent and his brother Shukladhwaj Singha (famous as Chilarai) was one of the greatest heroes of that time and he prominently dominated the eastern part of Kamtapur which now known as Assam (Previously Assam was known as Pragjyotispur; locally as Asom) which is an integral part of the Republic of India. The Rajbanshi community has a rich heritage and culture which had been inherited from the ancient civilization. The Rajbanshi community has their own dialects, culture and way of living. The culture reflects the humbleness, peace, unity and harmony with nature, as Rajbanshi are primarily animist. A few rulers, kings, queens, princes and princesses of the Koch dynasty are His Highness Maharaja Naranarayan, Prince Chilaray, Maharani Gayatri Devi, (Princess Gayatri Devi later on married Prince of Jaipur Man Singh) which had helped a strong relationship between the two kingdoms. Maharaja Ajit Narayan Dev of Sidli (Capial at Bidyapur) Kingdom was also part of the Koch dynasty. Actually, the first work on Rajbanshis was done by C. C. Sanyal (1965) who wrote on the Rajbanshi community of North Bengal, with its own cultural heritage and their origin and important position even at the Indian context. According to him, these peoples were basically indigenous in nature, but involved in peasantry and associated with various agriculture related rituals, often acted as permanent agriculturists, established marital relationships with other sub-ordinates, underwent through the processes like Vaishnavization and Kshattriyaization, highly affected by Nathism, modified their traditional folk rituals so as to incorporate them into the Hindu fold, created the category of Kamrupi Brahmans and transformation of the pro-Paundra Kshattriyas Rajbanshis up to the level of pro-Indian Koch-Rajbanshi community against all the Bhutanese interference in this buffer region. These Koch-Rajbanshis soon became the most dominating caste group with their relations with both other tribal and non-tribal ethnic communities during the entire Mughal Regime in Bengal up to the end of the British rule. Still these peoples maintain their folk life and possess their own values, norms, customs, symbols and exclusive way of exerting expressions. These things would surely be helpful International Science Congress Association 33

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in determining their attachment with the land with a definite historicity. The author also provided handful of information on material culture, house type, folk songs, rites-depassage, types of marriage as well as riddles found among the Rajbanshis. On the other hand, S.R. Mondal (2006a,b) discussed about the huge cultural diversity leading to a multicultural situation in North Bengal; this situation has been typically formed by the involvement of various ethnic communities consisting of tribal and non-tribal small and large indigenous and non-indigenous categories distributed throughout the diversified landscape; the diversity in the ecosystems of North Bengal varying from region to region never let them to adopt the same occupation and therefore they have to chose different lines in order to satisfy their energy requirements. They might be from the banner of the Nepali ethnic communities or the fold constructed by the multilingual Adivasi tribal groups or the caste groups belonging to the Bengalis allied with the Rajbanshi social fold connected with other small tribal sub-ordinates like Mech, Bodo, Rabha, Toto, Dhimal and so many. These communities living in villages and involved in peasantry or other non-subsistence type of economy in their traditional life have certainly become possessor of some kind of IKS. These IKS are the means of their livelihood and at the same time the important assets of the whole population of this North Bengal. In case of the Rajbanshi, it could be said that this extra-caste and extra-tribe ethnic category should have once an enriched IKS, but now loosing very rapidly. These peoples on the track of modernization are more akin to form a huge social fold within the multicultural construction of North Bengal. Their IKS should therefore vary in different regions as being subjected to external influences mainly coming through material apparatus as well as to the various non-adaptive domains like size of the population, religion, traditional politico-economic and educational organizations, health system, ecosystem and bio-diversity. So, the Indigenous Knowledge System of the Rajbanshis could therefore be taken to query the extent to which their Social Fold remains indigenous, needs protection from the side of indigenous rights, is close to land-nature-natural happenings and could therefore be fallen under the category of Indigenous Peoples. It is a fact that Rajbanshis of North Bengal are continuously facing off various types of challenges against their sustenance, International Science Congress Association 34

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preservation of the cultural identity, the traditional way of living and protection of their self-dignity. The pressure is creating upon both their traditional technologies and IKS as well as the non-adaptive part of the folk life again associated with IKS. So, there is a challenge of losing the IKS by new types of material apparatus (civilizational tool kits) and transformation of the non-adaptive domain that is the culture. The non-reflective domains involve traditional religious organization, health system, politico-economic system, educational system, values, norms, customs, socio-cultural performances that could only be replaced but not altered whereas the functional aspects includes traditional technologies, traditional way of disaster management, bio-diversity management, ethnomedicine plantation, agriculture, animal husbandry and poultry, ethno-fishery, ethnotoxicology, fuel collection, house construction, fodder preparation, water use, soil use, forest use, control and use of fire, storage, folk cookery, food preservation, folk craft, production and use of cloth and ornamentation, production and use of crop, fiber, alcohol and fruits; use of betel leaf and betel nut with lime and tobacco; lime production, application of lime in fishery, construction, remedy and food; honey collection, floriculture, fruit and vegetable production, sericulture, smoking and drug addiction, pottery and utensil, production and use of colour, production of garments, handlooms, carpentry, collection of raw materials, material culture and the dialect. Some such indigenous knowledge traits regarding the agriculture of the Rajbanshi community gave been mentioned here: 1. Rajbanshis are basically agriculturists. Their prime traditional occupation is crop cultivation. As they inhabit this land for so long period, they should contain good amount of agriculture in the specific ecologies of North Bengal. This indigenous knowledge traits regarding various crop varieties, would not only help in production of healthy varieties of food crop growing naturally, but also to apply the nature friendly ways of agriculture suitable at their highest level. 2. These knowledge traits collectively act as a system and form the indigenous agricultural knowledge system of the Rajbanshi society. 3. Knowledge traits gradually loose with time and that is no exception for Indigenous Knowledge System of the Rajbanshis. The external impacts like modernization and International Science Congress Association 35

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unidirectional development, incorporation of monetary system, market economy and political structure according to Indian Constitution have done a lot to this. That does not mean that these systems are bad for Rajbanshi indigenous community. 4. But this is also true that these non-functional domains are helpful in protection of these indigenous knowledge traits. Functional knowledge traits actually depend a lot up on these non-subsistent domains for their long existence. 5. However, loss of these functional traits could not do much harm to the associated beliefs with non-subsistent domains; exclusively among the Rajbanshis, this has produced a cultural lag. The peoples here has been either modernized or rapidly modernizing, but still now strictly maintain their traditional heritage and beliefs. This would be very helpful in documenting their indigenous knowledge traits and the system they have formed. A crop variety and exclusive type of its cultivation and processing could be still survived in the present date of hybrid crops and chemical substances like manure and pesticides only because of its religious importance. 6. This kind of thing is again helpful in protection of a variety from being lost and therefore goes in favor of protection of bio-diversity. 7. These approaches would ultimately helpful in prevention of application of harmful pesticides, non- biodegradable substances, synthetic hormones to shed off the unwanted herbs or to ripen the crop artificially and genetically modified crops that would replace the local varieties. 8. Loss of local varieties could actually create an adverse effect upon the food chains in the ecosystem that would not be managed through the incorporation of new crops brought to meet the increasing levels of human needs. 9. Along with these modified disease resistant varieties and application of chemical substances in nature, the microbes could laterally alter their genetic configuration and become more active and more resistant. Therefore, in order to control them, more and more money have to be expended and the solution would nothing but temporary. 10. Pollution could spread in this way to everywhere like the soil, the water, the ground water, the air and even the psycho-cultural features of the Indigenous Peoples and their

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mechanical simple ways of living long away from the concepts of exploitation, poverty and personal property. 11. In case of the Rajbanshis, these peoples have themselves accepted the modern economic system and political machinery; interestingly they are associated with the modern educational systems. These transformations have provided them various good things, but caused them to go beyond the IKS they maintained for thousand years. These would destroy the nature friendly ways of activities, feed backs and the concept of living within nature with the aid of nature. These would further bring in unidirectional ways of exploitation. 12. Sometimes, these peoples oppose the incorporation of modern facilities in the fear of loosing their own heritage and folk life. These things would further go against the process of development and sustainable development both; here what are recurrently needed are process of mutual understanding, respect to each other and World Views and proper way of communication and awareness. 13. The traditional system of religious festivals associated with agriculture, other productive domains, natural or other types of disasters, climate and seasonal change, fertility, ritesde-passage, psychic strength, curing disease and traditional medicinal system are very important in this occasion; out of all the non-reflective domains, only these have been still survived. Here within the Rajbanshi social fold, IKS is found functional but highly related to the relatively non-functional domains like religion (creating a culture lag due to formation of a disequilibrium between rapidly modifying material aspects and the traditional values) and caste system (provided with status mobility, structural changes, constitutional and legal provisions, human rights, caste-class nexus, caste-class-power nexus, public-private nexus). Other less-important non-functional domains are intrinsically related with the traditional politico-economic aspects and health cure system (now in the process of replacement by modern machinery). The caste system has indigenously developed across the Indian sub-continent and becomes associated with the religious beliefs and the social practices among the Hindus sufficient to give it a hierarchical structure, practically or ideologically, as well as among International Science Congress Association 37

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the non-Hindus in the form of more or less ascribed economic categories related with agriculture without any religious provisions. The caste system itself is related with Indigenous Knowledge System providing a patterned division of labor needed for the societies with only agriculture and no trade at large scale, until it has been misused and become exploitative in nature. The caste system becomes either absent or quite invalid when the peoples in a rural society shed off their traditional values and knowledge system, change their traditional close-ended economy, become extremely urban, heterogeneous, individualistic, atomistic, dependent highly up on technological progress and do not bother much about the religious system. This type of social process on hypothetical ground would lead to an absolute social transformation and complete loss of traditional values, culture, norms, customs, identity and cause crisis to the culture survival, sustainability and civilization and at the real basis, could result into high level conflict and complete destruction that have not yet happened in case of the Rajbanshis.

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I: ATTACHMENT WITH THE LAND AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (With special reference to Rajbanshi Community of North Bengal in the Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent)
Renowned for its rich biosocial diversity, the six northern districts of West Bengal have constructed the region of North Bengal with a unique geographical variation. The various indigenous populations present here with their specific cultural heritage have developed their separate identities actually because of the numerous ways they have to adjust and interact with their ecosystem. Shift from one ecosystem to the other or change within the ecosystem itself have the audacity to put an impact upon the ways of living: the affected community thus may enter into the struggle for its acclimatization in that new environment and to accommodate with the earlier inhibitors, or have to use other type of material apparatus than their traditional ones, acculturate certain other kind of values and norms through the way of culture contact, select new words and terminologies- language and way of speech-beliefs and ideas- ideology of the life and way of justifying the truth- methods for biodiversity management and rights about the knowledge system regarding healthcare and technologies involved in production, food practices and food ways and ultimately the folk life and interaction of man nature supernatural . And still it depends upon the community itself about what to be followed and up to what extent and by which way. His World View may undergo a change, but it would not be so simple and depends up to His will-force and mental strength to allow or protest against the stimuli responsible for any kind of cultural or social or structural change or any type of mobility within his society. Theses are nothing else than the stimuli that have the power to transform the society in actual. These stimuli are of various forms: educational institution, religious organization, constitutional provision, power within the word, ethnicity, movements, agrarian relations, mode of production, labor class, labor unions, labor mobility, population composition, internal and external links, certain broad identity, attachment to semi-urban and urban areas, middle class dominance, faction International Science Congress Association 39

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within religion oriented class hierarchy between elites and labor class, Panchayeti Raj, political participation, market economy, effect of Globalization in local level, generation and gender. Here the discussion is specially pointed towards the Rajbanshi Social Fold staying in the plains of North Bengal under the state West Bengal. (Rajbanshis are also found in the adjoining territories of Bangladesh, Assam, Bihar and Nepal). This has to be seen that whether a complex social fold like the Rajbanshis here from their historical perspective could be termed as Indigenous Peoples!

Pre-Colonial Perspective of Indian Society (With Special Reference to Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent Including North Bengal)
In pre-colonial period, the most important reasons behind this autonomous nature of a village were firstly, the caste system formed indigenously as a hierarchical obligatory division of labor based on close-ended traditional occupational system among the purely agriculturist communities each living in a specific ecological zone of fixed geographical region with some sorts of fixed norms, customs, religious beliefs and cultural values; and secondly, exchange of caste-services in the name of jajmani system (a both way service exchange system between more prestigious rank or the jajman and sub-ordinate domain or kamin; shift from both-way to one-way service system (exploitative; from the kamin to big land holders); kamins being treated as dhangar and extended members in the family as halua; simple reciprocity may exist there o A village can be designated as little republic from political point of view or a village community while emphasizing more upon the nature of inter-relationships among its members which is found to be more social (intra-caste or inter-caste) than economic (contract basis or rational). Some kind of religious impetus with International Science Congress Association 40

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the dream of formation of Utopia is also actively associated with this. Neighborhood relationship, friendship, caste association with horizontal solidarity, inter-village conflicts bringing in vertical type of solidarity, kinship, lineage, clan and various types of informal relationships are chiefly responsible behind the very formation of unity within the village giving it a shape of rural cosmopolitan on a ground of cultural homogenization. This feeling of close association is not restricted within person to person relationship, but spreads into the man-nature-supernature triangle. That is why, the villagers regard village more pious than the urban center. The inadequacy of all the caste groups in a village may result in the formation of a villager cluster. But still there were some sorts of social, economic, religious or political relationships with the urban centers from the hoary past that prevented the village society from becoming exclusively isolated and therefore they as the minor sub-centers and centers have remained connected with the big centers in the forms of religious, military, administrative or trade centers. These big centers were provided with certain basic phenomena like a. conspicuous consumption, b. kinship association, c. caste-based or ethnicity oriented, d. fixed boundary of the urban center and e. habitation of the poor outside the wall who came later on from the countryside for alternative occupation. In case of North Bengal in the Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent; it could be said that the indigenous Kirata type of tribal stalks have now been transformed into Hinduism and Vaishnavism in different occasions. The concept of Rajbanshi or the Royal Dynasty has been very old. In North Bengal, it probably came first with the excluded ruling categories or Bratya-Khattriyas from ancient mythical kingdom of Paundrabardhana of present day Indo-Bangladesh fled into the Teesta-Torsa plains. Those people might have International Science Congress Association 41

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tribal affiliations and connections with the pre-Vedic Aryanism on the other side. These excluded Kshattriyas were hence chiefly called as Paundra-Kshattriya, Upa-Paundra or Bratya-Kshattriya and actually spread throughout Bengal. The stalk entered in North Bengal and set up the temple of Shiva in Mainaguri area of todays Jalpaiguri district and in this way, a new kingdom in the eastern part of North Bengal including Jalpaiguri, Cooch Bihar/Koch Bihar and Rangpur region was thus gradually developed. These people should have admixture with the aborigines of Kiranti or Kirata type and others. Those agriculturist Bratya Kshattriyas were spread among the indigenous Kirata elements thereafter started addressing themselves as the Rajbanshis due to Royal designation. Both started praying the same fertility cults and the cult of Shiva and became the bearer of the same cultural heritage. Later on, the region was highly affected by Buddhism: Buddhist institutions like Mahashangarh at Bogra or Pundranagara the river port highlighting ancient trans-national trade from Tibeto-Bhutan and Jelep-La (way to Jalpaiguri) to Bay of Bengal. The place was linked up with Irano-Afghanistan and Far East. Political establishment of Buddhist Kushana/ pro-Kushana king Jalpa at Jalpesh (the sacred temple site) has become a myth. The temple as previously said in Mainaguri was actually founded by the Bratya-Kshattriyas or the Paundra in exile. So, Buddhism was mixed up here with the earlier agrarian and pre-agrarian traditions, trade routes and legacy of the Rajbanshi designation. There is no gold mine today, but according to some local references, such mines were there in Barind ridge and river sand. Some also point out that the megalith in the Jalpesh temple is actually outer space object. Islamic expansion rapidly assimilated Buddhists and lower caste Hindus, which caused initiation of the counter-approaches among the non-Muslims in the ways of Nathism and Vaishnavism. Interestingly, Islam was brought in into Pundrabardhan or Mahasthan or Bogra or Dinajpur Rajshahi by the formerly Buddhist peoples of Afghanistan as they under the rule of Kiderite Kushanas and Kambojas of Kabul-Bamiyan region had already converted from Buddhism and Hinduism into Islam. Sufi priests from Balkh were contributed the highest. Balkh or Bactria was center of the Indo-Greeks. Islam was rapidly occupying the place of Buddhism that had lost its old glory and potency to provide the alternative rank path against the rigid Hindu values, customs and International Science Congress Association 42

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norms related to caste system. In this way, the Rajbanshi has become a huge social fold encompassing the Kiratas, the Paundra Kshattriyas, the Kushanas, the Buddhist elements, the tribal strains, Palas, Kamboja Palas, Sahas, merchants, several Bengali caste groups, Muslims (converted especially in the time of Afghan Rulers), Kochs, Paulia and so on. The fold is closely or remotely associated with Assamese people, Bodo tribal fold, Garos, Moghs, Khens, Bengalis and even peoples living in Mithilanchala of BiharNepal sub-Himalayan pocket. Hindu Great Traditions were gathered here by the priestly categories of Mithila, South Bengal, Varanasi (North India) and Odisha. The Rajbanshis are now basically Hindus trying to obtain a higher caste order at per the rank or status of Kshattriyas; the priest category among Rajbanshis for the folk deities is known as Adhikari, for Hindu deities as Kamrupi Brahman, in case of Vaishnavism as Goswami and for the Naths as Yugis. Kochs were actually from the Bodo tribal fold like Mech and Rabha, but included themselves under the Rajbanshi Social Fold (Koch-Rajbanshi). Some of them compare themselves at per the Rajputs and used the title of Roy Burman or Deb Burman and actually behaved as a higher caste category. Rajbanshi as a term is also used in other parts of Bengal and India which might not be connected with Paundras, rather other types of (excluded) Kshattriyas. The common clan name of all these excluded Kshattriyas (and their followers) is Kashyap as it is believed that the Hindu Monk Kashyap of Kashmir protected them from complete destruction by Vedic Hindus. Indeed, there was a war (or several wars) in North India among the Aryan tribes: some in favor and other against the admixture with local agriculturists. So, instead of calling the Rajbanshis of North Bengal a community, it would be better to designate them a greater complex social fold with its own historicity continued in colonial and post-colonial periods.

Colonial Perspective of Indian Society (With Special Reference to Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent Including North Bengal)
Urbanization in its actual form therefore initiated in India with the introduction of western civilization in Indian trade centers and formation of class system and middle International Science Congress Association 43

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class category with some caste attachments. So, the concentration had automatically gone in favor of the urban sector and the western-modern impetus fallen there upon the ancient civilizations, pre-Vedic Aryanism, tribalism, magic, ancient trade routes, regional statehood beyond the Shahi tradition, alternatives of so many types, peasantry and tribal domains against the British policies implemented over the folk. The British authority gradually started realizing the potency and importance of the peoples living in the rural areas and forestlands in respect to India as a Nation. Gradually, the authority started studying the tribal communities, the caste groups and the racial composition in Indian subcontinent afterwards the implementation of British Imperialism over the SubContinent in during 18th and 19th century that ultimately reasoned into the foundation of the Asiatic Society, colleges, medical institutions, universities and anthropological institutions and departments besides publishing Gazette Notifications.

Permanent Settlement System The British Government in India implemented various types of tenancy in different parts of South Asia falling under their direct control; the first of those was Permanent Settlement System and the rest two were Rayotwari and Mahalwari Settlement Systems. In Permanent Settlement System implemented in eastern part of Sub-Continent, the peasant had no legal authority on his land or other property in the village, but only the right to cultivate the land as a tenant at will of the Landlord. Landlord was the supreme authority to decide that whether to let the tenant continue cultivation and use any type of property on the land belonging to him. He often misused his power over the poor tenants and besides cultivation, held unofficial taxation in the name of rites-de-passage, housing, animal husbandry, grazing, trade and business, market, road and river transport, pond and other water sources, forest and forest produces like trees, fire wood and so on. Rajbanshis and other rural folks living in the parts of North Bengal, eastern part of North Bihar and northern part of Bangladesh previously under the Mughals and thereafter beneath direct control of the Bengal Presidency of the British Regime were therefore got affected by that system unlike those elements living within princely province of Koch Behar. Rajbanshis generally preferred settled agriculture where the labor was supplied from their International Science Congress Association 44

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own joint-extend family structure. Under a common headman, they cultivated huge portion of land in season time; agriculture was subsistent type. In other time, they used to go for processing, preserving, marketing, exchanging things, grazing, fallowing, fishing, local level small game hunting and vegetable propagation in kitchen garden or upland by homestead land. The British East India Company in Kolkata in the later half of 18th century successfully conquered the eastern part of Indian Sub-Continent and the eastern coastal region from Andhra to Madras. No doubt that had helped in establishment of their monopoly over trade and market as well as in the very process of collection of raw materials and the products produced by the local producers there. The Company, its employees and other free traders from Britain with special permit were habituated with tax-free business, export and import and even providing those special facilities to their native associates. They together under the banner of Company established their monopoly over the trade of essential commodities, salt, silk, clothing and dye and also demanded commission from the native producers in the villages and the small businessmen during their transactions. Corruption, bribe, money lending and middlemen were there. These tax collectors often resulted into severe exploitation of both the peasants and the local landowners (old landlords and big farmers). Within 1760-1800 A.D. peasants under these local rulers or other religious personalities agitated in Rangpur, Rajshahi, Purnia, Bagura (Bogra), Barind and Dinajpur covering the plains and highlands of North Bengal, northern parts of Bangladesh and eastern part of North Bihar. They eventually attacked Dacca and Patna, but that agitation was condemned forcefully. Beyond the territory of North Bengal that kind of movements were found in jungle areas of Midnapore, princely state of Tipura, remote islands at the river mouth on Bay of Bengal and Sunderban mangroves. These areas were also very important for being situated on the old alternative tracks of Spice and Silk Route, politico-economic interference of Tibeto-Burmese authorities belonging to Buddhist World, presence of Arab and Mediterranean traders and also semi-independent activities of local rulers throughout the Mughal period and before. So, implementation of such exploiting machinery over peasantry and trade was probably a continuation of the process towards International Science Congress Association 45

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bringing in these agitating and semi-independent elements into the mainstream. Actually these places including North Bengal were populated by the local ethnic peoples who might be converted into Islam or not. Many of them even remained as the indigenous tribal communities mixed up with Tantaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Vaishnavism and Christianity. Mentors (with a strong control over the religious beliefs of local folk people praying to the fertility cults, Shiva and other local deities) also played a crucial role to guide these movements. These peoples had their full faith in the local forms of Islam and the egalitarian fold of Hinduism in the form of Vaishnavism. These two might be contrasting features to each other, but expressed the same message of social equality and peoples dignity. The traditional Muslim authorities living there long before the Mughal occupancy were gradually incorporated into the mainstream along with Kshattriyaized and Rajputaized Hindu authorities and tribal lords. In that context the Rajbanshi Social Fold within Cooch Behar princely state, Jalpaiguri and other parts of North Bengal was not any exception and today Rajbanshis are designated with Scheduled Caste provision. The British invested that huge amount of ransom in wars, purchasing items from the local markets of Bengal, conducting business with Far East, paying the royalty to the shareholders in Britain, paying tax to the Mughal Government and the British Government and also spending a lot for proper maintenance for the administration at Bombay and Madras Presidencies. However, the British authority realized the necessity to appease the landlords and bring them under their sub-ordination. In return to complete political obedience, they fixed the amount of rent forever and stopped renewal of tenancy from 1793 A.D. onwards upto 1870s. The British wanted to anyhow establish their supremacy over the Bengal and eastern coast of Indian Peninsula served as the first and the second dumping stations for the products passing through Silk and Spice Routes. After the implementation of Permanent Settlement System in eastern part of the SubContinent, within 20-25 years either the old Landlords were replaced by the new or had to pay total obedience to the authority. They paid a fixed amount of tax to the Company and got the unwritten permission to break down the self-dignity of the rural Bengal International Science Congress Association 46

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completely that was just opposite to the mainland India and not prepared to be incorporated many of those traders-cum-landlords of Kolkata helped the British to transfer their unauthorized income after converting the money into diamond or through other European companies in their contact. The peasants have therefore completely lost the shelter and the old Landlords behaving like semi-independent kings failed to protect their subjects. Implementation of monetary economy and the new rule to pay the tax in currency further pressurized the tenants to sell all their products at lower price ion order to collect the same, because only after paying the tax in time, one could retain the right to cultivate the land. Absence of banking system led to such situation and from the tenants those money lenders could demand interests at high rate. On non-payment of the interest in geometric ratio, they became alienated from the land and their property and transformed into bonded laborers. The British bought raw material or product from these local traders-cum-money lenders at relatively lower price and took commission from them as they had the only authority to purchase things. The British made all these payments by spending the money that they earned via taxation process from the Landlords. Due to that, Mughal currency and Star Pagoda in South India became increasingly affected by inflation and devalued. Therefore, the level of exploitation increased further. But those steps were some hard steps to incorporate the natives, folk people and peasants of indigenous types under the mainstream. Later on, British had to think in a bit different way in favor of the incorporation procedure. As a result of this, when on one side, sub-ordinates and associates of the British in Kolkata were becoming richer, many peoples getting employed, a western mode of Government was taking its form, external interferences were handled with strict measurement and a middle class along with Elite Personalities, Social Reformers and Intellectuals taking the shape; on the other side, protests by the pro-tribal or tribal communities in Midnapore, Mymensingh, Garo Hills, Tripura, Kuki area and by the Santhals in Rajmahal were broken down. Same fate was waiting for the peasant movements organized by local Bengali Muslim and others of Sunderban delta. Those protests were often organized under religious banner or had a secular nature instead. International Science Congress Association 47

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The lower caste peasants agitating against the forceful Indigo Plantation on their paddy fields took its peak during anti-slavery protests in United States. Monoculture in the plantation caused a high level scarcity of food grains, fodder for animal husbandry, straw, fiber, implements for house construction, other raw materials for the handicrafts and handloom industry and even causing damage of soil-fertility and breakdown of agrarian rural stratification. These planters behaved like money lenders and when the rent remained unpaid, they started treating the tenants as their slaves and forced them to grow indigo in exchange of nothing. They often forced an unwilling tenant to take money and cultivate indigo. After 1833 A.D., monopoly of the company was abolished and many free traders from England entered in Bengal. They instead of purchasing the product manufactured in cottage industry, bought the raw materials and with the help of modern machinery produced the product at very low cost in England and then sold that item worldwide. Therefore, generation of employment opportunities, fruits of industrialization and capitalist economy kept stored inside the geography of Britain. Railways brought these low price good quality products upto the village markets in South Asia on which cottage industries depended the most. Later on, British rulers allowed industries to grow up in various parts of South Asia. Factories were owned by civilians, Persis and native collaborators. Swadeshi movement was also becoming famous in 20th century A.D. In the mean time, British completed their mission of uniting the South Asia under one Supreme Authority with the help of some close allies; made the One India Policy a reality; ruled out all the scopes for revival of the foreign interference through Tibet, Burma, Himalayan and Sub-Himalayan tracks; opposed the revival of the ancient trade routes; defended against probable interference of continental Europe, Eurasia, Russia and Irano-Afghanistan in Punjab under Sikh control and such things. Keeping close ties with Afghanistan and Persia, the Sikhs ruled over a heterogeneous composition in Indus valley along with various ethnic groups like Kashmiri, Sindhri, Punjabi, Dogra, Paharia or Balochi. British lowered down the involvements of Tibeto-Burmese groups upon Assam and Bengal; secured the entire eastern coast of India, and Sri Lanka from becoming any dumping ground and recruited Gurkhas, Sikhs, Rajputs and other natives into their army in South Asia. International Science Congress Association 48

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So, the peasants then started realizing the absence of even a single way other than to bow down on their knees in front of the British Authority in Bengal and prevalence of the One India Policy conducted since the pre-colonial times in order to get rid of that maximum level of exploitation by the Landlords and the Planters. The princely states like Koch Behar under the Rajputaized Kshattriyaized KochRajbanshi Deb Burmans and Tripura under nearly the same type of authority took their stands in favor of this One India Policy and therefore they were neither interfered much by the Mughal-Rajput alliance nor from the side of the British; rather the British protected Tripura from the agitations made by the Tuipra tribe and their Jamatia Muslim organizations there. There were no such agitations within the Koch Behar province; but Rajbanshis, Koch-Rajbanshis, Nashya Sheikhs, Bengali Hindu castes and local Muslims in other parts of North Bengal and northern Bangladesh at that time agitated against the Permanent Settlement System. The more they expressed their faith in British government, administration and legal system, more and more effective measures were started to be taken in favor of them. The first one was the scope for a tenant to go to the court (1812 A.D.) and then appeal against the exploiter with a stronger stand point (1859 A.D.). After the Pabna insurrection in 1872 A.D. happened in a non-violence legal, the ownership of land was again returned back to the tenants, joint-extended family structures and big peasants who could at least pay the tax to concerned authority or the tax collector.

Plantation and Gorkha Regiment Here it should be mentioned properly that neither the British nor the Mughals interfered into the internal issues of Nepal. Nepal was on its way of development of a strong Hindu culture in the Central Himalayan region and to attain a certain level of independent polity under the Gurkha House there very much similar to Rajput and other sub-Shahi Hindu statehoods throughout South Asia. The Gurkha House always maintained close friendly tie with British India especially after fall of Napoleon the Great in World Politics. They joined into the Gorkha Regiment of Indian Army that successfully fought in so many battles. Nepal acted as a buffer between Sino-Tibet and mainland India, ruled over a wide patch of the sub-Himalayas and also formed so many International Science Congress Association 49

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human shields and diasporas in Sikkim, North Bengal, Bhutan foothills and North East India. Actually, all the princely states/estates of North East India, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Central India, Deccan, Mysore, extreme south, Odisha, greater Bengal, Baluchistan, Punjab and the Himalayas (basically under the Kshattriyaized Hindu rulers, pre-Vedic Aryans, sub-Shahis of various religious identities and Muslim tribal lords) had something to say in their favor. These pockets along with Sikh Occupancy in eastern Punjab (Indian portion) was treated with the policy of non-interference after assuring their whole hearted support to the Supremacy of the British Raj in South Asia. British actually checked the political expansion of Nepal into Indian Territory and made it an associate, but never created any steep obstacle against the Nepalese innovation in the Indian territories along with Sikkim already expressing support to the Supremacy of British India. Indeed, the Nepalese peoples under the banner of Hinduism, Kshattriyaization and pro-Rajput identity were crucial to tackle the next challenges like non-Shahis, Buddhist pockets, Tibeto-Burmese belt, Sino-Tibetan continuity and preagrarian tribesmen on ancient trade routes. The Nepalese with notion towards Gorkhahood recruited in Indian Army. That was quite similar to the formulation of a separate regiment and at the same time tackling semi-autonomous pockets with the formation of a human shield but with alternative economy and changed demography. That would further help in postulation of alternative policies like bringing in the tribesmen (suppose, the Nagas) under the banner of Christianity, communication with them through a common dialect of Nagamese (Assamese version used by all the Naga tribes) and lastly, formation of a westernized prosperous class close to the British and mainland Indians. The British took the policy of flooding the North East, Bhutan foothills, Sikkim and other eastern Himalayan territories by the Nepalese peoples. However, they in India and other included territories have been better treated as Nepali, Gurkha and Nepali speaking people from Nepal Himalayas. They recruited them in the Tea Estates so formed by replacing the jungles. This innovation was happened along with the Adivasi heterogeneous social fold. Similarly, the newly recovered agricultural lands in foothills and valleys were given to the permanent agrarians like Rajbanshis, Bengalis, Biharis, International Science Congress Association 50

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Santhals, Oraons, Mundas and Nepalis. A multicultural situation eventually generates changed demography and autochthones living there gradually transformed from forest dwelling herdsmen to settled agriculturalists for most of the cases.

Influence of the Peasant Movements Pabna peasant movement in Bengal (1870s) and agitation by the Santals of Rajmahal Plains of Jharkhand (1850s) along with various other tribal revolts in Choto Nagpur, Central India and Andhra were followed by various non-tribal peasant movements all over India. All these movements were the primordial proof of the fact that even in the British period when the Nationalist Movements and Social Reformations due to Westernization were being channeled into the mainstream Indian Society by the middle class intelligentsia and elites in the urban sectors and the dominant/upper castes in the villages, the rural society was successfully maintained its separate existence, attachment to their land and unique mode of transformation (such as by the Christian Missions and Hindu Ashrams). They could know that what was going around them by their own way. We should not forget that there were French colonies in South East Asia and South China; France was the land of Revolutions; from independence war of America to civil war in United Stares on the issue of slavery between industrial belt and farmlands; from Arab occupancy in extreme south of Indian peninsula to Islamic movement in certain pockets; lost civilizations; from changes in the Continental Europe to independence of the Latin and Meso American colonies; and foremost, from World Wars to independence of the colonies worldwide. The urban life and the western traits could not replace the traditional rural customs and therefore, the rural sectors have full power to decide what to accept and which one could reject! Secondly, the forest based tribal communities, agriculturist tribal groups, non-tribal peasants, caste and caste-like groupings and complex type of rural social stratification in the Indian villages are very close with one another, at least, at their cognitive level and therefore responded near about in the same manner whenever being subjected to the external interference and exploitation. The British Administration therefore had no option other than to set up some autonomous pockets for the tribal communities with some kinds of self-determination and finally International Science Congress Association 51

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integrate them in the mainstream. They are also provided with various protective measures. There is a long rank path from criminal tribes, notified tribal communities, denotified tribal peoples to Scheduled Tribe Category. The same was done for the lower caste peasant community and folk people fallen under the Scheduled Caste category. Later on, these provisions were incorporated in the Constitution of India. Provisions for protection to the Human Rights were also included within Indian Constitution.

Post-Colonial Perspective of Indian Society (With Special Reference to Eastern Part of Indian Sub-Continent Including North Bengal)
Indian Constitution opposes any type of discrimination in the name of caste hierarchy, the custom of untouchability, ethnicity, gender, economic and other types of backwardness and being minority. Eventually, various laws have been prescribed in order to abolish bonded labor system and assure the minimum wage besides procession against dowry, marriage acts, labor laws and so on. Hence, the policy makers of India could not neglect the improvement and inclusion of folk peoples living in villages beneath the tribal or non-tribal folds. They ask for implementation of policies with the aim of integration: proper balancing between folk and modern, traditional and modernity, development and sustainability; they further highlight upon proper communication and awareness, decentralization (or centralization) of power, rural development and slums, poverty eradication and awareness against gender discrimination. Moreover, an approach towards the formation of a greater fold in the name of Dalit to include all the under-privileged categories like notified, denotified and non-scheduled tribal and lower caste communities, economically backward caste and caste-like groups covering together a considerable section within the poor and the lower middle class society, untouchables and lower sections within the minorities. The poor category within upper caste groups and the entire poor class have also considered also as the underprivileged peoples. However, by the side of economic growth, improvement in the power sector, infrastructure development in terms of transportation, industry, urbanization, communication and supply lines; the policy makers could not totally oppose the interests of these underprivileged peoples, poor, rural communities, minorities and International Science Congress Association 52

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tribal groups detached or loosely attached with the mainstream even in this era of Globalization, Marketization and Privatization. They could not do this for the sake of Unity within Diversity policy- the basic theme of Indian Civilization. They have also to keep in mind other factors like bureaucracy, democracy, anti-state activities, foreign challenges, human shields, human rights and integration of the country in context of ethnicity, religion, language, population size, cultural heritage, ethnic identity and cultural survival. Still in the post-colonial perspective of Indian society, tribal and non-tribal peasant movements have come to be seen in several parts of India also including North Bengal as a part of the state West Bengal and North East India. West Bengal movement for protection of land rights, justification in crop sharing, uprooting of the landlord system at huge scale, fixing the highest limit over private land area, labor movement, Naxalite Movement, Leftist Movement, Regional Movement, Ethnic Movement, Minority sentiment, local government, land distribution, three level village governance and decentralization of power, reservation of seats in rural level governance for the lesser gender and the backward categories/ Dalits; empowerment of the poor, immigrated peoples from Bangladesh, other immigrations, in-migrations and out-migration, various minorities and few autochthones, multiculturalism, micro-finance, population increase and pressure on land, global market economy, party system, various lobbies, investments, question of sustainability, indigenous rights, biodiversity and resource management, ethnic movements in borderlands, human shield formation); North East India demands for separate state, autonomy and self-control on the basis of ethnicity; protest against the dominance of mainland Indian traders; a sense of being Indian colony and demand for separation, independence and regeneration of trans-national trade with China-Myanmar-Bangladesh for rapid economic development; terrorism and counter-terrorism, violation of human rights; bureaucracy, corruption (alleged nexus among administration, political parties and terrorist organization); emergence of regional political parties; ethnic International Science Congress Association 53

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violence among the autochthones as well as with the invaders (such as from Bangladesh, Nepal or mainstream India); parallel political system in the remote states like Nagaland; alleged active support from the powerful international lobbies or terrorist organizations to the local terrorist groups: even moral support of governments or various political parties or organizations in China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kashmir, Jafna (Sri Lanka), Nepal, Indian Maoists and other parts of South East Asia; alleged interference of the Global Super Powers in these issues either in favor or against India according to their own interests and relationship with Indian government; alleged conspiracy to make these agitations and these separatist/ terrorist organizations involved into the creation of an anarchic situation in the geo-strategically important North East India formerly trans-national trade with China-Myanmar-Bangladesh serious threat to Indian Economy and National Integrity specifically before the Era of Globalization mutual negotiations between pro global market economic policies by the Indian government and these agitating groups now asking for sustainable development regarding their land, resources and share of the developmental fruit In favor of national growth, an integrated policy is required involving human resource development, regional development, community development, resource management (such as forests and mines) and sustainable development. There should be no doubt a proper study on the World View of the folk peoples regarding their modes of reproduction, modes of production, natural resource management, folk life, culture, identity and historicity upto the current age. These developmental approaches could involve certain measures like poverty eradication; empowerment of women and backward communities; implementation of modern education and health systems, social and cultural welfare, preliminary-adult-vocational education systems, safe supply of drinking water, sanitation, road construction and transportation, electrification and application of non-conventional energy to make up the basic human needs and Human Resource Development; International Science Congress Association 54

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providing subsidy; application of irrigation and modern ways of agriculture; other technological support; inclusion in the present political system; assistance from the banking system; micro-finance, co-operatives, self-help groups, food processing industries, cottage industries, marketing and entrepreneurship; reimplementation of traditional agricultural knowledge traits to make up the damages caused by the unscientific application of chemical manure, nondegradable and toxic pesticides and herbicides, application of hybrids and genetically modified food produced in crop lands, animal husbandry and poultry (if any); introduction of agro-based industry, medium scale industry and large scale constructions according to the global market economic investments often causing huge amount of land alienation with the emerging question of rehabilitation, pollution control, biodiversity loss, compensation, training and alternative job opportunity, marginalization, culture survival, identity issues, politico-economic aspirations, human rights, land rights and altogether causing formation of human shields; conservation of natural varieties of food grains, birds and animals to protect the biodiversity on which the entire population survives; introduction of improved verities and hybrids assuring higher yield with increased food values; traditional agricultural management in favor of protection to biodiversity, ecological management, natural way of disease and paste control by applying microbes, insects, natural extracts and various food webs; application of the knowledge traits of the folk peoples to manage disasters and other deleterious impacts of global warming and other drastic natural degradations in the form of desertification, increase in the amount of arid and semi-arid landscape, lowering of the ground water level, deforestation, commercial International Science Congress Association 55

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forestation and mono-forestry, loss of bio-diversity, violation of the rights of the folk peoples especially when they loose their land rights and resources rampaging their modes of production and existence; protection to their sacred groves and medicinal plant species used in various types of alternative and traditional disease treatment systems; protecting the traditional knowledge system of the folk peoples as how to utilize the nature not with just the unidirectional aim of exploitation but also of preserving it in a feed back manner with the sense of nurture, sacredness and protection as supported by domains like religion, traditional political system, subsistent economy and folk way of living. The above discussion here proves the Rajbanshis being a Social Fold increasing in size and diversifying with time and also its close attachment to the plains of North Bengal and other adjoining areas. This could be regarded as the primary step towards considering Rajbanshis as Indigenous Peoples of North Bengal having some sorts of land rights in respect of the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial period of Indian history. In every affair of our society, four factors are generally held responsible- political, economic, religious and social. In this case also the approach would be so systematic to get into the matter directly. Simply saying, we can view polity from both state and prestate levels. The pre-state scenario again might show a dichotomy: anti-state and prostate. The latter one has so many variations such as health, education, police, administration, administration, law, cultural groups, sports and private business (pro corporate sector). The former type is again of so many types: separatism, terrorism, Maoist activities, communalism, religious warfare, Mafia, criminal and even private army. The state has to face off challenges from anti-state elements and at the same time heavily depends upon pro-state elements to run off the state machinery. Eventually, intelligentsias were also there. Eminent Personalities and Civil Societies mostly based on the intellectual middle class in urban and semi-urban areas have their valuable roles in society. We should also keep in mind that intellect is also there in countryside in its own form.

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At the same time, we can conceptualize economy into five categories: human resources, gold, cattle herds, crop and currency-cum-credit system of present day. We can correlate human resource with slavery; gold with adventurous treasure hunting; cattle herds with belief in sacred cow; crop with lumps of grains and other food items cultivated while staying at permanent village settlements and finally, currency-cum-credit system with industrialization where a distinct labor class is formed. On religious ground, folk practices are there closely associated with nature providing prime resources of livelihood. Religion can be broadly categorized into two strata: agriculture and trade. An agrarian social structure needs a huge division of labor. When there is no major alternative like trade, the labor divisions become fixed, strict and close-ended. Such occupational strata are regarded as caste synonymous with the native terminology jati. Within Hindu religious fold, such stratification gets religious safeguard from 4-fold Varna system and eventually turns into a hierarchy. It is mostly guided by the priestly category Brahmin who occupies the highest post in both Varna and Jati systems. So, it is basically a Brahminical system. It might be overlapped with certain magical beliefs so called Magico-Brahminical system. Again, it might include a wider periphery by virtue of myths and legends mentioned in Puranas and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Hence, the system converts into Brahminical-Puranic. There is also the trade-line. Buddhism contemporary to Jainism and Judaism was a landmark. The preBuddhist substitutes had been co-related to snake and bird symbolizing river and sea routes and natural compass. People with animistic attitude learnt to animate sacred objects and introduced idol worship and magic in order to control the nature in an extraordinary way. They also prayed to their ancestors, Sun and Moon and simultaneously Earth, Fire, Water and Wind. Till now in many societies worship ape, macaque, languor, bear, wolf, fish, tortoise, boar, trees, flower, leaf, stones and such substances. They invented martial art. Ancient civilizations grew up around and beyond the Mediterranean and trade was progressed through Spice and Silk Routes. Various fertility cults, both males and females, are there including the amalgamated cult of Shiva. In post-Buddhist forms, there we can mention Vaishnavism, Christianity of Axum, Christianity of Syria, Christianity of the Mediterranean people, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Islam of various International Science Congress Association 57

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types (Shiite and Sunni), Syncretic versions like Sufism, etc. In Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, hints to cannibalism, gold and other treasures, urban centers, ancient civilization, magic, astronomical happenings, mega-structures, spice and clothe were mentioned. Indeed, this change in religious organization is directly linked up with alteration in nature of the capital: from human resource to gold and thereafter cow, crop and currency. As gradually people invented agriculture, they were transformed from nomads to permanent settlers and simultaneously, there food practices altered from subsistence to surplus. And in that way, people have categorized into so many ways. In Indian Subcontinent, the society is basically divided into pre-agrarian, agrarian and post-agrarian. Indians are basically situated in rural areas (over 70% according to 2001 Census of India). It is the agriculture for what Hinduism and caste-hierarchy were so prevalent in South Asia. Even within other religious segments more prone to alternative economies like handicraft manufacturing, there are caste-like formations (basically division of labor without any religious embalm). However, in ideal state among these religious organizations, ways have been illustrated on how to be rescued from caste rigidity as because trade has no need of such intensive division of labor. On social ground, the issues could be viewed from three different angles: local, national and international. Locally, a society could be just a quasi-egalitarian community, or it might be classified into caste-like strata or there might be a strict caste hierarchy: Upper Caste with maximum status (Brahmans and a few others), Dominant Caste with highest level of status mobility and Lower Caste with the lowest status. Lower Castes however have certain community like approaches and own ways of status mobilization or a sense of self-reliance- they might be successful in achieving so or face various obstacles. Continuum was there in-between tribes and (lower) castes. They did not always remain pre-state or non-state elements, but fall within the dilemma of pro-state and antistate. They seldom formed indigenous statehoods and in a few occasions, their statehood had successfully made a distinctive position in South Asian scenario. They henceforth are addressed by prestigious clan names and designated as excluded categories of high status

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groups. They have been also provided with various constitutional safeguards by Indian state. Backward sections in Dominant Castes also demand for such reservations in the name of Other Backward Class (OBC). Many caste-like Muslim groups that contribute to the largest minority section in India are also demanding for OBC status. Many Lower Castes have the opportunity to utilize Scheduled Caste status, whereas many more tribes mostly pre-agrarian type are designated as Scheduled Tribes. Christian and Buddhist tribes also accompanied by those Hindu (Hinduized?) or animistic tribes. Tribes in some cases accept agriculture as their prime occupation and behave like caste: they enjoy the most prestigious rank among tribal world. Lower castes in agriculture sector often on their community line mobilize their status from excluded categories to included ones. In such a way, they follow the process of Sanskritization and/or imitate any superior Reference Group asking for certain reformations on either religious or secular paradigm. They in a sense become Dominant Community. The inter-relationship among Upper Caste, Dominant Caste and Dominant Community is very crucial for the political turmoil of a State or Nation-State. Out of 29 states and 6 Union Territories of India, West Bengal is a state and it contains 13 southern districts and 6 northern ones, known as North Bengal. Latter is a transnational borderland and continuous with a set of 16 districts of Rajshahi and Rangpur Divisions of north western Bangladesh. These 6 districts are namely Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur (North Dinajpur), Dakshin Dinajpur (South Dinajpur) and Malda.

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This Indo-Bangladesh continuity of North Bengal contains two major river systems: Mahananda and Teesta-Torsa towards Ganges and Brahmaputra respectively that are gain separated by Barind-Dinajpur ridge. MAP. 2: Districts in North Bengal under West Bengal jurisdiction (not in scale) (Darjeeling, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda) and its water courses (Mahananda, Teesta and Torsa)

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Of Barind, pockets in North Bengal are there in Baikunthapur-Rajganj-Chopra, Bhanukumari-Haldibari, Jalpesh-Mekhliganj and Sitalkuchi-Sitai. These areas are mostly confined within Jalpaiguri-Cooch Behar part of North Bengal. These places along with Panchagarh-Thakurganj area under the Rangpur Division of North West Bangladesh give rise to so many rain-fed rivers including Karatoya. East to this upland, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar of North Bengal and fertile landscape of Rangpur Division of Bangladesh confine the Teesta-Torsa river system. Other parts of Rajshahi Division of North West Bangladesh and rest of North Bengal are mostly made up of Dinajpur highland with pockets in North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda of India. Barind-Dinajpur is associated with various river basins on Mahananda, Mahananda-Ganges floodland, Chhalan Bil or the marshland, Karatoya river, KarotoyaAtrai river system, Atria-Purnabhaba river system, Jamuneshwari River (representing the lost flow of Karatoya-Teesta river system) and Teesta-Torsa river system all ultimately opening into either of Gangetic delta and Jamuna-Brahmaputra mouth. Pundranagara ruins in Bogra region of Bangladesh was a politico-economic center of an ancient civilization for long in vicinity of Jamuneshwari (Karatoya). Later on, Dinajpur-Rajshahi has been developed in this Indo-Bangladesh region and served as one of the many Shahis spread throughout South Asia. This region or places nearby it from time to time remained the power center of Bengal prior to the British. Teesta-Torsa water system is initiated from Sikkim-Bhutan Himalayas and Chumbi valley of Tibet Plateau. Duars or Bhutan foothill was considered as buffer between local rulers in Indian side and Royal Kingdom of Bhutan; and hence this portion during British India was included in Assam and Jalpaiguri of North East India and North Bengal respectively. Jalpaiguri Duars or Western Duars or the Alipurduar subdivision is treated as Bengal Duars ranging from Baikunthapur forest to Sankosh River in west-east direction. Another included region during colonial period was Darjeeling district which contains Nepal-Darjeeling Himalayas and its foothill Siliguri Terai that together give birth to the International Science Congress Association 61

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Mahananda river system flowing along Indian Dinajpur-Bihar and Malda-Bangladesh. Portion of Darjeeling district however falls into Teesta-Rangit valley during its course from high altitude Himalayas of Sikkim state to Baikunthapur-Bengal Duars of Jalpaiguri district. It is actually the Kalimpong hilly subdivision of Darjeeling district. It is an overlapping of Bhutan, Sikkim and Chumbi valley of Tibet. Of many ancient routes, this Chumbi valley of Tibet was a far flanged entry way from Central Asia and Tibeto-Himalayas for the pre-Vedic Aryan tribes into Bengal. Nordic and Proto-Nordic elements, Armenian-Anatolian groups, Alpino-Dinaric and AlpinoAdriatic were exclusive Aryan elements who used Irano-Afghanistan plateau to enter into South Asia from various portions of Eurasia. Eurasians from Steppes reached Pamir plateau of Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan and penetrated into Indo-Iranian territories, Kashmir and Tibeto-Himalayan region spread up to South East Asia and South China. Their branches were further penetrated into highland areas like Baluchistan-Indus delta, Punjab-Rajasthan, Malwa-Gujarat, Narmada valley, coastal India, Deccan, Mysore, extreme south of Indian peninsula, Sri Lanka, Andhra coast, Odisha and Bengal-Bihar region. They also spread into North India, especially in sub-Himalayan region that joins Indis valley and Bengal-Bihar region on Ganges and Brahmaputra. Barind or Baikunthapur forest as a ridge between Mahananda and Teesta-Torsha is such a sub-Himalayan location. The place is accompanied with Dinajpur and Rajshahi of Indo-Bangladesh. It has thus influence over both Gangetic water system and Brahmaputra basin and beyond. It has its impact on all Eastern India, Bangladesh and North East India. Local Rajbanshi people in vicinity with the help of Mongoloid tribes built indigenous statehoods and estates like Kamtapur, Koch Bihar, Jalpaiguri, Panchagarh and many such unknown pockets still to be excavated and investigated. There are so many legends in their folklores and local history. Greek Urban Republics fought for long against the Iranian Empire and finally IonianMacedonian combined force under Alexander the Great destroyed Iran and planted the sapling of syncretism in every aspect of life: urbanization and empire, trade and agriculture, East and West, state and per-state, culture and civilization, nomads and permanent settlers and viz-a-viz. Alexander became a legend and his policy in several International Science Congress Association 62

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ways has been being used and reused from time to time. That little sapling once planted by Alexander in the soil of Iran on later days had grown into the giant tree of Shahanoshahi under Sassanian Dynasty until Islam from Arabian Peninsula reached over there. Even after Islamization was completed in Iran, that model was never thrown apart aside. Iranians instead of becoming Sunni Muslims like the Arabs became Shiya or Shiite and continued syncretism in the name of Sufism. Branches of Shahanoshahi were propagated in South Asia throughout Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim regimes. Various Shahis in this subcontinent are Kushan Shahi, Dinajpur Rajshahi, Rajput Shahi, Gorkha (Gurkha) Shahi, Deccan Shahi, Turk-Afghan Shahi and Mughal (Turk-Mongol) Shahi. Most of the Muslim in Indian subcontinent are Sunni but much more influenced by Sufism. Following the Greeks at the juncture of Europe and Asia, Romans started ruling the Mediterranean. The Eastern Roman Empire centering on Constantinople (Istanbul) was based on Greek values and Christianity there was of Orthodox type. Western Roman Empire was centered rather on the City of Rome where Pope for the Catholics existed. Western Roman Empire was later on transformed into the Holey Roman Empire ruled by the German-Roman combination. It had several political centers from France to AustroHungary. Pope and German Empire had internal disputes and on later days Protestant Christianity emerged out. Holey Roman Empire had fought against Arabs occupancy in the Mediterranean region from Iberian Peninsula to Constantinople, Near East and Egypt. That religious warfare between Holey Roman Empire and Arabs ended up with no permanent solution. Political activities in Indian Peninsula, especially in Extreme South under the local Hindu rulers went against the Arabs, as these Hindu states actually controlled the sea routes throughout Bay of Bengal and gateways to South East Asia and the Far East. They established a parallel system in comparison to Buddhist-Arab nexus. During that century long battle, Crusaders attacked and destroyed Constantinople. Later, Ottoman Turks from Anatolia occupied Constantinople and thereafter Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire). Slavs and Russians were basically Orthodox Christians; so many of them protested against those Turkish innovations. Majority of Macedonians and many other Slav communities were converted into Islam. That was a part of Turk International Science Congress Association 63

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expansion throughout a wider part of the Eurasia and Afro-Asia. India was not an exception and Turk-Afghans and Turk-Mongols were good examples of that. Turk expansion was followed by Renaissance in Western Europe: Catholic and Protestant states took the policy to invent new trade routes bypassing the Mediterranean region. That led into huge trade opportunities, colonialism and industrialization and gradually towards an industrial boom throughout entire Europe. New thoughts like Capitalism, Socialism, Secularism and Nationalism were in front of us. In the history of Colonialism, Mughal-Rajput Shahi controlling a larger portion of South Asia directly or indirectly and on the others side, Bengal plus extreme south of Indian peninsula had their distinctive positions. So, whenever there is a discussion on polity of Bengal in synchronic or diachronic ways, aspects like Greeco-Macedonians, Shahanoshahi and Shahi automatically come out parallel with the Bay of Bengal, enciebnt trade routes, magico-religious practices, pre-Vedic traditions, quasiegalitarianism, agriculture and the caste system, Buddhism, Arabs and European traders. British East India Company established good terms with Mughal-Rajput Padshahi and it established its control over various dumping grounds, trans-national trade zones and Bay of Bengal. Eventually, they had established British Commonwealth over ancient trade routes connecting Afro-Asia, Australasia, Pan Pacific, Oceanic islands and isles, the Caribbean islands, Egypt, entire Bay of Bengal, trade points under the Arab World and the Buddhist World. British successfully unified entire subcontinent and was also aware of Irano-Afghanistan, Indus valley region and Tibet especially in the context of continental Europe, Mediterranean, Holey Roman Empire, Eurasia, Russia, China, Far East, Buddhist World, Arab World and indigenous groups even forming statehood and ancient civilizations and believing in magic. When the subcontinent got independence, defunct British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan. India becomes a secular country and dominated by Mughal-Rajput Shahi model associated with the non-Shahi pockets. Pakistan region nearer to IranoAfghna region is the heartland of Turk-Afghan-Kushan Shahi mode, but at the same time giving Islam the maximum priority and strategically keeps direct collaboration with the

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West under the banner of First World. Princely States and excluded territories have joined into either of those two countries. Kashmir has emerged as a point of dispute. Bengal Presidency had already lost Orissa (Odisha) and Bihar (jointly with present day Jharkhand state) in 1911 AD due to growing impacts of political happenings in European continent, Russia, Eurasia, Far East and the Pan Pacific over there against the Shahi models and also faced the demand of autonomy in cis-Himalayan territories of Darjeeling-Terai-Duars under the banner of Gorkha Shahi model, separate voting rights for the Muslims and social reforms among the Rajbanshis of the sub-Himalayan territories of undivided North Bengal. After several communal clashes, Bengal was lastly partitioned in 1947 AD into East Bengal and west Bengal fallen into Pakistani and India respectively. East Bengal became the eastern part of mainland Pakistan on Indus valley. It was named as East Pakistan with major portions of Gangetic delta, whole of Brahmaputra mouth and various river systems from Arakan range (viz., Surma, Meghna and Barak). So, India got the western Hindu dominated part of Bengal in the name of West Bengal state. India has become a Federation of so many states. Based on ethnic identities on linguistic patterns, West Bengal shows majority of Bengali speaking people. East Bengal had been gone to Pakistan and treated as East Pakistan till 1971 AD before getting independence as the country of Bangladesh. Princely State Tripura was included into North East India along with portions of Arakan range and eastern Himalayas under the jurisdiction of British India from previous date. Brahmaputra valley and Meghalaya plateau are the core of North East India enveloped by Tibeto-Burmese territories. Rivers from or through this North East India nourish the soil of Bangladesh. Like in West Bengal and Tripura, Hindus and Dalits from East Pakistan immigrated into North East India in post-partition situation. Buddhist minority and Muslim majority from Bangladesh also migrated into the North East India. Silchar region on Barak valley in North East India was a Bengali dominated pocket from the very beginning. However, Koch Bihar princely state (also Cooch Behar) has been incorporated into West Bengal. Dinajpur-Rajshahi was also segmented into two halves: western side along with few other pockets in India and eastern main part in East Bengal under Pakistan. International Science Congress Association 65

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Islampur region from Purnia of Bihar was added into West Bengal. Darjeeling Himalayas, Himalayan foothills (Siliguri Terai and Bengal Duars), Koch Bihar, western part of Dinajpur, important areas of Barind ridge, Islampur from Bihar and Malda out of Rajshahi have been together regarded as northern West Bengal or North Bengal. The later presently comprises of six districts out of total 19 districts of West Bengal state: Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling (including Siliguri subdivision), Uttar Dinajpur (North Dinajpur), Dakshin Dinajpur (South Dinajpur) and Malda. North Bengal is a geographically sensitive part as its has borders with Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan or East Bengal) and also Tibetan Autonomous Territory of China. Sikkim was only annexed in 1975 AD. Concepts like Aryan, aborigin, Aryan of the Aryans, Indo-Iranians, Indo-Afghans, pre-Vedic Aryans and aborigine of the aborigines affected Indian thought. Swadeshi was an important economy further nourished by Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation) who put emphasis on indigenous cottage industry parallel to two World Wars, emergence of Two Nation Theory in South Asia, formation of USSR, gradual independence of China, Japan and USA conflicting over Pan Pacific, missionary activities in tribal belts introduction of Swedish cultivation, Dalit politics, identity issues, formation of excluded or semi-excluded territories on ancient trade routes, decisions on so many princely states spread throughout South Asia, changing politics in the Bay of Bengal region and so forth. These things highly affected Bengal of which North Bengal transnational has been being a part and parcel. In its beginning post-independent days, India followed the policy of non-alliance outside of two superpowers: USSR and USA. That was regarded as Third World associated with non-alignment movement, Panchasheel policy and collaboration among the countries like China, India, Indonesia, Egypt and former Yugoslavia. The latter contained part of Macedonia also. Albania however has never been a part of Yugoslavia in the Balkan. Tibet issue caused Sino-India battle in 1960s and that was a major blow to Panchasheel. Gradually India became a close associate of USSR in 1970s. Indian economy shifted from Mixed to Macro-nationalized type. Political interactions were there with International Science Congress Association 66

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neighboring country of Iran- the birthplace of Shahanoshahi. Russia then controlled Uzbekistan from where Mughals had been pushed into India in 16th Century AD. Political developments were there in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Arab Nations, China, USA and Europe, Thailand and Iraq all in some way connected with South Asia, Afro-Asia and Pan-Pacific. But the most crucial incident was independent war in East Pakistan followed by formation of Bangladesh (1971 AD), role of Bogra of Dinajpur-Rajshahi (North Bengal part there) in Bangladesh politics, Khalistan movement at Punjab in Indo-Pakistan borders, the Cold War, emergence of microfinance parallel to Macro economy, political turmoil in North East India and Darjeeling hills of North Bengal, alternative political activities in North India and Deccan (from Lucknow to Bangalore), stronghold of Leftists in West Bengal and Tripura (Bengali dominated pockets), such things in Indian state of Kerala at the extreme south of Indian peninsula, Dravidian identity politics in Tamil Nadu and civil war in Sri Lanka. A condition of central versus regional was there in the decades of 1970s and 1980s in Indian politics. Decentralization of power upto rural level, land reformation, labor movement, opposing the macro-economy in favor of micro-financing, co-operatives and rural banking have come into existence in West Bengal including pockets of North Bengal zone. In the time of globalization, neo-liberal economy is trying to overrule state and bank controls in favor of free market economy and a investment friendly condition. Besides investing in Share Market, people are thinking of gold and simultaneously a classification in cognitive ground has developed: Latino/Inca, Roman, Chinese/Buddhist, non-Shrine (Dalit), Shrine and Black Gold. Gold could dominate over conceptualities regarding cow, human resources, slavery, serf, caste, crop, labor class, currency, equity and credit. People realize that Mughal and Rajput Shahis have lost the solidarity in comparison to the previous days. People talk about Indo-Pakistan relation to be improved. Indian leaders are visiting USA, China and Arab countries. Fall of USSR in early 1990s were accompanied by independence of Central Asian countries, European Union in continental Europe spreading upto Catholic territories in Mediterranean region and Ireland, demolition of Babri mosque in the name of Hindu temple of Ram followed by emergence International Science Congress Association 67

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of Dalit politics in Uttar Pradesh state of India, riots in Indian business capital Mumbai and Gujarat which is the gateway to Indian Peninsula, emergence of bi-party system in national politics, aspect of IK and IKS, ethnic-minority-regional politics and sentiments throughout the globe including ancient trade routes and transnational cross-borders, formation of the Third Front in various ways, terrorism, anti-terrorism, anarchic situation, fall of Yugoslavia, joining of eastern European countries in EU, improvement in IndoUSA relationship, increased trade with Pan Pacific and Far East, political interference of China into Indian territories and its protest directly or indirectly by formation of human shields. India approached to First World along with computers, share market, privatization, Special Economic Zone (SEZ), internet facility and mobile telecommunications. New states have been formed with plenty of mines, minerals and hydro-electric power stations (on the basis of local sentiments). Caste as a division of labor in traditional Indian agrarian society and semi-feudalistic attitudes in small-medium-big farm sectors (complex agrarian rural structure) have to face challenges from foreign direct investment, inflation, GDP growth, Global Market Meltdown, devaluation of currency, price hike, petroleum price increase, social protest and even stagflation. People feel the importance of Christianity, Islam, Vaishnavism, Neo-Buddhism, Aryan sentiments, tribalism and such other quasi-egalitarian forms and community life could not be fully overestimated in comparison with the caste. Orthodox Hindu society, Shahi versus non-Shahi, human shields and groups in favor of syncretism (dialectical approach?) have become well activated and riots and clashes on cultural, ethnic, regional and religious lines affected South Asia in several ways. And still Rajbanshis of North Bengal besides all these things realize that they should keep tie up with land, agriculture, culture, identity, ethnicity and IKS of their own. They mere prove themselves to be good Indigenous Peoples. With various internal classifications on speech, religion, caste, community, minority, regional aspirations, tribal affiliations, various warrior surnames, quasi-egalitarianism, historicity and identities like Koch, Mech (Bodo), Dhimal, Khen, Pundra, Pulia, pre-Vedic and Vedic customs, folk traditions, Kashyap, Vaishnava, Deshi, Kirati, Mon, Burman, Dhokra, Brahminical and International Science Congress Association 68

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non-Brahminical priestly categories and so many types; agrarian Rajbanshis have formed a kind of Social Fold based on the earliest inhabitants on the settled cultivable lands, grazing lands and ancient pastoralism of North Bengal plains, highland and foothill pockets adjacent to bamboo bushes, marshland and local forestlands as good sources of shorea and teak wood for house making agricultural and other implements. Many of them are associated with stone crushing industry. That reminds them about gold mines in rivers and Barind ridge of North Bengal. Along with agriculture, aspects like in and out migrations, tourism, timber, tea and transport in this gateway of North East India (along with Bhutan and Sikkim) have alerted traditional folk life of forest dwelling and certain transnational trade routes.

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II: INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES


In case of the Rajbanshi, it could be said that this extra-caste and extra-tribe ethnic category (better to say Social Fold) should have once an enriched Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS), but now loosing very rapidly. These peoples on the track of political historicity upto modernization and global market economy are more akin to form a huge social fold within the multicultural construction of North Bengal. Their IKS should therefore vary in different regions with local ecosystems, micro-environments and biodiversity cum available resources. They are being subjected to external influences mainly coming through material apparatus and development programs as well as to the various so called non-adaptive domains like mode of reproduction, religion, traditional politico-economic organizations, folk life, cultural values and mental construct. So, Indigenous Knowledge System of the Rajbanshis could therefore be taken into grant to query the extent to which their Social Fold remains indigenous, needs protection from the side of indigenous rights, is close to land-nature-supernature and could therefore be fallen under the category of Indigenous Peoples. It is a fact that Rajbanshis of North Bengal are continuously facing off various types of challenges against their sustenance, preservation of the culture, ethnic identity, historicity, the traditional way of living and cognate. The pressure is creating upon their traditional technologies and material apparatus as well as the non-adaptive part of the folk life all being associated with IKS. So, there is a challenge of losing the IKS by new types of material apparatus (civilizational tool kits from Western-Modern inputs) and transformation in the nonadaptive domains and erosion in cultural values (due to Global Market Economy). The non-reflective domains involve traditional religious organization, health system, politico-economic system, learning system, values, norms, customs, socio-cultural performances that could only be replaced but not altered whereas the functional aspects includes traditional technologies, traditional way of disaster management, bio-diversity management, ethno-medicine plantation, agriculture, animal husbandry and poultry, International Science Congress Association 70

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ethno-fishery, ethno-toxicology, fuel collection, house construction, fodder preparation, water use, soil use, forest use, control and use of fire, storage, folk cookery, food preservation, folk craft, production and use of cloth and ornamentation, production and use of crop, fiber, alcohol and fruits; use of betel leaf and betel nut with lime and tobacco; lime production, application of lime in fishery, construction, remedy and food; honey collection, floriculture, fruit and vegetable production, sericulture, smoking and drug addiction, pottery and utensil, production and use of colour, production of garments, handlooms, carpentry, collection of raw materials, material culture and the dialect). These things do not change for long. These things are not so much profit generating but nature friendly. These things are not capable of meeting the end of a huge population. But still they are present. All together these things are related to their identity that they would try to protect and preserve. They would accept modernity and market economy but with the assurance of not much harm to their existence. They do not allow complete destruction of nature, themselves and their faith-fear-belief on supernature.

Challenges towards the IKS When one is going to study the Indigenous Knowledge System, that researcher can find a huge gap between his own perception (too much scientific) and that of the folk people living in nature, gathering generationwise information traits, having intimate understanding of nature, exploiting natural resources and biodiversity with feedback, performing informal experiments by virtue of trial and error, pursuing a particular mode of production, developing a kind of reproduction system, generating a unique way of living, talking about their identity and rights, keeping in a particular type of World View, own process of classifying things and finally, continuation process in a cyclical way (time, season, etc.) highly supported by culture. India is a multicultural, multiethnic and multi-linguistic country with the central theme of her civilization: Unity within Diversity. The civilization has two major branches in the forms of tribal and non-tribal domains connected with each other by cultural threads formed accordingly two basic principles-

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Multiple Tradition Model Parochialization and Universalization and Network and Center. Every problem here in South Asia has its root in 1) mode of reproduction, 2) mode of production, 3) social, economic, political and religious aspects, 4) culture, cognate and communication skills and finally, 5) political historicity and current age. It could go by two distinct lines. Line 1: non-Brahminical Brahminical nexus Indo-Greeks Shahan(o)shahi Shahi political model of Irano-Afghan region Eurasian / Indo-European line

formation in South Asia allied with so many sub and pro Shahi collaborators Examples- a) Turk-Afghan Kushan Shahi, b) Dinajpur Rajshahi, c) Mughal-Rajput alliance, d) Shahi impact on Gangetic plains (Lucknow Shahi), e) Shahi impact on Central Himalayas (Gorkha or Gurkha Shahi), f) Shahi impact in Deccan plateau of Indian peninsula (Deccan Shahi) Line 2: Pre Vedic Aryanism orientalism, tribalism and identity silk and spice routes world of medicines, BuddhistAfro-Asia and Pan-Pacific (with extension in Bay of Bengal) structures, essence of urbanism Catholic-Arab nexus

blood sacrifice, craziness, begging for survival, fertility cults, ancient civilizations, mega magical, Buddhist and Arab nexus presence of Hapsburg (Holey Roman political) in continental Christianity spread with formation of caste-class-power existence of multiculturalism,

Europe on the same line with Caucasians and Himalayans trade: British, continental and Mediterranean as such nexus instead of indigenous institution of caste alone

sense of unity in diversity and application of dialectic approach in different ways Thinking on Russia and the doctrines of Gandhism, Sacred Texts, Islamic values and racial purity role of the British and so many alternatives in South Asia in the context existence of British Commonwealth, of clashes between Shahis and the others movements in South Asia

revolutions in France, independence and other movements in USA, tribal and peasant extra-emphasis on social reformations, gender, modes of reproduction, medicine man and political approaches from medical systems in electoral International Science Congress Association 72

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polity

concept of Nation-State

sense of separation and harsh reality of partition in

South Asia during and after World War I, II and independence from direct colonial rule being with Third, Second and First World in the context of non-alignment, Cold War, micro-finance, perception of gold, energy resources, global market economy and neocolonialism new political formations and other challenges clashes among quantity, Ethnic-Minority-Regional good quality and bad quality in a democratic set-up discourses with new pace rejection In this context, Anthropologists, Politicians, Authorities and Decision Makers put their highest attention upon the way of integration (rather than isolation or assimilation) in very favor of the Indian civilization. The concept of folk has now become a greater aspect than only social categories like tribal communities living in forests or within the rural context, but may also include the non-tribal caste communities sharing the folk characteristics. Even, a social category in India under the peasant economy and the complex type of agrarian rural stratification, may not be a true peasant but folk in nature and at the same time, a tribal folk community may run up to the category of peasantry. This has simply happened by the process of integration; variously studied are there focusing on the following approaches: 1. Tribe Caste Continuum (S.C. Sinha) 2. Hindu Method of Tribal Absorption (N.K. Bose) 3. Rural Cosmopolitanism (Oscar Lewis) 4. Following the political and economic rank-paths of the mainstream India, but maintaining the tribal dignity at the same time (Martin Oran) 5. Unity and Extension (Morris Opler) 6. Various changes and status mobilizations in linear and cyclical manners in both synchronic and diachronic ways. Various planning for the development of these folk peoples have been proposed under the different Five Year Plans in India along with legal provisions and constitutional measures (protective, developmental as well as political). To recognize the conditions International Science Congress Association 73

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and the situations of the tribal folk communities, various socio-anthropological assumptions have been tried in the following domains of Development: a) Tribal development b) Backward community development c) Minority community development (ethnic, linguistic or religious) d) Dalit development e) Gender development f) Development in education, health and social welfare g) Poverty Eradication h) Self-help group i) Human Resource Development j) Present-day Panchayeti Raj system(s) (the statutory village/ local level governance) k) Rural Development l) Forest and environmental conservation and related management programs. These problems would therefore eventually speak out for implementation of: i.Community development ii.Sustainable development iii.Conservation of bio-diversity and disaster management iv.Protection of Indigenous Rights The third points is highly associated with ecological and bio-diversity management, protection of sacred groves, indigenous agricultural knowledge, indigenous way of conservation, controlled/balanced way of use the forest products, knowledge about a forest, ethno-medicines and indigenous way of disease treatment, ethno-toxicology and ethno-fishery, indigenous technological knowledge, indigenous ecological/ environmental knowledge, indigenous way of animal husbandry and so on. These knowledge traits are chiefly part of any Indigenous Knowledge System, deeply rooted inside non-reflected culture, developed here and there in the lap of local ecosystems and micro-environments, parallel to the Western-Modern knowledge system International Science Congress Association 74

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based on scientific and technological inventions and unidirectional explorations and also an important part of the Global Knowledge System. So, to make the development of the tribal and the folk people sustainable, special emphasis has been given now upon the interrelation between the Indigenous Knowledge System and Modern-Western Knowledge System in respect Conservation and Management. That would help in conservation and management of natural resource, human resource, disaster mitigation and precautions, biodiversity, forest, conventional agriculture, ecology and so on that might be extended upto nature worship, sacred groove, various superstitions, magico-religious performances and other unscientific acts and extra-scientific beliefs. In a country like India and in this specific case of IKS, some exclusive problems and prospects have randomly emerged out that are going to be discussed belowA. IKS could be applied in prevention of the on-going harms of this planet caused due to the negative effects of modern technology and globalization. B. Along with the traditional ways of agricultural and veterinary management, disaster management (drought, flood, crop failure, storm, soil erosion), bio-diversity management, folk life, indigenous technological skills, related disease remedy procedure and religious-cultural aspects and such other themes; the approach towards studying indigenous knowledge system could be done through the symbols. The symbols, non-functional, can be suitable to examine the folk life path associated with many functional elements successively addressed under the IKS. But with time and modern impetus, the non-functional type of politico-economic and religious systems are now started to be replaced (whereas functional IKS has been nearly completely lost). C. Tribal and non-tribal complex of social fold (variously overlapped) could also be regarded containing actual knowledge traits related with nature and hence, culturally indigenous provided with ethnicity, regionalism, polity and other related aspects.

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D. The issue of polity may have a socio-economic background or be generated from the fear or confusion about modern impetus, industrialization and urbanization, huge constructional works and damage to their traditional environment and land alienation. E. The issue of loosing the cultural identity and the traditional ways of folk-life; uncertainty about proper rehabilitation and compensation; adjustment with the new economy grown up on their land with arrival of agricultural reforms, population increase and in-migration and industrialization and urbanization; the chance to be replaced by the non-tribal peoples and other advantaged classes from their own tribal communities; absence of suitable and prestigious self-dignified working ground; and so on. F. The use of the term indigenous knowledge system is itself not above the ground of controversy. Indigenousness could not be marked as because of the absence of any suitable measuring scale accepted universally. G. In India, various social changes and cultural reforms have been progressed so far equally affecting the tribal folks and the non-tribal groups with and also without the involvement of western-modern influence and their advanced civilization tool kits associated with communication, transportation, electrification, media and so on. Those socio-cultural mobilizations have often formulated some wider social fold with an extra-tribal and extra-caste complex structure (mentioned previously in point number C) leading up to the formation of a specific agrarian rural structure at a specific time. These ethnic components and characteristics of the complex social stratification may show some kinds of overlapping with the neighboring cultural areas. H. Cultural diversity as such may lead to the level of multiculturalism with a multiethnic dimension. So, the most important questions to be asked in this regard are that Whether folk communities inhibiting either in the villages and inside the forest areas with a traditional mode of life-style could be treated in the scale of indigenousness

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Or could there be any validity left in mentioning their knowledge system of indigenous type especially where there have been other options of saying Peoples Science and Traditional Knowledge System! Could the indigenous community make itself feel satisfied with a new way of life at the cost of the old one and loss of cultural identity at the same region they inhabit for long duration of time? Whether this would be justificatory for the World People to make an indigenous people convinced for compromising with ecological degradation of the particular location at the compensation of modern amenities in order to meet the requirements of daily life in respect to the safety of this Green Planet? Further, it should be kept in mind within a big country kike India, where traditions could be never lost and retain in their actual or somewhat altered forms even after dissolution of the related institution. For instance, Rajbanshi is a common term in Indian society, but for the multiethnic North Bengal, it acts as a huge social fold and includes several tribal and non-tribal social segments with its own socio-cultural attributes and linguistic diversity arose from highly enriched Bengali language. It could be assured from various historical facts that several aspects have been there to influence the cultural and social formation of Rajbanshi social fold of North Bengal. Some of facts are as such: a) Magico-religious practices, Animism, Shamanism, Buddhism, Fertility Cults and Shiva, Tantraism, Vedic Hinduism, Islam, Vaishnavism and Nathism on religious ground; b) in the politico-economic context, involvement of Paundra-Kshattriyas, Shahis, Saha traders, Palas, NamoShudras/ Mahishwa-Das/Kaivartha (the fisherman-cumagriculturists controlling the river trade routes), Kamboja-Palas, Barendris, Barendri or Varendri Brahmins, Yugis or Naths (later transformed into Debnath), Vaishnavas, Goswamis, Ghosh (the settled cattle raiser among Bengali people), potters, painters, singers, craft makers, mentors, priests, Adhikaris, Kochs, Barmans, Koch-Barmans or Roy Barmans, Koch-Rajbanshis, Kiratas, Deshis (Roy and Sinha), Puliyas, Dhimal, Garos, Bodos, Kochs, Mechs and Limbus, Rabhas and Khens;

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c) indigenous states formed by Rajbanshis, Pro-Kushana King Jalpa, Kaivarthas, Palas, Kamboja-Palas, Khens, Koch-Rajbanshis; d) involvement of the Sino-Tibetan elements through the Bhutias/Drukpas, Totos, Doyas and Lepchas in one hand as well as of the Sino-Burmese by means of Arakanese, Moghs, Nagas, Ahoms, Chetias, Kukis, Garos and Bodos on the other over the politico-economic texture; e) Role of Islam, Peer, Muslim caste-like categories formed at local level, ethnic Muslims like Nashya Seikh, immigrated Afghan Muslim and traders, traditional Muslim warrior communities like Sher Shah and Badiya in the lower plains; f) Involvements of Mughal and Rajput authorities and Marwari traders in Bengal and their nexus with the State of Koch Behar; g) British rule in North Bengal, incorporation of Doors (Duars) from Bhutan and Darjeeling hills mostly from Sikkim; h) establishment of tea gardens and new crop-lands, missionary activities, formation of urban centers and establishment of so many rururban pockets, demographic change, peasant movement, labor movement, ethnic movement, plantocracy, multiculturalism, borderland issues, transnational impacts, geo-strategic aspects and formation of human shields; i) influence of this kind of movement upon other Bengali Hindu caste groups and Muslim caste-like groupings overlapped culturally with the Rajbanshis, Adivasis, Santals (also Santhals), Nepalis (also Gurkhas) and various autochthones in this geo-strategically important location of North Bengal surrounded by Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, China (Tibet) and Indian states like Sikkim, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam. Possible Way to Face the Challenge The IKS of a folk community like that of the Rajbanshi Social Fold (progressing towards modernity and global market economy on the track of political historicity upto the current age) is very essential to work out so as to understand mode of reproduction, nature of production, folk life, unwritten book of culture, local sentiments, World View of the locals, aspiration for ethnic identity, scope of the human shield formation and way of adjustment between indigenous and modern in respect to any developmental agenda. International Science Congress Association 78

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And the most important thing is that only after documenting IK and realizing IKS, we could properly apply any input on behalf of the western-modern model and global market economy upon the folk life and to the nature in which the folk people reside in and believe in supernature. From proper adjustment between traditional and modern technologies as well as between IKS and advanced knowledge system, we could achieve actual way of conserving resources and bio-diversity, because from this biodiversity the indigenous community develops the mode of production, assures its mode of reproduction, maintains its folk life, builds up its culture and cognate, communicates by means of information and goods, develops exchange system, talks about its historicity, has had a notion to protect the resources from inside and therefore protects its resources according to its own indigenous management system (feedbacking, informal, culturally embedded, cognitive). In the context of any developmental program, the local people from a position of absolute protest could be brought into the same side when the IKS is properly understood. IK is a set of information and IKS is everything based on that set of IK. IKS is the entity of these other people whom we treat as aborigine, autochthon, native and local. To have sustainability in a development program appropriately, the community needs a banner like Indigenous Peoples and the aid from indigenous rights related with property rights and Patent Law. Correct adjustment among resource management, folk life, Capitals from various domains like Knowledge, Adjustment among indigenous tights, Disequilibrium between these property concept and indigenous rights in context of developmental inputs could postulate a sustainable development. Natural Resource, Human Resource, Culture and Society in one hand and intellect and instruction on the other is also crucial here. intellectual property rights and Patent Laws is especially needed to check bio-piracy and illegal technology and knowledge capital transfer. between Globalization and anti-Globalization. systems. capitals, rights and systems could then produce catastrophic results from the very clash And this entire adjustment could only be achieved when there is a definite balance between traditional and modern knowledge

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In practical, the Rajbanshi Social Fold could not be kept aside from the very fact of the presence of the relationship among technology, knowledge and bio-piracy, capital, mode of production on resources and biodiversity, folk life, various rights and legal provisions, sustainable livelihood development and global market economy with reference to IKS. The IKS of a folk community like the Rajbanshi Social Fold (progressing on the track of modernity) is very essential to work out and in this process the non-functional domains could play an important role and ultimately the basic pattern of the folk life would therefore reveal out in front of us. And the most important thing is that only after getting this IKS, we could properly apply the modern knowledge upon the folk life and the nature in which it resides. From proper adjustment between traditional and modern technologies as well as between IKS and advanced knowledge system we could achieve actual way of conserving the bio-diversity, because from this biodiversity the indigenous community maintains its folk life and therefore protects it in its own indigenous feed back management system. To do it appropriately, the community needs a banner like Indigenous Peoples and aid from indigenous rights. Correct adjustment among folk life, proper management programs and indigenous rights could postulate a sustainable development. And this adjustment could only be achieved when there is a definite balance between traditional and modern knowledge systems through proper association of all the capitals from various domains like Knowledge, Nature and Human Resource, culture and society with their non-adaptive part, as well as intellect and instruction. Impetus is also needed from the domain of intellectual property rights and Patent Laws especially to check bio-piracy and illegal technology and knowledge capital transfer. Disequilibrium between these capitals, rights and systems could then produce catastrophic results from the very clash between Globalization and anti-Globalization.

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(Courtsy: Das Gupta, 2010: 141 in Sen et.al.) International Science Congress Association 81

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Hence, here the IKS of a specific community or Social Fold (suppose Rahbanshi) might be viewed from the prism of 1. Conflict between advanced and indigenous knowledge systems affiliated by traditional and modern technologies; 2. Formation of Non-reflective domain by union of social and cultural capitals being highly associated with the IKS developed under the knowledge capital, whereas the advanced mode of knowledge capital remains associated with sophisticated intellectual and instructional types of capital; 3. Role of management programs developed in order to take care off the natural and human resource capitals being intensively associated with the non-adaptive domain, the IKS and the set of intellectual, instructional and advanced knowledge International Science Congress Association 82

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capitals- these management programs are also exclusively related with protection of bio-diversity, genetic variability and ecosystem; 4. Sustenance of a folk life upon proper management of Bio Diversity, Resources, Ecosystem, Disaster and exploitation of resources in feed back manner; a. Sustenance of a folk life leading to formation of human shield on cultural identity, ethnicity, historicity and current age; 5. Risk of bio-piracy and illegal knowledge transfer (in context of local medicinal plants, forest resources, sacred groves, agricultural biodiversity, land and other property of the folk, cultural performances associated with their mode of production, culture as an unwritten book and so many things); 6. Role of Patent Law to counter back the risk of bio-piracy and illegal knowledge transfer; 7. Link between Patent Law and Intellectual Property Rights; 8. Intellectual Property Rights and other property rights as sub sets of property rights; 9. Close relation among indigenous rights, concept of property and property rights (along with Intellectual Property Rights or IPR); 10. Role of indigenous rights to bring in sustainable development: a. indigenous rights empower local people in the name of culture, ethnic identity and historicity to become human shield against critical politicoeconomic encroachments and uniditectionally applied highly exploitative process of development; b. loss of biodiversity, bio-piracy, exploitation of resources in unfair manner and illegal knowledge transfer can increase the pace in any movement in favor of sustainable development as the entire issue is related to violation of Patent Law, hamper to knowledge property, loss of knowledge traits and lack of goodwill; i. Roles of Intellectual property law, Intellectual property education and Intellectual property organization upto the issue of Paten Law in securing the knowledge property; International Science Congress Association 83

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ii. Documentation of IK and IKS in order to secure knowledge property; c. if Patent Law and indigenous rights are associated with sustainable development, the issue of property rights (including IPR) is definitely herein 11. Link among Patent Law, (intellectual) property rights and indigenous rights in favor of Sustainable Development against biodiversity loss, resource mismanagement, knowledge degradation and oppression in the name of development: this is again related to sustenance to mode of production, folk life, culture, ethnicity and political historicity upto the current age: if these things are more or less assured, local people generally allow developmental programs and politico-economic inputs and consider these less harmful and much sustainable; 12. and lastly, lack of proper adjustment between the advanced knowledge system and the indigenous knowledge system could derail the process towards postulation of a sustainable development program (all acceptable or most acceptable) due to an antagonistic condition grown up between globalization and localization leading into ethnic movements, social disruption and war. Still now IKS provides three substantive areas of critical relevance: What IK and its various semantic cognates might mean in the context of Western Traditional Knowledge What they might mean in the context of Asiatic tradition of knowledge What its impact has been on the development on those traditions we call science. So, this return back to IKS of a folk community now progressing on the track of modernity is very essential in formation of a human shield and protection to its traditional oral traditions helpful in resource and biodiversity management. The increasing concern about their land rights over the places they lived for several millennia brings them under the common category of Indigenous Peoples from the local community level. International Science Congress Association 84

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Probable Contributions of Rajbanshi IKS in agro-based Public Services


Here consequently come the issues like protection of healthy variety of crops growing in nature, domestication of wild varieties, natural variety of high yielding crops, indigenous way of producing hybrids with high nutrition level, retention of soil fertility and soil classification, concept of upland, lowland and marshy land; apply of degradable ethno-toxicants, cutting, pruning, tissue culture and cloning, seed treatment in the nursery to provide healthy seedlings and saplings; field preparation, application of organic manure, application of eco-friendly microbes and vectors, natural way of paste and herb control: use of larvae, insects, birds, fish, ants, white ants and earth warm; symbiosis and nitrification, fishing-cum-paddy cultivation, techniques involved in shifting cultivation and step cultivation, feed-back manner, fuel collection, use of cow dung, classification of soil types, classification of cultivation ground, cultivation on the fertile alluvial soil on the river islands, bush fallow cultivation, seasonal cultivation, yearly cultivation, annual and biennial cultivation, flowering in the first year of a biennial crop variety, International Science Congress Association 85

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mixed cultivation; identification of certain plant species on trees or in soil causing severe harm to the crop production, weeds used in removal of pests and other harmful organisms, earth-warm in maintenance of soil fertility; seed and sapling selection, roles of women, crop selection, seed germination, crop sowing, protection of ripen crops from rat, insect, bird and bat; crop harvesting, crop thrashing, grain storing, preservation of the crop, fish, food, fruit, fruit pulp and so on, pressed and puffer rice, alcoholism, fermentation of rice or fruit juice, palm juice, date juice and production of unsaturated sweet cakes, types of pickle, prickles in mustard oil or as stored in dried condition, use of dry neem leaves as preservatives, use of sun beam in preservation, use of dry soil as preservative, use of pond soil in facial and skin treatment, use of the straw stalks for fertilizing the soil, use of straws in mushroom cultivation, burning of the left-away straws in the post-harvest period on the cultivation ground, light trap, International Science Congress Association 86

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weed management, use of dry soil (of rat house) as preservative; mushroom cultivation, mushroom varieties; use of algae and lichen in cookery, classification of bamboo; use of bamboo in every aspect of life from drinking water in a glass made of bamboo to house construction, techniques involved in bamboo cultivation, bamboo parts as food, fodder and pickle, bamboo and myth, flowering in bamboo; use of algae, fungi, pteridophytes and fern in cookery, dye production, wax formation and medicinal purposes; floriculture, use of pots, environmental influence, low-cost greenhouse manufacture, nursery and water shade, use of organic manure, cutting and pruning in horticulture, garden ecosystem, shade trees, fish manure and bone dust, soil types and stones, soil sterilization, fencing, use of roots, rhizomes, shoot, bark, lattice, leaf, bud, inflorescence, flower, anther, nectar, fruit, seeds in various purposes, pitcher plants, International Science Congress Association 87

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extraction of essence from the flower, lemon grass production; honey collection, nectar yielding flower verities; protection of the trees favored by the honey bees, role of honey bees in ecosystem and maintenance of food web, use of honey in food, as medicine and health protection, use of wax, use of birds in searching out the honey nest; animal husbandry and poultry, construction of the shade, fodder, fertility control and breeding, grazing, milk products and curd, indigenous techniques for increasing milk production, protection of the cattle from leaches, protection of poultry from bird eating animals, veterinary and control of disease in the domestic plant species, animals and birds, use of animal produce, skins, wool, bones; spice cultivation; vegetable cultivation; ethno-fishery, pond selection, protection of pond ecosystem, liming the soil for controlling the water pH level, careful observation of fishes in the cold foggy winter, especially regulating the water temperature in the pond, proper physical activity and regular feeding, disease treatment, fertility control, International Science Congress Association 88

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various techniques of fishing, fishing in the streams, fishing in the rivers, fishing under the waterfalls, fishing in the marshy land, fishing in the paddy field, fishes as good source of manure, fishing of fishes with extra-respiratory organ, group fishing, quick fishing in emergency, use of ethno-toxic elements in fishing, preserved fish products, fishes in maintenance of the health condition and nutrition level, superfluity and fish feed, cultivation of prawns, crabs, coloured fishes, insect and mosquito eating fishes as well as hybrids, use of fishes in controlling mosquito larvae; control over snake, rat and frog; sanitation and pig cultivation; house construction, concept about water pollution and the role of pond water as the carrier of diseases in fishes, cattle and human and related disease cycle; sericulture, selection of trees for sericulture, food chains in the natural process of sericulture, cocoons and production and storage of silk fibers; lime production, cultivation of jute, tea, tobacco, sorea, teak, legume, betel, betel nut, arum and palm; use of rice seed-coat in soil for wall construction, use of bamboo, grass, jute stick, straw and leaves in roofing, use of wood and bamboo in construction of the framework, International Science Congress Association 89

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house types in heavy raining areas; construction of storage, manufacture of basket, use of basket for storing; wood and leaf collection, husking machine and the role of women; handlooms and women; women and self-help groups; women and trade; women in the village-level power sector; use of fire, control on fire, earthen stoves, earthen kiln; use of stagnant water in mud-ponds under bright sun beams to remove the dry jute fibers from the hollow straw, use of jute and straw, straws in construction, fencing and fuel source, collection and storage of jute and other fibers, their use in handlooms and weaving cloths, mats and seats, dying the cloth with natural colour produced from soil, plant extract, emulsion of rice dust and charcoal; production of wooden plough and other artifacts; pulse cultivation, production of sun-dried preserved pulse cakes; relation between lime production and snail consumption system; frog eating and related belief, medicinal weeds, alternative crop production; concept about season and weather, related myths,

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disaster management system in case of flood, drought, heavy rain, land slide, soil erosion, deforestation, crop failure, storm, fire, attack of insects or birds or rats or elephant or other herbivores, weather forecasting from watching the nature and activities in the wild life; protection of forestry by feed back, protection of sacred groove, conserving and maintaining forest resources, indigenous tree classification systems, terrace planting techniques (if applicable), trees suited for different geographical locations, tree species for providing shade for plantation crops, forest product marketing strategies, intercropping in forest gardens, timber yielding plants, nut yielding plants, gum and resin yielding plants, plants with other economic importance, religious system and conservation of plant species, flowering plants, medicinal and herbal values of wild trees, supply of global public goods and global environmental services, water management, irrigation and fishing, indigenous irrigation techniques, preservation of ground water level; recycling of solid waste, utilization of the superfluity in various manner; consumption of nutritious food and disease curing dishes; concept of disease, health and nutrition; health consciousness and illness, International Science Congress Association 91

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believe in super-nature [in order to control the nature and maintenance of the mental health, house construction, food preparation and cooking utensils and folk classification and folk taxonomy.

Rajbanshi in Agriculture A century before Rajbanshis did not cultivate paddy varieties throughout the whole year, but only in a specific season; so cultivation is seasonal and not yearly. They preferred rice cultivation in the monsoon season which is unique to South Asia, South East Asia and South China. Rajbanshis then with very low population and minimum need left the cultivation ground for a season or a year or several years. This type of practice they considered good for maintenance and increase of the soil productivity. They did not cultivate at fixed place overtime; rather time to time they changed the place of cropcultivation. They called it jhum cultivation where the bush and trees of the selected area were cut off to let them rotten and then burnt with fire before planting the crops (slash and burn type of cultivation). This type of Swedish cultivation can be further grouped into slash-and-burn cultivation in true sense within the forest areas (now banned) and secondly, bush-fallow cultivation. Land used for slash-and-burn cultivation used to be left for next 5-7 years. In that way, soil got back fertility and forest and bushes returned back. In late winter when soil was covered with deciduous leaves of shorea and teak grown up in mixed type forest, they set up fire in order to prepare piles of ash providing manure into the soil. Savanna grasses are grown up here along with evergreen forest and deciduous vegetation and diversified flora of ferns, pteridophytes, lichens, mushrooms herbs, orchids, epiphytes and shrubs. However, under the clear sky pleasant sunshine of autumn freed the soil from harmful insects, vectors and pests. Light raining in late winter and temperature fall at night made the ash more fertile and proper situation arose for the earthworms. Seeds were spread unevenly in late summer or at the time monsoon just launched the Himalayan terrains causing flash floods Sub-Himalayan valleys. Soil is covered with sand, lime, clay, loam, boulders, conglomerates and gravels. International Science Congress Association 92

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Rajbanshis left that jhum cultivation with introduction of wooden plough and applied the technique of sowing the saplings rather than the seeds with help of a digging stick. Later, Rajbanshis started preferring settled crop cultivation basically in the flood prone areas and utilized irrigation techniques. They have generally classified the soil type into three: danga (highland), nichu (lowland) and jola (marshy land). There is complete absence of large farm houses and therefore land is distributed into small pieces. Small to middle scale peasants have become the land owners and the rest becoming landless laborers, share croppers and other attached with agriculture oriented jobs. The earthen boundaries of these demarcated landscapes are called the aal and used by the cultivators to go into the field. Wider aal is also utilized for vegetable propagation which is a unique feature in its own. Danga is preferred for vegetable cultivation, production of wheat and marua, habitation and kitchen garden, bamboo propagation, sacred groove and grazing. The nichu land is considered appropriate for rice cultivation. In winter, the Rajbanshis at the nichu land cultivate several types of vegetable along with makoi (corn) on the sloppy landscape; whereas propagate wheat on the danga region. The lowland areas are used for production of pulses and mustered (along with other rapeseeds like rai and tisi). Pulses are of different varieties: maskalai, thakurkalai, pea, gram, moog and khesari. Jola region is good for jute, water hyacinth and arum, while the slopes for the ferns. Rajbanshis used to cultivate paddy and jute. Rajbanshis prefer rice cultivation the most. Rice sowed in winter season is the boro type, whereas joli, aush and amon are propagated in marshy land, during summer-early spring and early monsoon-late spring respectively. Kaon or Kamon is a variety of rice with smallest grain size. However, Amon varieties they have preferred the most are Kukra or Kukurjali, Kataribhog, Nunia, Kalo Nunia, Tulaipanji, Swarna, Kalam, Kamon/ Kaon, Payejam, Mala, Dighe, Banshiraj, Aralia, Baran, Nalach, Kechardam, Harigachhi, Bayaj, Fulbete, Ropa and so on. Some aush verities are Pakshiraj, Tepishal, Nayachur, Muktahar, Bhadma, Chapari, Kotki, Shate and so forth. High yielding varieties are also cultivated.

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Rajbanshi Womenfolk and Agriculture Males often perform their work on mutual understanding among the close relatives or neighbors. The same process of sharing the work could be seen in case of child care; the villagers kept their children under the guidance of aged fellows in the village when parents have to move into the field. Males are involved in preparation of wooden plough from good-quality non-degradable shal plants. In laborious works in agriculture, Rajbanshis males have direct participation, especially in Ploughing of field, Cleaning of field, Leveling of field, Fertilizer and Pesticide/Fungiside/Herbiside application. Females actively participate into sowing and harvesting. Harvesting and post-harvesting processes include Cutting, Picking, Shifting production to threshing floor, Threshing, Winnowing the chaff, Drying of grains, Sieving, Cleaning of grains, Grading and Storage (raising the stalk). Sowing and Hoeing are associated with Raising nursery for seedling, Weeding, Transplantation, Mannure production and its application. Both genders take active part in Splitting, Thinning and Gap filling, Mixed Cropping, Irrigation, Plant protection measures as well as Removing stalks and stubbles. Apart from settled cultivation, Rajbanshis are well aware of mixed cultivation, crop rotation, shifting cultivation, slash-and-burn and complex crop systems. Rajbanshi women are again involved in quality maintaining and storing of good quality seeds and food processing (Viz. fish-cum-paddy cultivation). Women know more about the natural indicators. They in their folk life, practice various magico-religious performances and utter various proverbs. 1. Flowering in bamboo will bring in rats from jungle that then would destroy the whole crop causing natural famine and leaving only mushrooms, ferns and lichen. 2. Lashing thunderstorm in summer causes bad mango production and is also responsible for low paddy yield. They celebrate marriage of frogs in hope of rain in time. Activities of ant, bird and dog are key to understand nature. Heavy raining in autumn is also fatal to paddy and jute cultivation: the sowing period should be postponed or be selected on the basis of International Science Congress Association 94

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ground reality. Extension of winter season cause dwarfism and low yield of the Boro rice and kaon. 3. Decrease in number of frog will negative to natural modes of pest and insect control. 4. Excess snails are deadly to cultivation. 5. Untimely flowering of many plants indicates weather change. Sowing, harvesting and thrashing of paddy are mainly governed by the womenfolk. Women know well what distance to maintain between two bunches of paddy sapling. They also know what the number of saplings would be in each bunch depending on the weather of a particular year. The ripened crop after being harvested with the help of a sickle; they lay the crop down on the field in clusters. In this way, crop becomes sun-dried. Paddy straws have been burnt off so as to produce manure and destroy the pests before the next cultivation begins. In home on the thrashing floor plastered with cow dung, paddy is thrashed by hand. A pair of bullocks keeps running over these cereals and in this way, the grains get separated from the straw. Then the straw and the grain are raised on separately into the store. Rajbanshis yield exclusive variety of paddy, Dharial, which is known for its pressed shape and therefore used exclusively in production of the preserved rice products (muri- puffed rice; chira- bitten rice; khoi- pressed rice). Women also know well about floriculture at pots, bonsai, nursery, open garden, under shed, on fence. They practice pruning and watching wind course directions from mountains, they can guess time of flowering. Pest control by light trap as well as manuring by ash, rotten leaf and vegetable, cow dung, boiled tea leaf, egg shells, azadirechta cake and oil, mixed application of organic manure and chemical substance, adding of bone dust and raw rotten fish are practiced of Rajbanshi womenfolk. International Science Congress Association 95

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They know the inadequacy of salt in local environment and hence prepare salted puffed rice. Ethno-toxicant from arum for fishing is also important. Those toxic substances cannot harm crabs as well as mosquito larvae eating fish varieties. Women collect fern, yam, rhizome, knolkhol (lokopi) and arum as well as leafy vegetables from marshland and canal areas. Women are involved in fishing in local ditches and small fishes there along with nadiali fishes in local steams are converted into dried fishes by just leaving the fish pieces in dry sun beam without using salt or turmeric. They have invented various techniques for fishing of pond fishes, river fishes and fishes with extra respiratory organ. Activity of fishes, fish eating birds, frogs, snakes and ants are natural indicator of weather to them. Rajbanshi women are good with poultry and goat raring, whereas cattle management is mostly managed by male elders of the family. Duck, goose and swans control the population of snails in the pond and actually help in fish cultivation; their stool is a good source of fodder for the fishes. They know about the shrubs like bichhilara controlling infectious diseases in poultry. They know about the grasses and herbs that increase the milk productivity of cows. Women are really good will kitchen garden in uchu or danga or upland places where they propagate vegetables and spices. Turmeric, zinger, peppercorn, chilly, cardamom, cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, rapeseeds, sunflower, bitter gourd, gourd, potato, sweet potato, carrot, beat, chal kumra or pani kumra (Pumpkin), lady finger, brinjal, snake gourd, cane and bamboo, jack fruit and guava, kaon, marua and maize are the basic items of highland. List of vegetables is given below in table A. Table A: List of Vegetables: English name Cabbage Cauliflower Kholrabi/ Nolkhol Chinese cabbage Native name Bandhakopi Phulkopi Olkopi China kopi Scientific name Brassica oleracea var capitata Brassica oleracea var botrytis Family Cruciferae Cruciferae

Brassica oleracea var gongyloides Cruciferae Brassica chinensis Cruciferae

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Petsai Saishin Mustard green Turnip Radish Brussels sprouts Water cress Pea Hyacinth bean String bean French bean Winged bean Sword bean Lima bean Vegetable soybean Tripatri leaves Yam bean Sweet gourd Bottle gourd Wax gourd Cucumber Cucumber (short) Ribbed gourd Sponse gourd Bitter gourd Teasle gourd Palwal Snake gourd

Nati shak China shak Sarisa shak Shalgom Mula --Sachi Motor Sheem Barbati Jhar sheem Kamrana sheem Makhan sheem Rukuri Soyabean Tripatri shak Shakalu Misti kumda Lau Chal kumda Shasa Khira Jhingga Dhundul Ucche/Karala Kakrol Patal Chichingga

Brassica chinensis Brassica parachinensis Brassica campestris Brassica rapa Raphanus sativus Brassica oleracea var gemmifera Nasturtium officinale Pisum sativum Lablab niger Vigna sesquipedalis Phaseolus vulgaris Psophocarpus tetragonolobus Conavalia ensiformis Phaseolus limensis Glycine max Desmodium trifolium Pachyrrhizus tuberosa Cucurbita maxima Lagenaria siceraria Benincasa hispida Cucumis sativus Cucumis anguina Luffa acutagula Luffa cylindrica Momordica charantia Momordica cochinchinensis Trichosanthes dioica Trichosanthes anguina

Cruciferae Cruciferae Cruciferae Cruciferae Cruciferae Cruciferae Cruciferae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Leguminoseae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae

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Squash Muskmelon Ivory gourd Snap melon Oriental melon Watermelon Potato Brinjal Tomato Sweet pepper Chilli Okra --Rozelle Stem amaranth Red amaranth Spiny amaranth Leaf amaranth Haicha

Squash Banggi Tala kuchi Futi Chinar/Banggi Tarmuj Alu Begoon Tomato Misti marich Jhal marich Dhedosh Laffa Chukur Danta Lalshak Katanotey Noteyshak Chanchi

Cucurbita pepo Cucumis melo Coccinea cordifolia Cucumis melo var momordica Cucumis melo Citrullus lanatus Solanum tuberosum Solanum melongena Lycopersicon esculentum Capsicum annuum Capsicum species Abelmoschus esculentus Malve verticillate Hibiscus sabdariffa Amaranthus lividus Amaranthus gangeticus Amaranthus spinosus Amaranthus viridis Alternanthera sessilis Basella alba Basella rubra Spinacia oleracea Beta vulgaris Chenopodium album Enhydra fluctuans Lactuca sativa var. capitata Ipomoea aquatica Ipomoea reptans

Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceae Solanaceae Solanaceae Solanaceae Solanaceae Solanaceae Malvaceae Malvaceae Malvaceae Amaranthaceae Amaranthaceae Amaranthaceae Amaranthaceae Amaranthaceae Basellacease Basellacease Chenopodiaceae Chenopodiaceae Chenopodiaceae Compositeae Compositeae Convolvualceae Convolvualceae

Indian spinach (green) Puishak (sabuj) Indian spinach (red) Spinach Beet Goose foot Marsh herb Lettuce Water spinach Kangkong Puishak (lal) Palonggshak Beet Bathua Helencha Lettuce Kolmi Gima kolmi

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Sweet potato Carrot Indian penny wort Parseley Celery White yam --Cassava Eddoe Tannia Tannia Giant taro Elephant foot aroid Drumstick Plantain Green papaya Bunching onion Asparagus Sorrel Jute leaf Water lily Giant carandilla Immature jack fruit Baby corn --Wood sorrel Garden purslane

Misti alu Gajor Thankuni Parseley Celery Matey alu Pesta alu Shimul alu Mukhikachu Dudkachu Moulavikachu Mankachu Olkachu Shajina Kanchkala Papay --Asparagus Tak palangg Patpata Shapla Sheeta lau Echad Choto bhutta Malencha Amrulshak Nunia

Ipomoea batatus Daucus carota Centella japonica Petorselinum crispum Apium graveolens Dioscorea alata Dioscorea bulbifera Manihot esculenta Colocasia esculenta Xanthosoma violaceum Xanthosoma atrovirens Alocasia macrorrhiza Amorphophallus campanulatus Moringa oleifera Musa paradisiaca Carica papaya Allium fistulosum Asparagus officinalis Rumex vasicarious Corchorus capsularies Nymphaea stellata Passiflora quadrangularis Artocarpus integrifolia Zea mays var. saccharata Jussiaea repens Oxalis europaea Jord Portulaca oleracea

Convolvualceae Umbelliferae Umbelliferae Umbelliferae Umbelliferae Dioscoreaceae Dioscoreaceae Euphorbiaceae Araceae Araceae Araceae Araceae Araceae Moringaceae Musaceae Caricaceae Liliaceae Liliaceae Polygonaceae Tiliaceae Nymphaceae Passifloraceae Moraceae Graminae Onagraceae Oxalidaceae Portulaceae

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Fern

Dhekishak

Dryopteris filix-mas

Polypodiaceae

From jute, fibers are collected in special way. Hollowed jute sticks are used in roof manufacturing of traditional house. Fibers of jute and flex are raw material of clothe and sitting mattress (dhokra). Indigenous looms are generally used. Sona and tita are two important verities. Leaves of later variety are consumed as vegetable for their bitter taste and medicinal importance. Fibers of the second type are generally used for making of mattress and such other rough products. The jute sticks are submerged in stagnant ditches with the help of floating trunks of banana inflorescence. Then those jutes are washed with clean water of little streams and easily fibers are extracted leaving the hollow sticks (pat kathi). Both the products are dried: sticks are used in roof construction: they are light in weight and capable of air conditioning. They are also good source fuel. Fibers of sona variety are used in making clothes. Short and harsh fibers of tita variety are used for rough use. Jute and flex are cultivated during rainy season in lowlands submerged under flood water. And in late monsoon season when raining is being reduced, fibers are collected. Jute fibers are hanged at first and then thread is manufactured. The entire process is called panjipara. A slate stone chip of 9 inches diameter with a hole at the center is taken and a bamboo stick is pierced in through that hole. That tool is called as takuri. The stick is used as liver and by rotating this stick clockwise torque is created and it actually works as a spinning machine. Rice is consumed in various ways, such as, boiled rice with salt, rice with pulses, vegetables and other non-vegetable items. They stored the rice in dry preserved condition. They first wet the rice, then fry it hot and press in chham (husking machine) with gyin (leaver/handle) manually so that the rice portion comes out from the seed coat; the seed coat is used both as manure and fodder; whereas the pressed rice, chura, is served with card which is till the most auspicious item for any kind of religious ceremony or festival for the Rajbanshis. The community is fond of card/dahi and unsaturated fat, i.e.,ghee. Fresh milk from the cow is immediately kept in earthen pot in cold place and in this way they prepare the card (goleya dahi). So, dahi-chura was one of the most delicious items for them. Foktoi is a pulse-like dish prepared from mixture of fried dust International Science Congress Association 100

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of chura and garlic which is cooked in boiled water with mustered and chilly. They also prepare vapa, another exclusive rice item with some specific economic attribute to the Rajbanshi society. Here, they take some rice dust and prepare a soft watery lye of it, then give shape of disk-like cakes that they cook on steam one by one. For steaming, they again take a handi (earthen cooker) on fire with boiling water inside and the vapor coming out of the single pore at the center of the lid automatically bakes the rice cakes into delicious vapa cakes. Till now they fry their home-made soft rice and take this fried rice (chal bhaja) with tea in the early morning. They boil rice in water which is their main food item (bhat) and also consume the nutritious watery emulsion of the boiled rice, fen or telani, with garlic. Husked rice in home in chhum-gyin is only decoated but the nutritious cotyledon part remains attached. Rajbanshis pour slight water over cooked rice and preserve this for the whole night which becomes another item (panta bhat) for the breakfast meal. Watery cooked rice could be further fermented so as to prepare alcoholic substance added with sucrose and dust of rice coat (kind of fodder). Rajbanshi females used to engage in preparation of dahi, ghee, chura, muri, salted muri, husked rice and vapa within homestead whereas the males go to the field and participate in the process of crop-cultivation. Females generally prepare the vapa at night and then early in the morning go outside for selling the cakes at the exchange of other goods- a typical barter system. They collect rice by selling the vapa. And from these collected rice, they feed their family and again produce the rice cakes for next day selling. Prosperous families do not let their women to go into the field, maintain joint-extended families to meet the manual labor and generally apply day laborers on temporary basis. The next most important vegetation is of bananas. Sweet bananas

of chinichampa variety with small and dark spots on their body are essential in religious ceremonies. Anaji is the green banana used in curry. Sabri, Madna, Fans and Martaban are some of the sweet varieties. Banana local variety with seeds, daya kela or bichia kela (bichia= seed; kela=banana) at the green condition used in medicinal purpose (curing abdominal diseases and constipation). The banana fruit inflorescence in the good variety of malvog grows to the optimum level and therefore riches up to the soil. They cook the banana fruit inflorescence. The trunk leaf inflorescence is also cooked as a International Science Congress Association 101

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food item. They use banana leaves as plates for serving food and also for packaging of various types. Bichia kela is with medicinal importance: seeds are curative for worms, a glass of fresh water coming out of a young leaf inflorescence helps in stomach problems and it is the main item for the preparation of traditional food item chheka. The filtered water of sun-dried dust of subterranean rhizome of the plant coming out from the hole at the bottom of coconut shell provides waxy nature in the vegetables. Small lafa leaves grown in spring-winter are tastier and with this chheka the dish prepared is called pelkait reduces body temperature and prevents the germs and dust to enter into the lungs through nostrils during thrashing the paddy throughout the weather-changing season of Hemanta. Sun-dried fresh pieces of local varieties of small fishes in ponds and streams (shutka) are dusted in chham-gyin with waxy leaf-base of certain arum varieties (mann/kala) locally propagated. Mustered oil, garlic, chilly and turmeric are used to prepare fish-balls from this waxy fish dust (sidal). Balls are then fermented in tightly closed earthen pots filled up with chheka dust. After 5/7 days, seal is broken up to release the balls then baked (autha) or cooked with curry and water of chheka. In order to ripen the banana in a natural way, the Rajbanshis dig the soil up and create some alternate layers of banana wrapped in banana leaves stored within and dry paddy straw alternatively. Then the system is fired in after covering it with soil from above. It acts as a closed kiln chamber where the wind is blown inside by a hollow bamboo pipe pierced through the soil. From the heat, the bananas inside gradually ripen within approximate four hours duration; paddy straws kept within behave like burning substance as well as the non-conductor elements inside the soil chamber. Herdsmen often cook sweet potatoes in this manner; but the chambers they use are small and eat the potatoes hot. For washing the clothes, Rajbanshis use soda which they produce from the base of the banana tree (this base is the actual portion from where the leaf inflorescence comes out as the tree from the underground rhizome). They submerge this trunk base for long in water and when it started to be rotten out, the waxy extract they collected and used as soda. In burnt body part, immediately after the burning, the extract from the basal region of the banana leaf inflorescence (or the stem) has to be rubbed so no mark would appear there and complete remedy is possible. Edible soft inflorescence of ferns (dheki) is a good source International Science Congress Association 102

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of food. Rajbanshis eat non-vegetable items also: fish, hen, duck and goat are domesticated, bartered and reciprocated. Rajbanshi women are also aware of agroforestry, kitchen garden, sacred groove, medicinal plants and fencing. They cultivate various types of arums and potatoes. They know well about ethnotoxic substances for fishing, milk increasing shrubs for cattle, mixed cropping for vegetable cultivation, nitrogen fixing plants, vitamins, biodiversity management, pruning techniques, mangopineapple cultivation, use of Azadirachta cake (neem) bio-fertilizer, areca and betel cultivation, fish-cum-paddy cultivation during preparation of paddy nursery, mushroom cultivation, horticulture, fruit preservation, pulse preservation, pond ecosystem, fuel wood collection, making of card from cow milk, utilization of cow dung as bio-fertilizers cum dried fuel cakes plus plastering earthen floors and wall and so forth. Rice seed coats and cow dung emulsion are together in mixed condition is good plaster.

Slide 1 (A):

Empirical facts
Intellectual generationwise reasoning
(on Division of Labour, migration and Social Structure (family size, kinship, reciprocity, service exchange, etc.) Small-scale farming Higher cropping intensity Catchment-drainage continuum Shifting cultivation Ridge and furrow bush-fallow Use of ash, cow dung, organic waste, Azadirechta, light trap and food chains Gardening and fencing Highland, slope, lowland and wetland cultivation Small dam, water reservoirs and canal irrigation Paddy-cum-fish cultivation Paddy-cum-fish-cum-duck cultivation Tilling/ Bullock and Plough Method Irrigation Mixed, Multiple and Alternative cropping Legume cultivation

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Slide 1 (B):

Empirical facts
Intimate understanding of Seasonal cycle nature: Weather indicator Weather-oriented cultivation steps Soil types Topography Food, Fodder, Forest Produce from agro-forestry, scared groves, kitchen garden, vegetables, colocasia and fern, fiber and dye yielding flora, bamboo bush, associated livestock, pondmanagement Agro-biodiversity

Slide 1 (C ):

Empirical facts
1. Informal experimentations 2. (on trial and 3. error) Use of seed varieties In varied environments Experiments with manure, water, pruning, pest control, soil types, cropping procedure, low input and higher complex output 4. Seed quality:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. varietal purity clean seed germination capacity freedom from disease seed selection: e.g. the grains from the central third of a maize cob for seed 6. known quality 7. neighbour certification 8. commercial guarantee

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Slide 2 (A ):

Seed Management Programme (descriptive and empirical):


1. 2. 3. 4. Seed soaking: in a wet jute bag submerged under fresh pond water whole night Spreading the soaked seeds in prepared nursery bed on highly fertile river soil clay Taking seedlings to another bed, sowing there in close, 4-5 in each bunch and let become sapling (process: Roya lagano) Taking saplings to the main prepared cropping ground (small farming labour intensive unit), sowing there in row of their choice, 3-4 in each bunch, irrigating from time to time, protecting from weeds and pests and waiting for cropping (process: Boilan) Regular visit to the field, hoping not for thrashing rain when grains are coming out, but pleasant weather Sowing at early morning or late afternoon (shadow) Irrigation 2-3 times Seed soaking can also be with Trichoderma viridi Application of organic manure thrice: during ploughing, leveling and first irrigation Final sowing in mud water field with little holes (process: Jo)

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Slide 2 (B ):

Seed Management Programme (diagnostic)


1. Festival Bosumoti Laxmi worship (on field, family oriented, with candle-banana-sacred rice, cutting of 3-5 bunches and offering to household deity) (complete ripening of paddy in spring, successive harvesting in bundles throughout pre-winter dewdropping; thrashing to detach grains out of straw; storing both; consuming vegetable dish of pelka and caught by cold (controlled) prevention of dust allergy Nabanna festival (Social festival) 1. LOGIC worshiping soil and paddy, just at beginning of ripening of the crop; a bit harvesting of semiripened paddy grains; subsistent approach; checking the seeds Harvested paddy husked in traditional husking machine (Chham) either with paddle or hand-liver (gayen) to have rice; consumption of boiled new rice and other rice dust cakes on steam (vapa) at community level; consumption of puffed rice and card with beaten rice; initiation of stalk raising and rice processing; good quality grains/ seeds stored

2.

2.

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Despite all the cultural lag, Rajbanshi countrymen have maintained their traditional customs and faith unchanged and that could be easily viewed in their festivals: Mecheni Khela, Tista

Buri, Satya Pir, Modon Ka/Bans Khela, Jagannath & Balaram Thakur, Dharam Thakur, Geram Thakur(summer); Kachibuna, Hudum deo/ Benger biao(monsoon), Amati,

Sotyonarayana, Dodi Kado, Othai pothai, Jitau, Bara bhasha, Bharar Ghorchhura, Lokhi dak, Devi, Boro Debi, Bishahari, Jatra Puja, Bhandani (spring); Chondi, Dhap chandi, Kali Thakur, Khet Uthani (hemanta or after-spring), Pushuna, Shial Thakur, Baruni sinan/ Maghli sinan, Shiva rati, Gamira Thakur, Chorok, Shiva Chaturdashi (winter); Dham, Rakhal Thakur, Shaleshwari, Gorakhnath, Bishua (autumn); Jiga Thakur, Tulshi Thakur, jurbandha Thakur
(anytime in the year) and fear of Pairy, Jak, Mashan and other harmful entities
Table 1: major vegetables propagated by the Rajbanshis
Vegetables Under ground/ semiterrestri al crop Terrestrial vegetables Example potato, yam, sweet potato, radish, carrot, beet, corn, ginger, turmeric and shalgom (turpin) Brinjal, pumpkin, hemp, tomato, chilly, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, mint, bean, spinach, coriander, sop sop, panikumra (bottle gourd), lafa [grown in winterautumn] Usefulness uncooked radish, carrot and beet eaten up as good source of vitamin; baked potato, yam and sweet potato consumed (under soil baking); sun-dried fried potato chips last for long; steamed and boiled potato are other food ways vegetable dishes helpful in meeting the optimal nutritional requirements; long sized red hot Siti chilly variety is grown in Dinajpur area in huge amount; chilly preservation by drying it in the sun [occasionally after heating in warm water]; spicy taste of chily controls body temperature in cold; fibrous portion of the superfluity of these vegetables helps in curing constipation problem;

Stem or/and leaves of herbace ous plant (shak/ shag)

rotten superfluity looks as good source of organic manure (compost); kheshari, rai, mustard, good source of nutritious food; spinach, lettuce, mint, cucumber, pumpkin and methi (eaten up in winter) jute, flax, brahmi, kalmi,bethu/bothua, puin, kankrol, notey and red leaves [monsoon crop]
oshni/sushni, khuria, helencha, amrul, gulancha, ol (corn), kalkeshut, kulekhara, polta,gima, good source of nutritious food; Kulekhara is a prickly plant and its leaf curry looks yellow in colour; it helps in blood purification; Shanche is also important for nitrogen fixation in the soil; Kundri is another important plant in jungles of the hilly

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hatishur, kiu, shanche, slopes with red; ovoid fruits [favored by parrots] and they are all shafla, chikni, kundri, bhat edible in fried condition or as curry; bhat with broad green rough [young leaves edible] leaves are needed in religious purpose and in young condition, are consumed as curry.

Table 2: Bamboo and its use Plant Plant ways of use parts Bamboo Young edible; eaten up with young fern plant; used in pickle shoot Stem To make the bamboo stick durable, treatment is given with oil, sun heat, as well as portion mud and water inside the stagnant pond throughout the year. Bamboo sticks are used in balancing two baskets/ pots fixed on its both ends. It gives balance the boat in river. A house could be completely made up of bamboo that provides healthy environment and is cheap to construct. Bamboo Pulp is the raw material in preparation of paper. Bamboo sticks of nol variety are also used for preparation of umbrella, flute and walking stick as well as for fencing the yard. Muli/ makla variety of bamboo is good for construction of fence. Fences made of bamboo are used for privacy, for decoration, for livestock, storage and handlooms. Big-radius yellow bamboo shoots are used in thatching big baskets generally used for storage. Long bamboo variety has closer joints (gant) and named as lomba bansh. It is used in making the frame and poles of a mud house/ a bridge on small streams and water canals. This type of bamboo is supposed to be very strong, not easy to cut into pieces and used in manufacture of musical instruments from hoary past. Holes are made at lower end of the bamboo shoot and set on fire: in this way, the shoots are broken down automatically on the ground.

Table 3: major fruits propagated by the Rajbanshis


Fruit Plants Usefulness Sweet bananas of chinichampa with small and dark spots on their body are essential in religious ceremonies. Anaji is the green banana used in curry. Sabri, Madna, Fans and Martaban are some of the sweet varieties. Banana local variety with seeds, daya kela or bichia kela (bichia= seed; kela=banana) at the green condition used in medicinal purpose (curing abdominal diseases and constipation). The banana fruit inflorescence in the good variety of malvog grows to the optimum level and therefore riches up to the soil. They cook the banana fruit inflorescence. The trunk leaf inflorescence is also cooked as a food item. They use banana leaves as plates for serving food and also for packaging of various types.

Sweet fruit:
jack-fruit, banana, papaya, pine apple, custar apple, fig, chalta, bel (beal)

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Bichia kela is with medicinal importance: seeds are curative for worms, a glass of fresh water coming out of a young leaf inflorescence helps in stomach problems and it is the main item for the preparation of traditional food item chheka. The filtered water of sundried dust of subterranean rhizome of the plant coming out from the hole at the bottom of coconut shell provides waxy nature in the vegetables. Small lafa leaves grown in spring-winter are tastier and with this chheka the dish prepared is called pelka- it reduces body temperature and prevents the germs and dust to enter into the lungs through nostrils during thrashing the paddy throughout the weather-changing season of Hemanta. Sun-dried fresh pieces of local varieties of small fishes in ponds and streams (shutka) are dusted in chham-gyin with waxy leaf-base of arum varieties (mann/kala). Mustered oil, garlic, chilly and turmeric are used to prepare fish-balls from this waxy fish dust (sidal). Balls are then fermented in tightly closed earthen pots filled up with chheka dust. After 5/7 days, seal is broken up to release the balls then baked (autha) or cooked with curry and water of chheka. In order to ripen the banana in a natural way, the Rajbanshis dig the soil up and create some alternate layers of banana wrapped in banana leaves stored within and dry paddy straw alternatively. Then the system is fired in after covering it with soil from above. It acts as a closed kiln chamber where the wind is blown inside by a hollow bamboo pipe pierced through the soil. From the heat, the bananas inside gradually ripen within approximate four hours duration; paddy straws kept within behave like burning substance as well as the non-conductor elements inside the soil chamber. Herdsmen often cook sweet potatoes in this manner; but the chambers they use are small and eat the potatoes hot. For washing the clothes, Rajbanshis use soda which they produce from the base of the banana tree (this base is the actual portion from where the leaf inflorescence comes out as the tree from the underground rhizome). They submerge this trunk base for long in water and when it started to be rotten out, the waxy extract they collected and used as soda. In burnt body part, immediately after the burning, the extract from the basal region of the banana leaf inflorescence (or the stem) has to be rubbed so no mark would appear there and complete remedy is possible. Green jack-fruit is eaten as vegetable and the ripen sweet fruits are too tasty; birds and jackals love to taste it Papaya could be used as delicious fruit, good vegetable, clotting blood, latex production and so on. This species has some variety with two or even more branches each yielding numerous fruits. Pine apple previously cultivated in homocentric circles around trunk of a big mango tree shade; fruits are edible, waste products source of good compost; preserved in juice and jelly forms. It is an important commercial fruit and peasants are more interested in row wise pineapple cultivation facilitated by proper drainage system than private small scale tea gardens. In 1990s, establishment of such tea gardens on agricultural land created a fear in minds of local villagers who seem to have a basic opposition towards huge capital investment and land alienation. This fear of mass impoverishment and unemployment caused them to agitate against government policy that immediately took the shape of an ethnic movement.

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Sour fruit: guava, lime, peach/ lack berry, carambola, tamarind, zambura, green mango, tamarind, chalta
Pickle yielding plant: buguri (plum) Other pickle yielding plants: pine apple, mango, amlaki/amla tamarind & carambola.

Rajbanshis never eat the soft, pulpy, juicy and sweet mango, because they consider ripened mango rotten in nature. They are actually fond of the sour taste of lime, carambola, tamarind, zambura and green mango. They first rub the mango at its tip on the bark of the tree to remove the bitterness, halve to remove the seed, rough and consume it with salt. They also piece these green mangoes and dried them is sunlight of the summer with salt and edible mustered oil or oil seeds in order to preserve them as pickle.

sour fruit; several indigenous varieties present; wild variety (bon buguri), small sized, medium sized, broad sized, minute sized; pickles made of both green and ripened fruits, often the fruits are sun-dried before preserving them as pickle; dried fruits are often dusted and then used as pickle pine apple pickles in both green or ripened conditions; mango, tamarind & carambola pickles either sun-dried (oil, sugar and salt added) or submerged in mastered oil. mango juice with the mesocarp fibers is preserved under sun heat and day by day the jelly layer is got thicker.

Some plants around agro-system of North Bengal- local & scientific names Plants: aparajita (Clitoria ternatea), gulmohar (Delonia regia), bel (Aegle marmelos), aam

(Mangifera indica), amra (Spondias pinnata), ashok (Saraka asoka), brahmi (Bacopa

monnieri), bon tulsi/ (Hyptis suaveolens), babul (Acacia nilotica), chor kata (Andropogon aciculate), palas (Butea spp.), pipal (Ficus religiosa), khetraparpati (Oldenlandia corymbosa),
pakur (Ficus infectoria), dumur (Ficus benghalensis), yagya dumur/ gular (Ficus glomerata), chalta (Dillenia indica), khoir (Acasia catechu), tea (Camellia spp.), nagkeshar (Meusa

ferrea), sal (Shorea robusta), piyal (Buchanania lanzan), pepe (Carica papaya), chalta
(Dillenia indica), jalshingara/ paniphal (Trapa), chalmugra (Gynocordia), jat neem (Azedirachta indica), neem (Indigofera tinctoria), buguri (Zyzyphus mauritiana), boyar (Zyzyphus jujuba), labanga (Zyzyphus aromaticum), jambura/ timbur (Zanthoxylum spp.), ashphal (Dimocarpus longan), ghas (Aronopus compressus), joan (Trachysperous ammi), jhika (Lannea coromandelea), dhudhul (Luffa aegyptieaca), amla (Embelica officinale), chikrasi (Chikrassia tabularis), muktajhajhi (Acalypha alba), Acalypha indica, tetul (Tamarindus indica), peyara (Psidium guajava), jamrool (Syzygium samarangense), hatishur International Science Congress Association 109

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(Helianthus indicum), karkatashringi (Rhus sp), rudraksha (Elaeocarpus serratus), hartaki (Terminalia chebula), chilauni (Schime wallichii), hingul (Balanites aegyptiaca), Murraya

koenigii, kamranga (Averrhoa carambola), nagbeli (Lycopodium elevatuin), akashbeli


(Cascuta sp.), babul (Acasia nicotina), kolke (Thevetia neriflora), kash (Saccharum

spontanium), ghas (Melocanna baccifera, Thysannolaena,Gleichenia pectinata), shephali


(Nyctanthus arbortristis), gajor (Daucus carrota), mula (Raphanas sativus), bhang (Cannabis

sativa), ganja (Abrus precatorius), pan (Piper betel), tejpata (Cinnamomum zeylanica), tamal
(Cinnamomum tamala), karpur (Cinnamomum camphora), sajina (Moringa obleisera), pipal (Ficus religiosa), bot (Ficus benghalensis), Spathodea campanulata (rhododendron of the plains), simul (Bombax ceiba), kapok (Ceiba pentandra), bakul (Mimusops elengi), mahua (Madhuca latifolia), hathchur (Vaicum erticuletum), bringaraj/ kalkeshut (Eclipta alba), ata (Annona reticulate), nona (Annona squamosa), kadam (Anthosephalus indicus), kush (Desmostachya bipinnata), groundnut (Arachis hypogea), ghritakumari (Aloe vera), thankuni/ manboni (Centella asiatica), pudina (Mentha sp.), suryashishir/ fox-leg (Drosera), lajjabati (Mimosa pudica), bhui-champa (Memiltonia sp), muchkundo-champa (Pterospermum

acerifolium),

kathali-champa

(Artabotrys

hexapetala),

jackfruit/

kathal

(Atrocarpus

heterophyllus), mulberry/ tut (Bombax ceiba), (Morus spp.), ganda (Tagetes erecta), hinche
(Enhydra fluctunus), swetindrani (Citrullum colocyanthus), shon (Crotilaria juncea), methi (Trigonella foenum-graecum), mitha pata (Scoparia dulsis), spinach (Basella alba), dhutura (Datura filix-mas), black dhutura (Datura stremonium), amla (Embelica officinalis), phalsa (Grewia subnaequalis), jaba (Hibiscus spp.), pat/ jute (Corchorus capsularis and C. olitorius), china jute (Abutilon spp.), dumur/ fig (Ficus glomerata), kankrol (Cucumia sutiuua), tal (Borassus flabellifer), jalpai (Elaeocarpus serratus), bhadali (Paederia foetida), jam (Eugenia

jamboline), gamar (Gimelina arborea), kagaj phul (Bougainvillea spectabilis), dhobi phul
(Mussaenda frustiari), kek phul (Crinum asiaticum), dheki (Dryopteris ternatia), amaltas (Cassia fistula), sankhapushpi (Convolvulus microphyllus), jatamanasi (Nardostachys

jatamansi), paraspipul (Thespesia populnia), keora (Pandanus fascicularis), karanja


(Pongamia pinnata), halud/ turmeric (Adinis cordifolia), tok-pata (Oxalis spp.).

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Some animals, birds & fishes living in and around agro-system of North Bengal Animals: Makor/ spider/ Heteropoda spp., bichha/ scorpion/ Buthus meroccanus, kecho/ earth

warm/ Pheretima posthuma, jonk/ leech/ Hirudinaria granulosa, kenno/ millipede/ Julas

terrestris, telapoka or arshola/cockroach/ Periplaneta americana, kuno beng or vek/ common


toad/ Bufo melanostictus, kotkoti beng/skipper frog/ Rana cyanophlyctis, kola beng or sona beng / Rana tigrina, jhi jhi poka/ cricket frog/ Limnonectes limnocharis, dhere indur/bandicoot rat/ Bandicota indica, metho indur/ Indian field mouse/ Mus booduga, nengti indur/ house mouse/ Mus musculus, gosap /monitor/ Varanus spp., maitta shap/ olivaceous keelback snake /

Atretium schistosum, daras/ common rat snake/ Ptyas mucosus,goru or gai/ cow/ Bovis indica,
chagal/ goat/ Capra species, kukur/dog/ Canis familiaris, janglee kukur or dhole or ram kutta/ Asiatic wild dog/ Cuon alpinus, pati shial or shial/Asiatic jackal/ Canis aureus, khek shial/Bengal fox/ Vulpes benghalensis, beji/ common grey mongoose/ Herpestes edwardsii, biral/ cat/ Felis domesticus, ban-biral/ swamp cat or jungle cat/ Felis chaus, fishing cat/

Rionailurus viverrinus, chita bagh/ Indian leopard/ Panthera pardus, East Asian
porcupine/Hystrix brachyura, gandha gokul or khatash or bham or bagdash/civet/Vivma

zibetha, bhodor/common otter/Lutra lutra, ud biral/ oriental small-clawed otter/Aonyx cinerea,


bon suar/ Indian wild bear/Sus serofa, badur / flying-fox or common bat / Pteropus giganteus, daini badur/ Indian false vampire/ Megaderma lyra, khargosh/ Indian hare/Lepus nigricollis, hispid hare/ Caprolagus hispidus, Himalayan mouse hare/ Ochotona royeli, kathbirali/ squirrel/ Ratufa bicolour, squirrel/ Callosciurus pygerythrus, girgity/chameleon, rokto chosa/ common garden lizard/ Calotes versicolour, gaur/ Bos gaurus, gibbon/ Bunipithecus hoolock, swamp deer/ Cervus duvaucelii, Asian elephant/ Elephas maximus, macaque/ Macaca spp.
Birds: dar kank/ large-billed crow or raven/ Corvus macrorhynchos, pati kank/ house crow/

Corvus splendens, dhanesh/ hornbill (pied hornbill/ Anthracoceros maladaricus, rufous-necked


hornbill/ Aceros nepalensis, great hornbill/Buceros bicornis, wreathed hornbill/Rhyliceos

undulatus), tree pie/ Dendrositta spp. (grey tree pie /D. Formosa and hari chacha/ rufous treepie/ D. vagabunda), cheer pheasant/ Catreus wallichii, kaleej pheasant or black breasted kalij/

Lophura leucomelana, kat mayur/ peacock pheasant/ Polyplectron bicalearats, mayur/ Indian
peafowl/ Pavo cristesus, peafowl/ Pavo spp., green peafowl/ Pavo muticus, kukkut/ red jungle fowl/ Francolinus francotinus, bon murgi/ tragopan/ Tragopan spp. (Blyth's tragopan/ International Science Congress Association 111

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Tragopan blythii), jol kukkut/ coot/ Falica atra, jol murgi/ water rail or water hen/ Rallus aquaticus, moorhen/ Gallinula chloropus, purple moorhen/ Prophypio porphyrio, chochoka or
choka/ shelduck/ Tadorna spp. (T. ferrugina and common T. tadorna), rajhans/ bar headed goose/ Anser indicus, buno rajhans/forest bean goose/ Anser fabilis, lesser white-fronted goose/

Anser erythropus, pati hans/ spot billed duck or grey duck/ Anas poecilorhyncha, khunte
hans/northern shoveller/ Anas clypeata, chhai hans/ grey leg duck/ Anas anser, widgeon/ Anas

penelope, gadwall/ Anas strepera, khopa hans/ tufted duck/ Aythya fuligula, kalo hans/
common pochard/ Aythya ferina, ranga jhuti hans/ red crested pochard/ Rhodonessa rufina, bhitu hans/ Bears pochard/ Aythya baeri, sada chokh bhitu hans/ (white eyed) ferruginous duck/ Aythya nyrocha, vadi hans/ white-winged duck/Cairina seululala, holde sithi hans/ Eurasian wigeon/ Anas penelope, nil matha hans or nilsir/ mallard or blue head wild drake/

Anas plantyrhynchos, bacha hans/ comb duck/ Sarkidiornis sp., bali hans/ cotton teal or cotton
pigmy-goose/ Nettapus coromandelianus, patari hans or peri hans/ common teal/ Anas crecoa, baikal teal/ Anas formosa, sikhajukto hans/ falcated teal/ Anas falcate, marbled teal/

Marmaronetta angustirostris, bara sarali/large whistling teal/Dendrosygna bicolour, chhoto


sarali/lesser whistling teal/Dendrosygna

javanica,
white

goyar/darter/Anhinga breasted waterhen

rufa,

pan

kauri/shag/Phalacrocorax

fusciecllis,

dahuk/

/Amaurornis

phoenicurus, chhai bok or anjan/grey heron/ Ardea cinerea, purple heron/ Ardea purpuria,
kani bok/ Indian pond-heron or paddy bird/ Ardeola grayii, white-billed heron/ Ardea insignis, giant white-billed heron/ Ardea imperialis, Chinese pond heron/ Adreala grayii, little green heron/ Butorides striatus, Indian reef heron/ Egretta gularis, night herron/ Nycticorax

mucticorax, go bok/ cattle egret/ Bubulcus ibis, bok /little egret/ Egretta garzetta, sada
bok/great egret/ Casmeroidus albus, khute bok/spoon bill/Platelia lencorodia, saros/ ibis/

Pseudibis spp. (brown and black) and Thresciornis melanocephala (white), saros/ crane/ Amaurornis spp., shamuk bhanga/ Asian open billed stork/ Anastomus oscitaus, hargile/ stork/ Ciconia spp. (oriental stork/ Ciconia boyciana, white stork/ C. ciconia, white necked stork/ C. episcopus, black stork/ C. nigra), ram shalik/ black nacked stork/ Xenorhynchus asiaticus, sona
jongha/ painted stork/ Ibis leucocephalus, shakun/vulture/Gyps spp. (white-rumped vulture:

Gyps bengalensis), chil/black-winged kite/Elanus caeruleus, bhuban chil/ black kite/ Milvus migrans, gung chil/ tern/ Stern spp., shankachil/ brahminy kite/ Haliastur indus, tila baz or
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shapkheko baz/ crested serpent eagle/ Spilornis eheela, greater spotted eagle/ Aquila clanga, imperial eagle/ Aquila heliaca, fish eagle/ Haliaeetus leucoryphus, cuckoo (Cacomantis spp.,

Cuculus spp.: Cuculus varius- papia or chokh gelo, C. microplerus/ bou katha kao), kokil/
koel/ Endynanuys scolopacea, bon kokil/ large green billed malkoha/ Rhopodytes tristis, finge kokil/ drongo cuckoo/ Surniculus lugubris, finge/ drongo/ Dicrurus spp. (D. adsimilis/ black drongo, D. aeneus/ bronzed drongo, D. paradiscus/greater racket tailed dorongo, D. aenena/ lesser racket tailed dorongo, D. annectans/ crow billed type, D. coernlescens /white billed, D.

hottentottus/ hair crested), ghugu/ dove/ Streptopelia spp. (S. chinensis /spotted dove/tila
ghughu, S. orientale/ rufous turtle dove/ bon ghugu or ghugu, S. tranquebarica/ red turtle dove/ lal ghugu or jongla ghugu and S. decaota /Indian ring dove or collared dove /raj ghughu), raj ghugu/ emerald dove/ Chalcophaps indica, bar tail cuckoo dove/ Macrorygia unchall, horikol/ pigeon/ Tyeran spp. (green T. biceneta, orange-breasted T. curvirostra, yellow-footed T.

phoeniciptera, grey-fronted T. pomdadora), payra/ pigeon/ Columba spp. (blue rock pigeon/ Columba livia, purple wood or pale-capped pigeon/ Columba punicea, great imperial pigeon/ Columba ducula aenae, mountain imperial pigeon/ Duluca badia), shalik or bhat shalik/
common myna/ Acridotheres tristis, bon shalik/ jungle myna/ Acridotheres fusces, gung shalik/ bank myna/ Acridotheres ginginianus, mynah/ hill myna (grackle)/ Gracula religiosa, jhuti shalik/ short crested myna/Acridotheres javanicus, gue shalik/ pied myna/Sturnus contra, bhahmini myna/ brahmini mynah/ Strunus pagodarum, grey headed myna/ fat shalik/ Strunus

malabaricus, charui/ house sparrow/Passer domesticus, Eurasian tree sparrow/ Passer montanus, khanjan/ white wagtail/ Motacilla alba, grey wagtail/ M. caspica, yellow headed
wagtail/ M. citreola, yellow wagtail/ M. flava, khanjan/ Chinese olive-backed pipit/ Anthus

hodgsoni, khanjan/ australasian pipit or paddy field pipit/ Anthus novaeseelandiae, nilkantha/
broad billed tay (Eurystomus orientalis), Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis), magpie: green

Kittu chinensis and green with red K. crythrorhyncha, flower pecker or honey bird/moutusi/ Dicaeum spp., kat thukra / woodpecker/ Dinopium bengalense, Celebus brachyurus, Dendrocopos canicapillus, Blythipicus pyrrhotis, Chrysocolaptes lercidus, Dendrocopos atratui, D. canicapillus, D. mabrattensis, D. macei, D. namus, Dinopium bengalense, D. javanensis, D. marnathensis, Gecinulus grautia, Hemicircus cancute, Hypopicus hyperithrus, Jynx torguilla, Micropternus breachyurus, Mulleripicus pulveulentus, Picumnus innominatus,
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Picus canus, P. chorolophus, P. harinucha, P. myrmecophoneus, shui chura/ bee-eater / Merops spp., haldey pakhi/ block-hooded oriole or yellow bird/ Oriolus xanthornus, nil pakhi/ Pitta spp., hooded pitta or green breasted pitta/ Pitta sordida, chhoto machranga/ common
kingfisher/ Alcedo atthis, machranga/ blyths kingfisher/ Alcedo hercules, machranga/ white throated kingfisher /

Halcyan

smyrnensis,

brown-winged

kingfisher/

Pelargopsis

amauropterus, stork-billed kingfisher/ P. Capensis, babui/ black-breasted baya weaver/ Ploceus benghalensis, bulbuli/ bulbul/ Pycnonotus spp. and Hypsipetes spp., pata bulbuli/
golden-fronted leaf bird/ Chloropsis aurifrons, tuntuni/ common tailorbird or wren warbler/

Orthotomus sutorius, golden headed wren warbler/ O. cucullatus, paddy field warbler/ Accrocephalus agricola, spotted bush warbler/ Bradypterus thoracicus, bristled grass-warbler/ Chaetornis striatus, large grass-warbler/ Graminicola benghalensis, booted warbler/Hippalais caligata, grasshopper warbler/ Locustella spp., striated marsh warbler/ Megalurus palustris,
black- breasted warbler/ Ploceus benghalensis, leaf warbler/ Phylloscopus spp., long tailed warbler/ Prinia spp., thick billed warbler/ Phragmaticola spp., Adjutant/ Leptoptilos spp, slender-billed babbler/ Turdoides longirostris, marsh babbler/ Pellorneum palustre, rustythroated wren babbler/ Spelaeornis badeigularis, tawny-breasted wren babbler/ Spelaeornis

longicaudatus, snowy-throated babbler/ Stachyris oglei, munia/black-headed munia/ Lonchura malacca, gagan ber/ spotted billed pelican/ Pelecanus philippensis, spine/ Capella spp.
(kadakhocha/ great snipe/ C. minima, bon chaha/ solitary spine/ C. solitaria), wood snipe/

Gallinago nemoricola, batan/ plover (ring plover and sand plover)/ Charadrius spp., balu
batan/ sandpiper/ Tringa spp., spoon-billed sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, titi/ lapwing/

Vanellus spp. (white tailed lapwing/ V. leucurus), bogudi/ stone curlew/ Burhinus cedicnemus,
ababil/ house martin/Delichon kashmiriense, sand martin/ Riparia spp., chatak/striated swallow/ Hirundo daurica, tal chata/ larger striated swallow/ Hirundo striolata, palm swift/naknati/ Cypsiurum parvus, dark-rumped swift/Apus acuticauda, edible nest swift let/

Collocalia innominata, crested swift/ Hemiprocne longipennis, dhania pakhi or basanta bauri/
barbet/ Megalaima (M. asiatica, M. baemacaphala, M.australis), din kana/ night jar/

Caprimulgus spp., latoa/ shrike/ Lanius spp., tia/ parakeet/ Psillacula spp. and Loriculus spp.,
beua/ pheasant tailed jacana/ Hydrophazianus chirurgus, jolpipi/ bronze winged jacana/

Metopidius indicus,doel/ Indian robin/ Saxicoloides fulicata, pathure doel/ blue rock
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thrush/Monticola solitarius, laughing thrush/ Garrulax spp., flycatcher/ Muscicapa spp., futki/ grey headed flycatcher/ Culicicafa sp., fantail flycatcher/ Rhipidura spp., forktail/ Enicurus spp., bush chat/ Saxicola spp., blue chat/ Enicurus spp., hudhud/ hoope/ Upupa epopa, pencha/ spotted owlet/Athene brama, hutum pencha/brown fish owl/ Bubo zeylonensis, rock eagle owl/

Bubo benghalensis, collared scops owl/ Otus spilocephalus, lakshmi pencha/ barn owl/ Tyto alba
Fish: Fishes: magur/ Walking catfish / Clarius batrachus, shingi/ Stinging catfish /

Heteropneustes fossilis, koi/ Climbing perch / Anabas testudineus, bain/ Eel/ Macrognathus spp, boal/ Wallago/ Wallago attu, shol/ Striped snakehead or Snakehead
murrel / Channa striatus, cheng/ Asiatic snakehead or Walking snakehead /Channa

orientalis, taki (lata in southern West Bengal)/ spotted snakehead/ Channa punctatus,
bele/Tank gobi/ Glossogabius giuris, gutum (guntia or poa in southern west Bengal)/ Guntea loach or pool barb/ Lepidocephalus guntea, chanda/ India glassy perchlet/

Parambassis spp., tengra/ Tengara mystus/ Mystus spp., fauli or foli/ Bronze featherback
or Grey featherback/ Nolopterus notopterus, chapila or khoira / Indian river shad/

Gudusia chapra, punti/ Puntius spp, sarpunti/ Olive barb/ Puntius sarana, tit punti /Ticto
barb / Puntius ticto, bagha punti/ Puntius canchonius, catla/ catla/ Catla catla, rui/ rohu/

Labeo rohita, mourala/ Mola carplet/ Amblypharyngodon mola, kholisha/ Banded


gourami/ Colisa fasciata, khoksa/ Barilius vagra, bhola/ Barilius varna, banspata/ Jumuna ailia/ Ailia coila, bacha/ River catfish/ Eutropiichthys vacha, chela/ Chela/

Oxygaster annomalura, exotic fishes like carp (Common carp/Cyprinus carp, Grass carp/ Ctenopharyngodon idellus, Silver carp/ Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and tilapia
(Tilapia/ Oreochromis spp.) plus Japani punti/ Japanese barb/ Puntius javanicus and other fishes (lathi fish/ River stone carp, dharangi or dhara, bhagna bata, bata, kalabata, mona puti, kajari, ghugia, etc).

Table 4: Categorization of agro-oriented IKS of the Rajbanshi Social Fold of North Bengal 1 Protection of healthy variety of crops growing in nature, domestication of wild varieties, natural variety of high yielding crops, indigenous way of producing hybrids with high nutrition level, retention of soil fertility and soil classification, concept of upland, lowland and marshy

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land; 2 application of degradable ethno-toxicants, cutting, pruning, tissue culture and cloning, seed treatment in the nursery to provide healthy seedlings and saplings; 3 field preparation, application of organic manure, application of eco-friendly microbes and vectors, natural way of paste and herb control: use of larvae, insects, birds, fish, ants, white ants and earth warm; 4 symbiosis and nitrification, fishing-cum-paddy cultivation, techniques involved in shifting cultivation and step cultivation, feed-back manner, fuel collection, use of cow dung, classification of soil types, classification of cultivation ground, cultivation on the fertile alluvial soil on the river islands, bush fallow cultivation, seasonal cultivation, yearly cultivation, annual and biennial cultivation, flowering in the first year of a biennial crop variety, mixed cultivation; 5 identification of certain plant species on trees or in soil causing severe harm to the crop production, weeds used in removal of pests and other harmful organisms, earth-warm in maintenance of soil fertility; 6 seed and sapling selection, roles of women, crop selection, seed germination, crop sowing, protection of ripen crops from rat, insect, bird and bat; 7 crop harvesting, crop thrashing, grain storing, preservation of the crop, fish, food, fruit, fruit pulp and so on, pressed and puffer rice, alcoholism, fermentation of rice or fruit juice, palm juice, date juice and production of unsaturated sweet cakes, types of pickle, prickles in mustard oil or as stored in dried condition, use of dry neem leaves as preservatives, use of sun beam in preservation, use of dry soil as preservative, use of pond soil in facial and skin treatment, use of the straw stalks for fertilizing the soil, use of straws in mushroom cultivation, burning of the left-away straws in the post-harvest period on the cultivation ground, light trap, weed management, use of dry soil (of rat house) as preservative; 8 mushroom cultivation, mushroom varieties; 9 use of algae and lichen in cookery, classification of bamboo; 10 use of bamboo in every aspect of life from drinking water in a glass made of bamboo to house construction, techniques involved in bamboo cultivation, bamboo parts as food, fodder and pickle, bamboo and myth, flowering in bamboo; 11 use of algae, fungi, pteridophytes and fern in cookery, dye production, wax formation and medicinal purposes; 12 floriculture, use of pots, environmental influence, low-cost greenhouse manufacture, nursery

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and water shade, use of organic manure, cutting and pruning in horticulture, garden ecosystem, shade trees, fish manure and bone dust, soil types and stones, soil sterilization, fencing, use of roots, rhizomes, shoot, bark, lattice, leaf, bud, inflorescence, flower, anther, nectar, fruit, seeds in various purposes, pitcher plants, extraction of essence from the flower, lemon grass production; 13 honey collection, nectar yielding flower species protection of the trees favored by the honey bees, role of honey bees in ecosystem and maintenance of food web, use of honey in food, as medicine and health protection, use of wax, use of birds in searching out the honey nest; 14 animal husbandry and poultry, construction of the shade, fodder, fertility control and breeding, grazing, milk products and curd, indigenous techniques for increasing milk production, protection of the cattle from leaches, protection of poultry from bird eating animals, veterinary and control of disease in the domestic plant species, animals and birds, use of animal produce, skins, wool, bones; 15 spice cultivation; 16 vegetable cultivation; 17 ethno-fishery, pond selection, protection of pond ecosystem, liming the soil for controlling the water pH level, careful observation of fishes in the cold foggy winter, especially regulating the water temperature in the pond, proper physical activity and regular feeding, disease treatment, fertility control, various techniques of fishing, fishing in the streams, fishing in the rivers, fishing under the waterfalls, fishing in the marshy land, fishing in the paddy field, fishes as good source of manure, fishing of fishes with extra-respiratory organ, group fishing, quick fishing in emergency, use of ethno-toxic elements in fishing, preserved fish products, fishes in maintenance of the health condition and nutrition level, superfluity and fish feed, cultivation of prawns, crabs, coloured fishes, insect and mosquito eating fishes as well as hybrids, use of fishes in controlling mosquito larvae; control over snake, rat and frog; concept about water pollution and the role of pond water as the carrier of diseases in fishes, cattle and human and related disease cycle; 18 sericulture, selection of trees for sericulture, food chains in the natural process of sericulture, cocoons and production and storage of silk fibers; 19 lime production, relation between lime production and snail consumption system; frog eating and related belief; 20 cultivation of jute, tea, tobacco, sorea, teak, legume, betel, betel nut, arum and palm; 21 house construction, use of rice seed-coat in soil for wall construction, use of bamboo, grass,

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jute stick, straw and leaves in roofing, use of wood and bamboo in construction of the framework, house types in heavy raining areas; construction of storage, manufacture of basket, use of basket for storing; 22 production of wooden plough and other artifacts; food preparation and cooking utensils; 23 wood and leaf collection, husking machine and the role of women; handlooms and women; women and self-help groups; women and trade; women in the village-level power sector; 24 use of fire, control on fire, earthen stoves, earthen kiln; 25 use of stagnant water in mud-ponds under bright sun beams to remove the dry jute fibers from the hollow straw, use of jute and straw, straws in construction, fencing and fuel source, collection and storage of jute and other fibers, their use in handlooms and weaving cloths, mats and seats, dying the cloth with natural colour produced from soil, plant extract, emulsion of rice dust and charcoal; 26 pulse cultivation, production of sun-dried preserved pulse cakes; 27 medicinal weeds; consumption of nutritious food and disease curing dishes; concept of disease, health and nutrition; health consciousness and illness, believe in super-nature [in order to control the nature and maintenance of the mental health]; 288 alternative crop production; 29 concept about season and weather, related myths, disaster management system in case of flood, drought, heavy rain, land slide, soil erosion, deforestation, crop failure, storm, fire, attack of insects or birds or rats or elephant or other herbivores, weather forecasting from watching the nature and activities in the wild life; 30 protection of forestry by feed back, protection of sacred groove, conserving and maintaining forest resources, indigenous tree classification systems, terrace planting techniques (if applicable), trees suited for different geographical locations, tree species for providing shade for plantation crops, forest product marketing strategies, intercropping in forest gardens, timber yielding plants, nut yielding plants, gum and resin yielding plants, plants with other economic importance, religious system and conservation of plant species, flowering plants, medicinal and herbal values of wild trees, supply of global public goods and global environmental services, water management, irrigation and fishing, indigenous irrigation techniques, preservation of ground water level; recycling of solid waste, utilization of the superfluity in various manner; 31 folk classification and folk taxonomy.

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III: GLOBALIZATION AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES


The set of indigenous knowledge traits builds up a system called indigenous knowledge system working as the regulator of folk life. The system formed by the functional knowledge traits is actually developed by the peoples living very close to the nature and very much allied with their non-adaptive domains of their folk life. If IK is functional, then its cognate IKS is highly non-functional, cultural, repeating with time, systematic and permanent. IKS therefore is just portraying the folk life, protecting the natural resources and the bio-diversity of the region and regulating the modes of production there on which everything is dependent. Global market economy is also highly interested in IK/IKS of the folk people. United Nations and World Bank are conducting research on IK/IKS. IK/IKS/indigenous culture/traditional way of living are not only source of public services, but also way of negotiation between traditional and modern, local and global, minority and majority and such things. The term indigenous has become highly integrated with the concepts like Sustainable Development and Folk Life. Mostly undocumented, originated from the very reflection of the nature and natural happenings in day-to-day life upon the Folk Mind, shared by a huge bulk of population spread out from forest to village and of course, the most functional in form for their continuous loss and gain, embedded in culture and hence ultimately getting stability and repeating with time, ranging from modes of production on natural resource management to folk way of living: Indigenous Knowledge traits and their cognate the Indigenous Knowledge System could not remain kept apart from the known Modern Knowledge System; both these knowledge systems have to interact again and again in order to understand each other especially when world is gradually globalizing. So, these two systems are behaving like sub-systems under the Global Knowledge System, mainly for three basic reasons, such as,

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1. need of mutual understanding between folk people and modern societies for establishing a planned way of (sustainable) development to gain the highest degree of support from all associating parts of the society so as to 1.1. attain suitable economic growth for people [in the contexts of different modes of production (pre-agrarian, agrarian and post-agrarian sectors), social system (involving social, economic, political and religious pursuits), traditional cultural life and conventional to present-day civilized sectors (however, these domains have already been overlapped)] 1.2. produce a good quality human resource having better experience about their natural resources, biodiversity with their own folk taxonomy and intimate understanding of natural happenings 1.3. and achieve properly organized way of living, avoiding the probabilities of conflicts like majoritarians versus minoritarians or due to global-local nexus or even a clash in the frame of ethnicity or religious communalism: I mean to say proper way of communication between conceptualities 2. a lot to be learnt from the traditional societies, the folk communities and the holders of the Little Tradition to make up gaps and harms due to different side effects, hazards and damages caused by unidirectional and unjustified implementation of modern technologies and modern developmental works; reducing the folk agitations against various political and economic decisions and ensuring share in profit to all; I mean to say Global Public Services 3. proper understanding of material and non-material, tangible and intangible, verbal and non-verbal aspects of folk life [regarding their conventional technologies and indigenous management systems regarding ecology, environment and natural disaster, bio-diversity, ethno-medicinal plantation in sacred groves, crop production, animal husbandry, ethno-fishery and so many other production domains leading upto their entire social life]; I mean to say World View of the folk community. International Science Congress Association 120 different peoples and their

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Together these indigenous knowledge traits of a tribal and a rural folk community (in close contact with a specific ecosystem for long) behave like a useful system for utilizing the nature in the most nature friendly way with a feed back manner on which their way of living, culture, cognate, identity and historicity depend a lot. This system is named as Indigenous Knowledge System. Though there is no universal scale for measuring indigenousness, the concern about Indigenous Knowledge System is day by day growing up in India since 1990s at various dimensions, for example, Peoples Science, Traditional Knowledge System, Indigenous Technological Knowledge, Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge, Ethno-medicine, Folk life, Indigenous Environmental Knowledge and so forth. Globalization process, on the other hand could not completely overestimate the largescale problems before the sustenance of humanity and life in this planet; and to tackle these problems at the global level the most effective alternative is the implementation of IKS and understanding the folk perception. These things could contribute to protection of resources, exploitation of resources with a sense of feedback, social system, culture, identity and finally, political historicity to current age. These things are again connected to adjustment between inputs and outputs. So, protection to IKS and folk perception of life has become very much important here. It is also said that Globalization and Indigenous Peoples are intimately associated with each other. There are innumerable ethnic communities spread across the world; some of them are considered to be primitive in terms of the Western-Modern point of view. The Western-Modern society considers civilization as a complex of cultures carried on by the highly movable vehicle of material apparatus, mega-structures and advance type of technologies up to the optimum level. These rapid developmental activities of the Western-Modern Society always search for a wider market economy world-wide, but accordingly face six serious problems as pointed out by UNDP reportChallenges of global warming International Science Congress Association 121

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Rapid loss of bio-diversity Crisis-prone financial market Growing international inequality Emergence of new-drug resistant disease strains & Genetic engineering [Inge Kaul, Isabelle Grunberg and Marc Stern, 1999] Here, IKS would become highly helpful in meeting the challenges of global warming, rapid loss of bio-diversity, emergence of new-drug resistant disease strains and genetically modified food effectively. Crisis-prone financial market and growing international inequality are other two problems that the indigenous folk peoples often solve through application of other non-subsistent economic approaches involving barter, labor exchange and reciprocity with or without the concepts of poverty, private property, land alienation and degradation of resources. Some aspects are going to be delivered here about the indigenous agricultural knowledge system of the Rajbanshis (also partially including the other domains like fishery, cattle raring and poultry, craft making and non-subsistent type of economy). Establishment of small tea gardens growing parallel with the Tea Estates at the end of 1990s was highly opposed by the local peasants afraid of land alienation that ultimately led to the initiation of ethnic movement by the Rajbanshis in the name of Kamtapur (an indigenous state formed by the Khens throughout North Bengal) and with the demand for announcing the spoken dialects of the Rajbanshis together a separate language. A new branch of separatist movement for the very formation of a new state is thus eventually emerged out even with passive support from the frustrated peasants. Scheduled Caste Bengali Categories basically falling under the same Kashyap clan similar to the Rajbanshis, the Koch-Rajbanshis and other types of Paundra Kshattriyas and excluded

Kshattriyas were also confused. Other agrarian small-scale peasants and landless laborers
were frightened of losing their daily livelihood. Cultural identity, ethnicity and traditional modes of production were too sensitive to these agrarian people. People in these cases became transformed into human shields within a multicultural scenario. But they could International Science Congress Association 122

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proceed towards extreme level and be referred as a case of social injustice, human rights violence and terrorism where various international or trans-national or regional level politics could directly or indirectly interfere. These people might be subjected to localization, anti-globalization and exploitation. But actually they lacked of proper communication and often being misconduct. The human shield so formed could be transformed from positive to negative and therefore become involved in any anti-state activity and not just being a political opposition. Various factors and nexus of global market economy could be viable in the case apart from state machinery at various levels (national, regional and local). They and their opponents might be even at the same side, but their levels would be different. Here issue of Indigenous Peoples and indigenous rights could be implemented in protection of the land rights provisioned for an indigenous community having long time attachment to the land or the region. But a scope is also there of provoking a separatist movement with or without much disharmony. The primordial factors are here firstly, to understand the folk perception (by means of modes of production, way of living, culture, identity and historicity); to make a bridge between traditional and modern as well as local and global. Now, many of the Rajbanshis on their own responsibility have initiated smallscale tea-plantation on their soil. Here, the aspects of indigenous rights and Indigenous Peoples are highly needed in favor of the local peoples, even when they are approaching towards the track of modernization but do not want complete transformation. The set of traditional knowledge traits of the Rajbanshis and its systematic functioning would prove itself helpful in bio-diversity management, sustainable development and protection to the ecology; therefore facilitating Global Public Services. Again there may be no such protest against huge amount of loss of biodiversity by means of one-directional application of modernization in the current economic settings. International Science Congress Association 123

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The folk people could not oppose, but go by it. Loss of bio-diversity, malnutrition and pollution are some of them. They might have become habituated with hybrid crop cultivation with so many side effects causing within the nature and to the consumers. Unidirectional exploitations in the peasantry affiliated to abrupt usage of modern technologies, chemical fertilizers and pesticides we could notice. Settlement of cement factories, ply wood factories, saw mill, satellite township, markets, roads, railway tracks, sub-urban areas and markets, dams and canals, truck terminus, storage and petrol pumps, check posts, government departments, health centers, cancer treatment center, Medical College and University, colleges, institutes and schools, religious institutions, nursing homes, Special Economic Zone and Real Estates as well as housings, air port, army cantonment and various constrictions might be the reasons behind political clashes on ethnic lines. These folks may have become quite detached from their traditional life pattern and IKS involved in agriculture and associated domains. Monoculture and application of genetically modified items could often exert a negative impact upon old and wild verities useful in sustenance of a resources, biodiversity, ecosystem and microenvironment. So, the matter involves nothing but human life, culture, identity, historicity, multiculturalism and human shield in response to various politico-economic pursuits in this global arena. Rajbanshi Social Fold with their IKS could be applied to attain a proper solution to counter the side effects of such political agenda. The IKS has to be used in Global Public Service to reduce or replace the harms done by unidirectional or highly exploiting applications of the modern technologies by the state machinery or private institutions on the way to modernization and in the context of global market economy. Such IKS within the specific geography and bio-diversity would play really a helping role towards harmless or less harm way of cultivation of crops and other types of production with feed back. A safe, hygienic, disease-resistant, local variety could again become very exclusive, especially when being cultivated with the application of complete organic manner and without any kind of polluting, toxic or non bio-degradable substance International Science Congress Association 124

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in the form of manure or pesticide added to soil, water and air. The plant variety and domestic animal remain free from various adverse consequences if the geo-organic cycles and food web within an ecosystem are protected. This saves your money. Such good verities were once frequently cultivated by the Rajbanshis. At that time, Rajbanshis did not put any extra pressure upon agriculture which was associated with land fallowing, bush-fallow process, paddy once in a year, food processing, animal husbandry (especially cattle raising), fish-cum-duck system, jute, pulse, millet, rapeseed, bamboo, cane, sugarcane and fruit cum medicinal plants within their agro-based biodiversity. But now things are getting changed and they are trying to move towards local business, public services and alternative economy in the region of North Bengal. However, some such indigenous knowledge traits regarding crop verities, birds, animals and fishes have been documented here1. Rajbanshis preferred the rice varieties are Kukra or Kukurjali, Kalo Nunia,

Nunia, Tulaipanji, etc. They usually cultivated it in the season of monsoon


and cut it in the season of Hemanta- a typical season between spring and winter when the dews started falling on earth. The Kukurjali was very sacred to them and they generally served meal with the rice from this paddy on ceremonial occasions like rites-de-passage, religious festivals and agricultural ceremonies. Usually they ate boiled Kamon or Kaon grown reluctantly in the natural environment. Kaon actually looked like mustard, was but not any type of rapeseed; it was not too tasty as paddy nor any wild variety of rice. Kaon was also served as a hotchpotch preparation in festivals. 2. Among the vegetables of winter, they liked Lafa the most. That vegetable, according to their IKS, had the potentiality to fall down their body temperature. 3. Pelka, the food preparation of Lafa, caused them easily caught by the cold and therefore the dust of the dried winter entered into their nose during thrashing the paddy on floor came out. International Science Congress Association 125

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4. Sop sop is another one that they eat with pork. 5. They at a time grew arum in huge quantity in the ditches here and there and often the good varieties like the Mukhi and Mann type in their kitchen garden. 6. Bringal, potato, bitter gourd, pumpkin, ginger, turmeric, hemp, chili, cucumber were also grown reluctantly. Jack-fruit, custar apple, guava, lime, banana, papaya, pindali, peach/ black berry, carambola and mango were the two most important fruit items for the Rajbanshis. 7. Actually they never eat the soft, pulpy, juicy and sweet mango, because they considered ripened mango rotten in nature. They were actually fond of the sour taste of lime, tamarind, carambola and green mango with salts. They first rubbed the mango at its tip on the rough bark of the tree to remove the bitterness, halved to remove the seed and consume it with salt. They also pieced these green mangoes and dried them is sunlight of the summer with salt and edible oil in order to preserve them as prickles. 8. They also liked the sticky taste of jack fruit, custar apple, guava, banana, peach/ black berry and betel-nut very well. 9. Banana as a fruit was important in religious ceremonies, but interestingly the banana local variety with seeds, namely daya kela or bichia kela (bichia= seed; kela=banana) was preferred more as the folk peoples believed in their medicinal importance. 10. The Rajbanshis had a least case of diabetes, because they knew the importance of the juice of bitter gourd as well as application of the water with extract of gulancha, a kind of herbaceous plant. 11. They also grew gourd and roof-gourd that they used in preparation of goat meat. 12. In winter, after harvesting the paddy crop, they cultivated vegetables in the

danga region, whereas the lowland areas were used for production of
pulses such as maskalai, thakurkalai and also the rapeseeds like tisi (mustered), spices, makoi or corn and wheat have come later). International Science Congress Association 126

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13. The Rajbanshis often owned large-scale poultries of duck; probably that was the effect of Vaishnavism that prevent them from eating hen. 14. Pork, lamb and pigeon were also favored by them. These items were actually associated with the blood sacrifice in their religious ceremonies, other social festivals and various types of magico-religious performances of the Rajbanshi social fold. 15. Snails they cooked with pulses boiled alive and then suck the juicy portion from inside the shell directly to the throat. They believed in its high protein value without any the scientific evidence and strange! They were all correct. They were the Bengalis who at a time avoided the Rajbanshis for this type of food practice and as a result of this; they gradually shed off this food item from their meal list. Often, snail, snail consumption, health concept, use of snail shells for production of lime, use of lime in preparation of ponds for fishing, consumption of lime with betel nut and betel leaf, production of betel leaf, production of betel nut and trade of betel nut betel leaf lime paddy snail shell snail through barter system is very crucial here. Here, the snail collector, the fishermen, the lime producer, the paddy grower, betel leaf grower and the betel nut raisers are equally important. Potters in one hand provide the essential earthen pots and the crop raisers the straw as fuel source to the lime producer. Similarly, when the men work in field, women care off home, child, aged, cooking, fodder, animal husbandry and poultry and pay their involvement women-oriented works in cultivation and stalk rising. Womenfolk used to prepare prickles, cakes, preserved food, cloth, milk products and sweets as well as travel home to home with vapa, one kind of food substances produced from rice dust, selling them against some kinds, especially bowl of rice. 16. Important fish varieties were therefore kajari, puti, chala, dhara, gughia,

bain, chanda, taki, bacha, bata, mourala, nadiali, singi, magur, koi, shol, boal; they let the small fishes and fishes with egg to free to conserve the
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species. They did not do any harm to the non edible fish varieties of which many were used to control the mosquito larvae under water. Here consequently come the issues like protection of healthy variety of crops growing in nature, domestication of wild varieties, natural variety of high yielding crops, indigenous way of producing hybrids with high nutrition level, retention of soil fertility and soil classification, concept of upland, lowland and marshy land; apply of degradable ethno-toxicants, cutting, pruning, tissue culture and cloning, seed treatment in the nursery to provide healthy seedlings and saplings; field preparation, application of organic manure, application of eco-friendly microbes and vectors, natural way of paste and herb control: use of larvae, insects, birds, fish, ants, white ants and earth warm in doing this; application of symbiosis and nitrification, fishing-cum-paddy cultivation, techniques involved in shifting cultivation and step cultivation in feed-back manner, fuel collection, use of cow dung, cultivation on the fertile alluvial soil on the river islands, bush fallow cultivation, seasonal cultivation, yearly cultivation, annual and biennial cultivation, flowering in the first year of a biennial crop variety, mixed cultivation; mushroom cultivation, use of algae in cookery, use of bamboo in every aspect of life from drinking water in a glass made of bamboo to house construction, use of algae, fungi, pteridorhytes and fern in cookery and medicinal purposes, floriculture, use of roots, rhizomes, shoot, bark, lattice, leaf, bud, inflorescence, flower, anther, nectar, fruit, seeds in various purposes, extraction of essence from the flower, lemon grass production; careful of certain plant species on trees or in soil causing severe harm to the crop production, crop sowing, protection of ripen crops from rat, insect, bird and bat; crop harvesting, crop thrashing, grain storing, preservation of the crop, fish, food, fruit, fruit pulp and prickles in mustard oil or in dried condition; using the straw stalks on the ground for fertilizing the soil in the post-cultivation period; use of dry soil as preservative; animal husbandry and poultry, construction of the shade, fodder, fertility control and breeding, grazing, use of animal produce, skins, bones, polishing tanning and so on; spice cultivation; vegetable cultivation; ethno-fishery, pond selection, protection of pond ecosystem, liming the soil for controlling the water pH level, careful observation of fishes in the cold foggy winter, International Science Congress Association 128

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regulating the water temperature in the pond, feeding, feeding in the winter season, disease treatment, fertility control, concept about water pollution and the role of pond water as the carrier of diseases in fishes, cattle and human and related disease cycle; sericulture, lime production, cultivation of jute, tea, tobacco, shorea, teak, legume, betel, betel nut, arum and palm; use of fishes in controlling mosquito larvae; control over snake, rat and frog; sanitation and pig cultivation; house construction, use of seed-coat in soil for wall construction, use of bamboo, grass, jute stick, straw and leaves in roofing, wood and bamboo in construction of the framework, house types in heavy raining areas; construction of storage, basket for storing; husking machine; alcoholism, fermentation of rice or fruit juice, leaf collection, pressed and puffer rice, use of fire, control on fire, stove; use of closed water in mud-ponds and sun light to remove the dry jute fibers from the hollow straw; collection of jute and other fibers, there use in handlooms and weaving cloths, mats and seats; dying the cloth with natural colour produced from soil, plant extract, emulsion of rice dust; production of wooden plough and other artifacts; pulse cultivation and production of sun-dried emulsion of pulse cakes; lime production and snail consumption system; concept about season and weather; disaster management system in case of flood, drought, heavy rain, land slide, soil erosion, deforestation, crop failure, storm, fire, attack of insects or birds or rats or elephant or other herbivores; protection of forestry with feed back, protection of sacred groove, supply of global public goods and global environmental services, water management, irrigation and fishing, preservation of ground water level; recycling of solid waste, consumption of the superfluity in various manner; consumption of nutritious food and disease curing dishes; weather forecasting from watching the nature and activities in the wild life; protection of the cattle from leaches and poultry from bird eating animals; veterinary and control of disease among the domestic plants, animals and birds, concept of disease, health and nutrition, health consciousness and illness, believe in super-nature in order to control the nature and maintaining the mental health and self-consciousness. These features are highly helpful in meeting the challenges of global warming, rapid loss of bio-diversity, emergence of new-drug resistant disease strains and genetically International Science Congress Association 129

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modified food effectively. Crisis-prone financial market and growing international inequality are other two problems that the indigenous folk peoples often solve through application of other non-subsistent economic approaches like barter, labor exchange and reciprocity without having any concept of poverty or private property or land alienation as such with them. So, a new tendency of regenerating the IKS has now become very essential in the present context to tackle the harms made by the process of Globalization on the heart of our planet. It is the same Globalization process that creates critical situation in front of proper sustenance of the folk peoples in their traditional way of living provided with their particular ethnicity and cultural identity. Ethnic peoples have thus started rising out the issue of their actual origin and attachment with the soil. This process is becoming more and more effective among the tribal peoples, the folk communities, the rural population, lower social strata, underprivileged categories, localized groups, the peasants and their fellow persons in the urban sector guided by the advanced sects. Pushing the issue of Indigenous Peoples more and more into political domain would certainly increase conflicts at the vertical surface of the heterogenic federal type of Indian Society. In this context, Rajbanshi IKS is a good approach for getting the way to sustainability: agrarian mode of production in nature-friendly way and implementation of IKS could be broadly discussed following this outline belowproduction by means of agriculture- its different steps ways of agriculture land preparation, soil sterilization and seed germination cultivation in pond island fish-cum-paddy cultivation: earth-warm, fish, paste and larvae, dragon fly, frog and snake crop ripening and harvesting: birds and mouse

jhum (slash-and-burn) and step cultivation


bush fallow cultivation International Science Congress Association 130

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plant varieties (domestic and wild): Plant Genetic Recourse (PGR) mixed cultivation crop rotation use of domestic plants growing in and around the village identification of malnutrition and disease-symptoms in domestic species organic manure and natural pesticide (ash, rotten leaf waste, dung, mud, clay, loam, lime, peat, domestic recyclable waste, bone dust, neem oil, egg shell, tea leaf and so on) natural way of control the paste and disease roles of ant, white ant, earth warm and so on in agriculture roles of butter fly, moth, bee, insects, birds in pollination use of shed trees classification of soil classification of land classification of flora and fauna classification of colour, temperature, taste, moisture and so on recyclable objects used in bathing, or as soap, soda, utensils, seat, furniture and so on production by means of animal husbandry and poultry use of by-products interbreed process of increasing milk production use of cattle in agriculture raring of cheeks and egg knowledge about migratory birds catching of gray hen from jungle concept of sacred grove honey and wax collection palm juice collection date juice collection and sugar cakes International Science Congress Association 131

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domestic waste product and fishing water management use of water fishing irrigation soil management concept about climate: proverb and notion relating with time and season kitchen garden and fencing pottery and metallurgy plants growing on pots gardening and pottery horticulture cutting and pruning preservation of seeds and buds/tubers mushroom cultivation vegetable production production of underground food and rhizomes: use of banana, ginger, potato, ginger, garlic, carrot, fern, arum, root crops and so on fruit production classification of fruits ripening of the fruits fodder use of straw, bamboo produce dye yielding lime production relation among betel nut, betel leaf, lime, crop, snail consumption and fishery sanitation and piggery use of jute and handlooms use of different types of grass International Science Congress Association 132

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fibers from grass, jute, stem, leaves to produce thatch, seat, cloth, packaging, cord, rope, bag and so on rural transportation forest produce and wood use of cow dung agricultural waste fuel house construction technologies and climate controlling distance between hearth, storage and cattle shade/poultry farms spice and rapeseed production fermentation and preservation storage and stock raising food and food ways production of crafts and handlooms cooperatives post-agricultural practices use of agroforestry and checking of soil erosion and division of labor special information Today in countryside most of the Rajbanshis are farmers who only grow foodstuff for their own families. They also raise some animals. Even, there are families who have no land or just a patch of land but cattle and duck in their small home. Some Rajbanshi have begun to earn money by their excellent weaving. Rajbanshi homes are made of wood, bamboo, thatch and mud. The Rajbanshi houses are grouped in villages. Some villages have only ten homes. Other villages have as many as one hundred homes. Most Rajbanshi homes include just one family of parents and their children. A father is the head of the household. Today they are associated with more or less five economic sectors: financial corporations, non-financial corporations, general governance, profitable household International Science Congress Association 133

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enterprise, non-profitable household enterprise and non-profit institutions serving households. For womenfolk, their maximum attachment is with the last two. Non-market
household enterprise in rural sector of India can be described as follows: cattle raring,

poultry, making handicrafts, weaving and knitting, kitchen gardens, various agricultural activities for own consumption, food processing, domestic works including cooking, child raring and taking care of aged persons and construction of houses for own use.
Non-profit institution serving household are likewise: collection of fruits and seeds,

honey, medicinal plants, tubers, yams, ferns, leafy vegetables, fuel, fodder and other minor forest produces as well as fishing, hunting, water supply, etc. The total economic production of the country excludes household enterprises and related institutions (non-market and for self-consumption) which are largely produced by women. Division of the total labor force in households and related institutions into paid and unpaid workers generates a generalized hierarchy inside and outside the homestead: always negative to women and children (however, child labor is itself an offense). Moving to the urban sectors, living in sub-urban areas and working in unorganized sectors are new trends in post-1990s in India. Women are not exceptions and they actively participate as wage and day laborers such as in construction sector.

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CONCLUSION
Rajbanshis of North Bengal have a unique historicity, formed a complex Social Fold there, but lost much of their indigenous knowledge traits. That is their non-reflective domain of their knowledge system that still holds their cultural identity. There has however developed a cultural lag due to external influence. The non-reflective domains involving their conventional social system, traditional politico-economic situation, religious belief and disease treatment have been undergoing gradual changes and to some extent social transformation could be traced out. They sometimes feel that their cultural identity and ethnicity have been challenged therefore. But, increasing response to the protection of IKS world wide has also aware the Rajbanshis like other ethnic, minority and regional elements. They more or less accept the developmental process, often talk about sustainability in that, much focus on application of their IKS in order to achieve sustainable development, ask for assurance to and fulfillment of their demands and finally try to bargain with the authority and access global paradigm. They have better realized the reality of global market system, various ifs and buts, new politico-economic developments and the way from exclusion to inclusion. They even contribute to the global public service through revealing the hidden truths in their way of living. Where and how big companies could invest, how do deal with the common people, learn about the ground realities, mutual negotiations, what the people want, how to manage and convince the others and extract the good things from their knowledge systems in service to the nature and the world population. People throughout the world started understanding the science, but they still have basic faith, fear and belief in superstition, magic, religion, the good book of culture, folk life and ethno-science. Many of the Rajbanshis used to involve in making timber equipments, raring their cattle, dairy products, yearly paddy yielding, paddy processing and stock raising, land fallowing, some kitchen garden vegetations, fishing, small game hunting and gathering, cane and bamboo propagation, tobacco yielding, sacred groves, betel and areca, local pulses, corns, millets, jute and silk varieties (local), handlooms, smoking objects and brewery, etc; complex and advanced modes of agriculture with crop diversity have been International Science Congress Association 135

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the contributions by the immigrants like those from Ranpur (now in Bangladesh but on the same Teesta-Torsa water system) (Das Gupta in Rudnev and Billings, 2013: IUAES Conference, Panel BH04). Treating a group of people under the domain of Indigenous Peoples by the state machinery or other international organizations is quite political and strategic. Inclusion of a community under this Universal category involves several positive or the negative aspects. Key factors are here cultural survival of these indigenous communities, focus on their indigenousness, raising the issues of political historicity upto current age, claims for development but in a sustainable way, natural resource and biodiversity management, self-determination, indigenous rights, inclusion to the mainstream, bargaining with the authority and the majoriterians and finally, gradual approach towards global market economy with so many ifs and buts are very crucial in this regard. From this point of view, Rajbanshi Social Fold could not be treated as entirely
Indigenous Peoples, but Peoples approaching towards the modernity and still using their loosing Indigenousness as a tool to deal with the global market economy. They

could become determinant factor of any multicultural situation or just becoming any human shield. They may protest and simultaneously favor various potions provided by the global market economy in the name of sustainable livelihood development and natural resource management. Similarly, they could be specially favored and included by certain political and economic blocks in the name of inclusiveness. The entire matter could be projected on local, regional, national, trans-national and international dimensions. Their knowledge system and way of living could deliver certain benefits to the world humanity in terms of low cost and even cost free services. That could be projected as an alternative economy and even means to counter an encroaching economic lobby not much favored by the existing system. Or they really provide some good global public services where the issue of indigenous rights and Patent Law comes. For example, we can cite knowledge of a community within a specific environment on traditional ethno-medicines without any side effect and ability to forecast the weather. That medicine could be life saving and such forecast is crucial to avoid any natural disaster. Such forecast might have no model but only based on intimate understanding of the International Science Congress Association 136

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nature, because of staying within the nature, the human-nature-supernature nexus, emotions, faith-fear-belief factors and collective response to any incident. The most interesting thing is the practice of magico-religious performances to regulate or at least for good hope from seasonal cycle to a specific geography on which the mode of production depends a lot. An ethnic group might be warriors by behaviour and has own regiment in army. Then they are serving the nation, with the mainstream and access the modernity; but at the same time these are the way of living, thinking pattern, culture and political historicity upto current age that allow them to become, socialize and remain warriors. That is an integral part of their knowledge system. They could further acknowledge their importance towards the world humanity as being the prime provider of the damage control mechanism against pollution, loss of biodiversity, loss of hygiene, uncontrolled utilization and large scale exploitation of natural products, unidirectional process of development without any feed-back, deteriorating recycling process, harm to the food web and energy pyramid, increasing usage of artificial products and genetically modified food substances, accumulation of nondegradable substances, hamper to the ecosystem and environment, new diseases, side effects in the process of disease treatment, loss of temperament and self-control, increasing disparity and inequality in terms of currency, equity, profit and poverty measures.
The long on-going attachment to land and the knowledge regarding nature on which everything is based on therefore go in favor of the subsequent protection and adjustment in response to global market economy along with handful of global public services by virtue of own IKS. The concept of Indigenous Peoples could play a

good role with greater implications on National level, State level, Regional level and obviously Local level. Indigenous Peoples is not only a protective measure in terms of indigenous rights, but more than that and very near to the World Humanity (until not being abused).

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Appendix
RAJBANSI FESTIVALS DECODING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM (after Das Gupta, 2010b) 1. Festival of Modon Kam / summer Symbol of trans-national trade route with Buddhist World through mountain passes of Burma, Bhutan and Tibet (persisting thousands years ago); Symbol of Vaishnavism: Divinity in love: day-ritual and need of blood sacrifice (magical belief); Performance by virtue of worship of seven poles symbolized for seven different senses: each pole wrapped in colourful cloth, covered by yak tail atop and carried by men in clothe of women and playing bells, and clappers and beating drums Inner meaning[Bishahari: Symbol of snake goddess: snakes again symbolize water flows in dense jungle of North Bengal: ancient water ways once regulated by fishermen-cumagriculturist communities: snakes come out from hibernation in summer when jungle area is cut off and fired to clean up for Sweden cultivation with the first drop of monsoon rain Inner meaning: livelihood and prosperity from trade/agriculture/fishery/ forest yield; utilization of snake venom in different purposes] [Salshwari Thakur: animism, symbol of tree deity, male deity, worshiped by men. Inner meaning: appeal to the super-nature for protection of hunter-gatherers in forest from fierce animals: hope for a better new year with good opportunities of cultivation: soil preparation for next season; burnt jungles received summer sun beams destroying the pests within the ash heap good for Sweden cultivation] [Tista Buri: Symbol of animism, female deity, river water source, rive ways, transnational trade routes Inner meaning: scope of prosperity through proper networking among fishing, peasantry and trade] [Modon pir: Symbol of syncretism between strictly regulated Islamic life and agrarian rural structure where people basically depend on super-nature Inner Meaning: appeal to appease the nature for good amount of crop yield and no natural disasters or epidemic (concept of pir is also there, such as, Satya pir, Pagalo pir and so on)] International Science Congress Association 138

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[Goram: Symbol of village deity- rural society as an entity of people, activities, identity, culture, solidarity with nature and super nature Inner Meaning: wellbeing of the village] [Kali: female fertility cult, part of ancient tantra of pre-Aryan tradition in Hinduism, female entity of nature, controller of time scale, light in steep darkness, blood sacrifices, savior from the enemy, the mother, symbol of matriarchy in primitive societies, goddess for prevention of any difficulty and contaminated diseases during weather changing Inner Meaning: hope for protection from evil and enemies, prosperity, high crop yield, good family life, and bless of the ancestral soul] [Sanyasi: Symbol of mentor, saint, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, the Omniscient, Wiseman, Shiva, Mahakal and Buddha: notion of devotion, medication, knowledge, ethno- medicine, trust and protector Inner Meaning: freedom from all social attachment and sorrow] 2. Festival of Tista Buri/ summer Symbol of animism, river deity, femaleness, worship of super-nature. Inner meaning: appeal to appease the nature for regular water supply to cropland and system of fishery-cum-water transportation: means of livelihood of the folk life Performance by virtue of worship of River and river-ways: reminiscence of alternative Silk Routes and trans-national trade with Tibeo-Burmese belt and Far East? Alternative options of traditional Hindu hierarchical agro-economy? Historicity of the Rajbansi agrarian rural structure: Increased geo-strategic importance: immigration of various ethnic communities from various parts of the world: Kushana, pro-Kushana, TurkAfghan, Kashmiri from the western side whereas Garo, Boro, Koch, Mech, Mogh, Khen, Lepcha, Barmana, Tibetan, Dukpa and so on from the orient: Emergence of several Diaspora of the ruling in-migrated people: Dominance of State-Trade nexus favored by Buddhist Religious Institution: intermixing and resistance to the intermixing in due course: replacement of Buddhism by quasi-egalitarian versions like Vaishnavism and Sufism as well as ancient beliefs under animism and pre-Aryan Hinduism/ Tantraism: pro-Indian policy supported by the Hindu Koch-Rajbansi rulers of Coochbihar state in Mughal and British era: formation of Multicultural situation on the core of Rajbansi International Science Congress Association 139

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agrarian rural structure: Emergence of elite section: opposition against Landlordism and thereafter initiation of big farm houses: requirement of huge labor force based on extended family system without any definite blood relationship (Halua system): within the non-Rajbansi sects outside Hindu mainstream, super-ordination of a tribe over another tribe (viz. Dukpa over Toto): system of Slavery? 3. Festival of Jagannath and Balaram/ summer Symbol of male deities, Vaishnavism, quasi-egalitarian version of Hinduism. Inner meaning: alternative option to the concept of social and gender equalities in Mahayana Buddhism and Islam: huge fold incorporating people engaged in agriculture, pastoral life, fishery-cum-trade and urban centers and other small settlements on the ancient trade routes Performance of Rash-chakra: Symbolic expression of the cyclical rotation of creation, existence and destruction STORY Precious Yadu dynasty on pastoral economy was destroyed due to internal clash; whereas their king Lord Krishna, described as an Avatara of the Savior Vishnu, was killed in jungle by a hunter and His elder brother Balarama with a power of thousand snakes died off in medication: body of Krishna was voyaged in river and then reincarnated in the form of wooden Jagannath: hint to incorporation of the forest dwellers, hunter-gatherers, snake-catchers, fishermen, herdsmen and artisans of wooden work under the huge fold of Vaishnavism- the quasi-egalitarian version of Hinduism 4. Festival of Dhormo Thakur/ summer Symbol of Mixed deity, Shiva, Warrior and Protector, Buddha, Forest God, Medicine Man, Wiseman, and Rain God (Sympathetic Magic): notion of trust, ancestral soul, male portion of nature, seasonal change and male fertility cult, and hope of prosperity and good health Connection to the symbol of Tortoise the Avatara of the Savior Vishnu- Gigantic Tortoise of Indian Ocean occasionally found in Ganges; relatedness with fish, tortoise, snake, bird and sun: Natural indicators of the ancient trade routes? Connected to another symbol of Bird deity (Garura): International Science Congress Association 140

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symbolic expression of the Two-Soul Concept of sleep and death STORY Everybody contains two souls. During sleep, the minor soul bird goes to travel outside and before sunshine it returns to the body; in due course, shamans at night deal with these minor souls. When the major soul bird leaves the body, death occurs. Cannibalism was once practiced in belief of consumption of the soul of the ancestors as well as the enemies. Later on, mummification was done in the hope that one day the bird would come back and reincarnation would happen. Non-believers in reincarnation bury the dead in graveyards to let it rest in peace. Post-Arian Hindus worship fire and generally burn the dead body in cremation. However, shamans on some specific days deal with these major soul types. The festival is continued for the whole month by the peasant society of Bengal; it includes the Rajbansis and other versions of Bratya-/Paundrya-/Borgo-Kshattriyas with common clan identity Kashyapa 5. Performance of Gajon: mentors shouting at in rejoice, custom of self-punishment - a very common practice performed by aboriginal communities in various parts of the World to show the ability during mate selection by the womenfolk Inner Meaning: Hope for solidarity and prosperity of the folk society involved in peasantry in due course of life-cycle and seasonal rotation: appeal to the ancestral souls, benevolent sprits, the Super-Nature and the ultimate source of energy- Sun 6. Mechheni Khela/ summer Symbol of village solidarity, interaction between genders, and feminism; illustration of the ever-lasting conflict between the snake worshiper fishermen and river-based traders praying the cults of manasha/Bishahari and Shiva respectively Performance: wife of fisherman with fish (mow rice) in pot going all the household of the village and singing songs pray for wellbeing Inner Meaning: hope for well-being in folk life flourished on the sides of river-course, clash with big traders using the water ways: in the folklore of Manasa, International Science Congress Association 141

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7. Gram Thakur/ summer Symbol of several Kali forms along with the Supreme God, Mahakal or Shiva Performance: in each home establishment of than (the place where the deity resides), adjacent to the bamboo bush, no image, custom of blood-sacrifice, other offerings and use of vermillion (old tradition and highly magico-religious) Inner meaning: reduction in the effect of malevolent deities and other spirits 8. Gochibuna/ monsoon Symbol of hope for preparation of a good seed bed Performance: magical/ agro-seasonal associated with measurement of seed fertility and knowledge of sowing seedlings (5-6 in each bunch) in late summer after plough the field, male dominated, use of rat soil in seed bed, separation of saplings and again sowing (3-4 in each bunch) Inner meaning: hope for healthy production with high yield 9. Hudumdeo & benger biao/ monsoon Symbol of Rain God Performance: animism, magical, tantra to Hudumdeo; nude rain dance by the womenfolk at night in dry crop field around His image- drawing, dancing, singing, music and play; on the next stage, marriage giving ceremony of frogs Inner Meaning: hope for good rain and adequate crop yield- role of monsoon in an agrarian rural structure Prevention of severe drought situation due to inadequate shower in monsoon but required in paddy and jute cultivation Sound from the vocal cord of male frog the indication of their mating period in full monsoon; frogs and toads are important fauna for the food web in paddy-cum-fish cultivation system and organic way of pest control. 10. Dhaner ful ana/ spring Performance: seasonal-agricultural, magical, by females, prey for appropriate whether so that ears could come out in spring after full monsoon Inner meaning: hope for high yield International Science Congress Association 142

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11. Lokhir dak/ spring Performance: the time when ears come out first, a dhan bari, made up of jute stick, is constructed with two earthen bells atop and the headman in the family prays for good yield with milk, plantain and dry pummel leaves at night shouting songs. Various major female fertility cults worshiped: Debi, Boro Debi and Bishohori with the Jatra, goddess of Wisdom, as well as Bhandani-on-tiger. Inner meaning: hope for good yield and indication to the relationship between Rajbansi agrarian rural structure and the dense forest of Doors in sub-Himalayan region from where rivers come in and control the soil fertility of the lower plains 12. Dhan katar puja/ after spring Performance: seasonal-agricultural, magical, by females, senior wife of the house goes alone to the field at night, cuts handful of ears and binds it on door of the bedroom- the process symbolizes that Laxmi, the goddesses of wealth comes into home Inner meaning: Hope for better harvesting; regular harvesting initiates from the next day of the ceremony- bunches kept 2 days in the field so that all the leaves could be shed off and then piled up in kholan/ the thrashing floor The waste product is burnt and paddy grains left on field feed mouse and rat- important fauna within the local ecosystem 13. Naya Khoi/ after spring Performance: seasonal-agricultural, magical, the first amount of husked rice used in preparation of some precious rice foods to be offered to the nature and the Protector Inner meaning: Hope for good amount of stalk raising; thrashing of alll harvested paddy then dumped on kholan; preservation in forms of puffed rice, beaten rice, rice dust and khoi; use of seed coats in earthen wall construction, rice cotyledons as fodder, local economy on rice, its various preserved forms and cakes manufactured from the rice dust (vapa pitha), folk cookery as boiled rice, fried rice (chal vaja), water emulsion of boiled rice and water-rice (panta bhaat); alcohol production from rice and so forth Vegetable curry of lafa leaves that increases the amount of mucus in respiratory organ and therefore prevents from the dust alergy during paddy harvest International Science Congress Association 143

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14. Khet Uthani/ after spring Performance: magical practice, cow/ buffalo horn with a bunch of paddy straw on a stick driven in the empty field Inner meaning: keeping evil eyes aside Scientifically saying, let the nature do its works for revitalization of soil, fertility control and pest management 15. Pushuna/winter For the whole month of Poush (the first month of winter in local calendar); thrashing, stalk raising and husking are performed; on the last day, rice cakes are prepared from the rice dust and served to all the participants in the cultivation program throughout the year; image of fox worshiped Inner meaning: maintenance of solidarity for uninterrupted supply of huge labor force day-by-day and season after season required in intensive process of cultivation. 16. Shiv Ratri/winter Pray to Shiva and various fertility cults associated with Him; at a special day in last of winter, Shiva worshiped throughout the whole night- all people participate For the month of Magh, the last month of winter, no major work performed, vegetables grown reluctantly, Maghli Shinan or bathing performed in the water of sacred rivers at certain places where they flow northwards Reminiscence of travelers from northern steep hills and their caravans down to the plains during Winter and Autumn? Exchange of paddy and by-products and wooden items with warm clothing made of yak wool of Tibet? 17. Autumn festivals held at the month of autumn a) Worship of Shaleshwari and Rakhal Thakur (the shepherd boy); b) worship of Bharar ghar chhuba symbolizing animal herd in domestication that reminds us the goru chumani festival of after-spring; c) worship of Gorokhnath, one of the pathfinders of Nathism, a quasi-egalitarian version of Hinduism- originated in North India but more successful in eastern part of the SubContinent at a time when Buddhist remnants were rapidly replaced by Islam; International Science Congress Association 144

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d) Worship of Gamira under Vaishnavism- another quasi- egalitarian version of Hinduism; e) Chorok, the month-long worship of Shiva with Gambhira songs and Gajon/ selfhealing; f) Bishau festival: hunting performance where forest is burnt off for next-year shifting cultivation: males enter into the jungle with whatever weapons they could manage; there they have to kill at least one edible animal and cook it within the forest area; g) Worship of dham or the homestead in honour of major deities (Shiva, female cults and Laxminarayana) Inner meaning: When new leaves come out after prolonged period of winter, worship of the male forest deity, Shaleshwari shows the closeness to the forest biodiversity- the major source of animal product, timber, minor forest produce, gum, dye, honey as well as ethno-medicines and so on; throughout the season, ethno-medicines taken; Success in Bishau would decide the fortune in the next season- the bless of the forest deity during further Sweden cultivation; During dham worship folk singer Gidal sings song with musical instruments for whole weak So, at the year end, these festivals are organized in hope for good things in next year 18. Jurabandha/ friendship with tree Worship of various plants like jiga and basil, performances to avoid the evil eyes of mashan and joka and the role of painters (malakar) with natural dye are other symbols expressing belief in animism and magico-religious performance for sake of good health, hygiene, traditional biodiversity management, indication of sacred grooves and indigenous mode of exploitation of nature with feedback. Conclusion: The above symbols, festivals related to them and their inner meaning might be helpful in proper diagnosis of the folk mind set of the Rajbansi agrarian rural structure with both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. They show their relatedness to the communication system with rural society, nature and super-nature. They could do a lot International Science Congress Association 145

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for decoding the Rajbansi IKS. These symbols could be applied as an important methodology to fill the gaps existing within the interrelation among various aspects. These could be illustrated as production and technical practices in a specific farming system, conservation of crop-varieties, alternative agricultural production, production of various cash crops/vegetables/spice/fruit and flower, maintenance of the nutrition level and traditional concepts of health, food preservation, ethno-fishery, animal husbandry and poultry, social forestry and use of forest products (timber and non- timber), maintenance of sacred groove, ecology and food- web, protection to the bio-diversity with feed-back, water & soil management in traditional way, house construction and kitchengarden,folk-taxonomy,magico-religious performances, belief in Super-Nature, cultural lag, emerging socio-economic challenges and transformation due to the impact of modern big-scale industry input from the civilized sector on Global Market Economy. Rajbansi countrymen have maintained their traditional customs and faith unchanged and that is very much helpful in maintenance of their World View and agro-based folk lifethe basic source of Global Public Service from IKS (crucial for both the Global Market Economy and its other alternatives at macro and micro levels).

Acknowledgement: I am thankful to Michel Rautenberg (Universit Jean Monnet)

and Marie Hocquet (Universit Jean Monnet) who convened Panel 07 [Modern urban

utopias and sustainable cities] of IUAES 2013 and Julia Guenther convening Panel PE
02 [The changing nature of political economy and development in South Asian societies:

readings from the fields and its publics, IUAES 2013]. I am expressing my gratitude to
Prof. Buddhadeb Chauduri (Dr. Ambedkar Chair Professor in Anthropology, Calcutta University 1995-2008; the Head, Post Graduate Human Rights Programme, Calcutta University) have been unknowingly influenced me a lot in such study. There are a lot of names to be mentioned who actually guided my research work.

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Further Reading
Das Gupta, Ashok 2012a. Does Indigenous Knowledge Have Anything to Deal with Sustainable Development? :64-69, in Marco Menicocci and Moreno Tiziani (eds.),

Antrocom: Journal of Anthropology: Printed Edition (Volume 7), Piscataway, NJ,


USA: Gorgias Press LLC. Das Gupta, Ashok 2012b. Way to Study Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge System,

Antrocom

Online

Journal

of

Anthropology,

http://www.antrocom.net/upload/sub/antrocom/080212/08-Antrocom.pdf Das Gupta, A. 2012c. Way of Communication in Indigenous Knowledge Related Studies, IJMSS 2012; 1(2):279-286 Das Gupta, A. 2013a. A Short Profile of Ethics in Social-Cultural Anthropology,

IJMSS 2013; 3(1):55-64


Das Gupta, A. 2013b. Indigenous Knowledge and Women Entrepreneurs among Rajbanshis: A Case Study, International Research Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 2(2), February (2013), pp. 12-20, International Science Congress Association http://www.isca.in/IJSS/Archive/v2i2/3.ISCA-IRJSS-2012-04.pdf Guruprasad S.L., N. Ningaiah M. R. Gangadhar 2013. "Indigenous Knowledge on Medicinal Plants among the Iruliga tribal population of Western Ghats areas, Karnataka, India, Antrocom Online Journal of Anthropology 2013, vol. 9. n. 1 Ruheza, S. and Z. Kilugwe 2013. "INTEGRATION OF THE INDIGENOUS AND THE SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS FOR CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY: SIGNIFICANCES OF THEIR DIFFERENT WORLDVIEWS AND THEIR WIN-LOSS RELATIONSHIP", Journal of Sustainable Development in

Africa, Volume 14, No.6


Suratno, L.S.W.2013."Improving the Performance of National Banking Business in Indonesia", International Journal of Innovations in Business, Vol. 2. No 5. May 2013

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Photo 1: Paddy cultivation on Teesta river bed

Photo 2: Fishing in a local river of Teesta Torsa water system

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Ashok Das Gupta is currently a Research Scholar in the Department of Anthropology, University of North Bengal, India and doing his research as a University Grants Commission Fellow. He is working on Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge System (IK/IKS) related to agriculture. He has special interest on Sustainable Development, Cultural Symbols, Theories and Methods for studying IK/IKS, Communication in such studies, Caste System, Self-Help Groups and Involvement of Gender, Ethics in Social-Cultural Anthropology, Political Historicity and Current Age in respect to Human Shield formation, Exclusion and Inclusion of Indigenous Communities, impact of Urbanization over Indigenous Peoples, Natural Disasters, Intimate Understanding of Nature by Folk People, Folk Way of Living, Christianity and Social Transformation, Ethnography, Qualitative Studies, Modes of Production, Ethno-Science and Biodiversity and finally, Identity Movement. He has published several articles in international journals and conference proceedings. He is member of International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences(IUAES) for the year of 2013 and was the same of European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) for the year of 2010.

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