British Forest Policy in India: The Imperial DilemmaJournal: International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) (Vol.11, No. 1)
Publication Date: 2022-01-05
Authors : Niraj Kumar Singh;
Page : 1517-1522
Keywords : Forest policy; Reserved and Protected forests; Tribal movements; Tenancy acts;
The onset of the British rule in India witnessed large scale administrative and structural changes in the governance of the colonial affairs. Colonial control led to stringent revenue collection mechanism in form of the Permanent Settlement, the Ryotwari Settlement and the Mahalwari Settlement. Similarly, new forest administration resulted in the creation of the Imperial Forest Department, Reserved and Protected Forests. The new administration also meant new property relations and the introduction of market economy hitherto unknown especially among the tribal population often leading to conflict between the native population and the British administration. With the coming of the railways and the mining industry, there was large scale destruction of forests for commercial use especially for railway sleepers, fuel as well as household construction works. The two World Wars saw severe onslaught on the Indian forests leading to large-scale destruction of timber tree as well as other forest produce. Owing to the war demands, several working plans and research projects were undertaken in order to put the forests to maximum use. The establishment of the Imperial Forest Research Institute in Dehra Doon led to judicious as well as scientific management of the forests which also facilitated researches in several silvicultural species. The new administrative structures brought in conflicts, often violent, between the native tribal population and the British administration. Some of the significant tribal movements during the colonial period included the Kol rebellion, Santhal uprising, Munda rebellion etc. These led to the passage of several forest acts, tenancy acts and other administrative acts for a better control over the tribal population. The British administration of the tribal and forest regions also resulted in the assimilation and integration of the tribal population into the mainstream economic and political activities. Some of these movements finally resulted in the creation of new states especially the Jharkhand in 2000.
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