Learning to Resist(ance) in Gujarat
Living Lightly. The landscape and pastoralists in the Banni grassland. Photo credit: Nipun Prabhakar, personal archive.

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Keywords

pastoralism, pastoral pedagogy, youth, education and resistance, Banni Grasslands

Abstract

The Banni grassland, of Gujarat state of western India, has emerged as a site of multipronged contestations over land and livelihoods. Structural transformations seek to refashion Kachchh’s economy, society, and nature along capitalist and neoliberal lines threatening the livelihood of the 25000 mobile pastoralists inhabiting the grassland. Embedded within this context, the Salim Mama Youth Course, initiated through the a collaboration between local civil society, research and academic organizations, trains the youth in the region to recognize connections between pastoralism and their ecosystems. It achieves two main goals: firstly, the course attempts to secure the long-term sustainability of the grassland by developing the technical know-how of the youth as well as generating enthusiasm for pastoralism. Secondly, it contributes to the ongoing resistance against state induced corporate capture both practically, by providing information and tools to sustain contestations, and ideologically by reimagining the role and value of pastoralism in the region. This article unpacks the pedagogical approach of the course as a form of active and positive grassroots resistance against neoliberal environmentalism.

https://doi.org/10.18174/cf.2021a18159
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