Kanha is not just a place, it is a feeling. A resplendent sal forest and tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh in central India, Kanha has also been home to forest dwelling communities for generations.
Earth Focus Foundation endeavours to give back to Kanha and its inhabitants by bringing back the harmonious balance that once existed.
Known for saving the Barasingha from extinction and for being a trendsetter in park management, Kanha is one of India’s best-known national parks. It is home to other mammals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Chowsingha, Indian Tree Shrew, Sloth Bear,Jungle Cat, Indian Flying Squirrel, Indian Wolf, Indian Fox, Nilgai, Black-naped Hare, Wild Dog, Wild Boar, birds like the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Scarlet Minivet, Black-hooded Oriole, Indian Roller, and Green Bee Eater. But within these forests also reside indigenous communities – the Baigas and Gonds, who have called Kanha home for generations.
Did you know that the Gond paintings are remarkably similar to those created by the aboriginals of Australia?
Legend has it that the people of the Baiga community are the keepers of the world, and God wanted them to become kings once the world was created. They humbly refused in order to lead a simple life and requested that the kingship be given to the Gonds. Today, the Baigas live in mud huts with no electricity and no proper means for livelihood, while the Gonds have been introduced to some of the modern amenities. They need support and ways and means to enhance their journey of life.
Did you know that the Baiga community is India’s first indigenous community to get habitat rights?
These indigenous communities need to be re-recognized as a crucial part of the Kanha ecosystem. Over the centuries, they have garnered knowledge on using forest resources, while also regenerating the forest. Among them are artists and artisans who need encouragement and upliftment. Today, these communities stand at crossroads, as they try to survive, deprived of access to forest resources. Being ousted from their original dwellings, these communities struggle with livelihood, education, and man-animal conflicts. What they need is a way to navigate the modern world, with education and skill development. Earth Focus aims at addressing these issues in an all-inclusive way.