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Rock art

This campaign is an attempt to prevent… Annihilation of a landscape involving 3000sq km of the Upper Damodar catchment including agricultural lands, forests, Tribal sacred sites, wildlife corridors, two hundred villages practicing Khovar and Sohrai ritual mural painting traditions, paleo-archaeological, megalithic and rock-art sites – by 31 new proposed and 3 operative opencast coal mines covering approx. for each mine of 300 feet and more deep. The Campaign began almost 23 years ago and is now entering its final phase. It was begun by Bulu Imam, Convener, INTACH Hazaribagh Chapter in 1987 and still continues under his guidance. The campaign is closely associated with the Tribal Women Artists Cooperative (TWAC) a non-registered organization under the aegis of INTACH and consists of women of the villages resisting mining which has several times been represented in Geneva at the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations on the issue of Karanpura opencast coal mining.

A unique palaeo-archaeological stone tool evidence of Early Man known as the Damodar Valley Civilization, prehistoric megalithic sites, and one dozen rockart sites, the pride of Jharkhand, dated to over 8,000 years back will be gouged out into 300 feet mine pits running shoulder to shoulder down the Karanpura Valley, which will be in a stark lunar landscape incapable of supporting human or animal life.

Heritage Action occasionally strays from home ground, as there are many other megalithic sites threatened by destruction, and there is nothing worse than to find a whole area of a beautiful and sacred landscape to its people, trashed by open-cast mining. This is happening in Karapura Valley, apart from the environmental issues of mining and burning this coal, the impact on the wild animals, such creatures as the elephants and tigers and the flora of the valley are utterly destroyed, as is the rich farming land. In many ways the loss of rock art and megalithic sites are relatively unimportant compared to the loss of an enormously rich and diverse culture that the  indigenous people represent.

Sadly the Indian government is able to grab this land for free because of an unfortunate Land Acquisition Act – and guess who left them this legacy, it was instituted under the colonial British in 1895 for mineral-bearing areas. There is also the added tragedy of  a traditional culture that is lost;   Intangible Cultural Heritage covers many aspects such as language, art etc; see below* Here in the villages of the Karanpura Valley traditional painting of houses in age old designs will be lost. The loss of a culture is in many ways just as important as the loss of a historical site, that these things are  then replaced by damaging environmental mines and coal-fired power generation, which will of course result in the proliferation of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere beggars belief.   The following two photographs highlights a ‘before’ and ‘after’  scenario…

karanpura 1

karanpura 2

  • *Oral traditions and expressions; including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage.
  • Performing arts (such as traditional music, dance and theatre).
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events.
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.
  • Traditional craftsmanship.


    October 2009
    S M T W T F S

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