U.G.C. SPONSORED PROJECT TO PROMOTE TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE DIGITAL LIBRARY EDUCATION

Introduction

This knowledge is the sum of facts that are known or learned from experience or acquired through observation and study and handed down from generation to generation.

Traditional Knowledge (TK), variously referred to as ‘traditional knowledge‘, ‘traditional ecological knowledge‘, ‘local knowledge‘, ‘folk knowledge’ is knowledge developed by local and indigenous communities over time in response to the needs of their specific local environment. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), traditional communities rely on indigenous knowledge to conserve the environment and deal with disasters. These communities, particularly those in hazard-prone areas, have generated a vast body of indigenous knowledge on disaster prevention and mitigation.

Project IntroductionIntroduction – IKTKDL & Disaster Mgmt.Water-Agro-Housing-MedicinalAYUSH & TKAppendix

Project Objectives

  • To analyze the macro socio – economic-environmental interface in the selected Eco-communities of India
  • To examine the facets of indigenous knowledge capacity and its dissemination in the selected Eco community villages of India
  • To explore the prospect of indigenous knowledge capacity building under a holistic ‘Stakeholder’ framework
  • To evaluate the nature and scale of cross-community information sharing and capacity building for disaster mitigation and sustainable development in the selected regions
  • To develop causal system model based on the linkages among critical decision variables related to indigenous capacity building and value enrichment
  • To devise policy guidelines and action plans of large scale acquisition and dissemination of indigenous knowledge capacity of Eco communities across India

In this kind of holistic study, in addition to extensive review of the relevant literature available on indigenous knowledge, a multiple set of data collection methods, needed to be used in the selected Eco village community based on interactive discussions, open interviews, focus group discussions, meetings, cultural mapping and interactive sessions with rural folk. In particular, meetings were deemed important for informing and building community trust with the researchers and laying the groundwork for further research.

It is thus a promotion of participatory research methodology where research is with communities, and not just ‘for’ them. This ensures accountability of research process and outcomes to a wider community.

  1. Uttar Pradesh (Dayalbagh)
  2. Madhya Pradesh (Rajaborari)
  3. Rajasthan (Udaipur)
  4. Uttrakhand (Roorkee)
  5. Bihar (Murar)
Housing and Construction

Indigenous communities have environmental perspective in building houses for their living and constructing facilities for community amenities and functions. Sufficient details are paid attention in order to make houses not only comfortable but also environmentally designed with adequate natural light, ventilation, cooling, heating and structural resilience to withstand disasters like flood, storms and earthquake.

 

Education

Education plays pivotal role in removing score of social ills, evils and habits prevalent in traditional communities of India. Innovative courses and their delivery systems like Distance Education have made it possible to provide world-class education to the local youth at almost no cost and also simultaneously equip them with vocational skills and entrepreneurial traits good enough to sustain an average, peaceful and health community life.

 

Social & Welfare Activities

Community living with shared social resources creates a resilient framework for survival and growth in any community. Eco-communities are diverse and rich not only in terms of resources, but, mainly through their mechanism to protect the rights and interest of vulnerable social groups such as Old age people, Child and Women. With the aid and support of government agencies and Educational and social organisations, various welfare oriented measures have been taken to uplift the general economic standards and lives of people living in these communities.

 

Agriculture

Bio-fertilizers, Crop Cycle-Crop Management, Indigenous Farming practices and tested agricultural know-how are some of the dimensions indicating the richness, diversity and growth of agriculture sector in traditional communities particularly located in disaster-prone areas. Not only providing for the local employment but, it also caters immensely to the secondary and tertiary sectors as resources supply point.

Medicinal Plants and Bio-Diversity:

The rich reservoir of precious plants and biological resources abundantly distributed and inherited by the Eco-communities in India serves as back-bone for the sustainability of socio-economic systems. The extracts of plants are not only used extensively as medicines in the households but also supplied to the local or outside industries for formulation, manufacturing and marketing of a range of natural drugs and medicines heavily preferred by millions of people across the world.

 

Spiritual and Cultural Sustainability

Traditional communities have quite resilient cultural, heritage and spiritual systems with strict social and environmental norms helping them sustaining their identity and longevity over ages and changing times. These norms have ensured cohesiveness in the community as well for setting social structure and hierarchy in terms of division of work and roles shared mutually across various gender and age groups.

 

Indigenous Industries and Employment

Optimal utilization of traditional skills and craftsmanship fused harmlessly with economic competitiveness is at the core of promoting traditional industries and employments in eco-communities of India. The thrust is to make local artisans and youth, adequately adept in requisite traits and competencies to explore self-livelihood at native place without migrating to urban locations. Agro and allied industries also flourish as a result of abundance of resources available domestically.

Green Technology

Green Technology includes a variety of innovative inventions, ideas, methods and practices having blend with traditional and modern know-how as possessed by Eco-Indigenous communities and which capitalizes maximum on resources available locally. It develops on the basic premise of preserving and protecting social and ecological balance with that of growing necessities and challenges of modern life.

Please refer Research Database for location-wise Findings of the present survey

Prof. Anand Mohan

Project Advisor

Dr. Sanjay Bhushan

Principal Investigator

Prof. Sanjeev Swami

Co-Investigator

Prof. S.K. Sharma

Co-Investigator

Mr. Anand Swarup

Project Fellow

Our mission

“To Bring out and make Digitally visible the vast Repository of Tacit Knowledge related to Eco-Communities of India and Facilitate its wider Dissemination and Knowledge-Sharing for the Promotion of Sustainable and Holistic Socio-Economic-Environmental Living”

Core goals

  1. In this project, special attention would be given to the e-content development and preservation of indigenous knowledge systems (i.e. indigenous knowledge documentation and database) and its causal relationship to disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability.
  2. A conscious effort would also be made to ensure participation of local inhabitants for long-term acceptance and success of this project.
  3. It can be noted that when documented, the information would be available in a convenient form to a wide range of audiences including government decision makers, environmental and disaster management practitioners, medical practitioners, academics, researchers, journalists, indigenous and local communities, as well as international development agencies including UNEP and other stakeholders.
  4. The study intends to strengthen capacity building in indigenous knowledge and help to integrate the knowledge with other knowledge systems and development processes, particularly for environmental conservation and natural disaster management.
  5. Towards this goal, it would facilitate community engagement and link teaching; research and practice to better reflect the knowledge creation and knowledge mobilization across the eco communities and academic/research institutions. This would offer a vital opportunity to address the issues of community health, community cultures, community practices in sustainable development/natural resources and other related aspects of community knowledge production, application and dissemination.

FAQ’s

What is Indigenous Knowledge?

According to UNESCO, Indigenous knowledge is the local knowledge that is unique to a culture or society. Other names for it include: ‘local knowledge’, ‘folk knowledge’, ‘people’s knowledge’, ‘traditional wisdom’ or ‘traditional science’.

This knowledge is the sum of facts that are known or learned from experience or acquired through observation and study and handed down from generation to generation. Traditional Knowledge (TK), variously referred to as ‘traditional knowledge‘, ‘traditional ecological knowledge‘, ‘local knowledge‘, ‘folk knowledge’ is knowledge developed by local and indigenous communities over time in response to the needs of their specific local environment. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), traditional communities rely on indigenous knowledge to conserve the environment and deal with disasters. These communities, particularly those in hazard-prone areas, have generated a vast body of indigenous knowledge on disaster prevention and mitigation.

This knowledge is passed from generation to generation, usually by word of mouth and cultural rituals, and has been the basis for agriculture, food preparation, health care, education, conservation and the wide range of other activities that sustain societies in many parts of the world. Indigenous people have a broad knowledge of how to live sustainably. However, formal education systems have disrupted the practical everyday life aspects of indigenous knowledge and ways of learning, replacing them with abstract knowledge and academic ways of learning. Today, there is a grave risk that much indigenous knowledge is being lost and, along with it, valuable knowledge about ways of living sustainably. Indigenous knowledge is not confined to tribal groups or the original inhabitants of an area of any country; it is not even confined to rural people rather. Any community may possess indigenous knowledge, Rural or Urban. This is also called “Local Knowledge” and “Traditional Knowledge”.

What are Eco-communities?

An ecological community is a naturally located and occurring group of people, native plants, animals and other organisms that are interacting in a unique habitat. Its structure, composition and distribution are determined by cultural and environmental factors such as custom, traditions, locations, soil type, position in the landscape, altitude, climate and water availability.

What are the Socio-Economic-Environmental benefits of IK?

Environmental conservation and disaster management are critical to the livelihoods of indigenous people who often live in hazard-prone areas. They have built up, through thousands of years of experience and intimate contact with the environment, a vast body of knowledge on hazards and the environment events. This knowledge is a precious resource that continues to contribute to environmental conservation and disaster management in these regions. With the disruption of traditional lifestyles and changing settlement patterns, it is a challenge to maintain the continuity of traditional knowledge through transmission from generation to generation. In this way, Indigenous knowledge should be considered as a complement to scientific knowledge in the development of community based disaster mitigation and risk management plans and programs.

For ten thousand years, farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and forest dwellers have been managing genetic diversity by selecting plants and animals to meet environmental conditions and food needs. Farmers everywhere possess priceless local knowledge, including a highly tuned sense of how to match the right variety or breed with a particular agricultural ecosystem. Such traditional knowledge, passed on from one generation to the next, is often the key to unlocking the benefits of local biodiversity — both on and off the farm. Indigenous / Traditional knowledge is the knowledge that people in a given community have developed over time, and continue to develop. It is based on the experience, often tested over centuries of use, adapted to local culture and local environment, dynamic and changing.

People have an intimate knowledge of many aspects of their surroundings and their daily lives. Over centuries people have learnt how to grow food and preserve and to survive in difficult environments. They know what varieties of crops to plant, when to sow and weed, which plants are poisonous, which can be used for control of diseases in plants, livestock and human beings. They know very well how to maintain the environment in harmony. Indigenous knowledge is a valuable and sophisticated knowledge system developed over generations by local communities in various parts of the world. This knowledge is validated over time in a way that is different to the western empirical system.

How is IK related to Disaster Management?

Environmental conservation and natural disaster management are important in the livelihoods of indigenous people who often live in hazard-prone areas and have built up, through thousands of years of experience and intimate contact with the environment, a vast body of knowledge on disastrous events. This knowledge is a precious resource that continues to contribute to environmental conservation and natural disaster management in these regions. With the disruption of traditional lifestyles and settlement in permanent communities, it is a challenge to maintain the continuity of traditional knowledge through its transmission from generation to generation. One solution is to find new ways to ensure that this knowledge is not lost, including the development of products to preserve and disseminate traditional knowledge.

Indigenous knowledge is valuable knowledge that has helped local communities all over the world survive for generations. This knowledge originates from the interaction between members of the community and the environment in which they live. Although much has been written about indigenous knowledge, its documentation in the area of disaster risk reduction and climate change has been very limited. The wealth of this knowledge has not been well-recognised in the disaster risk reduction field, as policy-makers still rely on mitigation strategies based on scientific knowledge. Colonialism and lack of proper documentation of indigenous knowledge are some of the contributing factors to this. Ignoring the importance of understanding adaptive strategies of the local people has led to failed projects. Understanding how local people have managed to survive and adapt for generations, before the arrival of Western education, may be the key to developing sustainable policies to mitigate future challenges. Literature used in this article, obtained from the books, papers and publications of various experts in the fields of disaster risk reduction, climate change, indigenous knowledge and adaptation, highlight the need for more interest to be shown in indigenous knowledge, especially in the developing country context. This would lead to better strategies which originate from the community level but would aim for overall sustainable development.

How to digitalise and disseminate Indigenous knowledge?

Digitization is a collaborative initiative between Indigenous communities and various organizations to facilitate capacity building in Indigenous information management through digital technologies. This aims to clarifying processes and identifying issues in the conservation, digitization, and management of Indigenous community knowledge. It does so by providing information resources through the digitization toolkit and by enabling community-led digitization projects through grant funding and training. Digitization seeks to grow and work with a network of practitioners to develop effective practices for the management of digital heritage that support the goals of individual indigenous communities.

What id India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library initiative (TKDL)?

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a pioneer initiative of India to prevent misappropriation of country’s traditional medicinal knowledge at International Patent Offices on which healthcare needs of more than 70% population and livelihood of millions of people in India is dependent. Its genesis dates back to the Indian effort on revocation of patent on wound healing properties of turmeric at the USPTO. Besides, in 2005, the TKDL expert group estimated that about 2000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted every year at international level, mainly due to the fact that India’s traditional medicinal knowledge which exists in local languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil etc. is neither accessible nor comprehensible for patent examiners at the international patent offices.
Traditional Knowledge Digital Library has overcome the language and format barrier by scientifically converting and structuring the available contents (till date 0.29 million medicinal formulations) of the ancient texts on Indian Systems of Medicines i.e. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga, into five international languages, namely, English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish, with the help of information technology tools and an innovative classification system – Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification (TKRC).
TKRC has structured and classified the Indian Traditional Medicine System in approximately 25,000 subgroups for Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga. TKRC has enabled incorporation of about 200 sub-groups under A61K 36/00 in International Patent Classification instead of few sub-groups earlier available on medicinal plants under A61K 35/00 thus enhancing the quality of search and examination of prior-art with respect to patent applications field in the area of traditional knowledge.

What are the dimensions of Indigenous Knowledge Management?

According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), traditional communities greatly rely on and make use of indigenous knowledge to conserve the environment and deal with disasters. These communities, particularly those in hazard-prone areas, have generated a vast body of indigenous knowledge on disaster prevention and mitigation.

Dimensions covered: Housing and Construction, Education, Social & Welfare Activities, Agriculture, Medicinal Plants and Bio-Diversity, Spiritual and Cultural Sustainability, Indigenous Industries and Employment, Green Technology

How to disseminate and facilitate sharing of Indigenous Knowledge across Urban-Rural communities?

In this project, special attention has been given to the development and preservation of indigenous knowledge systems (i.e. indigenous knowledge documentation and database) and its causal relationship to disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability. A conscious effort should also be made to ensure participation of local inhabitants for long-term acceptance and success of this project. It can be noted that when documented, the information would be available in a convenient form to a wide range of audiences including government decision makers, environmental and disaster management practitioners, medical practitioners, academics, researchers, journalists, indigenous and local communities, as well as international development agents including UNEP and other stakeholders. The study intends to strengthen capacity building in indigenous knowledge and help to integrate the knowledge with other knowledge systems and development processes, particularly for environmental conservation and natural disaster management. Towards the fulfillment of this goal, it would facilitate community engagement and link teaching; research and practice to better reflect the knowledge creation and knowledge mobilization across the eco communities and academic/research institutions. This would offer a vital opportunity to address the issues of community health, community cultures, community practices in sustainable development/natural resources and other related aspects of community knowledge production, application and dissemination.

What role to be played by Educational Institutions to preserve and promote IK?

Apart from creating and transmitting scientific knowledge to policy makers and practitioners, through such interdisciplinary and holistic study, scientific community would also be sensitized to collaborate with people to put forth new hypotheses that incorporate aspirations of formal and local systems of knowing and modify their methodologies accordingly. Humanity needs to go beyond disciplinary divide and find a common ground across cultures, faiths and disciplines.  Collective wisdom of humanity for conservation of biodiversity embodied both in formal science as well as in local systems of knowledge, therefore, is the key to pursue our progress towards sustainability. For the academia, however, this type of community based research projects can become an intrinsic part of learning and teaching. It would facilitate partnerships between eco communities and institutions of higher education so that students and teachers can learn from indigenous knowledge and wisdom, thereby democratizing knowledge production. The proposed study intends to create an ‘interface structure’ acting as a communicator, mediator and coordinator of institutional linkages and partnerships with the communities and their indigenous knowledge capital. As an innovative application of data surveys, it is also proposed to ensure eco-community engagement with the assistance of UG and PG students of Management course undergoing internships or course -work. It would provide them much needed opportunity of rural/eco community exposure and sensitization, while also serving the mutually agreed interests of both local communities and the institution.

How to build capacities in disaster prone communities through Indigenous Knowledge?

Environmental conservation and disaster management are critical to the livelihoods of indigenous people who often live in hazard-prone areas. They have built up, through thousands of years of experience and intimate contact with the environment, a vast body of knowledge on hazards and the environment events. This knowledge is a precious resource that continues to contribute to environmental conservation and disaster management in these regions. With the disruption of traditional lifestyles and changing settlement patterns, it is a challenge to maintain the continuity of traditional knowledge through transmission from generation to generation. In this way, Indigenous knowledge should be considered as a complement to scientific knowledge in the development of community based disaster mitigation and risk management plans and programs. Hence, it can be said that dynamic mechanisms for disaster risk reduction usually demonstrate strong ownership and leadership of knowledge driven risk reduction activities. Not only should indigenous knowledge management be fully integrated into disaster mitigation at the community level, but such programs should also become pillars of efforts to develop broader national knowledge systems for disaster risk reduction and sustainable community development. An active communion and collaboration is primarily required among various sectors like Political, Social, Economic and Technological. Moreover, it must include environmental and disaster institutions and managers (including Corporate) more closely in the indigenous knowledge acquisition processes that would potentially reduce disaster events through a thorough review and enrichment of their eco-foot print, programs and environmental resources.