At first I thought it is the people of Mizoram who use bamboo to perform their celebrated dance, the
Cheraw. After months of field research in remote forests of this small state in northeastern India, I know now it is the other way round. Through its intimate influence on the people, it is the bamboo that does its own dance on the mountains of Mizoram.
The Cheraw performance at Chapchar Kut festival, (Aizawl, 7 March 2014) A farmer’s eye-view of the jhum landscape, through the window of a bamboo hut in a jhum field: slashed fields waiting to be burnt, the previous year’s fallows, and slopes draped with regenerating bamboo forests. The landscape of the dancing bamboos in the buffer zone abutting Dampa Tiger Reserve. A jhum fire burns the current year’s field, behind a bamboo hut perched on last year’s fallow already covered in green regrowth. The landscape around has all stages of succession from young to old bamboo forests, secondary forests of bamboo and trees, and patches of mature evergreen forests with trees in ravines, ridges, and other refugia (Serhmun village jhums near Tuilut, March 2014).
… This post appeared in my blog on the Coyotes Network on 15 April 2014. Read more in the
. A slightly edited version of this article appeared in opinion/editorial page of The Wild Heart of India: Nature and Conservation in the City, the Country, and the Wild on 12 April 2014 under the title The Telegraph . Field and Fallow, Farm and Forest