Whose Forests

There are two stories in this chapter. First story is from Jharkhand and second story is from Mizoram.

Two Adivasi Ladies

In the story from Jharkhand, there is a lady called Suryamani. She wants to protect the forests. She also wants to protect adivasi’s rights on forests. Suryamani does many activities to preserve the traditions of adivasis.

In the story from Mizoram, life of people is described. It is mentioned how the local people try to preserve forests. There is description on Jhoom Farming. There is also description of division of land among villagers for farming.

Jhoom Cultivation

It is a traditional method of farming. Many adivasis (tribal people) still practice this method of farming. In Jhoom farming, a part of the forest is cleared by chopping off trees. After that the chopped plants are burnt. Ash collected from burning is mixed with soil. It makes the soil fertile.v

Soil is dug but it is not dug too deep. Then seeds are spread on the farm land. After a couple of rounds of farming, the land is left as it is. It allows enough time to restore the fertility of soil.


Question 1: What do you think is a forest?

Answer: When plants grow naturally, they make forest.

Question 2: If someone grew lots of trees close to each other, would this become a forest?

Answer: If plants do not grow naturally, they cannot become forest. So, if someone grows lots of trees, it is not going to be a forest.

Find Out and Write

Question 1: Other than trees what all is there in a forest?

Answer: Other than trees, there are many things in a forest. A forest is home to many animals and creatures.

Question 2: Do all forests have similar types of trees? How many trees can you identify?

Answer: There are different types of trees in different forests. I can identify the trees of banyan, mahua and sheesham.

Question 3: Suryamani says, “If the forests are not there, we too will not remain.” Why so?

Answer: Forests help in cleaning the air. Forests also help in bringing rains. Both air and water are necessary for life. So, if forests will vanish, we too will vanish from the earth.

Think and Write

Question 1: Do you know anyone who loves the forest?

Answer: There is one gentleman in my neighbourhood. He is an environmental activist. He loves forests and often goes on a drive for forest conservation.

Question 2: The contractor did not allow Suryamani’s people to go into the forest. Why?

Answer: The contractor may have taken some rights to take useful things from the forest. So, he did not allow Suryamani’s people to go into the forest.

Question 3: Is there any place around your area which you feel should be open to everyone, but where people are not allowed to go?

Answer: There is a huge park in my neighbourhood. But some rich people have locked the gates of the park. They are not allowing children to play in the park.


Question 1: Who do you think the forest belongs to?

Answer: Forest belongs to everyone.

Question 2: Budhiyamai said, “Forest is our collective bank, not yours or mine alone.” Are there other things which are our collective wealth? So if someone uses more, everyone would suffer?

Answer: There are many things which are our collective wealth. Some examples are, air and water. If a person wastes too much water, it will deplete the groundwater. Everyone would suffer in the long run. If a factory keeps on polluting the air, everyone would suffer.

Think and Write

Question 1: Do you have a friend with whom you can share everything?

Answer: I have a close friend, who lives in B block of our colony. We share everything with each other.

Question 2: Some people have moved so far away from the forest, that they cannot understand the lives of forest people. Some even call them junglee. Why is not correct to say this?

Answer: The term junglee means uncivilized. Many people have certain images about civilized person. People who dress like us and talk like us are civilized for us. But people who are different from us do not appear to be civilized. This is an incorrect way to see things. Adivasis are civilized in their own way.

Question 3: What do you know about how adivasis lives? Write and draw a picture.

Answer: People who live in and around a forest and depend on forest for their livelihood are called adivasis or tribal. Forest provides most of the thing an adivasi needs. Adivasis never exploit the forest. They rather conserve the forest.

Question 4: Do you have an adivasi friend? What have you learnt about the forest from her?

Answer: One of my classmates is from Jharkhand and belongs to the Santhal tribe. I have learnt many traditional crafts and arts from her.


Question 1: Do you know of anyone who works to save forests?

Answer: I have heard about Sunderlal Bahuguna. He worked very hard to save trees.

Question 2: What is your dream? What will you do to make your dream come true?

Answer: I want to become a doctor and to serve people in remote villages. I will study properly to get admission into a medical college.

Question 3: Collect reports about forests from newspapers. Did you find any news about how the cutting down of forests affects the weather? How?

Answer: Do It Yourself

Question 3: In Torang, Suryamani does a lot to keep the Kuduk music, dance and traditions alive. Would you like to do something like this for your community? What would you like to keep alive?

Answer: I want to learn folk music of my state. I want to keep this folk music alive. Once I will learn it, I will try to teach this to as many people as possible.

Read and Tell

Question 1: Is there any factory or some construction work going on in and around your area? What type of work?

Answer: A huge warehouse is under construction at the outskirts of my town.

Question 2: Due to the factory is there any effect on the trees and land? Have the people in that area raised this issue?

Answer: Trees from a vast tract of land have been cut to make way for construction of the warehouse. Many birds and animals which lived on those trees have become homeless. There is now dust all around the construction site. Many people protested against the construction. But they were forced to quit by the police.

Look at the map and write

Question 1: What all is shown in the map?

Answer: This map shows less thick forest and very thick forest on the map of India.

Question 2: You have read Sikhya’s letter. Look for Odisha in the map. Is there a sea close to Odisha? How did you find out?

Answer: There is the Bay of Bengal close to Odisha. This is shown on the map.

Question 3: Which are the states which have the sea on one side?

Answer: West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat

Question 4: Where is Suryamani’s state Jharkhand on the map?

Answer: Jharkhand is on the north of Odisha

Question 5: Where are forests on the map? How will you find these?

Answer: Forests are in the north, north east, central India and on eastern and western coasts.

Question 6: How can you find out which states have very thick forests and which have less thick forests?

Answer: This can be found with the help of colour code given with the map. Light green means less thick forests, and dark green means very thick forests.

Question 7: For someone in Madhya Pradesh, in which direction would the country’s thickest forests be? Name those states.

Answer: North and East

Find Out

Question 1: Which are the states around Mizoram?

Answer: Manipur and Tripura

Question 2: Chamui said they measure land using tin. Which are the other ways of measuring land?

Answer: Some other units of measuring land are, square meter, acre, square yard, bigha, etc.

Question 3: Returning from school, children drank water in a bamboo cup. Who do you think would have made this cup and kept it in the forest? Why?

Answer: Such cups may have been made by local people. They have kept the cup in forest because they don’t want to exploit forest resources.

Question 4: What could be done to save forests?

Answer: Following steps can be taken to save forests:

Copyright © excellup 2014