Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 16

Journal of Entrepreneurship

http://joe.sagepub.com Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism in India


Shalini Misra Journal of Entrepreneurship 2007; 16; 131 DOI: 10.1177/097135570701600201 The online version of this article can be found at: http://joe.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/2/131

Published by:
http://www.sagepublications.com

Additional services and information for Journal of Entrepreneurship can be found at: Email Alerts: http://joe.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Subscriptions: http://joe.sagepub.com/subscriptions Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Permissions: http://www.sagepub.in/about/permissions.asp Citations http://joe.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/16/2/131

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism in India


SHALINI MISRA
Three main themes run through this article. The first theme points out the distinct character of environmental activist movements India. Unlike environmental movements in the West, they are firmly tied to issues of social justice and equity, human rights and womens rights, and are for the survival of the large number of very poor who depend on the resources of their immediate environment. Religious symbolism is embedded in these activist movements. The second theme indicates the practice of utilitarian conservationism as opposed to protectionist conservationism by Hindus in their daily life. The role played by Hindu tradition in such cognitions and behaviours is explored. The third and final theme is the investigation of the causes of large-scale environmental degradation in India. It is argued that environmental pollution is largely a consequence of political, economic and administrative set-ups, population pressures, over-stretched infrastructure, corruption, individual and societal norms, and indifference towards the environment. The paper concludes with a perspective on the contribution of a Hindu environmental ethic to addressing sustainable development issues. Shalini Misra is Teaching Associate and Ph.D. Scholar in the Department of Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine, USA.

Scientists believe that the global environmental crisis we are facing today is principally a consequence of the values, beliefs and attitudes prevailing in our society (for example Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978), and our survival depends on our ability to change the way we think about, feel towards and act upon our environment (Bell et al., 2001). Reversing this crisis would necessitate a broader and deeper philosophical, ethical and religious understanding of ourselves as rooted in the ecosystem and networked with its lifecycles. The 1987 United Nations report on

The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145 SAGE Publications Los Angeles/London/New Delhi/Singapore DOI: 10.1177/097135570701600201

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

132 / Shalini Misra

environment and development acknowledges the potential role of the worlds major religions in addressing social and environmental issues: Sustainable development requires changes in values and attitudes towards environment and developmentThe worlds religions could help provide direction and motivation in forming new values that would stress individual and joint responsibility towards the environment and towards nurturing harmony between humanity and environment (UN World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 111). Spiritual, cultural and religious traditions are highly reflective of peoples perception of the natural world. The Judeo-Christian religious tradition advanced the worldview of human dominion over nature (White, 1967). Hinduism, practiced by the majority of Indias population, propounds the divinity of all forms of life (Dwivedi, 2001). The Buddhist code of ethics requires non-violence and compassion towards all creatures; the notions of karma and reincarnation further encourage sympathetic attitudes toward all beings (De Silva, 2001). This article explores whether and how Hindu philosophy and culture influence environmental activist movements in India. It goes on to examine whether Hindu spiritual thought and practice play a role in Indians understanding of ecological principles, the performance of environmentally beneficial behaviour and their overall environmental consciousness. It is argued that Hindu cosmology and way of life do indeed provide a holistic structure of thought, which inspire and influence the unique character of environmental movements in India. However, the straightforward equation of the recognition of the so-called ecocentricity in the Hindu faith (Devall & Sessions, 1985) and overall concern for the environment among Indian people is questioned. In the first and chief section of the article, I draw on well-known environmental movements in India such as the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada River Movement) and the Chipko (Hug the Trees) Movement for my analysis of the motivations behind such movements. The second section of the article addresses the broader issue of whether Hindu thought systems can be translated into environmentally beneficial behaviour at the individual level. I provide evidence of some traditional, sustainable environmental practices prevalent among certain sections
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 133

of the Indian population. I attempt to understand and describe how Hindu beliefs, rituals and culture shape and maintain such sustainable environmental practices at the micro level. I go on to argue that population pressures, overstretched infrastructure and corruption in governance perceptively affect how people form environmental commitments and sensibilities, reason about environmental issues and conduct themselves towards their environment. This is reflected not only in many government and public policies but also in the day-to-day lives of people. A lack of political will and value-driven political priorities also end up contributing to environmental impoverishment. Culture and tradition, but more importantly political, administrative and economic set-ups and the means and methods of education influence these environmental orientations. Thus, a socialstructuralculturalenvironmental nexus shapes and sustains peoples basic modes of thought towards the environment and their relation to its components. Environmentalism in India India and Southeast Asia are vital and influential parts of the world. Their populations, resources, and cultures are important for the preservation of our planet. India is particularly important to the future of the world. Her vast population, increasing prosperity and immense poverty put considerable strain on her natural resources and neutralise and, in some cases, even reduce the gains of development. In developing countries like India, environmental problems cannot be easily separated from their social, cultural, political and historical context. The most pressing environmental problems in India today are deforestation, loss of biodiversity, contamination of air, water and soil, and desertification. Indias entry into international environmental politics began with her participation in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972. Indias former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi not only recognised the large-scale destruction of forests and wildlife in India but also drew attention to the conflicting goals of economic growth and environmental conservation, and the trade-offs a nation must make to meet the needs of the poor (Gandhi, 1984). Since then, India has partaken in major international environmental debates. India, supported by some other developing countries, contended that the environment and development agenda put forth by the UN is western in its conception and
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

134 / Shalini Misra

formulation, and fails to address the environmental problems of India. She also asserted that cultural factors play a crucial role in these problems and appropriate ways to deal with them must be devised (Gosling, 2001). The Indian governments official report had much to say about the religious connection of nature to humans. It included quotations from the Upanishads (ancient philosophical scriptures) and references to sacred groves, suggesting the distinctive Indian tradition for conserving biodiversity (Ministry of Environment and Forests, 1992). India has over 950 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) committed to cause of the environment (Chapple, 2000). Of the 1,400 NGOs accredited to the UN conference in 1992, 100 came from India (Gosling, 2001). Compared to the smaller countries neighbouring India, this is an extraordinary level of representation. Indian environmentalists such as Vandana Shiva, Sunita Narain, Anil Agrawal and Medha Patkar are wellknown figures throughout the world. Many Indian environmentalists claim to be inspired by Gandhian thinking and traditional Hindu views about the value of all life and the need to live in harmony with nature (Lal, 2000). It seems pertinent to ask why there is such a high level of involvement by Indian representatives at the Earth Summit and other international forums, and why several of them express their views in such unequivocally spiritual and philosophical terms. Environmental Movements in India Comparing environmental movements in the USA and India, Chapple (1998) observes: Whereas in the American context, the early rallying cry for environmental action came from scientists and social activists with theologians only taking interest in this issue of late, in India, from the outset, there has been an appeal to traditional religious sensibilities in support of environmental issues (p. 20). Environmental movements in India have been non-violent and firmly embedded in social and political structures. Unlike western environmental activist movements, they are strongly tied to human rights, womens rights, social justice and equity, which gives them a distinct character. Also, this distinct character of Indian environmental movements is linked to the Hindu ecological vision of life.
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 135

The Chipko Movement provides some insight into the religious dimension of Indian environmental movements. The Chipko Movement was a part of a long struggle of the people of the state of Uttarakhand (now the state of Uttaranchal) against state forest practices inimical to local needs. It was in 1970 that this resentment came into clear focus. A disastrous flood in the Alaknanda (sister of river Ganga in Indian mythology) valley made evident to the villagers the devastating ecological consequences of massive deforestation. When in the same year the forest department authorised the commercial felling of 2000 trees in the Alaknanda valley and refused to allocate ash trees to the villagers for household purposes, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, one of the leading activists of the Chipko Movement, recommended the historical Chipko (embrace the trees to protect them) strategy. As a result of the movement, commercial felling in the upper catchment of the Alaknanda river and its tributaries was banned for a period of ten years (James, 2000). In 1974, more than 3,000 women and men of the Tehri Garhwal (foothills of the Himalayas) region, under the leadership of Sunderlal Bahuguna, organised a massive demonstration against the excessive tapping of the chir pine trees (Gosling, 2001; James, 2000). Bahuguna, a sarvodaya1 leader, used Gandhian methods of resistance such as fasting and undertaking a long and arduous padayatra2 along the full length of the Himalayas, from Kashmir in the north-west to Kohima in Nagaland in the north-east to motivate people to understand and protect their forests. Like Gandhi, Bahuguna was able to address secular issues as environmental conservation from within a spiritual framework shaped by Hindu scriptures, inspired by religious precepts of Vivekananda3 and Buddha, and the work of renowned Indian scientists such as Jagdish Chandra Bose4 (Gosling, 2001). Bahugunas personal philosophy is a unique characteristic of the moral and religious dimension of the Chipko movement. Another unique aspect of the Chipko Movement that highlights its spiritual and moral content is the fact that readings of the Bhagavad Katha5, discourses on the role of forests in Indian life from ancient Indian texts, recitation of folk songs, poetry extolling the value of forests and humans place within it, and the tying of rakhi bands by women around trees representing a bond of kinship with them were essential parts of the resistance of the Tehri Garhwal village folk (James, 2000). In essence, the Chipko Movement was a peasant movement that used traditional methods of non-violent resistance against the loss of their
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

136 / Shalini Misra

source of livelihood and their existence as a community that enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the natural surroundings. It is not, therefore, an environmental movement in the western sense. It is a response by the affected people to the destruction of habitats and the threat to their very survival. Entrenched in this movement was the potent use of religious symbols, Gandhian economic and political ideologies, and methods of non-violent resistance. Another highly emotive movement of recent times is the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Tapping the resources of the Narmada river, one of Indias most sacred rivers in the west of India, has been the dream of political leaders since Nehru. The damming of the river, if completed, would be the largest river development scheme in the world with 30 large, 135 medium, and about 3,000 small dams (Deegan, 2000). The terminal dam of this project, the Sardar Sarovar, is almost complete. At its full reservoir level, the reservoir will submerge 37,000 hectares of land and will adversely affect at least 100,000 people, mostly tribals. An estimated 140,000 farmers will lose land to canal and irrigation systems (Deegan, 2000). Its supporters claim that it is the only viable means of providing irrigation, drinking water and electricity to the drought-prone urban and rural regions of north-western Gujarat and Rajasthan. Its critics cite its potentially detrimental ecological impacts and the dislocation of tens of thousands of poor, mainly tribal people. The project was supported by the World Bank. However, in response to growing global criticism and the findings of an independent review of the environmental impacts and resettlement and rehabilitation programmes of the Sardar Sarovar project, the World Bank withdrew its funding from the project in 1993. The central government and the state governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, however, continue funding the building of the dam despite persisting lawsuits, high-profile protests, hunger strikes, the World Bank review and a negative assessment of the impacts of the dam by the Indian review team. The Narmada controversy is not just a simple disagreement about whether this dam is a viable project or not. It strikes right to the very heart of the philosophical, political and moral debates about contemporary development efforts. According to Basu and Silliman (2000), the Narmada Movement is unique because of its emphasis on both the green and red ideologies. Its focus is on an alternative development paradigm that would serve the interests of the most marginalised sections of Indian society,
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 137

the non-Hindu tribal population, instead of catering to upper-class urban Hindus. This aspect of social and environmental equity forms the red aspect of the resistance strategy. The ecological destruction that accompanies dam building forms the green facet of the movement. Religious and cultural ties to the river are very prominent and are often evoked and stressed. The representation of the Narmada river in Hindu and tribal cultures as mata (mother) is central to the symbolism of the anti-dam resistance. The submergence of holy pilgrimage sites and sacred monuments along the Narmada valley is a prominent feature. The image of Gandhi and the use of Gandhian strategies of non-violence are striking (Fisher, 2000). The movement has been able to garner large-scale national and international support because of its unique orientation and strategies of resistance. The Indian state and development agencies like the World Bank seem to disregard the historical, cultural and spiritual ties people have to the land considering it to be a mere commodity (Basu & Silliman, 2000). Opposition to this limited view of land as a commodity forms the core of the Narmada Movement. It highlights the issues of compensation and resettlement and, more so, the loss of cultural ties to the land, river and forests. The movements efforts have successfully ensured that the lack of legally recognised titles to land in tribal societies does not stand in the way of tribal rights to be compensated for the loss of land. At the same time, however, women have been disempowered from land ownership rights. This has further strengthened the position of men in tribal communities because of the Indian governments particular conception of the household and the womans position within it (Basu & Silliman, 2000). Medha Patkar, the leading proponent of the Narmada Movement, and other activists like Arundhati Roy have also focused on the increase in tribal womens workloads in resettlement sites. They have highlighted the inaccessibility of fish (the main source of protein in tribal diets) from the river, which is a result of the governments decision to sell rights to fishing in reservoirs to private parties. Similarly, the fact that the submergence of large tracts of forests deprives the tribals of food, fuel and medicinal products is made salient. The activists are very sensitive to the fact that the loss of a bioregion that can be put to a variety of uses and the lack of skills to perform the types of jobs that might be available in the resettlement areas impoverishes women in terms of their ability to provide for their households (Basu & Silliman, 2000). In fact, Medha Patkar and
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

138 / Shalini Misra

many other urban and rural women activists play a central role in the struggle. They have inspired tribal women to things they can achieve outside of their homes (Baviskar, 1995). Environmental movements in India, therefore, are not necessarily for a green and clean earth, or for saving endangered species or preserving the land ethic (Leopold, 1966, p. 240) as in the West, but for the very survival of the local poor. The Chipko and Narmada Movements unite social justice and womens rights with environmental concerns, allowing the needs of the poor to be addressed alongside environmental issues. The movements have been successful in knitting Hindu religious values and tribal culture to mobilise support for these movements. Ecology, Hindu Tradition and Modern India Not all historical literature supports the view that Hindu philosophy, traditions and customs unconditionally endorse harmony between people and nature (Dwivedi, 1987). Hinduism is both a geographic and cultural term. Within India, there is no common agreement as to what constitutes Hinduism. Whether one considers the Hindu tradition from the perspective of tribals and nomads, the Indus civilisation, or Sanskrit-Vedic Hinduism, there exists considerable closeness between humans, the natural world and the transcendent Reality (God). It is this closeness to nature that brought about the ecological relationship that once existed between human communities and their surroundings. Numerous present day Hindu traditions affirm the sacredness of rivers, mountains, animals and forests. For instance, many tribal communities follow the tradition of maintaining scared groves (Apffel-Marglin & Parajuli, 2000). Sections of forests are dedicated to deities or ancestral spirits and remain untouched and undisturbed for a certain period of time, thereby allowing for the conservation of plants and wildlife. The use of cow dung as a cooking fuel and as an astringent, vegetarianism, numerous festivals celebrating crop cycles, natural rhythms of the seasons, and lunar and solar cycles, the worship of the earth (because of its fecundity) and the holy basil (because of its medicinal properties) as goddesses, and the practice of Ayurveda and Yoga are but a few of the numerous instances of embedment of an environmental ethic in daily Hindu life. Perceived personal benefit then is likely to be a predictor of environmental concern among Hindus. Hindus seem to value and preserve those elements
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 139

of nature that have ritual significance in the Hindu way of life. Thus, Hindus clearly follow a form of utilitarian conservationism as opposed to protectionist conservationism. Competing Worldviews Given the ecologically sound tenets, practices and beliefs of Hinduism, how does one explain the deplorable state of Indias environment today? India today faces a level of pollution and environmental degradation similar to that in North American and European cities during the early 1900s, which has now been largely corrected through effective legislation and compliance by the government and the industry. In the United States and Western Europe, public sentiment and concern for public health spawned a climate of environmental awareness that resulted in dramatic improvements in air and water quality. The 1960s and 1970s marked the birth of the modern environmental movement in the West. White (1967) suggested, in a highly influential and controversial article, that dualistic Judeo-Christian conceptions of humans and nature promoted overconsumption and callous attitudes toward the non-human world. Religious values began to be regarded as a hindrance to the fostering of ecological consciousness. Some scholars have argued that some aspects of the Hindu tradition similarly foster indifference toward the environment (Nelson, 2000). It is contended that although cultural and religious values do shape worldviews, environmental degradation is not necessarily a result of religious doctrines but an unfortunate and probably unintentional by-product of the political and economic development pathways preferred by a nation. The industrial revolution in Europe brought about large-scale ecological changes in India. After independence from the British, India adopted a predominantly socialist model of development, inspired by the economic model of the former Soviet Union and Roosevelts New Deal planning of the United States. Early five-year developmental plans were concerned with access to secular education for the Indian people, land reforms, agriculture, housing and health care. Resources of the state were devoted to large-scale industrialisation in an effort to lift people from poverty. Massive mining, hydroelectric and infrastructure projects further decreased forest cover and resulted in habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and desertification. The Green Revolution in
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

140 / Shalini Misra

the 1960s and 1970s, which was aimed at food security, had the unintended and counterproductive effects of salinisation, increased reliance on chemical fertilisation, pesticides and irrigation and adverse effects on the health of people. The liberalisation of the economy beginning in the mid 1990s, and the advent of capitalism and the free market economy have led to an unprecedented growth in technology and industry in India. Capitalism, however, has been equally, if not more, environmentally destructive. It has led to the corrosion of the traditional community values of solidarity, caring and cooperation, and cultivated individualism, replacing them with materialistic consumerism and profound inequalities. The poor enforcement of environmental laws and legislations and meagre environmental management (for example solid waste management, management of protected areas and rapid urbanisation) has further led to large-scale environmental denudation. Hardins (1968) thesis of the tragedy of the commons, or the selfcentred abuse of the shared environment, might be a possible cause of the lack of environmental concern. The tragedy is that since no one person owns environmental and natural resources, there is no incentive to preserve them. Each individual seeks to maximise his/her personal immediate gains and is indifferent to the long-term group interests. Collective shortterm self-interest leads to the destruction of the common pool resources. Laboratory environmental simulations have shown that the privatisation of common pool resources helped preserve these resources. However, privatisation might not be practical for all natural resources (Martichuski & Bell, 1991). Other simulations have shown that rewarding cooperative behaviour and punishing selfish behaviour helped in the preservation of the commons (Bell et al., 1989). Other similar environmental simulation research has found that trusting others to conserve is a crucial factor in the willingness to conserve (Mosler, 1993). According to Gadgil and Guha (1995), Indian society is made up of the omnivores (those who benefit from governmental policies, live in cities, seek higher education, have small families and have consumption levels comparable to the West), the ecosystem people (the rural and largely uneducated people who have large families, and do not participate in any significant way in the industrial society), and the ecological refugees (the permanent underclass in the squatter settlements prevalent throughout urban India, those who flee their villages and flock to the cities in search
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 141

of livelihood, and are generally labourers and servants). Though the ecosystem people and the ecological refugees have the highest birth rates, they consume the least amount of resources per capita. To add to these grave inequalities is the lack of awareness and education among the general population and the government regarding the severity of the ecological crisis in India. A possible reason for the lack of environmental concern amongst Indians is the lack of perceived environmental risk. A large section of the Indian population is yet unthreatened by the devastating health and economic repercussions of the many environmental problems in India. Perceived threat to self and significant others from air and water pollution, toxic exposure, and natural and human-caused disasters could be associated with environmental sensibility. Increase in population, corruption, unjust policies and tangled bureaucratic practices add to peoples despair and helplessness. The relatively low voter turnout in Indias general elections is an indication of peoples lack of faith in democracy and democratic processes. Indian people have learned helplessness. Environmental psychologists have been interested in the littering behaviour and found that individual and group norms (Cialdini et al., 1990) as well as shame and embarrassment (Grasmick et al., 1991) can reduce it. In a country where purification of the home and cleanliness is one of the most important tenets, littering has become the social norm. I believe these circumstances play a strong role in peoples perceptions of the environment, their role in it and their ability to act for preserving it. Towards a Hindu Environmental Ethic If we are to move toward being a sustainable society, we must create an environment where every child, woman and man has the opportunity to lead a productive and healthy life. Existing institutions and development policies have violated environmental justice. How can human wellness be promoted in a country whose masses would put up with a great deal of aesthetic or environmental unpleasantness to escape poverty? On the other hand, how can ecological awareness and concern be promoted in a country whose masses are committed to modernist convictions of progress, technological prowess and consumption? Several well-intended sustainable development enterprises go awry owing to the errors committed while dealing with the challenge of solving
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

142 / Shalini Misra

complex problems with multiple dimensions, wherein conflicting interests have to be taken into consideration and conflicting goals have to be met. Many a time, decision makers/politicians assume what is best for people, bringing about the opposite of the intended effects. In situations as these, the organisational, political, economic, educational, cultural and environmental conditions need to be identified and set up to turn around the environmental crisis being faced and in turn support well being. Planning possible conduits to a sustainable society will require, in addition to the examination of worldviews and ethics among the worlds religions, major political and economic changes, especially in rapidly developing countries as India. What can be expected of a Hindu-inspired environmentalism in a country where the burgeoning middle class is hungry for luxurious living and the immensely poor scramble around for their next meal? India is one of the few countries in the world that has retained many of its ancient institutions, although its economic and political system has been overlaid with capitalism. Indian environmental movements like the Chipko and Narmada Movements have benefited from Hindu spiritualism and Gandhian philosophy. Moreover, traditional Hindu ecomanagement practices, Hindu text, tradition and ritual have the potential to address the environmental crisis and encourage environmental conservation. Chapple (1993) asserts that tribal insights into ecosystems and Brahminical modes of thinking that emphasise minimalism, the intimacy between humans and the cosmos, and non-violence could be expressions of a Hindu environmental ethic. However, more emphasis is needed on personal decision making inspired by religious precepts. In his book India of my dreams, Mahatma Gandhi (1947) asked: Does economic progress clash with real progress? By economic progress, we mean material advancement without limit, and by real progress we mean moral progress, which again is the same thing as progress of the permanent element in us. Ifmaterial progress does not clash with moral progress, it must necessarily advance the latterHow ludicrously absurd this deduction would beUnder the British aegis we have learnt much, but it is my firm belief that there is little to gain from Britain in intrinsic morality, that if we are not careful, we shall introduce all the vices that she has been a prey to owing to the disease of materialism. We can profit by that connexion only if we
The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 143

keep our civilization and our morals straight, i.e. if, instead of boasting of the glorious past we express that ancient moral glory in our lives and let our lives bear witness to our boast. We need not be afraid of ideals or of reducing them to practice even to the uttermost. Ours will only then be a spiritual nation when we shall show more truth than gold, greater fearlessness than pomp of power and wealth, greater charity than love of self. If we will but cleanse our houses, our palaces and temples of the attributes of wealth and show in them the attributes of morality, we can offer battle to any combinations of hostile forces without having to carry the burden of a heavy militia. Let us seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the irrevocable promise is that everything will be added on to us. These are real economies. May you and I treasure them and enforce them in our daily lives (pp. 8693). Notes
1. Sarvodaya means well being for all. It is a Gandhian view of development that emphasised participatory decentralised decision making. 2. Travelling by foot, just as Mahatma Gandhis Dandi Salt March. 3. An Indian philosopher and influential spiritual leader. 4. An Indian physicist who pioneered the investigation of radio, microwave optics and plant physiology. He showed that plants responded to various stimuli as if they had nervous systems like that of animals. He therefore found a parallelism between animal and plant tissues. 5. Ancient Hindu narrative tales of the actions of divine beings from which practical moral lessons are often derived.

References
Apffel-Marglin, F. & Parajuli, P. (2000). Sacred grove and ecology: Ritual and science. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. 26990). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Basu, P. & Silliman, J. (2000). Green and red, Not saffron: Gender and the politics of resistance in the narmada valley. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. 42352). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Baviskar, A. (1995). In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Bell, P.A, Petersen, T.R. & Hautaluoma, J.E. (1989). The effect of punishment probability on overconsumption, and stealing in a simulated commons. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19: 148395.

The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

144 / Shalini Misra


Bell, P.A., Greene, T.C., Fisher, J.D. & Baum, A. (2001). Environmental Psychology. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc. Chapple, C.K. (1993). Non-violence to Animals, Earth and Self in Asian Traditions. Albany: State University of New York Press. (1998). Towards an indigenous indian environmentalism. In L.E. Nelson (ed.), Purifying the Earthly Body of God (pp. 1338). Albany: State University of New York Press. (2000). Introduction. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. xxxiiix1ix). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cialdini, R.B., Reno, R.R. & Kallgren, C.A. (1990). A focus theory of normative conduct: Recycling the concept of norms to reduce littering in public places. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58: 101526. De Silva, L. (2001). The buddhist attitude towards nature. In L.P. Pojman (ed.), Environmental Ethics (pp. 26065). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Deegan, C. (2000). The Narmada: Circumambulation of a sacred landscape. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water. (pp. 389400). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Devall, B. & Sessions, G. (1985). Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publishers. Dunlap, R.E. & Van Liere, K.D. (1978). The new environmental paradigm, Journal of Environmental Education, 9: 1019. Dwivedi, O.P. (1987). Environmental Crisis and the Hindu Religion. Delhi: Gitanjali Publishing House. (2001). Satyagraha for conservation: Awakening the spirit of hinduism. In L.P. Pojman (ed.), Environmental Ethics (pp. 25056). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Fisher, W.F. (2000). Sacred Rivers, Sacred Dams: Competing visions of social justice and sustainable development along the narmada. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. 41023). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gadgil, M. & Guha, R. (1995). Ecology and Equity: The Use and Abuse of Nature in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Penguin Books. Gandhi, I. (1984). Man and environment (Plenary Session of UNCHE, 14 June 1972). In Indira Gandhi on Environment. New Delhi: Department of Environment, Government of India. Gandhi, M.K. (1947). India of my Dreams. Bombay: Hind Kitabs Ltd. Gosling, D.L. (2001). Religion and Ecology in India and Southeast Asia . London: Routledge. Grasmick, H.G., Brusik, R.J., & Kinsey, K.A. (1991). Shame and embarrassment as deterrents to noncompliance with the law: The case of an antilittering campaign. Environment and Behavior, 23: 23351. Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons, Science, 162: 124348. James, G.A. (2000). Ethical and religious dimensions of the chipko resistance. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. 47099). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009

Spirituality, Culture and the Politics of Environmentalism / 145


Lal, V. (2000). Too deep for deep ecology: Gandhi and the ecological vision of life. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. 183212). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Leopold, A. (1966). A Sand County Almanac. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc. Martichuski, D.K. & Bell, P.A. (1991). Reward, punishment, privatization, and moral suasion in a commons cilemma. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 13: 24350. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. (1992). Traditions, concerns and efforts in India: National report to UNCED. New Delhi: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Mosler, H.J. (1993). Self-dissemination of environmentally responsible behavior: The influence of trust in a commons eilemma game. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 13: 11123. Nelson, L.E. (2000). Reading the bhagavadgita from an ecological perspective. In C.K. Chapple and M.E. Tucker (eds), Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water (pp. 26990). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. UN World Commission of Environment and Development (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. White, L. (1967). The Historical Roots of our Environmental Crisis. Science, 155: 120307.

The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 16, 2 (2007): 131145

Downloaded from http://joe.sagepub.com at MAHATMA GHANDI UNIV on June 18, 2009