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Sunday, June 28, 2009

ETHNIC TREASURE

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The term ethnic relates to a particular social group which has the tradition and culture of its own. The famous sociologist Max Weber has defined the term as - hose human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent because of similarities of physical type or of customs or both, or because of memories of colonization and migration; this belief must be important for group formation; furthermore it does not matter whether an objective blood relationship exists.


In the context of environment and herbology, the ethnicity has been playing various types of important roles. The traditions and cultures of different ethnic groups are full of sacred sense of protection of flora, fauna, and the biodiversity on the whole. Various components of the natural environment like plants, trees, animals including birds, and even the earth, the sun, the wind etc. are worshiped or regarded as sacred by different ethnic groups. Hindus of Bihar and Jharkhand are famous to celebrate Surya Shashti or the CHHATH, which is the worship of the Sun God. The festival has spread to various other states also. The cleanliness or the personal and community hygiene strictly cared and practiced during the festival- session has an excellent scientific base. The treatment of body by sun-rays during morning and evening hours, that too while the worshiper remains half dipped in water, has powerful healing impacts which are acceptable to even a minor literate person. A number of offerings that are used during the festival have impacts and significance of their own. So this was one example of the ethnic approach to environment. There are thousands and thousands of ethnic practices that have profound impact on the concept of conservation of the natural environment on the whole. A number of plants having significant medicinal values are known to different ethnic groups, and that are yet to be explored out by the scientific community of the world. But increasing pressure on land, increasing activities of habitat destruction, hunting and poaching of wild animals, extinction of various species of aquatic plants and animals; and also of different terrestrial animals has created persistent dangers against different ethnic cultures and traditions. A number of incidents of public opposition against habitat destruction, tree-felling, hunting and poaching etc. are freshly known to the history. Here we will continue to introduce various ethnic treasures in view of enhancing awareness of environment and its valuable resources that have been under protection by different ethnic groups through various traditions, cultures, religions etc.

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