Who Are Dongria Kondh – Why Should We Care
They worship and protect Niyamgiri mountain and consider themselves the royal descendents of the mountain god.
|The Dongria Kondh farm and gather in a way that has protected the forest.
© Jason Taylor
The Niyamgiri Hills are an area of outstanding natural beauty, rich in wildlife and dense forests. The Dongria Kondh farm the hill slopes, growing crops in among the forest and gathering wild fruit, flowers and leaves for sale. Their lifestyle and religion have protected the forests of Niyamgiri for centuries.
The top of the mountain, which is worshiped by the Dongria Kondh as the seat of their god, has rich deposits of the aluminium ore bauxite.
The British mining company Vedanta is intent on strip-mining this resource, which will devastate the forests, the rivers that flow from the mountain and the culture and identity of the Dongria Kondh.
Villagers who have been removed from their homes at the base of the mountain for Vedanta’s bauxite refinery have suffered threats and force and have lost all their land and means of supporting themselves.
Although the Supreme Court has forbidden Vedanta from mining the mountain, it has welcomed an application from Vedanta’s Indian subsidiary, Sterlite, if they follow certain guidelines, including providing funds for ‘tribal development’. But no ‘development’ or ‘compensation’ package could cure the problems that mining Niyamgiri will cause: the destruction of a unique environment and a unique culture.
Indigenous People around the world are being moved aside for material profit. This is the natural progression for a consumer culture that is sweeping this planet. Ancient tribes that have managed to co-exist with nature for countless centuries have much to teach modern humans. Modern humans are accelerating toward a self-destructive end by consuming more than this planet can give … naturally. The rape of resources is already showing the consequences of unnatural living. Image over substance, again, is encroaching on its host and devising its own end time.