Title: Crisis, and the Importance of Traditional Wisdom in the Folklore of the Bengal Delta, in the Age of the Anthropocene
Stream: Philosophy - Philosophy and Public Policy
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Koushik Ghosh, Central Washington University, United States
This paper focuses on the Sundarbans, which is one of the largest mangrove forests in the world (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/798/). The Sundarbans stretches through the Bengal delta shared by both India and Bangladesh. Over the past few years, the Sundarbans has experienced severe climactic conditions. A collective solution to the climate crisis, despite the Paris agreement and COP-26 remains inadequate to address the crisis at hand. It is in this context, that it becomes germane to interrogate the decision-making apparatus in the public policy process. The paper crafts a narrative about the folkloric traditions of the people of the Sundarbans who have lived with natural calamity for centuries. This paper explores the traditional wisdom, and knowledge that is embedded in folklore. The paper suggests that the stories we tell are essential to managing through crisis and uncertainty is a type of resiliency that is essential to the crafting of public policy. International and regional collective public-policy solutions are complex undertakings. This paper investigates the folklore of this region, to learn how the folkloric traditions have informed the people of this delta to not only accept natural calamities but to also adapt to the nature and pursue sustainable means of livelihood. The paper explores why the stories about resiliency that people in the delta have been telling each other for centuries, and who through appeal to folklore, rituals and management practices informed by folklore have been managing in an environment subject to natural calamities, are essential for policy discourse in the Anthropocene.
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