Kabra Asmita & Das Budhaditya, (2022) Aye for the tiger: hegemony, authority, and volition in India’s regime of dispossession for conservation, Oxford Development Studies
Dispossession of rural populations to create inviolate Protected Areas for biodiversity conservation is a shared concern in BRICS countries. This article explores the distinctive ideology, institutions, and actors that constitute the regime of dispossession for conservation (DfC) in India’s tiger reserves. It investigates the reasons for the regime’s continued stability and resilience in the neoliberal era, when land-taking for industrial development has become highly contentious. India’s conservationist state has effectively denied resource rights to the inhabitants of Tiger Reserves and displaced them through its Voluntary Relocation Scheme, which is posited as a win-win solution for tigers and tribals. The historically unequal relationship between the state and forest dwellers necessitates closely examining hegemonic processes through which volition for relocation is assembled. This article argues that the Dispossession for Conservation regime assembles volition through a complex interplay of its hegemony and authority with the unfulfilled development aspirations of India’s forest dwellers.