Grassroots Special Section: 'Colonialities of climate change and action' edited by Martina Hasenfratz, Benno Fladvad, Laura Gutierrez Escobar, Diego Silva et al.

Indigenous onto-epistemology and the Niyamgiri Movement in India

Author: Virendra Kumar (University of Delhi)

  • Indigenous onto-epistemology and the Niyamgiri Movement in India

    Grassroots Special Section: 'Colonialities of climate change and action' edited by Martina Hasenfratz, Benno Fladvad, Laura Gutierrez Escobar, Diego Silva et al.

    Indigenous onto-epistemology and the Niyamgiri Movement in India

    Author:

Abstract

Climate crises and other manifestations of environmental degradation are inextricably linked to the universalizing technoscientific paradigm underpinning capitalist industrialization and modernization. This study aimed to problematize the modern/colonial ontological dualism underpinning environmental crises and advocates the indigenous/Adivasi relational onto-epistemology. It offers a different reality that questions the virtues of science, capitalism, the colonial narrative, and its continuation in subjectivities and social relations with the modern state. Drawing from the new materialist insights of human and non-human imbrications and the framework of political ontology, this study further analyzed the Dongaria Kondh people's political success in defending their relational way of worlding against corporate-driven extractivism. The state perpetuates violence and takes development initiatives in this mineral-rich eastern Indian province. While other political movements have succumbed to combined corporate and state power, the Dongaria's political struggle continues in different forms. Finally, the article makes the point that knowledge and insights born out of political struggle against a particular ontology, masquerading as universal, press the need for engagement between different realities, knowledges, and recognition of a pluriverse, a world of multiple ways of worlding, where each ontological story exists not as superior or inferior, but as equal, with space for mutual engagement and dialogue.

Keywords: Keywords political ontology, worlding, betweenness, relational cosmology, mass worship, state violence, collective well-being, engagement, interdependence., political ontology, interdependence

How to Cite:

Kumar, V., (2024) “Indigenous onto-epistemology and the Niyamgiri Movement in India”, Journal of Political Ecology 31(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.5714

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Published on
06 Apr 2024
Peer Reviewed