Stories from the Himalayas: Himkatha
The mountains are a region of great diversity of flora and fauna. But it is also marked by the amalgamation of various cultures. The Indian Himalayan region has especially been very popular among tourists from all around the country because of its many hill stations, lakes, and natural beauty. The emergence of social media definitely has played a role in this popularity. We see photos of beautiful valleys and lakes from the region that tourists post, attracting even more tourists. What is left out, however, is the people from the region. The locals and their stories.
The Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) has recently released the first volume of Himkatha, a bi-annual newsletter that aims to share local stories from the Himalayas. Himkatha seeks to bring to focus the human-animal relationships of the largely agro-pastoral communities of the region, their experiences of nature conservation, and their beautiful yet unique cultures.
The Himalayan region remains one of the most isolated regions in the world. Mountains make it difficult for information to travel. While outsiders get to see the serene beauty of the mountains through photographs on social media and the Internet, it is also equally important to understand the various cultures and experiences that are equally indispensable to the region. The newsletter is a platform for the local voices but also emphasises on the stories of local women who have a greater chance of being left out.
The first volume of the newsletter is now out. The stories are both in English and Hindi to make the audience more inclusive. You can access the stories from the Himakatha website as well. The first volume of the Himkatha looks at stories of women who have played a critical and inspiring role in forest conservation and the various nuances of human-animal relationships. The stories reflect co-operation, resilience, and perseverance that often go untold.