Linking Journalism with the Web of Life
Tagged as fragile, remote and marginal, these three aspects have featured prominently in discussions and deliberations concerning development in the mountains in our part of the world. Retired but active academician N S Jodha, a former senior staff with the Kathmandu-based Integrated Center for International Mountain Development, has been credited for using these three features to define, what in popular parlance is called, ‘the mountain perspective’.
Ever since it was proposed over two decades ago, ‘the mountain perspective’ has been the leitmotif of most research/development on mountain issues in the region. One of the reasons for it (the mountain perspective) not to be contested had to do with the three features being ‘obvious’ in the mountain context. Since replacing these `three words’ by searching from the thesaurus would have not added any spice, the mountain fraternity did not see any reason in dabbling with it.
Built upon the locational inadequacies, ‘the mountain perspective’ had literally ignored the spiritual and cultural threads crisscrossing the peaks and the valleys. That the communities ‘belonged’ to the mountains and sought to create a living relationship with them was clearly ignored in favor of the shortcomings that got highlighted in development discourses. The self-esteem of mountain people got a severe beating and continues to be so.
If foregoing narration is any indication, it is time ‘the mountain perspective‘ is rewritten because it has long been ‘irrelevant‘. The self-depreciating features `fragile, remote and marginal‘ need to give way to positive expressions viz., rich, robust and exquisite. Had the mountain perspective been crafted around such positive expressions, the approach to development would have definitely been different. It would have allowed people in the mountains to play to their strengths and set the agenda for their own ‘development‘.
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