Fieldwork in Indian Himalayas

Fieldwork in Indian Himalayas by Dipika Adhikari
Fieldwork in Indian Himalayas by Dipika Adhikari

Dipika Adhikari, PhD candidate in Resources Environment and Development program at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, conducted fieldwork in India’s Western Himalayas (Oct 2022- Mar 2023). 

Studying the remote Van Rajis, a small forest-dwelling Indigenous or tribal group living in India’s Western Himalayas, Dipika demonstrates how formal and informal governance processes shape Indigenous peoples’ tenure (in)security in forests. Her work is motivated by the precarious lives of the most vulnerable Indigenous community, who grapples to receive even the basic necessities and are failed by the governance system.

Throughout her fieldwork, she navigated the challenging yet captivating Himalayan landscape to conduct interviews with her participants. Through immersive interviews, she gained deeper insights into their lives, struggles, and aspirations. Crucial support from the SARI's student support grant was instrumental in making this research endeavour a possibility for her. Dipika extends her heartfelt appreciation and deepest gratitude to the ANU South Asia Research Institute for the financial support that empowered her to conduct in-depth fieldwork, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the issues faced by these marginalized communities.

In her blogpost on Indigenous women’s struggle for forest rights in India, Dipika argues that India’s environmental policymakers must do more to offer Indigenous women opportunities to affect forest decision-making processes.

For more information about SARI's student grant, click here. The application closes on 29 September 2023. 

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