Culture of fear and conservation of nature: Critiquing the construction of Sarppakavu in Kerala
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AbstractThis paper critiques the culture of fear accredited to sarppakavu in Kerala, through an investigation of William Logan's Malabar Manual. Kavu, the regional variant of sacred groves in Kerala, a state in Southern India, in the traditional sense is a consortium of trees devoted to various deities and sarppakavu is a variant that is dedicated exclusively to the worship of serpents. An ecozone guarded in the interest of a presiding deity, human intrusion into kavu is prohibited through a strategic amalgamation of myths and taboos. As a symbiotic space permeated by nature (forest) and culture (deity), it has undergone tremendous transformations. The paper argues that sarppakavu in Kerala is an epitome of human-nature-culture co-existence practised among non-indigenous communities, managed through the culture of fear-appeasement. It foregrounds that Logan analysed this culture of fear-appeasement from a religious perspective that delimited the sacred space of kavu and overlooked the role of ecofear in enhancing nature-human cohabitation through the construction and conservation of sarppakavu.
CitationMohan, M. & Alex, G. J. (2021). Culture of fear and conservation of Nature: Critiquing the construction of sarppakavu in Kerala. International Journal of Fear Studies, 3(1), 92-104
FacultyWerklund School of Education
PublisherIn Search of Fearlessness Research Institute
The Fearology Institute
Monisha Mohan & Gigy J. Alex ©2021