The afternoon of the 10th of January 2012 turned out to be another day full of visitors. 41 students from Central Academy for State Forest Service (CASFOS), Dehradun arrived soon after the students from the Cornell University departed.
Anita Varghese explained the linkages of our work and the areas of concern for both the communities and the forest department. The questions that the students raised and the rights of the communities that had to be defended became intense and showed the students’ enthusiasm to understand the issues faced by the communities. Resettlement (!) seemed to be the easiest options for them.
Mathew John raised an interesting question to them (as he had to step in to reign the discussion back into forest governance from that of policing) which not only brought peals of laughter, also a perspective to the issues of concern for the students who will become the officers that will manage forests throughout their life. He asked the students that “If we had to bring down our population by 50% because we are unsustainable, is it possible to take a stand like that?” Interesting question! During the vote of thanks by the students, the mention of Madhya Marg (middle path) made our day as we could make out that we have impacted the minds of these students positively.