Make Way! The Kuno Story
Whose Resource: Asmita Kabra (School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University Delhi)
‘Make Way! : The Kuno story’ – a film by Shankar Chandra is shot in and around the Kuno wildlife sanctuary in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The film explores multiple meanings of forests for local, regional, national and global actors. The film uses their differential narratives to drive home the larger point that forests are not pristine, untouched, ‘wild’ areas which need to be restored to their original inviolate state through ‘fortress conservation’ (conserving biodiversity by creating Protected Areas). It shows that forests and commons are zones where different interest groups contest over resource access, resource use, identities and meanings. The film is based on conversations with a variety of people interested in the Kuno forests – ecologists and social scientists; displaced people and host communities; women and men; farmers, livestock herders and forest produce gatherers. Through this cacophony of voices, the film shows why the idea of fortress conservation is a simplistic one when converted into practice. It also demonstrates the complexity of local resource politics among people and groups with heterogeneous and often conflicting interests and world views.