Welcome to the Archives

Askot to Arakot research expedition to cover 350 villages

Raju Gusain
Garhwal Post, May 23, 2004

DEHRADUN: PAHAR is once again organising the ‘Askot Arakot Abhiyan-2004’ from 25 May to 8 July.

PAHAR is a leading research organisation of Uttaranchal based in Nainital. Starting from Askot (Pithoragarh) bordering Nepal, the expedition will conclude at Arakot (Uttarkashi) on the border of Himachal Pradesh. The expedition would cover around 1000 kilometres in 45 days. The expedition is held every ten years.

This research expedition is a unique participatory exercise for the scientific understanding of mountain communities. Under this, an extensive survey of nearly 350 villages of Uttarakhand located in various altitudes will be carried out.

The Abhiyan will pass through 16 alpine pastures, 20 Kharaks, 15 zones and 3 valleys affected by earthquakes and landslides, 8 regions of the initial Chipko movement, 15 Chattees (ancient pilgrimage camping sites) which are now in dilapidated condition, 5 Himalayan pilgrimage routes, 5 tribal zones and 3 regions of Indo-Tibetan trade activities. Besides this, a study of 35 rivers of the hill state would also be conducted.

The research expedition of PAHAR, which is being supported by many organisations, would focus specially on the post independence changes, especially in the last 3 decades. Some of the main areas of the research are:

  • The society – its culture, caste structure, caste conflicts, gender, weaker sections of society, crime, etc.
  • The economy – patterns of economic activity, migrational economy, cottage industry, forest and non-forest produce, Indo-Tibet trade, impact of the new economic policy, globalisation and liberalisation, etc.
  • The resources – status of land, water, forests, wild life, human resources and management.
  • Also, the Traditional knowledge systems; Health and education; Tourism; Governance – panchayati raj, women’s participation;
  • The Environmental scenario – deforestation, mining, dams, erosion, landslides, etc.

The history of the ‘Askot Arakot Abhiyan’ can be traced back to 1974, when social workers and students of the HNB Garhwal University undertook the research trip for the first time. It was followed by PAHAR organising the same expedition in 1984 and 1994. So the ‘Abhiyan’ for understanding the dynamics of Himalayan society and environment has now become a routine, once in a decade, affair.

This year, many research students, journalists and writers from New Delhi, UP and other parts of the country are expected to participate. Many NGOs have extended help for the ‘Askot Arakot Abhiyan’, including the ‘Dasoli Gram Swaraj Mandal’, HESCO, HARC, ‘Dalyo Ka Dagdya’, ‘Pragtisheel Mahila Manch’ and ‘Uttarakhand Jan Jagrati Sansthan’.

For details contact:
Dr. Shekhar Pathak,
‘Askot Arakot Abhiyan-2004’,
‘Parikrama,’ Tallital, Nainital
Phone: 05962- 239162, 236191, 237657 and 239282