Silpidi is a tribal village located in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. In 2015, the village was in the news for being the first in India to receive Habitat Rights under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
These are special rights given to the Scheduled Tribes who traditionally have used their land for livelihood, social, economical, cultural and religious purposes. This provision gives the particular communities rights over such lands.
Charra Singh Rathuria was among those from the village who played a key role in creating awareness among the local people on these Rights. On visiting his village this year, it was learned that he died in 2020. His wife, Soni Bai, told Mongabay-India, “He worked hard to ensure Habitat Rights for the region. He used to roam around several villages.”
Rathuria’s son Mannu Singh, who has complete education up to the Class 5, is now a farm labourer. He does not know much about Habitat Rights but has a faint memory of a big event organised in the village in 2015, where a certificate was given. He is not sure what the certificate was about.
Other residents of the village, like Gyan Singh Marawi as well as Kaleshwar Mandle who has completed a Master’s degree,…