Negotiating cyclonic storms on Odisha coast: Integrating meteorological with traditional knowledge

Dash, Biswanath

Abstract

This paper explores traditional knowledge in four coastal districts of Odisha to understand its nature, role and relevance in negotiating cyclonic storms. It draws from fieldwork carried out in two phases 2007-2009 and 2015-2019 from the district of Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Ganjam and Puri. In each of these locations, people have experience of cyclonic phenomena both as major disasters and as relatively smaller scale recurrent occurrences. The study shows that there is an extensive, informal rule based traditional knowledge system that makes use of multiple observational attributes in association with meteorological warning. In this perspective, prevalent traditional knowledge is neither privileged nor static and as a matter of fact is in a continual dialogue with meteorological information provided through India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) cyclone warning services. Based on findings of this analysis, a framework is proposed that integrates traditional and meteorological knowledge systems for a more comprehensive understanding of local rural communities’ response
to cyclones.


Keyword(s)

Coastal hazard, Cyclone, India, Odisha, Science and traditional knowledge

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