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Studies in Historical Ecology of India

Jaweed Ashraf (Author)
Synopsis The book in hand is a collection of unpublished papers presented to various seminars during 1980-1990. The thread running through all the papers is the understanding that all problems of ecology and environment faced by India today have arisen for the simple reason that man and his culture have been left out of the basic vision of contemporary ecology. Entire book is an argument in favour of understanding the role that culture as whole plays in sustaining human environment and ecology and how spread of acculturation as a result of paradigmatic transformation of society results in the destruction of nature all around. It is also argued on the basis of some illustrations from contemporary Europe that change in the ecological situation is possible if a paradigmatic reversal of vision takes place. As an illustration of the role of culture in sustaining nature in good health, in spite of tremendous development of urbanization and expansion of trade and commerce, the author discusses the ecological situation prevailing during the past millennium on the basis of a diversity of primary sources from Arabic, Persian, Portuguese and English languages to present data in support of his contention that it was culture as a complex that sustained nature during the entire ancient and medieval times. The book in hand shows that historical and cultural sources of the past of India do provide information about the ecological situation then prevailing. These sources may be used fruitfully for studies of the various aspects of ecology in both macro and micro level studies. The book adds a new virtually unexplored aspect of society to both historical and ecological studies.
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About the author

Jaweed Ashraf

Professor Jaweed Ashraf was born in 1934 in a family of Malkhana Rajputs with both Hindu and Muslim relatives. Thus, from childhood he experienced an insider’s view of both cultures. He had his primary education in Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, an institution that was born out of the freedom movement and where traditional Islamic learning was combined with modern education. He learnt Arabic and Persian, besides Urdu, Hindi and English in Jamia. Later he shifted to Lucknow Christian College where he started studying Biology and experienced Christian belief and way of life. He graduated with Geology, Geography and Botany from Aligarh Muslim University and also obtained his Master’s degree in Botany from there. In 1960 he went to join Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Moscow, for his doctoral studies in physiological genetics. After completing his doctorate, from 1965 to 1972 he worked as a Junior Research Assistant in the USSR Academy of Sciences, first working in the Institute of Genetics in Moscow and then in the Botanical Institute, Leningrad. In 1972 he joined School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi as Associate Professor and finally retired from there in 1999. Since his retirement he has worked on projects of Indian Council of Historical Research and of Indian National Science Academy, editing and translating medieval manuscripts on Unani medicine, horticulture and other aspects of medieval Indian biological sciences. He knows a number of modern and classical languages and has extensively covered countries of Asia, Durope and the U.S.A. He has served on a numbr of committees appointed by Archaeological Survey of India and other departments of the government of India.

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Bibliographic information

Title Studies in Historical Ecology of India
Author Jaweed Ashraf
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 818736520X
length xiv+247p., Tables; Figures; Maps; Notes; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.