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The Human Landscape

Geeti Sen (Editor) Ashis Banerjee (Editor)
Synopsis This book is located within the contemporary discourse of human geography, ecology and the cultural landscape. These essays amend earlier anthropocentric perspectives on the conquest of nature, by placing people in symbiosis with their environment. By doing so, they seek to ensure a common future for both. In the face of global transformation and the hegemony of technology, several of these studies focus on the survival of different communities in the remoter regions of India. The power of myth and folklore transforms and transmutes experiences of the everyday into a persuasive presence of the divine, pervading the regions of mountains, rivers, forests and sea. The landscape has nurtured beliefs, influencing the annual rhythm of life, migration and festivity, and the means of livelihood. Studies in this book focus for instance on the Gaddis of Bharmour, the Bhutias of Kumaon, the Tagins of Arunachal, the Todas and Kurumbas of the Nilgiris, the Khasis of Meghalaya, the Khiamniungans of Nagaland and the Nicobarese. These communities inhabit particular geographical regions; they narrate stories about their own land and enact rituals, imparting to their lives a sense of shared purpose which relates them to an ideological framework of a higher moral order. Thus the physicality of land, livelihood and the pattern of the life cycle is transformed into a cultural text-through which the people of a region reflect upon their identity, society and the divine. It is the land which imparts to them their identity and their place in the world. Some of the other essays address a broader spectrum, in relation to ecological regions such as the Himalayas and the central Indian watershed, which need to be sustained for the environmental security of mankind. The contributors reflect upon their own areas of deep engagement and experience. For some of them these studies form part of their ongoing research. The volume includes four photo essays to suggest the rich textures of the Indian landscape, and the ways in which these have shaped patterns of life and livelihood.
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About the author

Geeti Sen

Geeti Sen is Chief Editor, Publications, India International Centre, New Delhi. She is a cultural historian, art critic, and the author of five major books on Indian art. She was conferred the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fellowship from 1998-2000.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Human Landscape
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8125020454
length iv+244p., 25cm.