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India's Environmental History (In 2 Volumes)

Mahesh Rangarajan (Editor) K. Sivaramakrishnan (Editor)

Even if a profusion of writings exists on India’s rich, widely varied ecological past, there is hardly any significant work that takes notice of the eras prior to 1800. There are, say the editors, valuable specific studies giving insights into forest frictions and water disputes, the contests over urban or rural spaces between rival claimants to water or land, animal, plant, or mineral wealth, and many other aspects. Re-interrogating the source materials on early and medieval India, this 2-volume reader, perhaps the first of its kind, brings together some of the finest, at once fascinating writings on India’s environmental pasts. It looks at the country’s regions, landscapes and arenas as settings for strife or harmony, as topography and ecological fabric, covering a vast historical terrain: from prehistoric India to India of the present day.

Volume 1: From Ancient Times to the Colonial Period, comprises 16 essays which -- covering a vast time-span: from prehistoric India to the middle of the 19th century – are grouped in four thematic-organized sections: (1) Ecology and Archaeology, (2) Literary Imageries and States of Nature, (3) Animals, Places and Polities, and (4) The Company State and India’s Environments.

Volume 2: Colonialism, Modernity, and the Nation shows how colonial rule resulted in ecological change on a new scale by taking over India’s over half-a-million sq km of forests, constructing canals on a gigantic scale, and other activities. The 17 essays here are offered in five sections: (1) Agrarian Change/Forest Transformation, (2) Environment, Identity, and Power, (3) Animals, Poetics, and Politics, (4) Environment, Dearth and Development, and (5) Contested Landscapes of Development. The essays in both the volumes are preceded by the editors’ comprehensive, highly stimulating introductions.

Mahesh Rangarajan is Professor of Modern Indian History at the University of Delhi. S. Sivaramakrishnan is Professor of Anthropology and Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.


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About the author

Mahesh Rangarajan

Mahesh Rangarajan is Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, and former Professor of Modern History, University of Delhi. An environmental historian, he has also been a political analyst and has written extensively on conservation issues. He has also taught at Cornell University, New York; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; and at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru.

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Bibliographic information

Title India's Environmental History (In 2 Volumes)
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.04.2013
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 8178243687
length Illustrations; Maps; 22cm.