The future of humanity lies uncertain as nature falls prey to the loot and plunder initiated in the name of development, growth and progress today. As the vast riches of the earth continue to be endangered, a global consciousness regarding the importance of natural resources, biodiversity, etc. is on the rise. Given such a scenario, what is required is further understanding of man’s interaction with the environment.
This contributory volume examines the interrelationship between nature and society in South Asia. It focuses on four points: perception of natural resources during colonial rule, conservation of nature, role of governments in administering environment, and transformation of nature as a result of development or industrial projects.
The book divided into three broad themes, analyses the major decisions taken in India with regard to environment after Independence and their consequences; the relationship between communities which consider natural environment as an essential part of their identity, and as a key factor for social, political and economical issues; and the urban explosion and/or the construction of infrastructure such as dams or roads that have impacted the relationship between different social groups and their territory. It also examines the set-up (policy and stakes), process and consequences (often the displacement of populations) of such projects in three different states of India.
Offering a wide variety of case studies representing a large panel of approaches and methodologies from Sociology, Economics, History, Anthropology, and Development Studies, this volume will be an useful read for students and scholars of environmental studies, and NGOs working towards conserving nature.
Prof T. B. Subba is Professor and Head, Dept. of Anthropology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong.
List of Tables, Figures and Maps
Foreword by Jacques Pouchepadass
List of Abbreviations
PART I: CONSERVATION OF NATURE
Megalithic Landscapes, Cultures and Identity in Northeast India
Transforming Rural Livelihoods through Ecodevelopment in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
Wildlife Conservation and Tribal Livelihood in the Brahmaputra Floodplains
Effects of the 1996 Timber Ban in Northeast India: The Case of the Khamtis of Lohit District, Arunachal Pradesh
PART II: NATURE’S GOVERNANCE
Women, Self-Governance and Local Political Representation in Bastar, Chhattisgarh
M. A. Iqbal and Samuel Berthet
Forest Conservation, Public Goods and Incentives in the Central Himalayas
Unpacking Policy Discourses and ‘Scientific’ Management of Forests in Meghalaya
PART III: TRANSORMATION OF NATURE
The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and Some Issues of Environmental Governance
David Kong Hug
The Gosikhurd Dam Project and Transformation of Rural Social Space in Vidarbha, Maharashtra
Consequences of Road Construction in Padum, Zanskar Valley, Northern Himalaya
‘Confronted by the rapid transformation of nature and the social relations in which it is embedded, social science analysis must swiftly innovate or run the risk of being rendered out-of-date. Nowhere is this clearer than in India, a country that has witnessed remarkable and unprecedented changes in the values, processes and initiatives around ecology and environment, where the concepts and arguments proposed even two decades ago now seem inadequate and ineffectual. This volume is a valuable contribution towards refreshing the discipline. By bringing together new scholarship by young researchers from France along with review essays by senior academics, it offers fresh information and insights about environmental and social change and, in the process, demonstrates that the future of this field of study is in promising hands.’
Sociologist, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
‘This is a valuable volume as it not only presents the reader to carefully crafted local studies of environmental conflicts in India by a new generation of researchers. It also introduces us to French language scholarship in environmental history, which is often unavailable to readers for the language barrier. The contributions well represent a broad span of core themes in human–nature conflicts in India, from the effects on local societies of conservation policies and contrasting notions of the ultimate usage of natural resources, to policy research covering thirty years of modern Indian developments.
This new generation of emerging scholarship is much desired at a time the environmental history increasingly and by necessity is influenced by interdisciplinary scholarship, bringing climate history and landscape analysis into the frame of social and political history. While the individual studies centre on crucial environmental problems in India, from the ancient to the present, the questions are truly global.’
Professor of History, Uppsala University, Sweden