Ecologist Madhav Gadgil and historian Ramachandra Guha offer fresh perspectives both on the ecological history of India and on theoretical issues of interest to environmental historians regardless of geographical specialization.
Juxtaposing data from India with the ecological literature on lifestyles as diverse as those of modern Americans and Amazonian Indians, the authors analyze the social conflicts that have emerged over environmental exploitation and explore the impact of changing patterns of resource use on human societies. They present a socio-ecological analysis of the modes of resource use introduced to India by the British, and explore popular resistance to state environmental policies in both the colonial and post-colonial periods.
Madhav Gadgil is Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Ramachandra Guha is a Professorial Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi and is the author of The Unquiet Woods: Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalayas (California, 1989).
"A masterful study. . . . It does for ecological history what the writings of Marx and Engels did for the study of class relations and social production."—Michael Adas, Rutgers University