Unquiet Woods Analysis

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Dr. Ramachandra Guha, a leading Indian historian, is internationally acclaimed for having pioneered the new horizons of environmental history, viewed from the varied perspectives of the public. His most celebrated work in the field of environmental history is The Unquiet Woods: Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya (1989). In The Unquiet Woods, he studies the (then still current) Chipko movement where villagers from a region in Uttarakhand opposed the profitable exploitation of their forests. He shows that this phenomenon is “part of the long history of confrontation between local population and the administrators and practitioners of scientific forestry, both under the Raj and more widely.”1 This analysis allows him to locate the complex cognitive economy presiding over the running of ecosystems by village communities. The continuity between colonial logics and the exploitation of natural resources is extended with an ecological history of India, where Guha reinterprets Hindu casts and beliefs as ‘socio-cultural systems’ that organize the allocation and sustainable use of resources. The methodical commencement of environmental history writing in India, that also set the tone for future writings, is unvaryingly associated with Ramachandra Guha and Madhav Gadgil’s pivotal book This Fissured Land: An ecological history of India, written in 1992. The authors proposed that in…show more content…
He talks about the model, widely used by most historians and social scientists, wherein society can be divided into four broad bands – the economy, the polity, social structure and culture. Essentially, he adds a fifth category to this scheme – the ecological infrastructure – soil, water, flora and fauna, etc. Juxtaposing this to the earlier four categories, gives the “five-fold

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