Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
Why all these are not applicable to Tuticorin port or the one planned in AP or WB ?
What an eye opener! As an environmental engineer,disposal of sanitary napkins has always been a concern during waste...
THE HOE AND THE AXE: AN ETHNOHISTORY OF SHIFTING CULTIVATION IN EASTERN INDIA· A Pratap·Oxford· New Delhi·2000·pp157
this is an interesting monograph. It combines historical ethnography with archaeology to understand the dynamics of the shifting agricultural system of the mountain dwelling Paharia community.
The author employs a field survey conducted in the Rajmahal hills in the Santhal Parganas region of Jharkhand state in India. The main reason given by the author in undertaking this important research effort is, to look at the inaccuracy of an isolationist claim.
This is propounded by many earlier social anthropologists, who have suggested that tribal people and others involved in shifting cultivation elsewhere and those involved in subsistence farming represent a 'marginal society in transition. This is constrained by marketing opportunities, landlessness, property regimes and societal hierarchy.
In order to achieve the objective that the author has set for himself, he goes through a historical description of the population structure and settlement patterns of the Paharias during the precolonial, colonial and postcolonial times. He arrives at the following conclusions: Firstly, that Paharias emerged as a powerful group and that their economy, based on Khallu, utilised a diverse variety of resources, effectively during the precolonial period.
Secondly, the Paharias had to intensify their shifting agriculture, which led to the shortening of the agricultural cycle. This in turn led to under productivity. The under productivity was fuelled by increasing external pressures, in a situation where they were confined to a limited space in the upper plateau of the hills, rather than due to their own increasing population pressure, as is often suggested.
Thirdly, demographic and ecological changes in the lowlands induced landuse changes in uplands. Not only were these dynamic processes reinforced during the postcolonial period but further led to the introduction of subsistence farming through individual mobility. The author has tried to emphasize that the settlement pattern arising out of this has archaeological significance.
The third part discusses settlement and technology interconnections, relevant to patterns of settlements linked to foraging patterns for shifting agriculture.
The chief conclusions, according to the author, seem to point to the Paharia claim that their villages have always remained where they are now, and that the Paharias have had their crop diversity coming in from the adjoining Ganga valley. While the first conclusion is warranted and seems to be more general even with other societies involved in shifting agriculture, the other conclusion seems to be somewhat far-fetched. An interesting issue discussed is the emerging cropping patterns over time, with subsequent inclusion of cereals along with the traditional non-cereal species, though the arguments are not fully convincing.
The proposition that Rajamahal hills is a 'non-centre in the domestication of cereals is interesting, but such an argument needs to be reinforced through ecological evidences, an aspect that unfortunately is weak in this discussion.
l strongly feel that though the study is a good and interesting anthropological analysis by itself, the value of the work would have been enhanced if this work was to be placed in the overall structural and functional organistion of shifting agriculture as practiced now. The ecological context prevalent now in Rajmahal hills should have been brought out more effectively and integrated into his study.
Further, there is a large body of inter- disciplinary information now available on the dynamics of shifting agriculture from India, along with widely scattered individual studies.
This lack of integrative discussion does not in any way dilute the value of this interesting anthropological analysis of the system. No doubt, this indeed is an important contribution to a much debated land-use system.