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INDIA’S ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY, VOLUMES 1 AND 2,
Edited by Mahesh Rangarajan and K Sivaramakrishnan, Permanent Black, Rs 1,850
This reader brings together some of the most interesting writings on India’s ecological pasts. Volume 1 has essays that range from prehistoric India to the middle of the 19th century. Volume 2 shows how colonial rule resulted in ecological change on a new scale altogether.
FOREST POLICY AND ECOLOGICAL CHANGE by S Abdul Taha, Foundation Books, Rs 595
This book highlights the history of forestry in the Nizam’s Dominions, popularly called the Hyderabad State. The government categorised forests into reserved, protected and open forests, and the main objective of the state’s forest administration was to conserve the existing forests and exploit them systematically.
HISTORICAL DEMOGRAPHY AND AGRARIAN REGIMES, UNDERSTANDING SOUTH INDIAN FERTILITY 1881-1981 by Ravindran Gopinath, Orient Blackswan, Rs 650
Situated at the interface of history and demography, this book reconstructs demographic changes in southern India from 1881 to 1981. Population and fertility change is analysed beyond the narrow confines of purely demographic variables with crucial emphasis on concrete historical contexts.
SACRED WATERS by Stephen Alter, Penguin, Rs 450
Garhwal, boasting the four sources of the Ganges in northern India, must qualify as one of the most sacred stretches of land in the world, and novelist Stephen Alter transports one there in this travelogue. Since this is also Alter’s birthplace and childhood stomping grounds, one could not ask for a better guide. He knows each species of plant, bird and beast by name, and tells the grand tales of Hindu mythology associated with the ancient terrain.