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An Environmental History of India
From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century

Part of New Approaches to Asian History

  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107111622

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  • India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh contain one-fifth of humanity, are home to many biodiversity hotspots, and are among the nations most subject to climatic stresses. By surveying their environmental history, we can gain major insights into the causes and implications of the Indian subcontinent's current conditions. This accessible new survey begins roughly 100 million years ago, when continental drift moved India from the South Pole and across the Indian Ocean, forming the Himalayan Mountains and creating monsoons. Coverage continues to the twenty-first century, taking readers beyond independence from colonial rule. The new nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have produced rising populations and have stretched natural resources, even as they have become increasingly engaged with climate change. To understand the region's current and future pressing issues, Michael H. Fisher argues that we must engage with the long and complex history of interactions among its people, land, climate, flora, and fauna.

    • Surveys the environmental history of India from continental drift to the present
    • Brings together the interdisciplinary fields of history, environmental studies and South Asian studies
    • Integrates discussion of post-independence India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This sweeping study covers South Asia's environmental past from ancient times to the contemporary period; it will now become the standard text on the subject. Fisher's special ability to place environmental issues in larger contexts makes this book valuable to general classes on South Asian history as well as to advanced courses and professional scholarship.' Douglas E. Haynes, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

    'This environmental history of India, from ancient times to the present, synthesizes vast amounts of research in readily accessible prose to bring public history and sophisticated scholarship into a congenial dialogue. Novices and experts alike will learn a lot from the lightly-worn erudition of the author and enjoy the smooth-flowing river of stories the book provides.' K. Sivaramakrishnan, Yale University, Connecticut

    'So, three cheers for a new book by one of the world's most distinguished environmental historians … deserves a place on the shelves of secondary schools, colleges and universities throughout the English speaking Commonwealth, of which India is such an important member … Cambridge University Press should be congratulated for including so many excellent maps, diagrams and illustrations which make even more compelling the text of this well-written, beautifully presented but at times most chilling of books.' Trevor Grundy, Asian Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107111622
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 20 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Locating and shaping India's physical environment and living populations
    3. Indus and Vedic relationships with Indian environments (c.3500 BCE–c.600 BCE)
    4. The environment and forest-dweller, late Vedic, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Dravidian cultures, societies, and states (c.600 BCE–c.800 CE)
    5. Insiders, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim immigrants, and the environment (c.700–c.1600)
    6. Mughal empire (1526–1707)
    7. Mughal imperial fragmentation, regional state rise, popular environmental movements, and early British colonial policies and institutions (c.1700–1857)
    8. The British Raj, 'Mahatma' Gandhi, and other anti-colonial movements (1857–1947)
    9. West and East Pakistan and India following independence (1947–71)
    10. India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh from Stockholm to Rio (1971–92)
    11. India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh into the twenty-first century
    12. National, subcontinental, and global issues in South Asia
    Bibliographic essay.

  • Author

    Michael H. Fisher, Oberlin College, Ohio
    Michael H. Fisher is Danforth Professor of History, Emeritus, at Oberlin College, Ohio. He is the author of numerous books, including Migration: A World History (2013) and A Short History of the Mughal Empire (2015).

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