22 August, 2012

Reconstructing Identities: Tribes, Agro-pastoralists and Environment in Western India

Reconstructing Identities: Tribes, Agro-pastoralists and Environment in Western India

By- Nandini Sinha Kapur

This monograph brings together essays on the marginal and elite social groups from early medieval times to the colonial period. It looks at tribal and agro-pastoral groups in Gujarat and Rajasthan such as the Bhils, Meenas and Bishnois in interactions with rural societies
and their participation in the processes of state formation; their changing identities and self-
perceptions, control of natural resources, environmental changes in the context of forests, agricultural expansion and water resources.

Tribe-societal-state interactions meant long drawn-out negotiatins involving alliances and
conflicts leading to gradual marginalization of tribal groups as limited ‘peasantization’ and ‘integration’ went on. As a result, marginal communities reconstructed identities, made shifts in self-perceptions through adaptations from the Rajput/Brahmanical world and contested histories with ruling elite in the late medieval and early colonial times.

The case studies of southern Rajasthan reveal that construction of water works in Jaisalmer area and control over environmental resources helped rural and ruling elite in maintaining a distinction for themselves in both early and late medieval times. On the other hand, common folk of the Thar desert, the Bishnoi agro-pastoralists carved out a special niche for themselves as ‘Conservationists’ by preaching a popular religion and socio-economic ethos of preserving the natural resources in an ecology of ‘uncertainty’.

Nandini Sinha Kapur is Reader in History at PGDAV College, University of Delhi and has been associated with the postgraduate teaching of Ancient Indian History in University of Delhi. A former Homi Bhabha Fellow and a recipient of fellowships in India and abroad, she has published widely both nationally and internationally.

ISBN 81-7304-769-3 2008 202p. Rs.520/ Pounds 40

4753/23 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi 110002
Phones: 23284848, 23289100
Fax: 23265162
E-mail: manbooks@vsnl.com

To order your copy at www.manoharbooks.com

No comments:

Post a Comment