“No single religious narrative has been able to assert claim over the Brahmaputra”

Down To Earth|May 01, 2020

“No single religious narrative has been able to assert claim over the Brahmaputra”
THE UNQUIET RIVER BY ARUPJYOTI SAIKIA TRACES THE TUMULTUOUS TRANSFORMATION OF THE BRAHMAPUTRA OVER THE CENTURIES. SAIKIA SPOKE TO ISHAN KUKRETI
ISHAN KUKRETI

Your book is a crucial piece of environmental history that analyses people’s relationship with the river. How important is environmental history as a form of history writing?

Understanding the changing relationship between humans and nature is a major branch of historical studies in India today. In the last several decades, India has produced brilliant scholarships in this field. These scholarships have profoundly enhanced our understanding of the past and the present. Environmental history will gain more importance given India’s poverty, population, and uneven distribution of resources in the modern economy. Air pollution, the spread of infectious diseases, and poor civic amenities have become key points of public discourse. Insights drawn from environmental history can help us grapple with this crisis.

How has the perception of Brahmaputrasocial, economic, culturalchanged in different epochs, so to speak, of the Assamese history, from the Ahoms to British to independent India?

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May 01, 2020