Reply To: 1. Mon 3 Feb: Course intro & India and the Environmental History of Imperialism

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History 1. Mon 3 Feb: Course intro & India and the Environmental History of Imperialism Reply To: 1. Mon 3 Feb: Course intro & India and the Environmental History of Imperialism

Author Replies
Sabbath Sunday # Posted on February 5, 2014 at 11:21

Reply to Wang Yu’s reflection by Sabbath Sunday

Irrespective of your worry that you are a new student in the subject of environmental history, you have already pointed out very important issues in your reflection of Gunnel’s book. The collapse of the traditional Indian societies at the hands of the invading capitalist imperialists, who were struggling among themselves to control North East India, indicates a transition from subsistence to commercialized modes of production. This is a development that some environmental historians argue that it increases pressure on the environment because more resources are required as raw materials for growing industries.
Also you mentioned the ‘social revolution’ by the British, as an ‘unconscious tool in the construction of environmental history’, which is a very important point. I agree with you in a sense that the introduction of feudal political and economic systems not only contributed to increased exploitation of environment but also changed society’s perception on it. This is what D. Carlolyn Merchant has referred to as ‘ecological revolution’ because of how different societies can change their relationship to nature. Apart from social and economic changes, you could have supported your point with the factor that the imperialist who came to this region also brought with them plant and animal species which were introduced in the environment, e.g new crops and weeds from Latin America.
Finally another point which I can develop from your opening reflection is that the factor that North East India was naturally endowed with massive wealth, several imperialists were attracted, like the British, the Mughal, Ahom, Chinese, Burmese and others who took away their booties. The region was never been the same again as before because of ecological and economic exploitation which put the environment at a great risk.