January 20, 2010

Joint publication SSP-OBS


THE SUNDARBANS
Folk Deities, Monsters and Mortals

Sutapa Chatterjee Sarkar


212 pages 215x140 mm Hardback 10 illustrations
Published price
Rs 550
ISBN 978-81-87358-35-0
HISTORY, ANTHROPOLOGY, SOCIOLOGY, ETHNOGRAPHY, ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
Pub Date January 2010


The lower deltaic Bengal, the Sundarbans has always had a life of its own, unique in its distinctive natural aspect and social development. Geographical and ecological evidence indicates that most of the area used to be once covered with dense, impenetrable jungle even as patches of cultivation sprang intermittently into life and then disappeared. A continuous struggle ensued between man and nature, as portrayed in the punthi literature that thrived in lower deltaic Bengal between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

The construction of a permanent railroad connecting Calcutta to Canning further facilitated the influx of new ideas and these, subsequently, found expression in the spreading of co-operative movements, formation of peasant organizations, and finally culminated in open rebellion by the peasants (Tebhaga Movement). The struggle between men and the dangerous forests was therefore overshadowed by the conflict among men.

This book will be of great interest to students of history, sociology, anthropology and economic geography.

Sutapa Chatterjee Sarkar
is Reader, Department of History, West Bengal State University.

Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements
Maps
Abbreviations

1. The Sundarbans Folk Deities, Monsters and Mortals: Introduction
2. Fearsome Forests and Rising Tides: A Historical Geography of the Sundarbans
3. The Sundarbans in punthi Literature
4. Tilman Henckell: An Advocate of Colonial Paternalism
5. Land Reclamation from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century
6. Development of the Port at Canning and Gosaba Co-operative
7. Tebhaga in Kakdwip
8. The Sundarbans in Modern Bengali Fiction
9. The Mangrove and the Man: A Conclusion
Glossary
Index

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