The Sundarbans: Folk Deities, Monsters and Mortals

Front Cover
Berghahn Books, 2010 - History - 202 pages
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.
 

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Contents

List of Photo grapns
2
A Historical Geography
9
Sundarban Crocodile
15
The Sundarbans in punthi Literature
30
Dakshin Ray
34
An Advocate of Colonial Paternalism
55
Tilman Henckells letter
57
Land Reclamation from the Eighteenth to
74
Development of the Port at Canning and Gosaba
112
The bust of Daniel Mackinnon Hamilton 18601939
119
Tebhaga in Kakdwip
142
The Sundarbans in Modern Bengali Fiction
163
A Conclusion
180
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About the author (2010)

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

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