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The Bengal Delta

Ecology, State and Social Change, 1840-1943

The Bengal Delta by Iftekhar Iqbal
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The Bengal Delta is the first major environmental history of colonial Bengal, Bangladesh in particular. It suggests that this active deltaic plain was a prosperous and dynamic part of South Asia's economy until far later than most historians imagine. It was a frontier zone facing the Indian Ocean, drawing in capital, labour and intense imperial interest until the turn of the twentieth century. The book argues that rural impoverishment stemmed from environmental changes that developed from the complex relationship between the region's highly fluid ecology, the state, nationalist politics, technology and biological exchanges. In a sweeping reinterpretation of the history of Bengal, the book argues that the most widely debated issues around the region's modern history—agrarian stagnation, communal violence, poverty and famine— can only be understood satisfactorily from an ecological perspective of the dominant discourses of state's coercion and popular resistance, market forces and dependency, or contested cultures and consciousness.
Palgrave Macmillan; October 2010
289 pages; ISBN 9780230289819
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Title: The Bengal Delta
Author: Iftekhar Iqbal
 
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