Forest ecology and agriculture in pre-colonial north India
Mohd Kamran Khan
The Pre-colonial north India in the light of archaeological, literary sources and newly translated material on Mughal India should be re-interrogated in the context of issues like forest, flora and fauna, rivers, climate, plant and mineral wealth. The relationship between ecology and human beings has emerged as one of the central questions in the contemporary world. This question has been historically investigated by environmental historians of India. However, the fact remains, that environmental history writing in India has given more attention to British India. Further, medieval India constituted a less explored domain so far as ecology is concerned. The proposed paper attempts to address this gap by way of focusing on the representation of ecological conditions of India by European travelers of the Mughal period. The main focus of this paper is to explore the way European traveler depicted environmental conditions such as nature of forest cover, horticultural practices, several animals, and hunting practices at one level. At another level, an attempt has also been made to explore how European travellers depicted the relationship between human beings and ecologically sensitive resources. In brief, an attempt would be made to retrieve the ecological narratives of European traveller in Mughal India. The main objective of this paper is to conceptualize the relationship between man and nature in medieval India in the light of European travel writings.