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Environment and History

Military Conflict and Forests in Central Provinces, India: Gonds and the Gondwana Region in Pre-colonial History

Archana Prasad

Environment and History 5(1999): 361-375

In this article I counter the proposition that pre-colonial, caste-based, natural resource management regimes were superior, in terms of stability and coherence, to colonial regimes. By engaging with the English sources of the Gondwana region I show how the question of 'stability' ignores the unequal and oppressive character of pre-colonial societies. This is borne out by the history of the Gondwana, where the social and political marginalisation of the Gonds was a result of the changing nature of zamidari power and the creation of private property rights in early colonial India.


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