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"Unearthed: An Environmental Historical past of Unbiased India" might be a sensible information for youth [Book Review]

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From the Green Revolution to the National Action Plan on Climate Change, the book records the country's historical movements and significant green missions (Reuters Image).

From Shriya Roy

Very little is written about the environmental history of India. While there is no shortage of high quality, well-researched literature in any other segment of Indian history, the environmental aspect is still relatively unexplored. Meghaa Gupta's book Unearthed: An Environmental History of Independent India has captured this complex trajectory excellently and broken it down into more understandable terms. Sharp illustrations alongside text throughout the book will help you understand the topics better.

Gupta addresses the environmental issues and impacts that are not widely talked about and that are even being covered up. From the time of independence to the present, she describes how activities and incidents have affected the environment and its being in independent India. Be it building dams, the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the Beej Bachao Andolan, tackling piles of rubbish, tackling air pollution, or coping with rising temperatures, India has a remarkable relationship with the environment. From the Green Revolution to the National Action Plan on Climate Change, Unearthed chronicles the country's historical movements and significant green missions.

The book is peppered with interesting trivia, stories from eco heroes, and easy-to-read reports that uncover the stories of the past to rewrite the future. Unearthed provides detailed accounts of previous discoveries that sparked various environmental revolutions in India.

For example, Gupta presents the environmental impact of Partition in a rather complicated way, which is not mentioned in any book on the subject. The author points out that an inadequate process of disposing of corpses before the community unrest and inadequate nutrition in refugee camps ultimately led to hunger and weather loss as people did not have the strength to fight the cold.

Gupta highlights how independent India went from being a “largely underdeveloped” country to one of the fastest growing countries in the world. She speaks at length about the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan and how it affected agriculture, the fishing industry and large areas of mangrove forests.

The book also covers various aspects such as the White Revolution, the Green Revolution, the nuclear debate, the Bhopal gas tragedy and not only offers a historical and economic perspective, but also describes the business challenges and activism that have been behind the various movements and the political ineptitude of various governments.

She looks at these revolutions through a critical lens and alerts readers of the adverse environmental and environmental impacts that they have had. She tells readers how the Green Revolution fixed hunger but created over-reliance on pesticides, destroyed crop quality, and largely damaged the natural environment.

It describes the suffering of the forest trunks that went hand in hand with industrialization and the construction of dams. Unearthed trains its readers to perceive a historical ecological movement like the agitation of Sardar Sarovar from different angles. It deals extensively with the victims of activists in the struggle for nature and the environment.

The book maintains a balancing act in which it not only pays tribute to historical decisions such as the Tiger project, but also largely criticizes tragedies such as the Bhopal gas leak and the water crisis in Chennai. She closes her environmental account with reference to the current smog and air pollution situation in Delhi and the National Action Plan for Climate Change, and points out the great need for individuals and the government to take environmental issues seriously.

The timing of this book is perfect as it takes place amid the growing debate about climate change around the world. The idea of ​​Unearthed is to uncover the environmental impact of various small and large, social, political, technological or economic events on the landscape of nature and the environment.

The book is aimed at teenagers who have little idea how India deals with environmental protection. This book will be a practical guide for them.

Book Details: Unearthed: An Environmental History of Independent India by Meghaa Gupta
Penguin random house
Rs 215, R299

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Steven Gregory