Swamp Ecologies: Historical anthropology of wetland-human relations in Majuli
This project combines oral history and ethnography to explore the historical, social and I ecological worlds, and their interrelations, of the swamps in Majuli. The island geography of Majuli has been home to hundreds of wetlands of various kinds However, several of them have by now disappeared due to various anthropogenic forces, and many others are in a highly degraded condition. This project takes a historical journey into the world of swamps in Majuli while critically exploring their relations with everyday life on the island, especially in the Anthropocene. This is a monograph in progress.
The Social Life of Sediments in the Brahmaputra Valley
The Brahmaputra ranks as the second largest sediment-laden river in the world, next only to the Yellow River in China. Such is the volume of sediment loads in the river that in its entire course of roughly 700-km in Assam, the river looks muddy. About 70% of this sediment is retained in its channel, which leads to rise in the riverbeds as well as formation of chaporis (islands) throughout the course of the river. These chaporis are lived-in landscapes with great ecological and socio-cultural significance. At the same time, the sediments of the Brahmaputra riverbeds are increasingly being incorporated into the processes of capital accumulation — through means that are legal and illegal. The sediments are also a flow resource, but they flow very differently from water, having a tempo of their own, which has a bearing on the river itself. This project pays close attention to all these processes. In doing so, it re-writes the story of the Brahmaputra by viewing it from the perspectives of the sediments.