By David Ludden
David Ludden presents a accomplished ancient framework for the knowledge of local range of agrarian South Asia. Adopting a long term view, he treats South Asia no longer as a unmarried civilization territory, yet as a patchwork of agrarian areas, with their very own social, cultural and political histories. He lines those histories from medieval occasions to the current. As a comparative synthesis of the literature on agrarian regimes in South Asia, this can be a priceless source for college kids of agrarian and nearby background, in addition to comparative global heritage.
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Extra info for The New Cambridge History of India: An Agrarian History of South Asia
Think about water. It de®nes farm environments of South Asia more than any other physical element. Nature distributes water but does not determine its agricultural geography. Water moving in the sky, on the ground, and under the ground creates the timing and location of aridity and humidity. Farms control water. Farming in South Asia means putting elements in place that will make the most of water when it arrives. Water never stops moving and changing form: it percolates, evaporates, falls, runs, freezes, and melts.
Expertise and experience are crucially important and highly valued. The accumulated wisdom of farmers, patriarchs, astrologers, almanacs, scientists, old sayings, magicians, holy men, textbooks, extension of®cers, radio, and TV pundits all come into play. Prediction and calculation continue each day based on the rains that come and the level of water in rivers, streams, and reservoirs, for it is not only the total amount of rain that will determine the harvest but also the timing of rain and water supply as they affect each type of seed and soil on each bit of ground.
Seeds and seed breeding represent technology for controlling the local effects of water mingled with nurturing elements in the soil. Farmers seek seeds that yield more with less water, grow faster to make the most of scarce water supplies, or, like the primeval arid-zone crop (pearl millet) produce something with almost no rain. The green revolution is based on seeds that can be made to yield much more than older varieties with additional inputs of water and fertiliser; it is an old strategy that is being bent toward increasing productivity with the assumption of higher inputs of moisture and plant nutrition.