A Tryst with Nature talks about the clear gap between nature as known in the laboratory and nature as known in the diversity of natural landscapes. Faced with this contradiction between two equally important and necessary spaces, the key questions facing us now are:
The author discusses two separate aspects of modern life, one that embraces development and conservation as defined by a colonial legacy of instrumental labour in a capitalist economy, and another that embraces the economy of nature that is nourished by the reflexive labor of the forest-dwelling tribes, expressed by the natural landscape water present in all forms of life, for instance, in the universe of the forest.
The book focuses on people whose lives were not shaped by the vocabulary of modern social life. The author discusses how the limited rights given to tribal people in policy restrain their agency, taking the people out of the forest; deprives them of their language; and clears the way for an unchecked flow of capital, exposing tribal people to forces of economic development removed from all cultural meaning.
The book highlights the importance of conservation and coexistence with all forms of nature.
Savyasaachi is an independent researcher who was formerly at the Department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
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Prologue: Learning to Observe