The Council on Middle East Studies presents:
Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor of Politics and Environmental Studies, Ashoka University: “India’s Environmental Cross Roads: Of Nature and Nation in a 21st Century Economy.”
That India has managed despite the odds to protect much of its faunal and floral wealth and has systems in place to repair and renew the environment is testament to its democratic polity, science based debate, grass roots initiatives and enlightened leadership at various levels. The shortfalls are deep though, given the ways ecology and inequity are intertwined in multiple ways. The expansion of the economic base today is linked to global changes, but the way it comes about will have implications well beyond India.
Air and water quality especially in urban India, the continuing energy crunch for the rural poor, and the immense pressure on the ecological infrastructure via rapid development are all too evident. The change in government’s role from the source to the facilitator of investment changes much of the equation. How India makes spaces for nature and in way that meets legitimate aspirations of its people is being keenly watched across the planet. The talk will provide glimpses of the debate and also of fresh ways of working towards a better future.
Mahesh Rangarajan is Professor of Politics and Environmental Studies at Ashoka University, Haryana, India. Educated at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, he is a Rhodes Scholar. He has taught at Cornell, Jadavpur and Delhi University and served as Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
His most recent books are Nature and Nation (2015) and the co-edited works Nature without Borders ( 2014) and Shifting Ground ( 2014). A co-edited collection, Nature in History is under review.