If you time-travelled to the India of the mid-eighteenth century and returned nearly two centuries after that, you would see a subcontinent where the land and waterscape had undergone an unprecedented change. Many diverse ways of living, on land and water, and of their produce, would have endured. Yet, the content and context would be found radically altered. The coincidence of new pressures with the new face of an alien power, the British, would be unmistakable. However, the outcome of this coincidence would be far from uniform. Different regions, ecosystems and peoples would show vastly varying responses and experiences. Change wouldn't be new: its pace and scope would be.

The British rule saw many changes and phases. Among ...

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