Delta’s Integrity and Agrarian Rhythm

Rohan D’Souza

in Drowned and Dammed

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195682175
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082094 | DOI:
Delta’s Integrity and Agrarian Rhythm

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This chapter describes the hydraulic volatility and seasonal inundation as elements of geomorphologic process in the case of Orissa Delta, which, in the pre-colonial era, appears to have been harnessed by the local populace rather than sought to be undermined. That is, cultivators in pre-colonial eastern India seemed to have evolved a tradition of flood utilization and dependence. The ecological integrity of the Orissa Delta does not refer to some original pristine pre-colonial state of being, but is measured instead by the latitude the fluvial system was allowed as a geomorphologic process: wherein the fluvial action of erosion and deposition lead to the consolidation of the delta as a land form. Colonial administrative deliberations provide some of the most cogent and careful observations on the relationships between inundations and agrarian production in the delta. Flood dependence as agrarian practice appeared to be able to sustain itself without fundamentally unsettling the equation between hydraulic volatility and geomorphologic process.

Keywords: hydraulic volatility; inundation; Orissa Delta; flood dependence; flood utilization; geomorphologic process; agrarian practice; fluvial system; flood-vulnerable landscape; agricultural production

Chapter.  11241 words.  Illustrated.

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