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Indian Geography: Some Recent Views on Inheritance and the Sense of Loss

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The colonial past of a country has an overarching impact in different spheres of national life. Impacts are visible not only in terms of what all gets created in the process of imperialistic rule—laws, governance, infrastructure, etc.—but also the mind and thought of the people for generations to come. Influences of colonisation on the landscape could be easily deconstructed to pave the path for a totally new design of what a national society thinks desirable for it; but, the same is not possible if the minds get colonised. The education system in India, like country with a colonial past, in general continues to carry nuances of the British imperialism and geography is no exception. Neglect of geography is perhaps rightly alleged to be due to some kind of risk felt, rooted in the imperial political interest, in imparting knowledge of geography, by the British to us despite being aware of the importance of geography (Singh, Ravi 2009c) in (higher) education. Hence, geography in primary education said to have enjoyed good position entered higher education late (cf. Ravi Singh 2009c). Even then, the 21st century marks the completion of over three quarter centuries since the institutionalisation of geography in India. In these years, many developments have taken shape to form the ‘identity of Indian Geography’. Around more than a hundred attempts are known addressing the nature or needs, weaknesses or strengths, past achievements or the future tasks. In majority of them, the sense of loss in what we have inherited and weakness in present endeavours is not difficult to trace. The present essay is a brief effort to analyse the nature of inheritance and sense of loss together with the directions we look for in the 21st century—entirely different in terms of intellectual as well as technological contexts.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Indian Geography in the 21st Century: The Young Geographers Agenda
    This book, primarily a collection of statements on action agenda to be pursued in geography in India, consists of nineteen chapters exclusively authored by the young geographers. It is organised into five parts: Part I provides "The Contextual Orientation", Part II contemplates on "Reshaping Geography Education", Part III explores "Resurrecting Physical Geography", Part IV looks at "Retrieving Human Geography", and Part V: "The Summum Bonum" attempts to garland the emerging thoughts. The book seeks to provide a peep into the future Indian Geography and serve professional geographers, researchers, teachers and students alike.
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