ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unearthing the Roots of Colonial Forest Laws

Iron Smelting and the State in Pre- and Early-Colonial India

This paper repositions iron smelting and the smelter at the centre of a revised narrative of pre- and early-colonial forest history and policy. In a medieval war economy the smelter shared a relationship of mutual interdependence with the feudal state as a provider of critical raw material for weapon manufacture. This, however, changed with the advent of the colonial state, interdependence giving way to competition over resources. It is through this multilayered perspective of environmental and military history intertwined with the anthropology of iron smelting that we can unearth one of the roots of statutory forest laws.

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