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Title : Bengal Water Craft: Boat-Building and fishing communities
Author : Lotika Varadarajan
Edition : HardBack
ISBN : 9789350980712
Pages : 318
Year of Pub : 2016
Price : Rs 3,995.00
This is a unique work on the boat building traditions of Bengal. The boats of West Bengal have been influenced on the one hand by the boats of Bihar and on the other by the traditions of Bangladesh. North Bengal follows the ecology of the sub-Himalayan region and the boats of the region illustrate this well.
The typology of different boats found in West Bengal are described in this voume. From raft and dugout, the survey moves to the rich centre of boat building at Balagarh. From here it moves to cargo carriers such as the bhedi. Boats are linked to ecological regions but massive programmes such as the Damodar Valley Corporation changed the pattern of the waters. The remarkable ingenuity of the boat builders is shown in the new boat types such as the Chot Šālti, which were developed in conformity with the changes in river flow. The book also outlines fishing activities in the Sundarbans area, linking it to boat typology.
From the methodological angle the work follows closely the model evolved by George Hornell. All available historical records have been examined. The author has conducted a meticulous survey of existing ethnological sources which are used to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. A map showing the centres where various types of boats are made in West Bengal has also been included.
Lotika Varadarajan, an ethno-historian was educated at the Universities of Delhi and Bombay, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and Newnham College, University of Cambridge, U.K. She is currently Tagore National Fellow, National Museum, New Delhi and also Member, Advisory Council, Centre of Traditional Knowledge, Ambedkar University, New Delhi.


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