Friday, 27 May 2016

pdg-books

In more recent years I felt like sharing my impressions and experiences with a wider circle of people who may have same or similar interests. So, since 1999, several of my books have come out, such as (the first) "10 Walks in Calcutta", "Walks in the Wild" (about my travels and experience in various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India, later revised and enlarged as "Wild Experiences"), "Tracking Jim" (on Jim Corbett, the famous hunter), "After Elwin" (about Verrier Elwin. the famous anthropologist, and my travels in the tribal areas of Bastar and Odisha), "Eco Yatra" (about economic development and changes in India in the last sixty years),"Issues and Idioms" (about political rhetoric and change in India, also in the last sixty years). I also published privately two other books - "Conservation - A Primer for India" and "Common Forest Trees" - out of my interest in these topics.
Environment issues, whether about water conservation, or renewable energy with particular respect to hydro-electric projects and solar energy continue to interest me and I keep reading and learning new things all the while.
That does not mean Economics and economic issues do not any longer of  any interest. Economic development of India in all its facets are still central and every now and then I would send a view or comment to some national newspapers on such topics.
A few useful links to my books - Over the years there have been a number of reviews of my books, starting with the "10 Walks in Calcutta". Some of them may be useful -


A useful guide for anyone visiting Calcutta, especially first-timers, this is a book that even old residents of the metropolis will find a treasure trove of detail and history. From a brief social, political, economic and cultural account of the city's growth, the book takes the reader through ten walks covering Calcutta that capture the essence of its people and places, its sights and sounds, its temples and ghats. The city boasts of a long list of luminaries - Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, his disciple Vivekananda, Noble laureates Rabindranath Tagore and Ronald Ross (who conducted most of his research here) to name a few. One of the walks takes the visitor through the BBD Bag area where the British settled and which formed the hub of social life in those days. Another one is along the east bank of the Hooghly River - an integral part of the city - to the Eden Gardens cricket stadium and down to the Bhagwati temple build almost two hundred years ago. Calcutta, dubbed the City of Palaces' in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries comes alive in this book.

Urban safari

Prosenjit Das Gupta has logged over 150 miles simply walking around the city, Pentax 1000 slung over shoulder, notebook in hand.

Labonita Ghosh - April 3, 2000 | UPDATED 16:44 IST
For Prosenjit Das Gupta, going around in circles can be a good thing. Now he's telling others how to do it. In his recently published 10 Walks in Calcutta (HarperCollins) - a literary global positioning system - Das Gupta, 55, combines maps, history and philosophical asides to allow readers a zoom-in on the city. You must be a walkaholic to write this one. Das Gupta qualifies: he's logged over 150 miles simply walking around the city, Pentax 1000 slung over shoulder, notebook in hand.

The book is more discerning. It picks the 10 most picturesque and heritage-dotted routes to give walkers a "feel" of the city.
There's the labyrinthine Chitpore Road past the crumbling mansions of old, affluent Bengali families including the Tagores' house in Jorasanko; the riverfront stroll past the ghats; the "path of knowledge" through the city's academic district of College Street.

Das Gupta prefers the offbeat road, cramming the book with minutia rather than textbook history. He actually barged into people's houses collecting facts, and at times got into trouble with the law. Like when he was shooting a photograph of Writers' Building and the security men thought him to be a terrorist.

The book took Das Gupta - a Presidency College alumnus who now works with a refractories firm - 12 years to compile. He was inspired by a leaflet on walking in Aachen, Germany, and Desmond Doig's Calcutta: An Artist's Impressions.

It's hard to tell who the book is for. Tips on clothing, about carrying water and taking a hepatitis shot before eating out, smack of a manual for foreign tourists. But Das Gupta insists it is "first and foremost" for Calcuttans.
"They never really see their city, they never look up," he says. "If you want to study the jungle, you'll have to get down from your jeep." Meanwhile, the book's writer himself may be on the road to Part II. But that's another story.





Palamau, Simlipal, Betla, Bandhavgarh, Dudhwa, Corbett, Ranthambhore, Bharatpur, Manas, Kaziranga, Madumalai, Nagarahole, Bandipur, Chilika… all magnificent wildlife destinations that every nature-lover dreams of visiting.

For decades, Prosenjit Das Gupta has explored the wilds of India from evergreen forests to scrub habitat driven just by his passionate interest in wildlife and nature. In this pursuit of adventure and his quest to record the beauty of nature, he has been charged at by elephants and rhinos, has had a tiger walking right towards him and has been stranded all alone in the middle of the forest.
The book covers his fascinating experiences of his sojourns to various sanctuaries and national parks mostly between the mid-70s and early 90s. Central and northeast Indian reserves are more widely covered in the book, probably because the author is based in Kolkata. He writes of his first love – the Palamau National Park, tiger sightings in Kanha, birdwatching, exciting afternoons spent on machaans and his gratitude to trackers and knowledgeable forest guards who taught him so much about wildlife. His experiences at a Goalpara police station in Assam, an elephant exploring with its trunk and trying to catch the scent of the author, who was crouched on a machaan and seeing flying lizards make interesting reading.
His wild encounters on foot, elephant back and bicycle are written with humour and captures the high drama of the jungle. It reveals the author’s love for the wilds and his passion for wildlife photography. Unfortunately, the black and white plates in the book are reproduced rather badly and are quite unremarkable. The author also touches upon the pioneers of wildlife biology and conservationists in India and also discusses the ill-effects of tourism. A compelling read that will want you to drop everything and set off on a trip right away to discover wild India.




This book is a travelogue with a difference, from the middle of 1970s to as recently as Janurary 2006, the author has been travelling to remote tribal areas of Central India and recording his experiences, impressions and interactions with the people in these places. These experiences are juxtaposed with the writings of Verrier Elwin who lived and travelled in these areas and wrote a corpus of classic anthropological works. Das Gupta discovered Elwin`s writing by chance and was inspired to revisit and reconstruct the tribal world that the latter so loved. Starting as a hesitant traveller trying to verify his readings, Das Gupta is gradually drawn into a separate reality of which he is witness, observer and reluctant participant. His quest concludes only after he is able to piece together the puzzle about Elwin, the man.


I pick up a book called “After Elwin — Encounters with Tribal Life in Central India”, which has tumbled out of my colleague's cupboard in office during her operation cleaning. The author, Prosenjit Das Gupta, in this wonderful travelogue wakes up to the world legendary anthropologist, Verrier Elwin from England, made his own, several years ago.

  
 

Veteran naturalist, fisherman and author is always more than eager to advice on issues related to conservation and nature travels. Prosenjit Das Gupta was born in August 1944 in Calcutta and educated at St. Xavier’s School and Presidency College. An avid nature traveller he has been to numerous sanctuaries and wilderness areas in India since 1968, when places like Kanha, Manas, Kaziranga, Corbett, Palamau, Nameri were hardly visited by any one. An avid birder since 1972, he is one of the first of the Calcutta bird-watchers to see and photograph White-winged wood-duck in Nameri in 1992.

Prosenjit has chased the legendary Mahseer since 1980 in Manas, then in Ramganga (fishing inside the national park was allowed in those days), Koppili in North Cachar and Jia Bharali in Nameri. He helped Assam Bhoreli Angling and Conservation Association in 2002 to plan out its mahseer breeding and conservation programme. He is a regular visitor at Vanghat and is in love with it since. He has extensively travelled in the Kumaon region. He is a life member of Bombay Natural History Society and World Wide Fund for Nature, and has delivered lectures on wildlife and conservation in schools and other bodies.



Tea and India - and all that 

It took about  three years, from 2008 November to 2011 April  (with an interregnum of about 8 months in 2010) for me to research, visit, interview, photograph and write the text of the book "Burra Bungalows and All That" for INTACH. The object was to record the built heritage of the tea industry in Assam The assignment took me up and down  Assam, from Cachar far down to the south east, to Mangaldoi in the
north west and every thing in between, from Doom Dooma, Margherita, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Tezpur and North Lakhimpur. The work was both challenging and exciting. When the book came out, Times of India wrote thus --

The Times Of India Kolkata;

Date: Oct 19, 2012; Section: Times Nation; Page: 13

Between the leaves of a book, Assam’s tea story Aparajita Gupta TNN
Kolkata: The tea story of Assam began way back in the 1830s by the side of river Sadiya. In order to depict the rich, built heritage of the Assam tea gardens, Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) has documented it in a book, ‘Burra Bungalows & All That’.

    “Unless we have a document and a list of what we have, how will someone know what we have? That is what we have precisely tried to do in this book,” said G M Kapur, convenor, West Bengal and Kolkata Regional Chapter Governing Council member, Intach.

    So far, there was no such documentation of the Assam tea gardens’ heritage.

    Intach is a national nongovernment organisation dedicated to heritage conservation.

    Initially, Intach approached Tea Board of India to allow it to take up this listing project. After receiving the Board’s approval, with the help of Indian Tea Association (ITA), an expert committee was formed, which had members from tea planters, Intach and ITA.

    “We all sat together and drew up a list of 450 gardens in Assam, from which 150 were shortlisted for the book,” he said. The book will be officially launched on Saturday.

    It took them three years to come up with the book, which was written by Prosenjit Das Gupta, Intach member, and the photographs were chosen by Monojit Dasgupta, secretary general, ITA and Kapur himself. The funding was done by Intach and Tea Board.

    “This is a unique documentation that will help promote heritage tourism in those areas,” said Nayantara Palchoudhuri, co-convenor, West Bengal chapter, Intach.

    Cutting across the spectrum, the book encompasses every aspect of the lives of people involved in the tea estate and business.


The Arcuttipore Tea Garden Bungalow, is one of the rare thatched-roof bungalows that is still in use 
The link is http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JS00vMjAxMi8xMC8xOSNBcjAxMzAy


 



 

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