Faunal Nationalism in an Emerging Economy; Tigers, Science and Society 1969-2019
with Mahesh Rangarajan
2019 saw a celebration of sorts as India’s official tiger estimate indicated a doubling of numbers of the globally endangered big cat since a low point as recently as 2006.
Just half a century earlier, the Bengal tiger, as it was then known, was declared endangered and an embattled Prime Minister, on the heels of two years of drought and amidst political upheaval, had pledged to save wildlife as it was the nation's heritage. More than might be self-evident, these two events, a strategy to overcome crisis and a celebration of success, offer a window into the cross currents of politics and knowledge, and the critical role of the environment in shaping and being, in turn, shaped by uneven but contending forces both within and without a large nation state.