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Nature-Society Series: Reclaiming the Geographic thought (in Pandemic times)

Concept, Design, Cartography by Yemuna Sunny

Introduction by Prof Krishna Kumar

Why this series? 

All over the world we face challenges in the contexts of the environment and the well-being of people and other life forms. The local and the global are also deeply intertwined as natural-human systems.

Geography as an inquiry is best equipped to look into these interconnections. However, as a school subject it remains constrained to the ideas of territories with national maps and inventories of natural and human-made resources within nations. It does not equip learners to engage with processes that make places and people understand their intertwined nature of interaction, to formulate questions and seek answers.

If education engages with interdependence in the world, art, aesthetics, compassion, and problem-solving, then we need different types of maps” – Yemuna Sunny

The Nature-Society booklets are an attempt to reconstruct such maps and reclaim the geographic thought. In its introduction, Prof. Krishna Kumar writes:

(Maps and atlases) must connect with social institutions because human beings, from their childhood onwards are located in these institutions. Physical location in a space comes later and in today’s world it is no longer as important as it was…where institutions as basic as family intersect with national and global institutions that govern economic, political, and cultural life. An atlas that visualises and discusses this intersection marks a new beginning”. 

The first booklet of this series focuses on Maharashtra. This first prototype of the envisioned series was published during the lockdown. 

Drafts for six more states have been finalised and designed and are ready for printing, but the ongoing pandemic has taken away all resources. These are: 

1.    Andaman and Nicobar                               2.    Karnataka and Goa

3.    Lakshadweep                                          4.    Odisha

5.    Rajasthan                                                6.    Uttarakhand 

We require support so that these can be printed and reach students, parents and social science practitioners, to open out new vistas in geography teaching and learning.

How can you support?  

Each booklet of the series requires a support of Rs 40,000/- for paper and printing expenses. Six booklets require a support of Rs 2,40,000. In addition, to work on the next set of four states, we require support for the team that works on it – Rs 25,000 each for four months - ie Rs 1,00,000/. So, a total of Rs 3,40,000/-.

If you support printing cost of one booklet, for a specific state, we will be happy to publish due credit and acknowledgement on the booklet. 

Each book, on an Indian state/UT has text that makes the reader observe, think, analyse, and explore – text that is closely connected to an innovative large colourful map (scale 1 cm = 20 km) created through an amalgamation of cartography and art. The draft manuscripts and maps go through expert review and trials with students and are then modified, edited, and designed for publishing.

Here is another excerpt from Prof. Krishna Kumar’s perceptive introduction to the series;

I am happy that the first publications related to Eklavya’s atlas project are now starting to appear. Over the coming months, maps and texts covering different regions of India will come and eventually the entire atlas will be presented. I have no doubt that it will open new vistas of education, enabling it to engage with the crisis of ecology, the world and India are facing. It will also open new avenues for making sense of peace as a goal of education and pursuing it.

Click here to donate directly to Eklavya