Ecological Imperialism In Sea Of Poppies By Amitav Ghosh

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Amitav Ghosh in Sea of Poppies published in 2008 looks back at the colonial period to show the social, cultural, economic and ecological devastation done by European intervention in South Asia. Ghosh states that the impelling policies of colonial powers alter the landscapes of the annexed bioregions and economically plunder the communities. The research paper focuses on Ghosh’s concern over the commodification of nature at the hands of British colonialists. Sea of Poppies is an account of the imposed opium monoculture in Bihar and Calcutta for the Chinese market responsible for the enormous wealth of Britain. As such it is made clear in the paper that colonizers have always imported and introduced cash crops in the annexed terrains by exterminating…show more content…
Keywords: Ecological Imperialism, Nature, Postcolonialism, Ecology, Ecosystem
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh published in 2008 is set prior to the opium wars and details the nineteenth century opium trade and its effect on the lives of a group of ordinary people: a young widow, Deeti; an American sailor, Zachery Reid; a heroic untouchable, Kalua; a Chinese convict, Ah Fatt; a raja (landlord), Neel Rattan Halder; bilked by a ruthless British opium businessman, Mr. Burnham; Paulette, an orphan, daughter of a French botanist Pierre Lambert and others. Sea of Poppies is an account of the imposed opium monoculture in Bihar and Calcutta for the Chinese market responsible for the enormous wealth of Britain. It highlights how the fate of the human beings in this hinterland is written by poppy flowers and its entire ecosystem is entrapped by ecological imperialism. Imperialism not
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It throws light on the status quo of agriculture in India and emphasizes the environmental injustice caused to the land and to the people. Though unwilling, people are forced to adapt this new crop culture as Britishers would go from home to home, forcing cash advances on the farmers and their forged thumbprint. The farmers are unwilling but bound to such contracts because if they refuse, the British soldiers would hide the silver in their houses to prove them culprits and make them convicts to be transported beyond the seas as indentured servants. In addition, their refusal to oblige leads to forfeiture of their properties. The novel provides a vivid picture of the exploited farming class. Deeti maintains that earlier they lived in harmony with nature. She yearns for useful crops like wheat, dal and vegetables. These gestures of Deeti show a happy and symbiotic environment of the earlier times. She is aware of the curse posed by monoculture. According to her, during winters, fields used to be covered with wheat and after the spring harvest; the straw would be used for different purposes like fixing the hut roofs. She realizes that it has been seven years since roof of her hut was last hatched. She does not have money to buy a handful of straw. The Britishers have left the natives handicapped by raising the price of small accessories like straw. Being

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