Birds of India: A Literary Anthology takes a new look at natural history writings in India, and brings together for the first time extracts from ancient, medieval, as well as later-day works. Highlighting the role of birds in human life-from religion to entertainment, mythology to science, superstition to wisdom-the collection brings to light the richness and diversity of the literature available on the subject.
From the Panchatantra, The Baburnama, The Jahangirnama, and Abdul Halim Sharar's accounts of bird-keeping in Lucknow, to writings by the inimitable Edward Hamilton Aitken (EHA) and others-the writings speak for themselves. Alongside Sálim Ali, the anthology features pieces by contemporary greats like S. Theodore Baskaran, R.S. Dharmakumarsinhji, Madhav Gadgil, Edward Pritchard Gee, Peter Jackson, M. Krishnan, and Zai Whitaker and by well-known writers and public figures like Abul Kalam Azad, William Dalrymple, Rudyard Kipling, Jawaharlal Nehru, Khushwant Singh, and Mark Twain. The Introduction together with the biographical head-notes to the writings, detailed sources, and further reading add value for readers.
Abdul Jamil Urfi is Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Biology, University of Delhi, Delhi.
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