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The Dialectical History of "Jungle" in Pakistan: An Examination of the Relationship between Nature and Culture

Michael R. Dove
Journal of Anthropological Research
Vol. 48, No. 3 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 231-253
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3630636
Page Count: 23
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The Dialectical History of "Jungle" in Pakistan: An Examination of the Relationship between Nature and Culture
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Abstract

The term jangal in contemporary Pakistan refers to "forest." Its etymological antecedent, the Sanskrit term jangala, referred to "savanna." Francis Zimmermann argues that the change in meaning is a historical "misunderstanding." It is argued here, on the contrary, that the change in meaning accurately reflects a fundamental, historical alteration of relations between culture and nature. The economy of the early pastoral societies of this part of the subcontinent was based on transforming the region's natural thorn forest into an anthropogenic savanna. During the succeeding millennia, as the result of intensification of land-use patterns in response to demographic and political pressures, the culturally desirable jangala "savanna" became transformed into the culturally undesirable jangal "forest waste." This transformation in both physical environment and cultural values was the product of a dialectical relationship between nature and culture. For reasons of self-interest, state governments have a history of obfuscating and not recognizing this relationship.

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