Shashank Kela

Historian and writer

College position:

Shashank Kela is a historian of south Asia and a writer. After graduating from university he worked in a rural trade union of small peasants in western India for some years. This experience fed into his somewhat unconventional academic career, when in 2005 he won a fellowship to write a scholarly monograph examining the process of change and adaptation in an adivasi society from the beginning of the nineteenth century down to 1947. This was published as A Rogue and Peasant Slave: Adivasi Resistance 1800-2000 (New Delhi, 2012). It argues for a significant modification of existing views on the impact of colonialism on mobile societies at the frontiers of agriculture in nineteenth century India. Since then he has written extensively on politics, current affairs and the environment in India for academic and non-academic journals, and also online platforms.

Currently, Kela is studying the environmental history of south India, which seems a fairly logical transition - moving from social actors in forest landscapes to the making of the landscape itself! Themes include: forest policy and management, and the physical composition of forests since the colonial period.

Most recently, Kela's debut novel The Other Man was published by Juggernaut. Read a review here.