Travel writing, as against the well established genres—novel, drama and poetry - has been a marginal literary genre. But the academic interest since the latter-half of the 20th century in this genre has brought it into serious discussion. Travel Writer juxtaposes two different cultures through his/her self experiences with people on another land and tries to glean the understanding of the self through the Other. The Ganga is considered to be one of the most significant identity for India and a cultural identity in the world and the Narmada is one of the most ancient of rivers associated with the puranas. Banks of rivers have always been ecosystems where human habitation also took place. Life on these rivers grapples with different social, cultural and nature related issues which are observed by travelers in their travel narratives. Foreign as well as Indian travelers have travelled India for various reasons. These travelers have raised serious concerns against the exploitation of nature on and around these rivers through their discussion with local experts and inhabitants which are hardly given a thought by national authority genuinely. Such issues are either not voiced or neglected in the name of rituals or under the guise of developmental politics. It is hoped that through my reading of selected travelogues on the Ganga and the Narmada, it would be possible to discuss in this paper, how travel writing becomes a tool to portray the crises faced by the ecosystem of India and people living by the rivers. Thus, my paperfor your conference falls under the category of: Environmental Justice and Activism in Literature.
Travel-writing, marginal literature, puranas, environment and culture
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