Locust Infestations and Marginalized Communities in Colonial Western India in the Nineteenth Century



This article explores the social history of locust outbreaks in colonial western India during the nineteenth century. It understands colonial policies for locust control in light of their larger social repercussions on the marginalized communities of Bombay Presidency like the Kaliparaj and Bhils. It argues that colonial encroachment in wastelands made such communities more economically vulnerable, forcing them to engage in the task of locust annihilation. It highlights the precarious conditions of marginal communities under British rule and the nature of their relations with the colonial state as well as with the natural world.

Author Biographies

Pallavi Das, University of Delhi

Pallavi Das is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History, University of Delhi, specializing in the history of science, technology, and medicine. Her research focuses on the nineteenth-century social history of cholera in the Eastern Indian pilgrim city of Puri in Odisha and understands it through a global history perspective. It explores the trans-imperial connections and knowledge networks that shaped local histories of disease around the Indian ocean world in the nineteenth century.

Vineet K. Giri, University of Delhi

Vineet K. Giri has an MPhil from the University of Delhi and specializes in environmental history. His MPhil dissertation explored the colonial anxiety around hilly torrents in Punjab province of India and highlighted the changing nature of colonial relationship with the pastoral communities during the nineteenth century.