Natural Disturbances and Cultural Responses on a River Island in Andhra Pradesh
Ayodhya Lanka is a river island situated in Vasista Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, India. The island, due to its strategic location in the channel bed, is endowed with rich alluvial soil and provides a rich ground for fishing operations attracting both farming and fishing communities who made their permanent abode on it since times immemorial. Owing to certain special physiographical and ecological features the island possesses five ethno-ecozones (micro-environments) that are effectively managed and exploited by the islanders under the fluctuating environmental conditions. As such, the island is exposed to three important recurring natural disturbances such as perennial floods, erratic rainfall and frost of which the first one has very serious consequences. Depending upon the level of inundation the flood situation is distinguished as normal and severe. It is these severe floods that are having a telling effect upon the life and economic endeavors of the islanders. The islanders respond to these natural disturbances through a battery of cultural responses in order to effectively adapt to natural circumstances. This study is intended to show how the different natural disturbances trigger a set of cultural responses, the manner in which they are interrelated, and ultimately how they allow for a suitable adaptation to the island environment. The study concludes with an observation that economic stability plays a significant role in the process of developing a viable adaptation to the natural disturbances of the island.