Launch of a new Science & Society series

“If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough”: Albert Einstein

The French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) which completed 67 years in March 2022 is an institution for multidisciplinary research on culture, environment and society. It houses various important research collections in the fields of Ecology, Indology and Social Sciences with a focus on peninsular India built up through long-term ongoing research. The IFP is also a dynamic, thriving space for fieldwork-based research cutting across disciplines and adapting to the changing world and technologies. The Science & Society series is an effort to bring to the larger public the science that we do in simple terms with illustrations from the field, in collaboration with scholars in science communication. These books are a contribution to the increasingly necessary action research, applied research or citizen science. The idea of publishing such a series is also to attract the young generation and motivate them to explore similar possibilities in India and abroad, particularly in France, building on the legacy of the IFP as a window connecting India to France, Europe and the rest of the world.

The first two books in this series are now available online for free download.

Science & Society -1

Native Bees and Pollination in the Puducherry bioregion

Bees cover_Front

This book is about the relationships between pollinators, flowers and agriculture in Puducherry, and how they sustain the incredible biodiversity of our region. It introduces the Puducherry bioregion, explains pollination, the native honeybees and other pollinators, the variety of hives and the links between humans and bees. We discuss benefits for farmers, how we can help pollinators and revive beekeeping using low cost, low maintenance clay pot-hives. It is based on ongoing interdisciplinary research, presented in a simple way using images and illustrations to reach anyone who wants to know about the role of these tiny creatures in a fast-urbanizing world.

Science & Society -2

The Keerai Project : Leafy Greens in the Food Culture of Puducherry and its Bioregion

Keerai cover_Front

The consumption of leafy vegetables is an integral part of the dietary practices of southern India. This book reports on the place of these vegetables in the daily and seasonal diet of urban and rural families in the territory of Puducherry. Collected by women or produced by small farmers, leafy greens play a major role in the diversity and quality of the food. Their consumption is linked with women’s knowledge of plants and their virtues, a knowledge which is shared regardless of caste, religion or social class. On the other hand, it is often neglected by the younger generations. Botanical recognition sheets of many keerai provided in the index of the book have been designed to allow a (re)appropriation of this knowledge.