Andaman Diaries: An Island Journey with Pankaj Sekhsaria
“…The fate of the Jarawa, as far as he could see, had been sealed and he wondered if there was anything he could do about it. All he had learnt of the Jarawa was only from the fringes of their lives, society and land- from the people occupying these fringes and the changing landscape around their forests. This fringe was now threatening to overwhelm the core; the original people were on their way to become the had-beens…”
Ever the aimless drifter, Harish finds the anchor his life needs in a chance encounter with members of the ancient – and threatened – Jarawa community: the ‘original people’ of the Andaman Islands and its tropical rainforests. As he observes the slow but sure destruction of everything the Jarawa require for their survival, Harish is moved by a need to understand, to do something. His unlikely friend and partner on this quest is Uncle Pame, a seventy-year old Karen boatman whose father was brought to the islands from Burma by the British in the 1920s. The islands also bring him to Seema, a ‘local born’ – a descendant of the convicts who were lodged in the infamous Cellular Jail of Port Blair. Seema has seen the world, but unlike most educated islanders of her generation, she has decided to return home. Harish’s earnestness, his fascination and growing love for the islands, their shared attempt to understand the Jarawa and the loss of her own first love, all draw Seema closer to Harish. As many things seem to fall in place and parallel journeys converge, an unknown contender appears: the giant tsunami of December 2004. The Last Wave is a story of lost loves, but also of a culture, a community, ecology poised on the sharp edge of time and history.
We will be reading “The Last Wave- an Island Novel” with the author Pankaj Sekhsaria. He will also be sharing his reflections, notes of his travels and work in Andaman and Nicobar islands. The reading and discussion are open to all. The copies of the novel will be available for sale.
Date: 22nd June, 2015
Venue: Radio Active, Jain University, 1/1-1 Atria Towers, Palace Road, Bangalore ( Land Mark: Opposite Maharani College, Next to Atria Hotel)
About the author: Pankaj Sekhsaria is a researcher, writer, photographer, campaigner and academic. He is a member of the environmental action group Kalpavriksh and has worked extensively in the field of environment and wildlife conservation with a particular focus on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
He has been writing regularly on related issues for the English media since 1998, and is the author of two non-fiction books based on the islands: Troubled Islands (2003), a collection of his journalist writings, and The Jarawa Tribal Reserve Dossier: Cultural and biological diversity in the Andaman islands’ (Joint Editor, 2010). He lives in Hyderabad with his wife and five-year-old son. He is currently completing his doctoral dissertation in Science and Technology Studies from Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Contact: Kabir Khan +919663427315 or Marwan Abubaker +919945686274