“The sometimes disturbing story of how we are treating our fragile islands” – Andaman & Nicobar


Books on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Pankaj Sekhsaria

1) Islands in Flux – the Andaman and Nicobar Story (2017)
2) The Last Wave – An Island Novel (2014)
3) The Jarawa Tribal Reserve Dossier (2010)

The three books, signed by the author, are available at a special set price of Rs. 750. Please write to thelastwave1@gmail.com for details and further information 

Islands in FLUX – the Andaman and Nicobar Story
by Pankaj Sekhsaria
(HarperCollins India 2017)

‘Islands in Flux’ is a compilation of writings on key issues and developments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands over the last two decades.

Written by one of the islands’ best known and most consistent
chroniclers of contemporary issues, this new book by Pankaj Sekhsaria features information, insight and perspective related to the environment, wildlife conservation, development and the island’s indigenous communities.

The book provides an important account that is relevant both for the present and the future of these beautiful and fragile but also very volatile island chain. It is both a map of the region as well as a framework for the way forward, and essential reading
for anyone who cares about the future of our world.

‘The sometimes disturbing story of how we are treating our fragile islands’
– Rom Whitaker, Herpetologist and Founder,  ANET

Source: courtesy Mari Marcel Thekaekara (email 2 April 2017)


Cultural and Biological Diversities in the Andaman Islands edited by Pankaj Sekhsaria and Vishvajit Pandya. Unesco, Paris, 2010. | To read the full article, click here >>

Pankaj Sekhsaria works with Kalpavriksh and is an award winning writer on environmental issues dealing with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, who also hosts a web-based discussion group on the ecology and conservation of the biodiversity of that region. Vishvajit Pandya has participated in ‘contact’ missions with the Jarawas in his capacity as an anthropologist. He has also acted as consultant to the administration on matters of tribal community welfare. They have brought together articles from experts who are also very well-versed with Jarawa tribal culture, with researchers like Manish Chandi and Harry Andrews from ANET (Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team) having spent many years in those areas in order to better understand the ecology and conservation of their study species. Samir Acharya of the SANE (Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology) has dealt with litigation in favour of tribals like the Onge and Jarawas. Inclusion of the results of a study commissioned by the Supreme Court following the PIL regarding the Andaman Trunk Road brings a new facet to the discussion by providing essential insight into the traditional lives of the Jarawa people. […]

Source: 613 Books
Address: http://www.india-seminar.com/2010/613/613_books.htm
Date Visited: Sun Apr 02 2017 12:44:25 GMT+0200 (CEST)

Pankaj Sekhsaria, The Hindu, Sunday Magazine (Environment), March 04, 2017  | To read the full article, click here >>

An amazing government plan for the Andamans that fully ignores the aboriginal tribes regulation.

Early last January , the Andaman & Nicobar Islands administration in Port Blair received a curious plan for the development of the islands via the office of the NITI Aayog. Titled ‘An Approach Paper on ‘Prospects of Island Development – Options for India’, it was intriguing at various levels. […]

As I read the plan, my mind went back to the late 1990s when I had just started to work on issues concerning the islands. I had then, quite accidentally, come across another proposal for the development of A&N. This was the ‘Report by the Inter-Departmental Team on Accelerated Development Programme for A&N Islands’, published in 1965 by the Ministry of Rehabilitation. It laid out a roadmap and set the stage for what was to happen over the decades that followed.

It was, in fact, a blueprint for the ‘colonisation’ of the islands, both in letter and spirit. Chapter 12 was even titled ‘Colonisation’, and it struck me hard to see a country that had been a colony till 1947 talking the language and the intent of the coloniser less than two decades later. The forests on the islands, inhabited by the Onge and the Jarawa, were referred to as ‘Jarawa infested’ and the forests had no value but for their timber. […]

What is particularly striking about last year’s plan is its complete ignorance and lack of engagement with the tectonic changes that have taken place in the legal and policy framework of the country, quite apart from matters of geology and ecology. The premise is clearly what anthropologist Vishvajit Pandya described as ‘terra-nullius’—empty, unexplored, virgin territory that is waiting to be acted upon and operationalised. One needs only to scratch the surface to realise how deeply flawed and violative it is. […]

The plan does not account for realities such as the fact that drinking water is a big challenge in many of the islands, that the islands are located in Seismic Zone V, part of the world’s most active seismic regions, that earthquakes are regular occurrences, that the 2004 tsunami was caused by an earthquake not far from the Nicobar Islands, and that tourism will be the first and the worst affected in case of calamities like earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones, which occur here regularly. […]

The impact this will have on forests, biodiversity and on the Onge community can only be imagined.

When the government team went to Little Andaman in 1964-65, the entire island was a tribal reserve, the forests unexploited, and the Onge the sole residents on the island they have inhabited for thousands of years. Half a century of ‘development’ later, the Onge Reserve is roughly 30% smaller (more than 200 sq. km of forest has been handed over for settlements, plantations, agriculture), the remaining forests are under increasing pressure, and for every Onge on Little Andaman there are now about 200 individuals from outside. The land of the Onge is not the land of the Onge any more. What more needs to be said?

The writer researches issues at the intersection of environment, science, society and technology.

Source: Pankaj Sekhsaria on Little Andaman and what it is today – The Hindu
Address: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/islands-on-the-seam/article17407991.ece
Date Visited: Thu May 04 2017 11:11:40 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Learn more from Pankaj Sekhsaria on this website and on kalpavriksh.org >>

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