Delhi release of Islands in Flux - the Andaman and Nicobar Story
Date: 20th April, 3 pm
Venue: Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti Bhavan
And we have a very interesting panel that'll be discussing the book and the islands!
Islands in Flux is now available in bookstores across the country. Also on amazon (print and kindle): https://tinyurl.com/mvc7aja #islandsinflux #thelastwave #andaman #nicobar For more details including of my other A&N books, please write to me email@example.com
'Islands in Flux - the Andaman and Nicobar Story', is now available in the islands - in Havelock and in Port Blair. In Port Blair at Sagarekha Emporium, Middle Point and soon at Tarang Trades, Middle Point. In Havelock they are available at Turtlefins.a, Govind Nagar, Havelock No. 5 with Rohit Waghela and at Seven Heaven, Govind Nagar, Havelock No. 3 with Amit Mangu. -- Copies are also available on amazon (both print and kindle): http://bit.ly/IslandsInFlux --- And for a set of signed copies of all my A&N books please write for details to firstname.lastname@example.org --
If there are suggestions for other places, particularly in the islands,
that are willing to stock copies of 'Islands in Flux' and also 'The
Last Wave', please do write to me email@example.com
Should the name of A&N islands be changed? This is a question
that keeps coming up again and again like a bad dream, as if there is
nothing more important in or for the islands. (A BJP MP has just made a
call for this: See: http://www.indiatimes.com/…/a-bjp-member-is-demanding-to-ch…)
See the link below for a short article I did exactly a decade ago (in 2007)
for the Times of India questioning the rationale? It appears again in
the new collection of 'old' A&N writings 'Islands in flux - the
Andaman story'. https://www.academia.edu/31998259/Forgotten_Islands
A visit and an aftermath...
When the President of India visited the islands in December 2007!
Read the full account in 'Islands in Flux - the Andaman and Nicobar Story'
In stores now across the country and online on amazon: http://bit.ly/IslandsInFlux #andaman#nicobar#islandsinflux#thelastwave --- Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details including for signed copies of 'The Last Wave' and 'Islands in Flux'
From inside 'Islands in Flux...'
A picture of the coral uplift seen off the west coast of Interview
Island in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake of December 2004 -
appears in the book as a special picture section #andaman#nicobar#islandsinflux#thelastwave
Buy now: http://bit.ly/IslandsInFlux
--- Write to email@example.com for more details including for signed copies of 'The Last Wave' and 'Islands in Flux'
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.
First, it was drafted not by the regular
agencies, but by the New Delhi based Integrated Headquarters of Ministry
of Defence—(Navy). For a paper prepared by the defence establishment,
the focus was surprisingly less on strategic and defence-related
projects and more on economic activities such as rail construction, port
and petrochemical complex development, special economic zones (SEZ) and
the tourism industry. At another level, for a plan that articulates the
need for economic, social, ecological and cultural sustainability in
development strategy, it was strikingly ignorant of the historical,
social, ecological and legal context of the unique island system.
particular relevance here is the Andaman and Nicobar Protection of
Aboriginal Tribes Regulation (ANPATR) that was promulgated in 1956.
Significant areas of the islands have been protected under this
regulation for indigenous communities like the Jarawa and the Onge. The
Approach Paper in its 40-odd pages does not have any mention of ANPATR
even as it proposes a number of projects that will impinge directly on
the lands and rights protected by the regulation. 50 years ago
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.
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.
Little Andaman Island, the roughly 730 square
kilometres that is home to the indigenous Onge community has,
interestingly, been a pivot in both plans even though they are separated
by more than five decades. The 1965 plan suggested the clearance of
60,000 acres of forests, the settling in of 12,000 families from the
mainland, and the establishment of an integrated industrial complex that
would include timber and sugar industries.
The 2016 vision
includes the island’s transformation into an integrated tourism complex
through long-lease or a PPP model, development of an international
airport, and the construction of a new harbour at Dugong Creek for
inter-island connectivity. The clock, it seems, has not moved at all for
planners and powers that be.
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. Unreal plans
might argue that 1965 was a different era, but it’s difficult to
understand how in 2016, the tribal regulation is not accounted for at
all; the fact that 520 sq. km. of Little Andaman is protected as the
Onge Tribal Reserve and that Dugong Creek, where the harbour is
proposed, is located deep inside the Reserve and has the most important
settlement of Onges.
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.
At a meeting of the NITI
Aayog held in September last year, the plan for the promotion of
high-end tourism in four islands—Smith, Ross, Avis and Long—was
approved. Little Andaman too came up for detailed discussion, though a
decision was thankfully deferred on account of concerns raised in
various quarters, including the A&N administration. But a follow-up
call for proposals issued in November 2016 by NITI Aayog does include
With a former minister in the BJP-ruled Delhi
government, Jagdish Mukhi, now the Lieutenant Governor of the islands,
it is likely there will be a greater thrust on development plans, with
tourism being given top priority. The impact this will have on forests,
biodiversity and on the Onge community can only be imagined.
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.
And here is a short blurb on the what the book is all about:
'Islands in Flux', a compilation of writings on key issues and
developments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands over the last two
decades, is Pankaj Sekhsaria’s new book on the islands. Written by one
of the islands’ best known and most consistent chroniclers of
contemporary issues here, it 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 islands
and indeed, the future of our world. --- "‘The sometimes disturbing story of how we are treating our fragile islands" - Rom Whitaker, Founder, ANET
"Few environmental journalists in the country have tracked one area so
perceptively. This book is a testimony to his dedication." - Darryl
D’Monte, Chairman Emeritus of the Forum of Environmental Journalists in
"Anyone who cares about these magical islands and
their enticements...will find this volume to be highly readable and
exceptionally informative" - Madhusree Mukerjee --- You can also
write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details including for signed
copies of 'The Last Wave' and 'Islands in Flux'
Islands in Fluxis a compilation of writings on key issues
and developments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands over the last two decades.
Written by Pankaj Sekhsaria, one of the islands’ best known and most consistent
chroniclers of contemporary issues, it 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.
‘Sekhsaria demonstrates his unwavering
commitment to chronicling the life and times of these beautiful but endangered
islands. Few environmental journalists in the country have tracked one area so
perceptively. This book is a testimony to his dedication.’
D’Monte, Chairman Emeritus of the Forum of Environmental Journalists in
‘Pankaj Sekhsaria has been visiting, researching, photographing
and writing about the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands for decades. Anyone who cares about
the magical islands will find this volume to be both highly readable and
- Madhusree Mukerjee, journalist, author and activist
‘Pankaj joined our Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environment Team
(ANET) expedition to
remote South Sentinel Island in the late 1990s, and I have a
feeling that it was this trip which
started Pankaj’s obsession with these wonderful islands. This
collection of nearly twenty years of his writings tells the sometimes
disturbing story of how we are treating our fragile islands.’
'Islands in Flux - Writings on the environment and indigenous peoples of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Pankaj Sekhsaria (HarperCollins India, March 2017)
And here's an advance chance of getting a free signed copy as soon as the book is released in March 2017...50 copies via Goodreads Giveaway! Click here
'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 Pankaj
Sekhsaria, the island’s most consistent chronicler of contemporary
issues, it features information, insight and perspective related to the
environment, wildlife conservation, development and the island’s
indigenous communities. The articles that are included here were first
published in some of India’s most prominent publications like The Hindu,
Frontline, Sanctuary Asia and the Economic and Political Weekly, and
put together provide an important consolidated account that is relevant
both for the present and the future of these beautiful and fragile but
also very volatile island chain.
'In this update of his earlier
book on the Andamans, Sekhsaria demonstrates his unwavering commitment
to chronicling the life and times of these beautiful but endangered
islands. Few environmental journalists in the country have tracked one
area so perceptively. This book is a testimony to his dedication.' - Darryl D’monte
Also see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/349083002139104/
THREE books on the ANDAMAN & NICOBAR Islands
For a special set price of Rs. 500.
1) Troubled Islands – Writings on the environment and indigenous peoples of the
A&N Islands (2003)
2) The Jarawa Tribal Dossier – Cultural and Biological Diversity in the Andaman
Islands (2010, Jointly edited with Visvajit Pandya)
3) The Last Wave- an Island novel (2014)
1) Troubled Islands is a joint publication of Kalpavriksh and LEAD
India and was published in 2003. It is a collection of articles on the
islands I wrote i n the mainstream English media between 1998 and
2003. It has as annexures the Shekhar Singh Report of 2002,
Supreme Court orders of 2002 and eight colour plates with pictures
from the island
2) The Jarawa Tribal Reserve Dossier is a 215 page book that was
published jointly by Kalpavriksh and UNESCO in 2010. It goes into
considerable details of the Jarawa Tribal Reserve with papers on the
multiple dimensions that make up the reserve. It has also has a set of
important annexures that include the full A&N Protection of
Aboriginal Tribes Regulation and a set of detailed GIS based maps
of the reserve.
3) The Last Wave, published in 2014 by Harper Collins India is my
debut novel and a story has at its heart the ecology, people, and history
of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Pls write to me at email@example.com for details