Islands, because of the geographical (and thus genetic) separation they provide, are hotspots of evolution. They are home to some of the most fascinating species of life on the planet, seriously threatened by the entry of human beings into their ecosystems. India’s own Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a case in point.
The next Dhwani talk, on Thursday, 7th September, at 5:30 pm in Kanada Auditorium, JNCASR, will be an illustrated presentation on the A&N islands by Pankaj Sekhsaria based on his new book of the same title. The presentation will deal with the history and ecology of the islands and challenges that will be faced going forward.
About the book: 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, 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.
About the speaker: Pankaj Sekhsaria is a researcher, photographer, writer and academic who has worked in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands for over 20 years. He has four books on the islands to his credit, the most recent one being his debut novel The Last Wave, that was published in 2014. The Last Wave – an island novel and his new book Islands in Flux – the Andaman and Nicobar Story have both been published by HarperCollins India.
Sekhsaria is associated with the environmental action group, Kalpavriksh where he works on the issues of the A&N islands and also edits the Protected Area Update, a newsletter on wildlife and conservation that is published every two months. He also writes extensively on conservation related issues for the mainstream English media.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engg (Pune University) and a masters degree in Mass Communication (Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi). He was recently awarded a doctorate in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from the Maastricht University, Netherlands for his thesis ‘Enculturing innovation – Indian engagements with nanotechnology wherein he studied scientific and innovation practices inside six nanoscience and technology labs in India.
Sekhsaria is currently Senior Project Scientist, DST-Centre for Policy Research, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Delhi.
Initial response to the book:
‘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, Chairman Emeritus of the Forum of Environmental Journalists in India (FEJI)
‘Pankaj Sekhsaria has been visiting, researching, photographing and writing about the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for decades. With the archipelago facing unprecedented challenges from destructive development, this collection of his articles becomes all the more significant. Anyone who cares about the magical islands and their enticements – the stunning beaches, waters, corals and forests, the unique flora and fauna, and, of course, the utterly fascinating peoples – will find this volume to be both highly readable and exceptionally informative.’
—Madhusree Mukerjee, journalist, author and activist
‘Pankaj joined our Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environment Team (ANET) expedition to the remote South Sentinel Island in the late 1990s. We were there to fi lm the wildlife of the island and I have a feeling that it was this trip which started Pankaj’s obsession with documenting the ups and downs of environmental matters that affect the wonderful Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This collection of nearly twenty years of his writings tells the sometimes disturbing story of how we are treating our fragile islands.’
—Romulus Whitaker, founder, ANET