‘The Last Wave’ ~ an Island Novel:
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, an ecology poised on the sharp edge of time and history. The definitive Andaman novel…
Pankaj Sekhsaria is a researcher, writer, photographer, campaigner and academic. He has worked extensively in the field of environment and wildlife conservation with a particular focus on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as part of his work with environmental NGO, Kalpavriksh.
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’ ( Jt. Editor, 2010). ‘The Last Wave’ is his debut novel based in the Andaman islands. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Hyderabad,
where he lives with his wife and four-year-old son.