Business Standard

Amitav Ghosh disappointed as Indian elections ignored discussions on climate change


Press Trust of India London
Bestselling author Amitav Ghosh, increasingly a prominent voice in the climate change debate, expressed his disappointment that the issue was never really discussed during the recently-concluded Indian election campaign.
The 62-year-old writer behind acclaimed books such as Sea of Poppies' and The Glass Palace', who is in London to promote his soon-to-be-released Gun Island', said that while India faces many sorts of crises, none of them really became a serious issue during the elections, which ended in the Narendra Modi led government's victory.
It was one of the most disappointing things about these elections. There's no country anywhere that's facing a more dire climate situation than India and it's not just climate, it is climate plus other environmental impact. It's absolutely dire, Ghosh said in response to a query at an event organised by the South Asia Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE) on Tuesday evening.
Look at the brown cloud that is hanging over India, especially concentrated over cities. The air being so poisonously dire and most of all the water stresses, absolutely disastrous. What's happening with the Monsoon is the scariest thing, said the author of the celebrated 2016 non-fiction work The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable'.
Ghosh, in conversation with LSE's South Asia Centre Director Mukulika Banerjee, covered a range of topics but climate change dominated the discourse as he declared that the reality is bleak and it is pointless to pretend otherwise.
We know this is just the beginning, it will get much worse, he said, welcoming drives such as the Extinction Rebellion to try and pull back from some of the most adverse impacts.
Describing Gun Island' as an extra fulfilling experience, the author revealed that his latest work of fiction is packed with all his obsessions, including climate change, and an element of the "uncanny" that can be found in all his writings.
On the topic of a proposed screen adaption of his historical fiction The Ibis Trilogy' by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, the writer declared that he had come to realise that film was a very unreliable medium and had no plans of being involved with the filmmaking process.
When you sign that contract, you have to accept that it's entering a different medium and that medium has its own imperative, I can't dictate those imperatives, he said.

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First Published: May 29 2019 | 7:25 PM IST

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