In our latest episode of the Indian Ocean World Podcast, Prof. Annu Jalais, an anthropologist and an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, talks about the Sundarbans, the largest delta in the world that sprawls across India and Bangladesh along the Bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans supports a unique biodiverse environment of mangroves, tigers, crocodiles, snakes, and humans. Prof. Jalais tells us how she developed an interest in the region as a high school student; why it’s imperative for any researcher to understand the forests and its tigers before writing historical and anthropological studies of the Sundarbans; and how the relationship between humans and nonhumans, especially tigers, have highlighted the narratives of development and politics around it in the Sundarbans. Prof. Jalais also discusses a serious impact of climate change in the Sundarbans: disaster fatigue resulting from ever shifting river embankments that change the contours of forested and inhabited lands, regular cyclones, and close encounters with nonhumans (tigers, crocodiles, and snakes) that often have a telling effect on the mental health of the inhabitants of the Sundarbans.
Bio page: https://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/sasja/
Link to publications: https://nus.academia.edu/AnnuJalais
Our “Southern Collective” website on the northern Indian Ocean: https://www.thesoutherncollective.org/
Map of the Sundarbans region (it keeps changing so download it from here): https://www.pinterest.com/pin/280771358005284524/
Image: Wikicommons – Sundarban Tiger [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sundarban_Tiger.jpg]