Forest of Tides
Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | English Non-fiction
Forest of Tides
'The Gosaba river stretched towards the horizon... It gave the impression of travelling through darkness to enter a forest of tides.'
Perhaps the most enigmatic of India’s landscapes, the Sunderbans is a land where dense mangrove forests, a sprawling delta and rare wildlife come together to form one of the most biodiverse regions on earth. Till date, it remains amongst the most difficult terrains to live in. The locals lead precarious lives, battling not only nature – in the form of cyclones and animal attacks – but also an indifferent government that provides little infrastructural support.
In Forest of Tides, Manisha Sobhrajani recounts her experience of living and working in the Sunderbans supervising the construction of a charitable hospital – from adjusting to a life without basic amenities to trying to build permanent structures with fishnet and plastic bottles, while navigating the pitfalls of local politics.
Interwoven with stories about the people she encounters – honey-gatherers, wood-collectors, forest officials, even a former poacher – this deeply personal account paints a richly nuanced picture of a challenging yet extraordinary land.
Manisha Sobhrajani has lived and worked in the wild, untamed mangrove forests of the Sunderbans as a full-time volunteer with the Samarpan Foundation. She also travels to Jammu & Kashmir to work with groups of women on issues of trauma-healing and reconciliation. Her book The Land I Dream of: The Story of Kashmir’s Women is a gripping tale of the lives and times of Kashmir. She now lives in Goa.