The Hungry Corporation

Amitav Ghosh remembers visiting the Sunderbans as a child; more recently, he spent a long period in the mangrove islands of Bengal researching The Hungry Tide. He met dolphin researchers, dusted off the files on the massacre of refugees who were encroaching on Project Tiger land in Morichjhapi and listened to old legends, tales of Bon Bibi and Dakkhin Rai. In this quietly passionate essay, he argues against a recent proposal to build a boutique floating hotel in the area:

“The Sahara Parivar claims that it will open ‘virgin’ areas to tourists. But the islands of the Sunderbans are not ‘virgin’ in any sense. The Indian part of the Sunderbans supports a population of close to four million people—equivalent to the entire population of New Zealand. The Sunderbans are an archipelago of islands, large and small. Many, if not most of the islands, have been populated at some time or the other. In fact, several islands were forcibly depopulated in order to make room for Project Tiger.

In 1979, the Left Front government evicted tens of thousands of refugee settlers, mainly Dalits, from the island of Morichjhapi. The cost in lives is still unaccounted, but it is likely that thousands were killed. The eviction was justified on ecological grounds: the authorities claimed that the island of Morichjhapi had to be preserved as a forest reserve. It is scarcely conceivable that a government run by the same Left Front is now thinking of handing over a substantial part of the Sunderbans to an industrial house like the Sahara Parivar. It runs contrary to every tenet of the Front’s professed ideology.

The Sahara Parivar’s project would turn large stretches of this very forest, soaked in the blood of evicted refugees, into a playground for the affluent.”





One response to “The Hungry Corporation”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Only insane minds can conceive of such plans!! “Sahara Parivar” will probably build a 250 feet tall floating statue of Bonbibi also, and let it float with the dolphins!!!! No joke, looking at the monstrosity called “Bharatmata” they have installed at Amby Valley near Pune.THEY MUST BE STOPPED FROM MAKING SUNDERBANS INTO AN AMUSEMENT PARK.– Kallol P. Banerjee, Mumbai

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: