Author Background: Arnab Basu is an environmentalist by passion and profession. He has had nearly two decades of experience in the field of environment and sustainability consultancy and five years of association as natural history commentator with natural history, non-profit, NGO, Exploring Nature. His writing on the environment and natural history started in 2015. He has written many articles, editorials, and short stories but “The journey through Holocene” is his first book.
Que: I would like to begin by congratulating you on the publication of “The Journey Through Holocene.” How has the response to the book been so far?
Arnab Basu: Thank you very much for that. The response has been encouraging so far, considering it’s my first endeavor as an author. The book ranked 4 in few consecutive weeks as Amazon best seller in sustainability development genre. Lot of my colleagues and friends who bought this book have shared their positive feedback and I am grateful to them.
Que: What led to the idea of writing “The Journey Through Holocene”? Were there any events that inspired the work?
Arnab Basu: Working as a sustainability professional who is primarily involved in advising corporate on sustainability related issues, inspired me in writing this book. My nearly two decades of professional journey raised several un-answered questions on the concept of “neo-liberal sustainability development”. In my effort to seek answers to those questions I ended up writing this book.
Que: “The Journey Through Holocene” is a product of the most challenging times of 2010-2020. How easy or difficult was it for you to study the facts related to it?
Arnab Basu: Narrating the key events which had shaped the concept of “Sustainable Development” in last decade was not so difficult for me. However comprehending the fact that the integration of ecology and environment, which is known as “Sustainable Development”, is gradually turning out as an “oxymoron”, was very difficult for me. Therefore articulating the “word of caution” for the people of today’s world was not so easy for me.
Que: What are your views about present-day writing? Do you think enough is being written to do justice to the environmental issues in the light of “The Journey Through Holocene”?
Arnab Basu: Since 1972, after Stockholm conference, lot of literary work was done on the issue of sustainability. But “The Journey through Holocene” is not just an effort to consolidate or make commentary of such work. Rather this book is my first attempt to raise question on the effectiveness of neo-liberal concept of sustainability.
Que: Since you have been a scriptwriter in your early years, are there any authors that you enjoy reading or any books which are your favorites?
Arnab Basu: In my young days my favorite writer was Satayjit Ray, and my scriptwriting endeavor was also inspired by him. However, my writing on sustainability related issues are largely inspired by Ramchandra Guha and Rachel Carson. Guha’s social ecology and Carson’s deep ecology based thought processes are kind of foundation pillars of my own thought process related to neo-liberal sustainable development. Their legendry novels on environmentalism, “How much should a person consume?” and “Silent Spring” are my two favorite books in this genre.
Que: How would you categorize “The Journey Through Holocene” as its appeal seems to be to a broad audience?
Arnab Basu: As I mentioned in my book, I wrote this book considering every individual who is concerned about environment and sustainability. However, being a professional environmentalist probably my tone of narration was bit more inclined towards people who work in this field. Now the subject environment itself is so broad, therefore the nature of people professionally involved in this field is also much diversified. Therefore, the audience for this book could be Industrial and business professionals, conservationists, regulators, environmental activists, scientists and researches and student of environment science. I would like to categorize this piece of my work as a reference book for further research and study on environmentalism.
Que: “The Journey Through Holocene” has given a powerful introduction to your potential as a writer. Can the readers expect any fiction work from you in the future? Please share about your future projects.
Arnab Basu: I am not sure about writing fiction in near future. But currently I am working on two more projects. One is related to dispensing environmental justice in our country through judicial systems. The other one is on natural history related to Bengal Tigers. The first one is more for the academic people but the second one is again for general audience as it is all about my own experience on tiger-centric adventures and explorations in subcontinental forests.
Que: What is the story behind the title of your work, “The Journey Through Holocene”?
Arnab Basu: Holocene is the current geological epoch and I used this as the name of an e-magazine of my NGO, Exploring Nature. This NGO was founded by one of my childhood friends and me in 2015. Since then till beginning of 2020 we published this e magazine “Holocene” on regular manner. This book is nothing but the collection of different editorials written by me in different issues of that e magazine. Thus the name “The Journey Through Holocene” depicts not just the journey of transformation of sustainability development concept in last decade of this epoch but, it also symbolizes my journey as editor of the e magazine “Holocene” in last 5 year.
Que: “The Journey Through Holocene” presents untold stories and data which otherwise may not find mention. Are you acquainted with anyone who has suffered on a personal level? How did they handle their tough times?
Arnab Basu: Not any particular individual, but I believe the entire mankind is suffering by this hegemony created by the neo-liberal concept of sustainable development. My intention behind writing this book was to leave few open ended questions for my readers in order to provoke them further to think about the effectiveness of this concept.
Que: As you mention in “The Journey Through Holocene,” that the book is concerned about the sustainability of the planet, do you believe the points of sustainable development have been followed in the best way possible after their implementation?
Arnab Basu: This is a great question and thanks for asking this. In fact that is the whole point I tried to highlight in this book. I wanted my readers to think about it, whether the true spirit and intent of “sustainable development” are being followed and implemented in the best possible ways.
Que: If you were to describe your book “The Journey Through Holocene” in a few words without giving any spoilers, what would those words be?
Arnab Basu: For that I would like to quote one phrase from my book, “The sustainability governance system responsible for protecting the environmental sovereignty of the largest democracy of the world, is in dilemma!”
Que: What advice would you give to budding writers who may be planning to write in the same genre as “The Journey Through Holocene”?
Arnab Basu: I would advise them to study and understand the history of environmentalism in this planet. It’s really ancient, started with the beginning of human civilization and since then has gone through several interesting socio-economic and political transformation. I am still learning and studying this subject and there is plenty to learn about it.
Que: Thank you very much for sparing your time. I look forward to reading more books from you in the future. All the best.
Arnab Basu: Thank you so much for taking your time out as well and making all effort to take this book at larger platform.
Author Name: Arnab Basu
Book Title: The Journey Through Holocene
Interviewed By: Atrayee Bhattacharya at Criticspace Journals