Water in the Wilderness

Life in the Coast, Deserts, and Mountains of Pakistan
Mehjabeen Abidi-Habib, Richard Garstang and Rina Saeed Khan

With poetic imagination and new science, this book takes you to the theme of our times, water.

Written from a country that has revolved around water for five thousand years starting with the Indus Valley Civilization, it delves into little known places in Pakistan searching for freshwater and people’s fortitude.

In an age when water is the source of conflict, politics, disasters, Water in the Wilderness goes beyond current affairs into the corners of the Makran Coast, the greater Rajasthan Desert and the mighty Karakorams to show how it shapes landscapes, cultures, and wildlife.

Essays from bordering Iran, India, Afghanistan, Tibet, and Central Asia remind us of the deep connectedness of culture and nature following unbroken routes like those of migratory birds.

This book is about the beauty, continuity and fragility of a country much misunderstood and urgently seeking its core identity.

A song of life in the face of death: essential reading— stunning photography — a crucial gem. Poignantly, insidiously addictive: meticulously researched, inspiringly written.
B.K. Zahrah Nasir, author of The Gun Tree, Oxford University Press, Pakistan

Water in the Wilderness is a work of great insight, artistic merit, and also of great hope [for] the country’s rich, varied cultural and natural heritage.
Thomas F. Thornton, University of Oxford

My goodness…an exquisite work. The prose flows like water with all the dynamics and beauty therein.
Paul Hawken, author of ‘Blessed Unrest’, New York Times Bestseller, USA

The book makes me dream of climbing the Chandra Gup—the steep mud volcano of Makran—to toss coconuts into the crater to appease Lord Shiva; to hear about the Peelu berries ripening [in the desert] and to meet Abdul Wahid to know more about the brown bears of Deosai!! Very sensitive and scholarly…the book will surely be regarded as a classic; the characters described are genuine archetypes of humanity.
Roland & Sabrina Michaud, Photographers for National Geographic, authors of Mirror of the Orient, Paris France


Author Description

Mehjabeen Abidi-Habib an ecologist and writer, has for 25 years worked in the social development field. Understanding how people live within nature has led to a previous book, academic articles and PhD. She lives with her family in Lahore.


Richard Garstang a field biologist, for 17 years worked on saving Pakistan’s species, national parks and leading the Pakistan Wetlands Project with WWF-Pakistan. He now resides in Cape Town with his Pakistani wife.


Rina Saeed Khan  an award-winning environmental journalist is well known for her columns in Pakistan’s Dawn and the UK’s Guardian newspapers. She lives in Islamabad.

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More Information
ISBN 9780199400119
Weight in kg 1.350
Rights World
Year of Publication 2016
Binding Hardback
Pages 386 pages