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National Wildlife Week: Let’s take wildlife conservation to homes following ancient Indian ethos

The first bread will go to the cow and the last for the street dog! Indian families have had an ancient tradition to feed animals. They also treat  wilderness and all its inhabitants as pious. The west looked at this subcontinent with wonder and surprise. Qualitative living and conservation ethos had been hallmarks since time immemorial. Let’s try to revisit those traditions and imbibe them to attain balanced sustainable development.

By Harsh Vardhan

The Constitution of India Article 51 A (g) lays down that it is a fundamental duty of the Indian citizens to protect wildlife and have compassion for all living creatures. The Article 48 A states that it is the duty of the State to protect, safeguard and work for the improvement of forests and wildlife of the country. The subject of protection of wildlife and birds is given under List III, Schedule VII of the Constitution. List III is the Concurrent List, which depicts that both the Centre and the States have the power to make laws over it. 

National Wildlife Week from October 1-7

October 1-7 annually is celebrated all over India as National Wildlife Week, a movement marked by immense enthusiasm and participation by non-government organisations, civic service clubs, and groups. They support forest department to hold diverse events and contribute awards to students. An outstanding example of government and non-government participation, happening on their own.  

The powerful feature image speaks volumes

A black-and-white photo here speaks about the 1979 Wildlife Week at Jaipur Zoological Garden. It shows a few renowned experts sitting on the dais: (L to R) Ishwar Prakash, a zoologist from CAZRI, Dharmakumarsinhji, a renowned expert on wildlife, D.R. Mehta, famed for his Jaipur Foot Initiative, VS Saxena, a forest officer, and KC Kulish, founder editor of the Rajasthan Patrika daily. DR Mehta continues to this day with a vision and dedication difficult to be found among trillions. Visit his Foot-Factory in Jaipur’s Malviya Nagar or meet him at the Prakrit Bharti Academy, he set up as a creative renaissance. You educate yourself.  

Today’s gain can be loss for future generations

Crisis over forests and wildlife within them, is gathering storm. Owing to need for faster development, priorities of the Government remain what conservationists say ‘lopsided.’ Who else if not the Government will realise that today’s perceived net gain in development can also be the gross loss for the future generations in case ecological security is not maintained.  

National Wildlife Week: Let’s take wildlife conservation to homes following ancient Indian ethos - The first bread will go to the cow and the last for the street dog! Indian families have had an ancient tradition to feed animals. They also treat  wilderness and all its inhabitants as pious. The west looked at this subcontinent with wonder and surprise. Qualitative living and conservation ethos had been hallmarks since time immemorial. Let’s try to revisit those traditions and imbibe them to attain balanced sustainable development.
Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) pair feeding at a water body, they confine to edges only and are very selective feeders. (Photo by Durga lal Verma)

Vedas, Gita speak of nature conservation

The dialogue between the two sides should sustain to attain balanced sustainable development. The ancient Indian literature including the Vedas, Bhagwad Gita, etc are replete with dictates on nature conservation. Are they practised by authorities who preach a lot on ethics and values? More now a days. 

The Indian Birding Fair 

Catch Them Young! Students are the future of the world. The Indian Birding Fair at Jaipur’s Man Sagar lake imparts conservation tips to a few thousand of them annually for past 24 years. Teachers acclaim that they seldom receive at schools and in books what they receive at such an open-air class-room-event. And at no price paid.  The Rajasthan Forest Department has become a lead partner at this biggest event in the country. 

From Horse’s mouth

The lake now offers wondrous experiences as its dam was renovated by the Jan Mangal Charitable Trust during mid 90s at a time a new idiom like the corporate social responsibility was non-existent. As a responsible businessman, we practice green-buildings and try to popularise nature conservation. But we often find it hard to sell such ideas to colleagues in same or allied business, he admits frankly.   

Anand Mishra, TWSI’s President

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