With close to 300 species recorded, the Hesaraghatta wetlands north of Bengaluru is one of the important wintering sites for tends of thousands of migratory birds that winter every year. In addition, its open grassland, marshes and the waterbody needs to be protected from various corporate interests which invariably have an eye on such open lands and acquire it for “development”. Invariably, such “development” neglects many local communities who get walled out of such commons as the land gets privatised. Often, the step to getting it privatised is to first declare it as “wasteland” etc.
The Karnataka Forest Department has put up a proposal to declare it as a conservation reserve. This is an important first step at securing the land and granting it State protection…even if the FD might eventually have a poor track record in preserving the “commons” character of the land…that is someting one will have to keep on working with them on. However, the choice is between an exclusionary State entity and private land sharks and the former is always the best choice, given at least the accountability framework that State entities fall under.
Now the responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the Karnataka State Wildlife Board, a statutory authority headed by the Chief Minister of Karnataka with members from multiple departments including the Forest, Policy, Social Welfare and Animal Health departments, and also including scientists from Zoological Survey of India, Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun) and Botanical Survey of India and non-governmental members.
Sadly, the board is missing individuals with proven track-record of conservation on-ground or one of the several wonderful ecologists that are from Karnataka and have worked extensively across multiple protected areas. Nonetheless, the existing board has a big responsiblity of ensuring that they stand up against commercial interests and secure the future of the birdlife and wildlife that depends on Hesaraghatta for our future generations; for aesthetic interest, for ecological interests and of course as a small contribution in our efforts against climate change. Fingers crossed.
NOTE: I read this book and responded immediately by translating into English assuming that the author’s foreword allowed anyone to do this and based on public statements attributed to him inviting widespread dissemination, and interpreting it as a waiver of his rights. However, the author has noted that translation requires his prior permission. With apologies to the author for issuing a translation without their permission, the previous translation uploaded here is hereby withdrawn.
There has been rather little research or innovation in improving the efficacy of the KFD vaccine, a rather old product. Decided to understand vaccine safety using this product as a proxy and here is a compilation of ongoing work to understand this.
Sociologist and activist Abhay Xaxa has written this poem that I found deeply illuminating for many privileged folks like myself who work with Adivasi communities. Since the poem in English is not accessible to many of my Kannada-speaking colleagues & collaborators, with help from Latha Chilgod, we produced a crude Kannada translation of the poem. A dream to set it to tune in Kannada one day, perhaps with help from some of the amazing Adivasi musicians here in Chamarajanagar…one day….meanwhile, below is our Kannada translation and further down is the original in English that I believe was first published in Roundtable India.
My Youtube feed offered me a suggestion from one of the recent uploads by Prasar Bharati, the Indian government public broadcaster. It was a documentary film about Namdapha Tiger Reserve, nestled away in the north-eastern corner of India with “pristine” but peopled forests. Literally within seconds, the film became uncomfortable to watch and as the 20-odd minutes of the film rolled by with very little of the flora and fauna of Namdapha, and a complete lack of mention of ANY local person, let alone a mention of the several tribes including the Lisu people who have lived for decades (if not longer), I thought of putting together my thoughts on the fillm in this thread.