Hesaraghatta wetlands

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.

Explore the wonderful birdlife in/around Hesaraghatta via eBird contributors: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2525708

Kyasanur Forest Disease Vaccine safety

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.

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Open letter to President Kovind

APJ Abdul Kalam as then President of India amidst Adivasi children at BR Hills on October 15, 2006 after his talk at VGKK tribal residential school campus in sharp contrast to President Kovind’s visit on October 7, 2021

Dear Mr President,

It was another October in the year 2006, when a vehicle bearing the national emblem instead of a license plate (as is the norm for vehicles transporting the President) stopped at B R Hills in Chamarajanagar district of southern Karnataka. It was an exciting time for the Solega people who were among those who welcomed him. And why not? It was after all their lands and forests that the (then) President was visiting, and it was with pride and anticipation that they received President Kalam. School girls from Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK) school welcomed him. In complete breach of the blue book which is prescriptive of protocols and behaviours during Presidential visit replete with colonial referencing to visits by (then) royalty, President Kalam insisted on going everywhere that the local district administration had forbidden. He met patients at the tribal hospital that he inaugurated, shared thoughts in his speech on his vision for rural and remote areas, and later on hugged and was hugged by scores of Solega Adivasi children. As a doctor at the hospital, I watched in awe as he demonstrated his familiarity with the name of the local Adivasi community and asked me about the status of Sickle Cell Disease (known to be prevalent among several of these communities). He even naively promised that in a decade genetic engineering would find a treatment for it (which is not yet the case).

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Corona Maari/ಕೊರೊನ ಮಾರಿ

ಚೀನಾದಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲ ದೇಶಕೂ

ಬಂದೇ ಬಿಡ್ತು ಕೊರೊನ ಮಾರಿ

ಎಲ್ಲ ಮಾಯಾ ನಾಳೆ ನಾವೂ ಮಾಯಾ

ಎಲ್ಲ ಮಾಯಾ ನಾಳೆ ನೀವೂ ಮಾಯಾ

BASAVARAJU, A SOLIGA/ADIVASI POET & THEATRE ARTIST FROM YERAKANA GADDE, BR HILLS
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Tukde Tukde hum nahin, tumhara tootna mumkin hai

टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है
– उमेश श्रिनिवसन

यह जो बैर के पहाड़ खड़े किए हैं तुमने
सोचा होगा के हैं हिमालय से भी बुलंद
हम नहीं जियेंगे इनके साए में
नफ़रत के टुकड़े कर देंगे

टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है

जाओ रेंगते उसी गुफाह में
जहाँ से साँप बनकर निकले हो
तुम्हारा ज़हेर ना होगा हमसे हज़म
आतंकवाद के टुकड़े कर देंगे

टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है

खून बहाया, मौत भी बाँटा
अब खामोशी में बर्दाश्त नहीं
ना होगा ख़त्म हमारे खून का कोष
भेदभाव के टुकड़े कर देंगे

यह टुकड़े टुकड़े हम नहीं, तुम्हारा टूटना मुमकिन है

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