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Bittu Sahgal's Blog

Sanctuary Blog

Bittu Sahgal's Blog
bittusahgal Description:
I oscillate between elation and despair as I write of an exquisite nation, blessed with an embarrassment of natural riches, which is steadily being brought to its knees by relentless politicians and planners who find no pleasure in birdsong, or forest smells, or pure rivers.

Mumbai’s Traumatized Coast

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

The Mumbai oil and chemical spill was a disaster that was waiting to happen. The files of our government are filled with warnings that could have prevented such an incident. Given our lack of respect for the environment I guess this oil spill had to happen and it will happen again.

Why were two ports at such a small distance

The Trojan Horse

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

Coal, bauxite, lignite and uranium mines are ripping my country apart and burying tigers, elephants and butterflies in their depressing debris. Yet, even in my darkest moments, I remind myself we neither have the luxury of cynicism nor despair. The sad thing is that our battles are largely being lost because, as in the story of

Sartaj Singh, Forest Minister, Madhya Pradesh says there are no "surplus" tigers in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, so he cannot accede to the request from Rajasthan to send a tiger to Sariska Tiger Reserve. Strange. Just a short while ago the same Minister said that Bandhavgarh had surplus tigers, which were successfully


Kashmir a less happy valley?

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

I wrote the text reproduced below on the Dal Lake and Dachigam to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1997.

Since then the situation for the wildlife of J&K has worsened. Militancy has hardly helped, but even without this social trauma, the truth is that the love, respect and


LAST WORD -- Up in Smoke

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

Depending on how you perceive the world, this image, shot in
April 2009 just outside Maharashtra's Navegaon National Park, could
represent either hope and sustenance - or despair and destruction.

The leaves of Diospyros melanoxylon - known as tendu in India - are responsible for putting food in the bellies of almost 10 million


A house divided WILL fall

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

The forests of India are loved by a divided family -- wildlifers and social activists. Almost no other group in India is genuinely interested in keeping natural forests 'natural', except perhaps a small section of wildlife tourism people.

This division in the house has been manna from heaven for the enemy -- mining companies,


THE CLIMATE SNAFU

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

The rains have arrived in Mumbai on June 7, 2010. Bang on time. That is probably enough reason for the climate ignorant to say to themselves: "These environmental types are always barking up the wrong tree. See, nothing is wrong with the climate."

 Of course they are the ones holding the wrong side of the climate stick.  

India


The Mother of our Rivers

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

It was dry and very hot. At around 3.30 p.m. on a May day, temperatures hovered around 45 degrees C in the shade and the perspiration evaporated almost as fast as it appeared. But this did not bother me. From the bamboo thicket to our left we had heard the bell-like alarms of a sambar deer. A tiger was about.

Ten, fifteen,


Tagore, man of the future

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

"I love India, but my India is an idea and not a geographical expression. Therefore, I am not a patriot - I shall ever seek my compatriots all over the world"

Those lines were written by 'Gurudev' Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150 birth anniversary happens to be today. The free-thinking lines define my own notion of life and


Chicken or Egg?

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

 

What came first, wildlife, or wildlife tourism? That's a no-brainer as far as I am concerned. It was much after this that the tourism guys came in, attracted by easy pickings.

Even today, virtually no wildlife destination truly shares its wealth with the people living around reserves, nor do lodges actually help finance