Nagercoil girl Masha Nazeem will receive the prestigious National Youth Award for her contributions to science and technology.
The annual award is instituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and is given to recognise outstanding work and achievements of youngsters and further motivate them to excel in the field on National Development and Social Service.
“I am very excited to be selected for this award,” said 24-year-old Masha, who with her father Khaja Nazeemudeen, a government employee, is all set to receive the award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 12.
Hailing from Nagercoil in Kanniyakumari district Masha is the elder of two siblings. She developed a keen interest in science from the time she was nine years old.
“It all happened because of my father, he would enroll me in every possible contest in school, one of them was a science exhibition. I didn’t even know my name was on the list,” she said. Masha, then a class five student, made a burglar alarm which impressed her teachers and won her the first prize.
From then on, there was no stopping, Masha went on to invent 14 socially useful gadgets such as a flameless seal marker, which is now used by State government officials, hi-tech train toilet system, fuel dispensers, anti sinking alarm amongst others.
Three of her innovations are in the process of getting patented. She has also won several awards and accolades including the State Youth Award 2016.
To provide free hands on training to young inventors and help them turn their ideas to reality, she setup Masha Innovation Center, a research laboratory and workshop in her hometown.
“There are many students who are creative and have ideas but get stuck in only learning theory taught in schools. While theory is important, they must also be encouraged to have practical experience. This is my aim and I hope more students benefit from it,” she said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Tiruchirapalli / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – January 12th, 2018
Language is no barrier to learning the nuances of photography at the Light and Life Academy
It is 6 am, and I watch Iqbal Mohamed quietly set up his camera in front of the big glass windows in his living room and wait for the sun to rise. We are at the Light and Life Academy (LLA) in Lovedale in the Nilgiris, and I learn that he does this every morning. “No two sunrise is the same,” he offers by way of explanation. Mohamed doesn’t say very much. He prefers to let his photographs do the talking, laughs his more vocal wife Anuradha.
The photographer founded LLA in 2001 as a full-facility photographyinstitute. The inspiration was his alma mater, the Brooks Institute California. He worked in Hollywood with some of the biggest names in photography, and in India, winning considerable acclaim, before setting up his school. LLA, which maintains high standards of professionalism and excellence, has added immensely to the pool of talented photographers in the country. And the alumni have now helped him realise another dream — to set up an online course called ‘Get Creative with Photography’.
They want to reach out to more people who take pictures as a serious hobby, says Anuradha. “But we did not want it to become just another random photography course. Mohamed’s book, Portrait & Function Photography, in eight Indian languages, was enthusiastically received, and that made us think of an online programme that was serious, structured and professional,” she adds. LLA online was born after three long years of hard work. The programme is available in English and nine Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya and Bengali). “Prahlad Kakar advised us on how to create the video tutorials, all shot in campus, and make them not just informative, but also entertaining,” she says.
I click on the online programme to see how it looks, and the screen fills up with a haunting photograph of trees. Even to my unprofessional eye it is a stunning image. It is one of Mohamed’s photographs.
Nattily dressed LLA alumni present the lessons. Each one is an acclaimed photographer, says Anuradha, with considerable pride. “Without them, this course would not have been possible.” These include Shaheen Thaha (celebrity, fashion and architecture), Mihir Hardikar (food and beverages), Ajit SN (automobile and underwater), Punya Arora (editorial and underwater fashion), Satish Kumar (automobile) and Ankit Gupta (architecture and travel).
Getting into the details
The online tutorial begins with clear, concise and simply-worded instructions. Then comes the fun part. I ask Anuradha if can see/hear the lesson in Bengali. I follow it up with a class in Tamil, Hindi and Kannada! The dubbing is perfect and as someone who has only taken pictures on her mobile phone, even I can understand everything. ‘Getting Ready & Exposure’ is the first lesson, followed by ‘Shutter’, and two sessions each on ‘Lenses and Apertures’, four sessions on ‘Light’, a lesson on ‘Colour’, and finally one on ‘Composition’.
Each of the modules explains the concepts and is supported by images. At the end of each class, an assignment is given that the students have to complete and upload in a week. Their homework is critiqued by mentors and peers, and only then can they proceed to the next class. If required, they are allowed to re-shoot. “This way they share ideas and learn from each others’ mistakes,” explains Anuradha, who emphasises that a strict protocol and system is followed and those signing up for the course have to be committed. There is no skipping lessons.
Offline vs online
Online students have access to more than 500 stunning photographs by over 90 LLA alumni to give them an idea of what they can do with their cameras. Mohamed oversees their work and comments when necessary. The first set of students have already completed two assignments and the results have been promising, says Anuradha. Once they get feedback, they will launch other programmes, she adds.
Prahalad Muralidharan, CEO of LLA Online, explains that it was challenging to replicate the successful methods of their full-time courses on to the online platform. “After brainstorming and countless revisions, we finally found a way to do it. With peer-group interaction, an online forum and professional feedback, LLA Online is as close as it gets to LLA in terms of learning on an online platform!” he says.
The course includes 10 sessions over 10 weeks. The fee is ₹10,000. The full time courses at LLA can go up to ₹6,65,000. Details: llaonline.in or call: 97511-51999
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style / by Pankiaja Srinivasan / January 05th, 2018
Wild life lover N.I. Jalaluddin is convinced that the way forward in conservation is through young people and he works tirelessly to sensitise them about forests, animals and birds
“My love for Nature started with birds, by observing the kaaka and kuruvi,” laughs N.I. Jalaluddin. As a school boy he was in Kollegal where his father was working. And, as he stared up at the sky, he was often beset by questions about the birds he saw flying. He wondered: ‘How do the migratory birds fly across continents and sometimes over 16,000 kms without any GPS, fuel, or driver?’.
That enthusiasm and curiosity combined with a trek to Mudumalai as a part of WWF camp fuelled his interest further. “I was a regular at BNHS Nature camps in Bandipur, Nagarhole and Masinagudi. And, I decided to talk about Nature and Wildlife among school students from then on.”
Today, his Nature Conservation Society that spreads awareness among students and the public has completed thousands of Nature camps and reached out to millions of students. Several awards have come his way with the latest one being the Best Service Award by the District Collector. “I work with eco-club students and take them on Nature walks in the Western Ghats,” he says. He educates them about the forests and the rich biodiversity it supports. Then, there is bird watching, and learning about mammals too. “I tell them how to identify pug marks, foot prints, and spoor of animals, and the importance of animal census.”
Jalaluddin talks excitedly about Project Kaliru, an initiative by Tamil Nadu Forest Department to save elephants. As a part of the project, he will cover 46 institutions, schools and colleges, and talk to them about elephants and wildlife. “The elephants lead the forests and set the terrain route for other animals. One of the prime objectives of Project Kaliru is to ensure that there is nil human -animal conflict. Did you know that the elephants as they migrate also bring a variety of plants from another region? The elephant dung has about 40 per cent of undigested food that includes seeds of a variety of fruits and vegetables.”
Awareness is the key, he stresses. “Tribals and animals have co-existed for generations. The conflict arises only in urban zones. In one year, there are over 15,000 deaths by road accidents while the death by human-animal conflict is about 30, which can be easily mitigated.” He is also making a documentary on elephant-human conflict called Wild Witness. “ It’s a dream project for me. One of my students, actor Aravind, who has attended my camps, is helping us out with the camera equipment. DFO Satish and Conservator of Forest S. Ramasubramaniam have been very helpful.” Jalaluddin is a regular at surveys of wildlife population with the forest department. He has rescued many species like snakes, birds, and animals used in illegal trade and handed them over to the forest department for release and rehabilitation. He has spoken out vociferously to save the wetlands. “When I raised my voice against cutting of trees for highway expansion, the authorities threatened to file a criminal case against me. But the Bar Association backed me and we fought it out .” He has intervened and stopped cutting of thousands of trees in the city by litigation, court stay orders, and through dialogues with higher officials. “Youngsters are the change makers, our hope. We have to start with them to care for Nature. Even awareness on banning plastics works better when you take it through them.”
Recently, Jalaluddin took a group of 150 students from Shree Sakthi College of Engineering on a trek to Valparai. “I told them to observe the scratching of animals on trees. It is one of the ways to understand that we are in tiger territory. Engineering colleges should also inculcate nature awareness. A watch tower or a check dam involves engineering skills.”
He recounts some thrilling experiences. “Once, we spotted a leopard in Mudumalai. Another time, we saw a herd of 13 elephants at a very close distance while on a trek at Theppakaadu. Luckily, there was a trench in between, much to the relief of the students,” he laughs. Along with students from Chandra Matriculation School, and Ramakrishna College for Women, he has spotted tigers in Bandipur, Thengumarhada…. “It’s a pity that some schools ignore this aspect of education. We live in the Western Ghats, the hotspot of bio-diversity. When I ask the students about our State animal (Nilgiri Tahr), bird ( Emerald Dove) flower ( Senkaanthal), or tree (palm tree), most them don’t know. A lot of animals, for example wild dogs or dhols have become a rare species now. I have spotted the Emerald Dove or Panchavarna pura so many times at Siruvani foothills. That is also very rare. In Tamil Nadu, we have four Project Tiger programmes in Anaimalai, Mudumalai, Satyamangalam and Kalakkad-Mundanthurai. We have Project Elephant too in Anaimalai and Mudumalai to care for and conserve the elephants.”
People fondly call him Kaatuvaasi or man of the jungle. He brushes it off with a smile, and says, “ I keep doing my work. We have to leave something for the future generation. I feel happy even if one student out of every 10 I talk to, plants a tree. He will in turn talk to another 10 people. Then, there is no stopping. That, is an achievement.”
Banning plastic bags, film shooting in reserve forests
Conducting awareness drives through rallies, photo exhibitions and workshops in schools
Supporting the forest department in mitigating human-animal conflict by dialogues with affected villagers
Awarding schools and individuals who contribute to a healthy eco-system
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Environment / by K. Jeshi / January 01st, 2018
Col. MA Kaleem, a veteran motorcyclist, young at 68 years, begins a solo ride around India, riding a total distance of 35,000 km. He is attempting to break the existing world record for longest distance traveled within a country without retracting on same route. He’ll be travelling to all the states in the country touching their capital cities. Some of the cities he will be visiting are Chennai, Trivandrum, Kochi, Mangalore, Panaji, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Agra, Gwalior, Siliguri, Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Indore, Guwahati. He intends to travel this Distance in a time of 90 days.
He has done innumerable solo rides in India and is affectionately called Moonchwala in Biker circles. He was part of the Hyderabad – Kashmir – Hyderabad ride done last year. He was flagged off in Hyderabad By the Joint Transport Commisioner and Secretary, RTA, HYDERABAD Mr T. Raghunath.
Mr. Kaleem Planted a tree at the RTA Khairatabad in Hyderabad to commemorate the occasion. Speaking on the occasion he thanked his Sponsors HP for the Petrol, CEAT Tires for 2 Sets of Brand new tires, ViaTerra for the Claw and GT customized luggage systems, HV Kumar & Forum for Live Online Support, Xbhp members for support and MapMyIndia for the GPS Device. He also mentioned that he is dedicated to protect environment and plants trees whenever he sets out for a ride. He wanted everyone in the society to pledge for their own as well as others safety while on the road.
Mr.T. Raghunath explained all the innovative ways they are using to make life of citizens on the roads in Hyderabad better. The safety measures and implementations of different policies were explained to the gathering.
Members from the online community will also be greeting and supporting him at every major town. We wish the young-at-heart colonel all the best in his record attempt.
source: http://www.motoroids.com / Motoroids.com / Home> Features / 2014
Twenty-nine years after the demise Dr. Salim Ali, the birdman of India, an international group of ornithologists named a newly discovered species after him, thus paying homage to the man who shaped generations of ornithologists and also contributed to the better understanding of birds.
Himalayan Forest Thrush, Zoothera salimalii, thus goes the name of the species, which has been described from northeastern India and adjacent parts. The research team that identified the species included scientists from Sweden, India, China, the U.S., and Russia.
Earlier, a bat species — Salim Ali’s fruit bat — that was first collected from Western Ghats region of Theni district, Tamil Nadu, was named after the legendary ornithologist.
The present study was initiated in June 2009 by Per Alström of Uppsala University, Sweden and Shashank Dalvi of the Alumnus of the Post Graduate Program, Wildlife Conservation Society- National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, while studying birds at high elevations of Western Arunachal Pradesh. The researchers had discovered that there were two species of Plain-backed Thrush breeding in sympathy in Arunachal Pradesh, India. These were completely “segregated by elevation and habitat, one occurring in mostly coniferous forest up to the upper tree limit and the other in alpine habitats above the tree limit. Their songs were strikingly different, although no definite morphological differences were detected in the field.”
The research findings were published in Avian Research.
According to the researchers, “it was realised that what was considered as a single species, the Plain-backed Thrush Zoothera mollissima, was in fact two different species in northeastern India. While the Plain-backed Thrush in the coniferous and mixed forest had a rather musical song, those individuals found in the same region, but on bare rocky habitats above the tree-line had a much harsher, scratchier, unmusical song.”
The studies of “specimens from 15 museums in seven countries revealed consistent differences in plumage and structure between birds from these two populations. It was confirmed that the species breeding in the forests of the eastern Himalayas had no scientific name. Later, the new species was named as Himalayan Forest Thrush Zoothera salimalii. The high-elevation Plain-backed Thrush is now renamed as Alpine Thrush while it retains the scientific name of Zoothera mollissima,” said a communication.
The analysis of plumage, structure, song, DNA and ecology from throughout the range of the Plain-backed Thrush revealed that a third species was present in central China, which was already known. This was treated as a subspecies of Plain-backed Thrush and was called as Sichuan Forest Thrush. The song of the Sichuan Forest Thrush was found to be even more musical than the song of the Himalayan Forest Thrush, the communication said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech / by K. S. Sudhi / January 24th, 2016
Mohammed Saidullah, a resident of Motihari in the Indian state of Bihar, has received many awards and trophies in the last few years for his innovation.
In 1975, when his Jatwa-Janerwa village was swamped under flood waters – an annual monsoon menace – he pleaded with a local boatman to take him to safety.
When the boatman refused to give him space unless he paid for it, the young Saidullah looked for other ways to tackle the floodwater.
Necessity met creativity and in just three days, he made an amphibious bicycle which could easily negotiate the floodwaters.
He modified the conventional bicycle by adding four rectangular air floats to support it while it moved on water. Two fan blades were attached to the spokes of the rear wheel which enabled it to run on both water and land.
The blades were arranged in such a fashion that the cycle could be driven in reverse direction too.
Later, Mr Saidullah demonstrated the prowess of his vehicle before a stunned crowd, which included the then state governor, AR Kidwai, when he crossed the river Ganges in Patna city.
His big shining moment came in January 2005 when the then Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam, presented him with the National Innovation Foundation’s (NIF) lifetime achievement award.
In the same year, he was selected as one of the 12 finalists for the prestigious Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Awards.
He was also profiled for the Discovery Channel’s “Beyond Tomorrow” programme.
In fact, he has won so many awards that he has lost count of them all.
An impressed NIF took away his bicycle and offered to get it patented.
But three years later, Mr Saidullah has neither got the patent nor the bicycle.
Today, he lives in penury.
Everyday, he pedals about 30 kms on his bicycle to sell honey so that he can feed his family of 16.
But the work brings him a paltry 1,500 rupees ($37) a month.
Unable to make the ends meet, he has now put up his roadside half-thatched, half-concrete house and the small plot of land – in Mathia Dih locality of Motihari in East Champaran district – on sale.
His disillusionment is such that Mr Saidullah wants to return all his awards and trophies.
“If you want to destroy someone, give him an award,” he says.
After the bicycle, Mr Saidullah also invented an amphibious cycle-rickshaw which he demonstrated before the BBC team in a nearby pond.
“On this, I can take my grandchildren for a joy ride in the water,” Mr Saidullah told the BBC.
“But I feel hurt by what the NIF has done to me. They used us for their promotion,” he says.
“May I know how many innovators like me have been benefited and how many of us have been destroyed by them?” asks Mr Saidullah, with pain creasing his face.
NIF executive chairman, Anil Gupta, is sympathetic to Mr Saidullah’s plight: “We tried a lot, are still trying and will keep trying to explore things being done for Mr Saidullah’s amphibious bicycle. But yes his frustration is completely understandable.
“Despite our best efforts, for some reasons we failed to generate any entrepreneurship for his bicycle. We’ve given him the innovation fellowship of a fixed amount and we are ready to support him in future too,” Mr Gupta said.
There is still a chance that things may look up for him.
A senior official in Bihar state’s science and technology department, Ajay Kumar, told the BBC he would do all he could to help Mohammed Saidullah.
“Though there is no structured schemes for commercialisation of such innovations in my department but we would certainly help him in getting his product patented after talking with the NIF,” Mr Kumar said.
According to Mohammed Saidullah’s son, Mohammed Shakilurrahman, the family was not always poor. Mr Saidullah inherited acres of land, orchards, elephants and a big house from his father.
But, the rural scientist sold all his property to pursue his innovations, his son says.
He blames his father’s “sheer madness” for the family’s poverty.
He too sells honey in the state capital.
However, Mr Saidullah’s bitter past experience has not stopped him from moving on to new things.
After the amphibious bicycle, he developed a key-operated table fan which can run non-stop for two hours, a mini-water pump that needs no fuel and a mini-tractor which can run for two hours on just five litres of diesel.
Now, he claims he’s making a helicopter which would cost the equivalent of $62,500 and a car that would be powered by air energy.
His dark, dingy workshop is crammed with a hand-made lathe machines and countless corroded nut-bolts littered on long rusty iron racks.
But it’s his favourite place. “I love to be here all the time,” he says.
Where would he go once his house and land is sold off?
“I’ll make a three-storey moving car with folding cots, pack my family in and park it on an open government land by the roadside anywhere,” he says.
The maverick innovator says he draws inspiration for his innovations from his everyday experiences. He has named all his creations after his loving wife, Noor Jahan.
“Noor means light and Inshallah a day would come when there would be light in our life too,” says Saidullah.
source: http://www.bbc.co.uk / BBC News / Home> South Asia / by Amarnath Tewary / Motihari – Bihar / March 03rd, 2008
Sadiq Ali’s fascination for animals began in childhood and became his life’s mission. Ali, who was born in 1966 near Chennai, belonged to a family in the leather business. As a result, he often saw taxidermists and tanners visiting his house to meet his grandfather. He also had the opportunity to interact with Irulas (a local tribe) who lived nearby.
From them, he learnt to handle snakes at a very young age. Not surprisingly, he graduated as a leather technology professional, and moved to Ooty in 1991 after which he began taking more interest in conservation-related activities. In 2012, he decided to dedicate his life to the conservation and protection of wildlife and founded the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT).
WNCT’s mission statement is, “We have not inherited the earth and her wild heritage from our forefathers, but borrowed it from our future generations. Hence it is the duty of all citizens to protect the last few remaining forests of this country.”
The Ooty-based NGO works in the Western Ghats, one of the largest forest areas in south India. With several rivers and streams originating from the Nilgiris, this is a vital watershed for south India. The region is also home to around 6,000 elephants and many other critically-endangered species of flora and fauna.
As in other parts of the country, these forests face direct and indirect threats from humans. Encroachment of forest land by the land mafia is on the rise. So is pollution caused by garbage dumped into rivers and forest land. Poaching of wildlife has severely affected the populations of many species. Sand and granite mining and other construction activities continue unabated. The forest is becoming increasingly fragmented leading to man-animal conflict. WNCT is actively addressing all of these issues.
Though WNCT is a young organisation, its founder Ali has been involved in rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife in the Nilgiri biosphere for over a decade. WNCT helps bridge the divide among stakeholders like the Forest Department, local communities and the general public. It also supports the Forest Department through capacity-building initiatives such as camps and seminars. WNCT runs a round-the-clock rescue team, which helps concerned authorities mitigate conflict scenarios. They have carried out scores of successful rescue and rehabilitation missions.
“We have an effective team of members that quickly responds to calls regarding wild animals entering human habitations or in distress. They are well trained to handle such situations and there are many instances when government authorities and local communities take help from us to resolve conflict situations,” says Ali.
WNCT believes in an inclusive working style, actively engaging with stakeholders and enforcement authorities. They have a network of informers and volunteers who watch for illegal wildlife activities. They are also actively involved in seizing wild animals in illegal possession and highlighting such cases. These animals are released into their natural habitats after requisite medical treatment.
WNCT understands that investing in conservation-awareness drives for the younger generation and local communities are vital for a secure future. They impart conservation awareness to students and local communities whenever an opportunity arises. They feel that more people should be empowered in conservation activities.
“We work extensively with colleges and educational institutions to make young minds understand the importance of protecting nature. Conservation requires a lot of passion, love, experience and resources and we would like to work with like-minded NGOs to further the cause,” says Ali.
WNCT needs a SUV which will help their rescue team reach inaccessible locations faster. Contact them if you know someone planning to sell their SUV or would like to donate one. If anyone wishes to volunteer or share information about the illegal trade or captivity of wildlife, they can email WNCT on email@example.com.
Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust
No. 97, 2nd Floor (Ooty Coffee House Building), Commercial Road
Ooty – 643001, Tamil Nadu, India.
Tel.: +91 96550 23288
For more information, visit: www.wnct.in
Author: Anirudh C. Nair
First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXIII No. 5, October 2013.
source: http://www.sanctuaryasia.in / Sanctuary Asia / Home> Resources/ NGO Profies / by Anirudh C Nair / Volume XXXIII No.5, October 2013
Hyderabad-based wildlife photographer Ismail Shariff on how the lens-totting tribe can exercise restraint in wilderness
The photograph of a snow leopard occupies a pride of place in Ismail Shariff’s edgily-designed studio. The Hyderabad-based wildlife photographer says he was blessed, not plain lucky, to have been able to capture the leopard from barely 15 feet distance in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, this year.
Shariff has been a part of three snow leopard expeditions. Earlier, he had to be content with images where the leopard was a speck in the frame. “Animals in regions like Spiti or Leh are shy. They sense human presence a mile away,” he says.
A cartload of patience helps photographers get the right shot. They wait for minutes or hours, anticipating the animal’s next move. Shariff’s experience was no different, “From where we were staying, we could spot the leopard sleeping and ran out with our cameras. The villagers were also keen to have a glimpse. We felt that when the leopard wakes up, it will walk away from the noise and make its way to a clearing. We positioned ourselves such that we can get images but not be in its line of sight.”
He’s elated to have captured these images, but he mulls over and says, “If the snow leopards could come this close to humans, either they were short of food or they’ve gotten used to human presence.”
Shariff has been an avid wildlife photographer since 2008 and has observed the rise in numbers in his tribe. “There were fewer people exploring wildlife photography back then since not everyone could afford the flamboyant lenses,” he says.
In July, Shariff plans to visit Ladakh to photograph the Pallas’ cat (named after German naturalist Pyotr Simon Pallas). Besides these niche expeditions, he’s also frequented Tadoba National Park (92 times), Kabini and Jim Corbett National Park that are popular among tourists.
The observations while on these trips make him wonder if aspiring photographers compromise on the ethics of wildlife photography for instant gratification on social media.
It isn’t a case of sour grapes or a cry for exclusivity, Shariff clarifies, “There isn’t much money to be made out of photography in India. A few established photographers work with forest departments and voluntary organisations. Their work helps in documentation and conservation activities. For most others, it’s a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with more people exploring this line. The trouble begins when ego kicks in and you want to bend rules.”
There have been instances of photographers getting too close for the comfort of animals and birds — from attempting to veer off course during safaris to getting closer to bird nests. This isn’t limited to India, says Shariff, sharing instances where he spotted photographers getting off a safari vehicle in Yellowstone National Park in the US or crowding to take shots of a Broadbill’s nest in Malaysia.
Dos and don’ts
* The enthusiasm for a great shot needs to be tempered with restraint and respect for wildlife habitats. While on safaris in places like Tadoba, Kabini or Corbett, drive slowly, don’t talk loudly and never get off the vehicle. By irritating or threatening the animal, you also put yourself at danger. “I’ve seen people trying to bribe guides and drivers to take a different route or allow them to get off the vehicle, setting a wrong precedence to others,” Shariff points out.
* Don’t underestimate nature. Respect weather conditions. Shariff recalls being blown five feet high when a gust of wind changed director in Chopta, Uttarakhand.
* Steer clear of mothers with cubs. “Mothers, be it a tigress, lioness, deer, peafowl or a bear, will do anything to safeguard its offspring.”
* Don’t try to film animals in nocturnal situations unless permitted by forest department. Animal movement is pronounced and unpredictable at night. There have been cases of road-kills where vehicles have knocked down animals.
* If one is truly interested in turning their passion for wildlife photography into something meaningful, collaborate with forest departments or organisations that document wildlife and living conditions of people living close to these zones. A niche category that’s emerging, called conservation photography, helps initiate a dialogue.
Factoid: Collaborate for conservation
Dharmendra Khandal is a conservation biologist, researcher, botanist and photographer associated with Tiger Watch in Ranthambore. His efforts have led to capture of several poachers in Rajasthan. Khandal also helped identify several species of spiders.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> LifeStyle> World Environment Day / by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo / June 03rd, 2017
Yogi mango is latest product from the laboratory of UP’s Mango Man. Three years after Haji Kalimullah christened a mango after PM Narendra Modi he has now named another after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The 74-year old Padmashri recipient, Haji Kalimullah is excited about the new variety in his orchard in Malihabad, about 30kms from Lucknow.
It’s the first time the variety named by him has not been developed by the man himself, rather, has grown naturally in his orchard. In all likelihood, it appears to be a cross of another naturally developed variety, ‘Karela’ and Dussehri.
“The Yogi mango is slender, elongated and beautiful and you won’t stop marvelling when you see it,” said Kalimullah. But the hybrid’s parent is not know even to him. “Some people visited my orchard recently and while they were looking around they asked about these four five different-looking mangoes on a tree. I said the variety might have developed naturally and they suggested to name it after Yogiji and I did,” he said.
This time, however, Kalimullah has named the variety a little earlier than usual. On all other occasions on which he developed a new variety, he waited for the fruit to ripen to know its taste and smell.
“I am still not sure how this mango is going to taste as it is green and the same can be said about how it would smell. But I hope it will taste good as it is a hybrid of Dussehri,” he said, adding that it will take about a month for the fruit to ripen.
Meanwhile, the tree bearing Modi mango has some fruits on it this year too. “Modi mango is exceptional in taste and very nice to look at,” said Kalimullah. It’s a hybrid of Kolkata’s Husn-e-Aara and Lucknow’s Dussehri. No wonder, the fruit has acquired distinct streaks of crimson like Husn-e-ara and elongation of Dussehri.
Kalimullah’s technique is different when it comes to developing a new variety. “I cross flowers, develop a fruit and then sow its seeds because every seed is different and that is how the best variety develops,” he said.
It’s anything but easy. About 99% experiments have gone waste. The few that survived brought the man recognition. He has named the hybrid of Khasul Khaas and Chausa weighing up to 1 kg after Sachin Tendulkar. He has also named one variety named after Aishwarya.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Lucknow News / TNN / May 07th, 2017
Three years ago, Umesh, a lorry driver, lost his legs in a road accident. To make ends meet, he decided to sell tea on a two-wheeler, but the new venture threw up many challenges.
Dejected but not defeated, he approached an automobile firm for help. The firm, along with a wheelchair manufacturer, came up with a design for a disabled-friendly mobile kiosk to help people with disabilities earn a livelihood as part of a CSR initiative. The company approached the Association of People with Disabilities (APD), which funded the project. By 2015-end, Umesh had a prototype of the mobile kiosk.
APD rolled out three such mobile kiosks in the city in December last year to enable people with locomotive impairment and cerebral palsy start a business. The kiosk or electric vehicle named Sunny Splendor can also be charged on solar power.
Calling it ‘office on wheels’, C.N. Gopinath, executive board member of APD, said: “It plays a pivotal role in creating a perfect livelihood option for the physically challenged, who at times are constrained by financial circumstances and lack of qualification.”
Mansoor Ahmed, one of the fund raisers of the project, said the kiosk is environment and disabled-friendly. “We replaced the steering wheel with a joystick and the tires have increased brake efficiency”.
“I want to start a cosmetics and beverages business and my target audience comprises those working in tech parks. With this vehicle, I can commute to different tech parks,” said Basheer Ahmed, who is affected by polio. For Mahesh, who has been repairing mobile phones from home, the vehicle will help him broaden his customer base. “I want to run the business outside a government office. I am also planning to buy a typewriter, so I can help officials in their work”.
Four kiosks in Bengaluru
There are four such kiosks in Bengaluru. Beneficiaries can approach APD if they wish to become entrepreneurs, and have to go through a selection process before they can get their own mobile kiosk.
APD charges 10 per cent of the ₹1 lakh that costs to make a unit. “We believe they have the right to stake a claim in our ventures. This would not be possible if we operated on a charity model, which is is why we accept 10 per cent monetary contribution from them, though we do not insist this from those who cannot afford,” Mr. Mansoor Ahmed added.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Shilpa Ramaswamy / Bengaluru – January 03rd, 2016