Category Archives: Green Products

Temper that enthusiasm

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

A female snow leopard photographed by Ismail Shariff
A female snow leopard photographed by Ismail Shariff

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: / The Hindu / Home> LifeStyle> World Environment Day / by Sangeetha Devi Dundoo / June 03rd, 2017

Latest crop at Mango Man’s nursery christened ‘Yogi’



Lucknow :

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: / The Times of India / News> City News> Lucknow News / TNN / May 07th, 2017

Kiosk on wheels helps persons with disabilities turn entrepreneurs

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

The battery-operated kiosk, Sunny Splendor, is a boon to persons with disabilities. —Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P. | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar
The battery-operated kiosk, Sunny Splendor, is a boon to persons with disabilities. —Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P. | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

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: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Shilpa Ramaswamy / Bengaluru – January 03rd, 2016

Mumbai lawyer Afroz Shah to receive top UN environment award for Versova Beach clean-up



Highlights :

  1. Shah and his 84-year-old neighbour Harbansh Mathur had started manually cleaning Versova Beach in 2015.
  2. The clean-up grew into a massive volunteer movement that saw 4,000 tons of garbage being picked up.
  3. UNEP has hailed the movement as an example of the key role of citizen action in protecting the environment
  4. ______________________________________________________________



New Delhi :

The largest beach clean-up in the world would be a reward in itself. But for spearheading it, Mumbai-based lawyer Afroz Shah has been named as one of winners of the top environmental honour of the United Nations. Shah will be among those bestowed with the Champions of the Earth award for leading the clean-up of Mumbai’s  Versova Beach.

Shah will receive the award under the ‘Action and Inspiration’ category for kick-starting a volunteer campaign to pick up, by hand, all the plastic bags, cement sacks, glass bottles, pieces of clothing, and shoes, that covered the entire 2.5-km stretch of the Versova Beach, even rising many feet high in some places.

The movement grew and grew over the past year and picked up a whopping 4,000 tons of garbage.

“Shah’s efforts, and the hundreds of volunteers he’s inspired, is a wonderful example of citizen action and reminds the rest of the world that even the most ambitious, global agreements are only as good as the individual action and determination that brings them to life. His outstanding leadership is drawing global attention to the devastating impacts of marine litter,” said United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) chief Erik Solheim, who had joined Shah in the clean-up for a day in October.


Lewis Pugh, the United Nations Patron of the Oceans, too, congratulated Shah in a twitter. “So delighted that Afroz Shah has won the UN’s highest award for his incredible efforts to clean Mumbai’s beaches!!” he tweeted.

Pugh has for long hailed the Versova clean-up as the ‘largest beach clean-up in history’. He had made it a point to visit Mumbai and take part in the clean-up in July.


“This award is in honour of the hundreds of volunteers who have joined me over the past year to clean up our beach and ocean. I am an ocean lover and feel that we owe a duty to our ocean to make it free of plastic,” said Shah as part of the announcement on the UNEP website.

“I just hope this is the beginning for coastal communities across India and the world – we have to win the fight against marine dumping and that involves getting our hands dirty. We humans need to reignite our bond with the ocean and we don’t have to wait for anybody else to help us do that,” he added.

Shah and his 84-year-old neighbour,  Harbansh Mathur, had started picking up garbage off the beach in July 2015. This grew into a movement, with a rising number of volunteers, outliving Mathur.

source: / The Times of India / News> India News / TNN / December 03rd, 2016

Scientists name new spider after Harry Potter character

Shivamogga, KARNATAKA :

Bengaluru :

For any hardcore Harry Potter fan, the Sorting Hat, and the medieval wizard Godric Gryffindor is basic knowledge. Three entomologists, who stumbled upon a new species of spider have decided to pay tribute to the character by naming it after him. Though the arachnid bears resemblance to the ‘Sorting Hat’ of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it would be hard to spot it if you are trekking in the Western Ghats.


Eriovixia gryffindori, is the new spider species discovered, details of which was published in the recent edition of Indian Journal of Arachnology.
The discovery of the arachnid was made at ‘Kans’ forestland of Central Western Ghats at Hosanagara taluk of Shivamogga district, by Javed Ahmed, Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha J N.

While Javed and Rajashree hail from Mumbai, Sumukha is from Shivamogga.

Describing the etymology of the spider, the scientists write that naming it after Gryffindor – after whom one of the four houses in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is named and who once owned the Sorting Hat – was, “An ode from the authors, for magic lost, and found, in an effort to draw attention to the fascinating, but oft overlooked world of invertebrates, and their secret lives.”
Prior to it, they express their fondness of J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series as a ‘wordsmith extraordinaire’.
“This uniquely shaped spider derives its name from the fabulous, sentient magical artifact, the sorting hat, owned by the (fictitious) medieval wizard Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and stemming from the powerful imagination of Ms. J K Rowling….” they wrote.

While the team found a female specimen of the Gryffindor spider, they are yet to describe the holotype of a typical male of the species. The paper notes that the particular species of spider is known to be distributed only from Shivamogga district, as of now.
The spider mimics dry foliage, making it ideal for it to reside almost undetected on the forest floor.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Bengaluru / by Express News Service / December 13th, 2016

Tree Facts : Floral Splendour



Ornamental garden is the dream of plant-loving urban dwellers. Plants, foliage and flowering of different hues in various combination can express the beauty of nature around the living area. It is not the size that matters as one can landscape even a small home ground in the same way as done for larger estates or public parks. When done in the best form it is the pride of the house.

An ‘ornamental garden’ developed by a woman falls into this category. The owner, gardener and executor is none other than the winner of the first prize in the Annual Dasara Flower Show under ornamental garden category: Ms. Hashmath Fathima. It is an artistic outdoor garden developed around her little dwelling place in a plot of land in Kalyanagiri, all on her own. The garden has all the ingredients of a modern ornamental garden with display of choicest flowering and foliage plants in the form of annuals and perennials (herbs, shrubs, climbers, trees, ornamental grasses, bulbs etc.) embellished with various design elements.

The special feature is most part of the garden is developed using containers of various size, shape and hues. The entrance gate opens up into a path leading to the garage, beautifully paved with lawn grass in the crevices which makes up for the absence of a lawn (due to lack of space). On entry into the garden you can notice the potted plants stacked up in multiple rows in various colour combination of foliage and flowers & height along side the wooden wall. The half wall of the verandah has been decked up with colourful overhanging Lantanas, besides the hanging pots at the entrance of the house.

For embellishment valuable objects of artefacts in the form of figurines of various objects, birds nests etc., are placed at vantage points. The northern wall of the house is fully green, a breathing wall completely covered with creeping fig (Ficus repens). The perennial climbers (Allamanda, Quisqualis, Bougainvillea etc.) with their foothold on the northern edge ramble on the wooden barricade. The garlic vine (Mansoa alliacea) overarching the garage makes spectacular display with purple coloured blooms and attracts the onlookers. A small pond is also designed in the backyard with water lily (Nymphae sps) in it. In addition to being pleasant to look at, this ornamental garden is also enjoyable to use with a recreation area to sit and enjoy reading etc., in the form of a bench decorated with an arch covered with a climber in the front yard and an aviary with plenty of beautiful birds in the backyard.

Another eye-catching addition is the bottle garden (hanging) created using soft drink bottles planted with variegated Alternantheras. This impressed me a lot. In general the display of plants is such that as soon as one enters one can experience the burst of flowers of all hues amidst the colourful foliage. Above all, with innumerable flowering and foliage plants (Acalypha, Althea rosea, Asparagus, Aglonema, Alternanthera, Anthuriums, Asters, Coleus, Catharanthus, Chrysanthemums, Cocks comb, Begonias, Cosmos, Calendulas, Chlorophytum, Duranta, Euphorbia milii, Gamphrena, Gazania, Gerberas, Day lily, Ferns, Marigolds, Pentas, Petunias, Zinnias etc., etc.) this little paradise looked like a “mini flower show.”

Ms. Hashmath is into gardening for more than a decade and has won several first prizes in the past too. I understand that she herself carries out most of her gardening work and uses only organic manure. Most of her earnings are spent on maintaining the garden. A dress designer by profession, she has put her heart and soul in designing the beautiful and attractive garden as well! Furthermore, she has shown the ability and imagination of the gardener in her in the best form besides the woman power.

Text & photographs by Dr. Mahadeswara Swamy, Scientist, Mob: 97429-91057, e-mail:

source: / Star of Mysore / Home> Feature Articles / November 06th, 2016

Bovine Intervention : Desi, and special too

Mangaluru, KARNATAKA :

In Mangaluru, a family conserves Indian breeds of cattle with a missionary zeal
At a time when communally charged feelings are nurturing suspicions linking the Muslim community with beef consumption and a threat to cows, here’s a heartening case that may help cast away such generalised conceptions.

A Muslim family in Uppinakote in Brahmavar taluk of Udupi district has for decades nurtured a passion about, and striving to conserve, the desi cattle breeds.

The star attraction at the recently organised Krishi Mela in Udupi were two well-built Raja Sahiwal Breeder bulls – a 36-month-old, weighing 650 Kg; and a 32-month-old, weighing 570 kg. Both the bulls are from Manama Farm House, owned by 66-year-old Sheikh Zainul Abideen and his four sons – Nowshad Ahammad (29), Mumshad Aalam (36), Mohammed Irshad (31) and Sheikh Mudassir (22).

Nowshad, who works as a deputy technical manager for a Norway-based ship repair company in Saudi Arabia, informed Bangalore Mirror that the passion for conserving desi cattle breed came down from his father Sheikh Zainul, who, after working as a chef for 14 years in Bahrain, returned to India 30 years ago and set up an agricultural-cum-dairy farm with a few desi and Jersey cows.

“Our home was a paradise. We supported our father in maintaining the farm along with our studies. But we never went out to play cricket or any other sports; instead we would play with the cattle,” says Nowshad.

The family owned a total of 23 milk cows. Five years ago, Sheikh Zainul Abideen completed a hat-trick of awards (three consecutive years) for being the largest milk producer in the area.

“As kids, getting back from school meant watching Dad help an animal or bird in distress…even snakes,” says Nowshad, describing his father’s passion.

“However, we were shocked when a few our cattle suddenly died. Veterinarians, including those from KMF (Karnataka Milk Federation) visited the farm, but they failed to find out the reason for the deaths,” Nowshad said.

The tragedy forced the family to sell the rest of the cattle. But they did not give up their passion. They studied a variety of Indian cattle breeds and came upon the Sahiwal breed, a breed of Zebu cattle primarily used in dairy production. The Sahiwal breed originated from the Sahiwal district of Punjab province in Pakistan.

Having learnt about the family’s keenness to get the Sahiwal breed to Udupi, a person known to the family assured them that he would get the breed to Manama Farm House and took an advance of Rs 10,000.

“However, once he came with the cattle, he refused to give them to us because we were Muslims. We begged him but he failed to be convinced. Within one year, we noticed that the cattle were very weak and looked as if they would die anytime. We paid another Rs 10,000 and brought the cattle home. They started recovering; and were the star attraction at the Krishi Mela,” Nowshad said. Currently, the Manama Farm House has six Sahiwal breed bulls. By February next year, they hope to buy another three directly from Punjab.

“Our dream is to popularise the desi breeds and promote cattle-rearing. Having participated in conferences abroad, we see the Indian breeds have a huge potential,” he said.

Of the brothers, the eldest Mumshad (who worked in Saudi Arabia for nearly seven years to start an aquarium-cultured fish farm) and the second eldest Irshad help their father with the agricultural, dairy as well as a catering business. Their mother Mehrunnisa is a home-maker and helps in the daily routine running of the place. The youngest brother Mudassir has completed a diploma in diesel mechanics and is staying in Udupi.

The Manama Farm House is also famous for Kadaknath breed of chicken from Madhya Pradesh, which ensures steady supply for the catering business.

source: / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> States / by Deepthi Sanjiv, Bangalore Mirror Bureau / November 08th, 2016

After 50 years, Begum Talab brims with life

Vijayapura, KARNATAKA :

The historic tank has been revived with water from the Krishna river

Brimming with water, with women washing clothes at the edge while children swim in the fresh water, it is hard to believe that just a month ago, the Begum Talab, spread across over 234 acres, was a barren wasteland, with few small pools of water.

The ancient tank, built during the rule of Mohammad Adil Shah in 1651, has not seen such water levels for the past five decades. But under an ambitious project of the Water Resources Ministry to rejuvenate and replenish tanks, water from the Krishna river has been drawn to fill the tank and recharge ground water. Over the past year, a 50 km pipeline was laid from the river to the tank. The tank was among seven revived in the district at a cost of Rs 190 crore.

Crucial water source

According to historian Abdulghani Imaratwale, Adil Shah built the tank in the name of one his queens; Jahan Begum. The construction was supervised his commander Afzal Khan to provide drinking water to Bijapur city which then had the population of around nine lakh.

Dr. Imaratwale said the water was not only used for the palaces or prominent places of the kingdom, but also for public consumption as the city did not have other drinking water sources.

The tank, located on the southern part of the city, used to supply water through the earthen pipes to many ganjs (overhead stone tanks). It was the second major water source for the city after the Ramalinga tank. Unfortunately the ganjs and the old pipes have fallen into disrepair,

Expressing elation over the government decision to refill the tank, Dr Imaratwale termed the project a significant step in restoring the history of the city.

“ It is heartening to know that Water Resources Ministry led by M. B. Patil is showing concern to restore and revive the ancient tank which had once served a major water source. The tank still has the same capacity if the water is stored and used,” he said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> National> Karnataka / by Firoz Rozindar / Vijayapura, October 10th, 2016

F.M.Khan, controversial former MP hailing from Coorg, passes away



F.M. Khan (82), former Rajya Sabha member, and a controversial politician hailing from Coorg, passed away on Thursday at his Balayatrie estate near Madikeri in Kodagu.

Fiaz Mohammed Khan, popularly known as F.M. Khan, was a close associate of former Karnataka chief minister, Gundu Rao who affectionately referred to his mentor as ‘Father Mother Khan’.

Khan was part of the Sanjay Gandhi brigade during the Emergency and was allegedly involved in several unsavoury incidents. But Gundu Rao always went to his rescue.

He was the general secretary of the state Youth Congress and was a member of the Legislative Council from 1974 to 1976.  Khan was elected to the Rajya Sabha twice in 1976 and 1982. He was also associated with various organisations connected with sports. He was vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association.

The former Rajya Sabha member was known for his love for gardens and won accolades for maintaining the best garden in Delhi in his MP bungalow. Back in Kodagu after his controversial political innings, Khan had been nurturing his garden and has been holding annual private flower show since 1998.

Khan was married to a Kodavathi. He leaves behind his wife and three daughters. The funeral will be held at Rasulpur in Guddehosur in Kodagu on Friday.

source: / / Home> General News / July 21st, 2016

F.M. Khan passes away


Faiz Mohammed Khan, popularly known as F.M. Khan, former Rajya Sabha member and Congress leader, died in his Balayatrie Estate in Somwarpet taluk of Kodagu on Thursday.

A close associate of the former Chief Minister R. Gundu Rao, Mr. Khan (82) leaves behind his wife and three daughters.

Family sources said Mr. Khan passed away around 11.30 a.m. on Thursday.

The funeral will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. at Rasulpur in Guddehosur in Kodagu, according his niece Gazala Khan.

Mr. Khan was involved in the anti-Hindi agitation and later joined the Congress. He became the general secretary of State Youth Congress before becoming a member of the Legislative Council in 1974.

Mr. Khan was elected to the Rajya Sabha first in 1976 and for the second time in 1982. Mr. Khan was also a former vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association. Having been away from politics for more than two decades, Mr. Khan used to hold an annual flower show at his estate.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Mysuru – July 22nd, 2016