“Malabar Whistling Thrush’s melodious song today reduced to mobile caller tune”
Mysore/Mysuru: A befitting finale of the fifth edition and the second virtual edition of the Mysuru Literature Festival 2021 organised by Mysuru Literary Forum and Charitable Trust took place in a hybrid version, going online simultaneously from the live venue on Oct.31.
It was also a session in two languages — Kannada and English with Mysuru’s own wildlife photographers, wildlife film-makers and philanthropists, Krupakar-Senani sharing their views. They were ably moderated by Dinesh Basavapatna and Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs.
The session — A walk on the wild side — was gripping as Krupakar-Senani conveyed the subtle message of conservation throughout their conversation and with the stories of their wild experiences, they made the audience ponder about the serious consequences of human greed in the guise of development.
“We are so caught up in the rat race of making assets for our future generation, but what is the value of assets when they cannot enjoy them with fresh air? If development is not inclusive of the environment, we are running into serious trouble,” they said.
Krupakar, who recalled how the dense forests in Valparai near Coimbatore became tea estates after humans took over the land, explained the plight of animals like the Long-Tailed Macaques, who mainly live in canopies are today confused, cannot move around as they are only tea estates all around and are struggling to learn to move on the ground.
The most melodious whistle of the Malabar Whistling Thrush, the best songster bird, is today reduced to a caller tune on cell phones, thanks to the diminishing sources like unpolluted streams where the birds actually live. Today these lovely birds are living in slushy polluted water sources, he noted.
Speaking about tribals, Krupakar-Senani said that life’s lessons can be learnt from the tribals living inside the woods. “Tribal people live for the day and have no concept of assets and they don’t make anything for their children. They teach them survival skills keeping in mind the conservation of nature and their surroundings,” they said.
The tribals are shy about meeting strangers but they were full of the knowledge of the jungle. They can identify different species of quails just by looking at their tracks in the soil.
Senani had the listeners glued when he vividly explained their encounter with wild dogs, how he and Krupakar were witness to human greed and decided to become advocates for the dogs, which prompted them to do the movie ‘Wild Dog Diaries’ that took them 15 years to do the six-part series.
“The dogs are secretive and shy. Humans have been stealing their kill for years and they hate them for it. The British felt that these wild dogs were decimating animals that they wanted to kill and set a bounty on them. Till the 1970s, thousands of wild dogs were killed. Scientists too felt they were a threat to tigers, forgetting that tigers, leopards or wild dogs have all evolved the same way and all deserve a place in the ecosystem. Now people understand them better,” they said.
A short clipping of the film was shown which captivated the audience just like the riveting tales of the duo’s tryst with the wild animals and birds did.
“If the Western Ghats are mined, they will stop absorbing rainwater and the rivers of the Deccan Plateau will go dry. The world is a spherical web where every single entity is interconnected. We keep cutting off connections and we do not realise that we have nowhere else to go. A flower evolves not for God or for you. It evolves and gets the colour for itself,” the conservationists noted.
Chairperson of Mysuru Literary Forum and Charitable Trust and curator of the Mysuru Literature Festival Shubha Sanjay Urs welcomed the gathering and Rashmi introduced the guests. Sasikala Ramanath proposed a vote of thanks.
The total number of viewers of the Mysuru Literature Festival has gone up and this year the sessions were live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube. Viewership has crossed the 50,000 mark and stood at 56,000. The Krupakar-Senani session has been picked by colleges as a student project.
Breathing life back into forests
On a voluntary basis, Krupakar and Senani are the show-runners of a non-profit Society called ‘Namma Sangha’, which is dedicated to conservation by reducing human pressure on the forests of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
This 18-year-old Society has provided LPG connections to over 38,000 families in 203 villages along the 200-km forest boundary of Bandipur Tiger Reserve through two gas agencies, thereby successfully reducing their dependence on the forests.
The whole objective is to provide an alternative, create a win-win situation, and wean away people from the forests and give it a chance to rejuvenate. This is a completely voluntary effort where even professional consultants like CAs and lawyers work for free.
‘Namma Sangha’ is now rated as one of the most successful conservation movements in India. It also supports several talented poor rural children especially in their higher education.