Sunday, 3 August 2014

What inspired Bahar Dutt to come out with 'Green Wars'?


The book, ‘Green Wars- Dispatches from a Vanishing World’, written by Bahar Dutt is published by Harper Collins, India. The book has twelve chapters compressed to one sixty one pages. The twelve chapters of the book are presented in the form of a chronicle of activities of Bahar Dutt as a conservationist and as a journalist. The author deserves an appreciation for highlighting the conservation of less-known animals. She selected animal species which are usually not in headlines i.e. these are not the big and better-known animals like the tigers. Indian Botanists interviewed, Bahar Dutt to know what inspired her to write this book and other issues about the book. Excerpts of interview are reproduced below.

                          Bahar Dutt          Photo Credit: Vijay Bedi
Indian Botanists: Many congratulations for authoring such a nice book on environment vs development, which is the need of the hour.
Bahar Dutt: Thank You very much!

Indian Botanists: So, what Bahar Dutt would like most, to be called; a community activist, a wildlife cum conservation biologist, an environmental journalist or now an author?
Bahar Dutt: My first love is conservation biology and that's why I came into journalism. So I would say conservationist first then anything else.

Indian Botanists: Your career and work highlight the intersection of environment, conservation and journalism. How do you look upon this?
Bahar Dutt: Yes that's a good question and you are right. For me journalism came much later I worked on a community conservation project for ten years before coming into journalism or even writing. And I think in this day and age you have to be able to multi-task. Just as scientists need good communication skills to impact conservation policy for instance. 

Book Cover    Photo Credit: Vijay Bedi
Indian Botanists: Coming to 'Green wars', what inspired you to write this book?
Bahar Dutt: I wrote the book because I was saddened by the all round destruction of our best wilderness areas in the name of building roads highways and power plants. We assume we will always have enough forests lets just go on developing without any brakes. That model of development worries me and its a common theme in the book. But the book has its lighter moments as well, and it is a personal story of my adventures in the forest!

Indian Botanists: You have kept the stories crisp and intact. However, the readers may like to (should) know more about certain issues that you have discussed in 'Green Wars'. Was it just to avoid the voluminousness or it is as such?
Bahar Dutt: Yes that was deliberate. I didn't want to write a green encyclopaedia, or preach to the converted. I believe the love for nature is inherent in all of us and so I wanted to reach out to every person who has that, not just a serious environmentalist or scientist.

Indian Botanists: Although you have advocated the forest conservation in the book, the focus is mainly on the conservation of animals. Conservation of plants is not discussed much. Your comments.
Bahar Dutt: Yes you are right. But believe me that wasn't deliberate. I think we all tend to focus on the subject we are trained in which for me was conservation biology. I have though in the book spoken about floral diversity, but as I said, not in detail , it would not be right for me to write about something I in fact know very little about.


Indian Botanists: Along with the environmental issues, readers of 'Green Wars' get an opportunity to know about Bahar Dutt as well. Can we say 'Green Wars' is your partial autobiography, too?
Bahar Dutt: Yes it tells my story but to a limited extent . Only where its relevant to the particular story or issue I am talking about does my personal story come in. So no I would not call it my autobiography. This is the story of Planet Earth and specifically whats happening to India's biodiversity in the name of development.

Indian Botanists: Thank you so much for interacting with Indian Botanists.
Bahar Dutt: Thank you for taking interest in 'Green Wars'.

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