Archive for April, 2008

Mr Tyagi, Indian Forests, and the prize

And so the grand photography competition has come to an end. A big hall was filled with over 200 entries, various pictures of flora and fauna inside the Ettimadai campus. I blew around 2k and submitted a total 26 prints.

But what I remember most during that night, was this exciting and passionate talk by Mr. Tyagi, the forest conservation officer. In a lecture that lasted two hours, he gave us a clear impression that the forests in India are under major threats from many sources, and the government is not doing much. He told us how Project Tiger is a big joke with the actual figures falling well short of the projected figures. He told us how the central government gives priority to Atomic Energy Commision over Forest Conservation. He told us how big corporates set up their companies right in the middle of the elephant path and then declare that elephants are a nuisance.

I was so fired up after the talk that I went over to Mr Tyagi and said “Sir, I want to volunteer”
“Volunteer ? Volunteer for what?” He asked me.
“Sir, I want to volunteer for taking census of tigers” I blurted out.
It so happened that my brave and unselfish proposal was announced exactly when the Dean of Engineering was thanking Mr Tyagi for his visit. Now you should understand that my rude interruption was not on purpose. For over 2 hours, I was sitting inside a crowded room listening to a man who was repeatedly shouting “Nobody is doing anything !!!”. As a responsible citizen, I wanted to do something.
“Who are you and what are you doing here.” the Dean asked.
“Sir, I am Shivapratap. I handle 2 courses in CEN”
“So you want to count tigers, huh?” interjected Mr.Tyagi
“Yes sir. I would love to do that”
“You must understand that we don’t have hotels in the jungle. You will not even have a road.”
“Thats not a problem sir. You just tell me where to go.”
“Chances are that you may not come back alive” said Mr. Tyagi looking very grave.
“In that case,” the Dean pondered, “you better arrange for substitution for your classes before you leave.”
To those of you who are not teachers, I have to tell you, it is much harder to arrange for substitution than count tigers. And so there ends my effort to contribute to Indian Forest Conservation. Well, counting a few tigers is not conservation after all.

For the competition, they gave me a consolation prize. And I tell you, I was not consoled. They blamed my photos telling that they were not sharp. I blamed the studio telling they used bad quality paper. But I got special mention from the jury members. I also got the most number of audience votes for the best photograph.

Consolation Prize Photograph
Ruffled

Special Jury Mention in Non Competition Section
Peace, Love, Grace, Truth, Beauty....... Fly !

Audience Favorite
Anger

Okay, I admit that I am looking for cheap publicity here, but since nobody reads this, I guess I am excused.

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