Be one with nature
All the money in the world cannot give your life meaning, says wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri
Wise words (L to R): Aircel Business Head (Karnataka) K Kadhiravan, Regional Business Head Hamir Bakshi, wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri, former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and OEI Director Narasimha Raju
DEMOCRACY WAS the buzzword as Justice Santosh Hegde and wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri imparted their wisdom to students at Aircel’s The Power of Inspiration lecture at the Oxford Group of Institutions in Bengaluru. Oxford Educational Institutions Director Dr Narasimha Raju, Aircel’s Regional Business Head Hamir Bakshi and TEHElKA Foundation Founder-Trustee Puneeta Roy were also present.
Justice Hegde set the mood for the lecture when he was asked about his idea of democracy. He replied: “In 1946, when the Constituent Assembly was set up, the first question that came up was, ‘What kind of a political system should India have?’ The consensus was that we should adopt a political system whereby every Indian feels that he is independent; every Indian feels that he is part of the system that governs this country. And, there was such a system available — The Democratic Republic.”
“The Constitution begins with ‘We the people of India…’ Unfortunately, the definition of democracy had changed over the years to become, ‘Of the electorate, by the electorate, for the electorate”, he said.
While recounting his days as the Karnataka lokayukta, Justice Hegde spoke about the many scams that were exposed. “There is no dearth of politicians in India but there are no statesmen,” he rued. “Greed is insatiable. It has no limitation. learn to be content. The true meaning of contentment, satisfaction is when you acquire what is legitimately yours,” he added.
It was then Dattatri who captivated the students with his anecdotes. The award-winning wildlife photographer and filmmaker wanted to do more than just make money or win awards. In 2000, he gave it all up because he wanted to make “films and present them to the decision-makers and tell them what was going wrong”.
‘Nature is the Kamadhenu that sustains us. Without nature, we are nothing,’ said Shekar Dattatri
“All the money in the world cannot give your life meaning. I wanted to make films that made a tangible difference. I urge you to take a backpack and roam the country. That’s the only way you will know the ‘real India’,” he said. Recounting how Gerald Durrell’s book changed his life at the age of 10, Dattatri said he was hooked on to wildlife by the time he was 13 and he was soon roaming the forests with locals to learn and discover the magic of nature.
“Nature is the Kamadhenu that sustains us,” he said. “Without nature, we are nothing. In the name of development, we keep destroying nature. Fresh water and clean air cannot come from a computer screen. I’m not against development. But there is a place to develop and a place to conserve. Just because forests and wildlife don’t have a voice, just because they cannot vote, the first land that is being sacrificed for the so-called development is the forestland.”
Pained at the rapidly dwindling forest cover, he urged the students to get out and do something. He showed his wildlife clips and argued how important it was to conserve our rich heritage. So poignant were Dattatri’s clips that it took some time for the audience to find their voice. That too, to give him a standing ovation.
Aircel’s The Power of Inspiration book was then released by the dignitaries and the function ended with Puneeta Roy giving a vote of thanks to all the partners.
For queries on the Aircel The Power of Inspiration Lecture Series, please contact Rimjhim Jha
at email@example.com or +91 9910153335.
Show me the Money! How wealth came to define a society
Very few in public life in India are equipped to talk about ethics.
Santosh Hegde is one of the exceptions.
He’s a former justice of the Supreme Court and a former Solicitor General of India but it was in his capacity of Lokayukta of Karnataka between 2006 and 2011 that Justice Hedge has left the most lasting impression.
Ironically, when he was first appointed to the position, there were more apprehensions than acclaim – his quiet, reserved manner seemed too much of a counterpoint to the fiery outspokenness of his predecessor, Justice Venkatachala. His functioning, however, proved as quietly efficient as his manner and he is widely lauded as one of the most effective Lokayukta’s in the state; among the landmark instances of corruption he dragged into the public eye was the massive Bellary mining case, which went on to dominate national headlines for months. He also authorized and conducted over 100 raids on government servants; took on the Chief Minister over the poor functioning of the Bangalore Municipal Commissioner; and finally resigned over the non-cooperation of the Karnataka government in the Belekeri Port Scam, frustrated with the lack of prosecution powers granted to the Lokayukta.
He may be out of official service, but Hegde demonstrates that you can’t keep an honest man down – he was a core member of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement and is a hugely respected commentator on ethical issues. There's not too many about whom that can be said.
Why Nature Matters: The Story of Us & Our Desires
When you find your life’s calling at age 13; when your first film wins the National Award in its category; when your next two films go on to repeat the same feat and prove the extent of your genius, it’s hard to stay grounded.
But Shekar Dattatri has a unique relationship with nature and wildlife, and they ground him like nothing else. From the time he became a student-volunteer at the Madras Snake Park at 13, through the years spent as a filmmaker with television networks including Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the BBC National History Unit, he is most at home in the wild.
That passion tells in the intimacy he shows with the forest and wildlife; but above all, it is evident in the powerful shift his filmmaking has seen toward advocacy on conservation as well as his association with top conservation forums globally.
His work is hardhitting, making no bones about its intent – perhaps why it has been so effective. A host of his films – notably, Mindless Mining: The Tragedy of Kudremukh and The Killing Fields: Orissa’s Appalling Turtle Crisis – have brought about lasting changes onground.
Today, he sits on the juries of the world’s top wildlife film festivals, writes prolifically on conservation, wildlife and filmmaking, and is much-awarded for his conservation efforts becoming the only wildlife filmmaker to win the Rolex Award for Enterprise for his conservation filmmaking.