Wildlife conservation has rarely attracted much attention in India. But things are slowly starting to change and the impact is being seen in popular culture as well. Keeping in mind the relevance of this issue in contemporary times, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) launched a biography of Salim Ali aka the Birdman of India yesterday. The 32-page comic book showcases the life and times of one of Indias lesser-known real-life heroes and highlights his many achievements such as his documentation of Indian birds along the length and breadth of the country.
ACK believes in making lesser-known heroes known. After all, they have contributed so much to the country. Wildlife is a relevant and pressing concern right now. And we would like to talk about such issues. The story on Salim Ali is our first title connected with conservation. We hope to launch several more, says Reena Puri, editor, ACK.
Shalini Srinivasan, a wildlife enthusiast herself, has written the books storyline. The research took nearly two-three months to complete. It is more difficult to research people who live in modern times, says Puri, adding that research took the team to Alis relatives Laeeq and Zafar Futehally. To know more about the ornithologist, they took inputs from The Salim Ali Foundation in Thrissur (Kerala), Bombay Natural History Society and used Alis own books and autobiography.
The book traces Alis life from childhood and show how, despite taking on odd jobs, he returned to research birds because that was his real passion. Puri says, He went to various states, met princes and told them he wanted to document birds in the country. In fact, he was the one who made the idea of documenting them acceptable. Through the book we hope to show that any child can pursue his passion with a little determination.
WHO IS SALIM ALI?
Awarded Indias second highest civilian honour for his contribution to conservation, the Padma Vibhushan Salim Ali was a naturalist and bird lover. A key figure behind the BNHS, hes known for setting up the Bharatpur bird sanctuary. His most popular work, The Book of Indian Birds, has been translated into several languages and has seen more than 12 editions.