There is more that connects Bahar Dutt to nature than just her name. Winner of the Wildscreen– Green Oscar in 2006, conservation biologist, environmental journalist and author of ‘Green Wars’, her first rendezvous with conservation started with the snake charmers in a village near Delhi when she was 22.
Bahar spent close to a decade with the snake charmer community across India initiating a sustainable livelihood project in tandem with the wildlife laws of India. Of this was born the ‘Hundred Charmers’, a band of charmers that plays the been (flute), minus the snakes.
The innate conservationist in Bahar continued to shine through her career as an environmental journalist. Journalism gave her an opportunity to make a huge impact especially where it was needed the most. Be it exposing illegal mining in Goa or in 2006, halting the destruction of the wetlands in Saifai in Etwah (Uttar Pradesh), the home of the Sarus cranes.
The latter by her own admission is the story closest to her heart because of the impact it created. The Last Dance of Sarus also won her the Ramnath Goenka Award for excellence in environmental reporting in 2006.
During her eight year stint with CNN-IBN as a television journalist and as Environment Editor, Bahar has reported from across the globe, be it the Arctic or the rainforests of Indonesia. With two of her series, one on the river Ganga and the other on Western Ghats, Bahar has travelled extensively exploring nature, biodiversity and local communities. Her work has brought environmental issues to the mainstream and helped increase awareness about conservation.
With her book, Green Wars—Dispatches from a vanishing world, Bahar wants to, “ reach out not just to the environment activist but the ordinary citizen who craves green spaces, blue skies, clear water and air. Most of all, I want to create the hope that through simple changes in our own lifestyles and greater pressure on our policy makers, a gentle footprint on the planet is definitely possible.”
Born to a journalist mother, Bahar’s exposure to journalism isn’t new. Her sibling, Barkha Dutt too is a mainstream journalist. Married to a wildlife filmmaker and photographer, Bahar has had the best of both worlds- environment and journalism.
Video editor: Anand
Cameraman : Rukmangada Raja