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Snapshots of Nature

A series of programmes was recently organised by the Alliance Francaise to highlight environmental and social issues

CONCERNED ABOUT the degradation of our natural resources,

Jean-Pascal Elbaz, director, Alliance Francaise of Madras, decided to organise a series of programmes to highlight several issues, in October.

It began with a photographic exhibition by Saravanakumar, a wildlife photographer and film maker, and Mahesh, who is passionate about ecotourism and welfare of the tribals. Greenpeace India presented a couple of documentaries.

The photographs captured the wonders of Nature and one realised what one was missing by living in cities. If Mahesh's photographs were breathtaking vistas of the sky, valleys, hills, woods, and tribal habitats, Saravanakumar's provided glimpses into the world of animals.

Saravana made two presentations — a slide show and talk on "In quest of the pig faced frog and other such bizarre creatures".

The talk focussed on the rainforests of the Western Ghats, which is home to a rare and diverse variety of plants, birds and animals, many of them endangered.

The film "Anamalai: Elephant Mountain" is about an elephant calf and how it is cared for by its mother and extended family. The lives of other animals, which inhabit the mountain sanctuary, too come into focus.

Mahesh Sriram made two presentations. "Tribal people of the Nilgiris", a slide show was followed by a talk on the origin, characteristics and changing values of the tribals of Nilgiris and the adjoining areas.

"Cross-cultural experiences in travel", another film, captures his experiences while travelling through remote parts of the North Eastern States and the South. The lifestyle of tribes such as the Apathanis of Arunachal Pradesh, the people living in Satyamangalam, Anamalai etc. opened up a whole new world.

"In God's Own Country" by Nina Subramani and Rajani Mani of Elephant Corridor was a heart-rending portrayal of the plight of children in Kasargod who suffer several disabilities because of the spraying of the chemical, Endosulfan, on cashew plants.

"Miles to go" also by Nina Subramani was about a road journey through remote villages and well-known towns of India, along rivers such as the Mahanadi, Periyar and Palar.

Both the films, sponsored by Greenpeace India, revealed how ignorant people in the cities are about the lives of those in rural areas.


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