BE ONE WITH NATURE
All the money in the world cannot give your life meaning, says wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri
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 FounderTrustee 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 awardwinning 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”.
“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.