Great Indian Bustard: A whiskey brand aims to save the critically-endangered bird

The Great Indian Bustard

The Great Indian Bustard | photo credit: special arrangement

In Jaisalmer, the skyline is pinned in place by the sand dunes of Sam on one side and the ethereal silhouette of Sonar Fort on the other. Between the two, they define the spirit of this desert outpost, forged by the sword in a thousand bloody battles in the heat of the Thar.

Here, in the land of the Bhati Rajputs, where scrub meets brown hills, is one of the last habitats in India of the Great Indian Bustard, the heaviest of the flying birds. Once upon a time it was also found in the grasslands of central India. Godavan, as it is called locally, has been critically endangered due to hunting for decades – numbers are now in the hundreds. Local communities like the Bishnois, for whom environmental protection is a key principle, have come forward to save the bird.

Godavan by Diageo

Godavan by Diageo | Photo Credit: Shivam Mutha

Luxury brand Diageo India has introduced a limited edition version of its artisanal single malt, with the launch of Godawan 100 at Alila Fort, Bishangarh. The event featured panoramic photographer Amit Pasricha and Titanic Maharawal of Jaisalmer, amidst a discussion on the brand’s commitment to preserving and replenishing bird numbers by working with local communities and redefining luxury for the conscious consumer. Chaitanya Raj Singh also joined in to share inputs. From his work in conservation.

Amit Pasricha

Amit is a third generation photographer – his family has ties to the prestigious Delhi Photo Company, until recently the official portrait photographer of the Presidents of India. Speaking over the phone from New Delhi, he says, “I am an explorer of people and places. But, I didn’t have to travel far to find inspiration. My father, Avinash, was known for his dance and music photography and was photo editor for the magazine Duration, With all this influence, I had to protect the wellspring of my creative wellspring. Photography is a language, I had to find my way to pursue it as a language of communication.

Amit Pasricha at the event

Amit Pasricha at the event | photo credit: special arrangement

Starting with a Nikon camera, Amit took up serious photography when he was in Class XII, for which he shot the 10 worst buildings in Delhi. city ​​scan magazine. This sparked a life-long love for capturing still lifes of Indian monuments. “I am not an equipment guy and I shoot with anything handheld – camera or iPhone. But I choose to shoot RAW without the color tones used in phones,” says Amit, whose work has found its way into books have discovered holy india And india at home, and books on Umaid Bhawan, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Mughal monuments.

Amit Pasricha

Amit Pasricha | photo credit: special arrangement

“When you treat monuments not only as centers of history but as cultural icons, you help protect them. These places have recorded the life of multifarious i.e. India. When you save a monument, you save the landscape in which it is located. You save the flora and fauna around it,” says Amit, who shot his first photo Godavan about 30 years ago.

“It is important to recognize that there is a luxury component to saving these things,” he says, elaborating on his volunteer-run heritage map of India project, India Lost and Found. “Five hundred people of all ages and interests photograph, illustrate, map, write and edit about long-lost monuments. We double-check facts at various levels and have no architectural criteria to select them just extracting words, to save them, like extracting words to save words Godavan,,

Chaitanya Raj Singh

Chaitanya says that coming from a family that ruled this desert region for eight centuries and studying the politics of Asia and Africa at London’s SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) helped him understand the pace of life in these places. got help. “Jaisalmer Fort is a living monument and we have to work with multiple stakeholders to help tourism and conservation flourish. That foundation was laid by my late father, whose efforts earned him recognition from the United Nations in 2013 I was announced when I got Bada Bagh and Jai Singh Dam cleaned,” he says.

Chaitanya Raj Singh

Chaitanya Raj Singh | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The challenges, he says, lie in the fact that though the people here are street-smart, they are not prepared to deal with the influx of tourists. “The younger generation doesn’t care about aesthetics. Greening of the desert by successive governments has resulted in unseasonal rains and disturbances in migratory patterns,” says Chaitanya, having already crossed the line between providing food security and preserving a desert ecology Has gone. “This has resulted in a shrinking area for the birds Godavan, Now you hardly see meadows. Hopefully, initiatives such as Godavan100 and the Biomimicry initiative will help knock on the right door. something for Godavan If we want to save it, work has to be done on the scale of Project Tiger.”

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