Kochi | Congress leader Jairam Ramesh is writing an environmental biography of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who is remembered for launching many successful eco-friendly initiatives like Project Tiger to conserve various endangered species and ecology.
“This (book) will reveal a rarely appreciated if not entirely unknown dimension of her personality. It discovers how she got so fascinated with nature and biodiversity… Her commitment to the cause of environment and forests was total, consistent and beyond dispute,” he said.
Ramesh said a number of unpublished notes and letters of Gandhi and environmentalists on various ecological and conservation issues including on Project Tiger, Project Lion, Siberian cranes, Odisha turtles, ‘elephant diplomacy’ with Japan and USA, etc– are part of the book.
His work also narrates steps taken by Gandhi to protect fragile forests, including Kerala’s Silent Valley –a unique preserve of natural rain forest–and the Himalayan eco-system.
Gandhi had appointed ‘The Tiger Task Force’ under the chairmanship of Congress leader Karan Singh and its report in 1972 emerged as the blueprint for the country’s tiger conservation programme– Project Tiger.
The report had revealed the existence of only 1,827 tigers in the country and took a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal from extinction by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in April, 1973.
Referring to the steps taken by Gandhi to protect ecology of the country, the former Environment minister said she was remembered across the world for her landmark speech on ecological management and poverty alleviation at the historic UN Conference on Human Environment at Stockholm in June 1972.
She was the only head of state to address the Conference, other than the host Prime Minister himself, he said.
The book also uncovers the close relationship Gandhi had with conservationists like Salim Ali, Billy Arjan Singh, Duleep Matthai, Anne Wright and many others drawing upon hitherto unpublished letters.
Ramesh claimed that the letters she wrote to chief ministers on protection of both nature and cultural heritage were being made public for the first time.
This is the fifth book written by Ramesh after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He had recently published a book titled, ‘Old History – New Geography – Bifurcating Andhra Pradesh’ which tells how the united Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated during the UPA-II rule.
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