A thousand words & more on wildlife

31 July,2010 08:16 AM IST |   |  Hemal Ashar

Wildscapes, a coffee-table book, a project by MP Vijay Darda launched at Raj Bhavan

Wildscapes, a coffee-table book, a project by MP Vijay Darda launched at Raj Bhavan

The call of the wild echoed through the magnificent expanse of Raj Bhavan at Walkeshwar on Thursday evening at the launch of a coffee-table book on wildlife called Wildscapes. The book, a project by Vijay Darda MP, Rajya Sabha and Chairman, Lokmat Media Group, with pictures by Baiju Patil, could not have been launched at a better setting.

It was a wind-swept evening, with the rain gods showering their benevolence on the guests. The green lawn of the Raj Bhavan gleamed like an emerald. A chopper stood on the helipad, a winged steel hawk poised for flight. The sea coiled itself into angry waves and lashed the outside of the Raj Bhavan.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita

A frenzy of press flashbulbs went off as the special guest for the evening, Mukesh Ambani, entered with wife Nita. The Raj Bhavan*s hall filled up with women in silks and men in suits as grey as the sky. The light from the Darbar Hall*s chandeliers glanced off Nita Ambani*s diamonds. Comp re Suchitra Pillai began proceedings quoting from Jawaharlal Nehru: "A country is known by how it treats its animals."


Vijay Darda said it is important that corporates adopt a "green philosophy" adding "one has to fight poverty, a country cannot remain poor and protect the ecology."
Darda also made a case for the proposed Navi Mumbai airport. "Do not kill the Navi Mumbai airport project."


Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel supported Darda*s poverty point.
"At august gatherings such as these, when we very fashionably talk about the environment, we must realise that the biggest threat to the ecology is poverty, with tigers and wild animals being poached.

It is a fight between animal and survival of the human. Every development initiative would be at the cost of the environment but we have to find a balance thoughtfully and intelligently."

Patel*s thought-provoking words were followed by Mukesh Ambani*s lighter touch as he said the photographs in the Wildscapes book were, "beyond world class".

Governor K Sankaranara-yanan rounded off his address, saying, "Mumbai needs a new airport. That is a must. Everybody knows how passengers are suffering. We have to take up this matter."

The launch closed with a vote of thanks and guests were ushered into the resplendent banquet hall for high tea, fashionable finger food like bhel puri, lettuce sandwiches and cilantro fingers, spelling an epicurean end to the evening.

(Priced at Rs 10,000, Wildscapes will be available in bookstores soon)
Wildscapes Vijay Darda launched Raj Bhavan Mukesh Ambani Nita
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