Annual Lecture 1993, Mahatma Gandhi and the Environmental Movement by Ramchandra Guha

Ramchandra Guha



Ramachandra Guha is an eminent Indian sociologist and historian who has previously held appointments at the Indian Institute of Science and Yale University. His research work has focused on human interactions with the natural environment, in the past and present. Aside from his work on environmental history, he has written a number of essays on environmental ideas in India and the West, which have been widely anthologized and translated. In this lecture he explores the idea of Mahatma Gandhi being and early environmentalist, considering the influence his ideas have had on environmental movements in India like the Chipko Movement and Narmada Bachao Andolan. He also speaks about the famous Nehru vs Gandhi , Development vs Environment debate in some detail.


Annual Lecture 1994, Can Life be made? Can life be owned? by Vandana Shiva

 vandana shiva 1994         


Dr Vandana Shiva is one of the most acclaimed environmentalists in the country today. After her education abroad, Shiva returned to India, where she worked for the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management. In 1982 she founded RFSTN, later renamed the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), in her mother’s cowshed in Dehra Dun.

Shiva proceeded to work on grassroots campaigns to prevent clear-cut logging and the construction of large dams. She was perhaps best known, however, as a critic of Asia’s Green Revolution, an international effort that began in the 1960s to increase food production in less-developed countries through higher-yielding seed stocks and the increased use of pesticides and fertilizers. The Green Revolution, she maintained, had led to pollution, a loss of indigenous seed diversity and traditional agricultural knowledge, and the troubling dependence of poor farmers on costly chemicals. In response, RFSTE scientists established seed banks throughout India to preserve the country’s agricultural heritage while training farmers in sustainable agricultural practices.In 1991 Shiva launched Navdanya, meaning “Nine Seeds,” or “New Gift” in Hindi. The project, part of RFSTE, strove to combat the growing tendency toward monoculture promoted by large corporations.  

In this lecture she speaks about the ethical and ecological issues emerging from genetic engineering and patents on life.


 vandana shiva marathi    





Annual Lecture 1982: मानव निसर्ग आणि विकासनीती, माधव गाडगीळ

 madhav gadgil        


Madhav Dhananjaya Gadgil is an Indian ecologist, academic, writer, columnist and the founder of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, a research forum under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Science.

In this annual lecture, focused on Man, Nature and Development, Madhav Gadgil analyses the interpretation of development that we have accepted as a country and its implications. Development cannot be measured by production alone, even as production is a convenient measure. He observes that we are failing in many ther parameters, environment and sustainability being amongst the most critical ones. He further elaborates on the degradation of land and water resources, as well as of biodiversity and forest cover. He calls for a development policy which accommodates these resources rather than merely exploiting them for economic gains.

Annual Lecture 1992, Environment and Life by Bittu Sahgal

bittu sehgal 1992


Bittu Sehgal was born in 1947 in Simla and grew up in Calcutta where he graduated. In 1970 he moved to Bombay to make a career as an advertising executive. Very soo he set out on his own, starting with a small screen printing business. A natural affinity for nature, born of frequent treks and camping trips to the Indian wilderness for over a decade, saw him start Sanctuary and Cub magazines in the early 1980’s.

In pursuit of hos objectives to communicate the rationale for conservation to as wide an audience as possible, he has also used the medium of film, having produced over 30 conservation-oriented documentaries which have been aired over Doordarshan. A journalist writer, he has been closely with several national campaigns including the Narmada Bachao Andolan. At the heart of Sahgal’s purpose lies the belief that the conservation of wildlife and wild habitat is the only realistic, long term option for the Indian people if they are to improve the quality of their hardpressed lives.

Read the full lecture here.



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