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Book Release - Sahyadris -India's Western Ghats

Ranjani Saigal

Dr. Michael F. Collins, chancellor of the University Of Massachusetts, Boston hosted a event to honor the work of  Distinguished Professor Dr. Kamaljit Bawa who along with naturalist and photographer Sandesh Kadur has created a spectacular coffee table book on the Western Ghats.

Titled Sahyadris, India’s Western Ghats – A Vanishing Heritage, the book features nearly 400 stunning photographs that portray both India’s beauty and vanishing heritage. The Chancellor invited many members of the Indian American community to the event. “We are extremely proud of the work done by our Distinguished Professor, Dr. Kamaljit Bawa. We would like to celebrate his accomplishment with members of the Indian American community” said Dr. Collins. 

Why did a Professor Bawa collaborate with a naturalist and photographer to create this coffee table book? “It is a beautiful calling card that brings attention to a very important biodiversity hotspot. When we sent the book to the President and Prime Minister of India, we were able to get appointments with them. We were able to garner their support.” says Kandur.

An internationally renowned wildlife photographer and documentary filmmaker, Sandesh Kandur uses the power of imagery to expose the need for conservation and encourages protection of our planet’s natural resources. Based at Gorgas Science Foundation and the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, he has worked on various subjects ranging from cloud forests and endangered sea turtles in Mexico to rainforests and King cobras in the Western Ghats of southern India. His documentary Sahyadris: Mountains of the Monsoon, earned worldwide acclaim and an array of prestigious international awards, while drawing attention to one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. Through his work, Sandesh hopes to harness the power of nature education as a catalyst for long-term change. His goal is to inspire his audience to protect and appreciate what remains of our wilderness.

“I saw the documentary produced by Kandur and felt that we should collaborate to write a book that will be informative and visually appealing to draw the attention of people to the issue” said Bawa. 

Kandur’s presentation included brief clips of his documentary and a few photographs from the book. The breathtaking visuals and the compelling story-telling makes the documentary a “must see” video.

What was the most difficult part about creating this masterpiece?  “I think most difficult aspect was to merge scientific information and photographs in a seamless manner. We had to make sure that the captions could capture the attention of the reader while informing and educating them” said Kandur.

Dr. Bawa’s colleagues at Umass Boston were extremely appreciative of his work. “Dr. Kamaljit Bawa is an exemplary man who has devoted his entire life to his work. He has given money, time and expertise to make the world a better place. We all look up to him” said Dr. Sugumaran , the Chairperson of the Biology Department who worked hard to arrange this lovely event.

The Indian décor and the live classical music by three young Veena players created the right ambience  for a book signing event for a book which appeals not just to the intellect but to the senses as well.

All proceeds from the sale of the book and the DVD  go towards supporting conservation efforts in India.

Kadur quoted Baba Dioum as saying “In the end we conserve what we love, we love what we understand, we understand what we are taught”. Kadur and Dr. Bawa should be commended for taking this statement seriously and trying to educate everyone about one of the most beautiful biodiversity hotspots in the world.

For more information on the book , go to




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