Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ecologist Madhav Gadgil Wins Prestigious Tyler Prize

We are thrilled to share that Dr. Madhav Gadgil (one of our authors) is the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Our hearty congratulations to this dedicated environment scientist. 

Sandhya Taksale (editor, Pratham Books) tells us more ...

Dr. Madhav Gadgil has authored a story 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' for Pratham books.

Dr. Gadgil’s landmark report on the preservation of the unique ecosystem of the Western Ghats and the inclusion of local committees was especially noted as the reason behind his award. Also, he was a driving force behind the crafting of India's National Biodiversity Act.

Madhav Gadgil thinks that empowering people is the key. According to him "We must engage local people who are most directly affected by policies if we want to develop policies that promote sustainability."

This prize is awarded by the International Tyler Prize Executive Committee with the administrative support of the University of Southern California. Dr. Gadgil will share this $200,000 cash prize with noted American marine ecologist Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

While making the announcement of the prize, Tyler Prize Executive Committee Chair person said, "Drs. Lubchenco and Gadgil represent the very best in bringing high-quality science to policymaking to protect our environment and ensure the sustainability of natural resources in their respective countries and around the world. Both of these laureates have bridged science with cultural and economic realities."

It is quite true that Dr. Gadgil is an accomplished academician but his work is not limited to those circles only. As a champion of the environmental cause, he works with people and deals with various on ground issues related to this field. Through his public speaking and writing, he has put many environmental issues on the national radar. He writes columns in both English and Marathi newspapers. His Marathi language and style of writing is quite engaging. He uses simple language. He has even coined some wonderful Marathi words for technical words or expressions in English. He never uses English terminology while writing in Marathi. Writing on scientific issues in regional languages, without losing the flavor and charm of that language is very rare and hence commendable. 


No wonder, he writes for children. In 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' he deals with a forest issue and talks about safeguarding rock bees. This content comes to children through a wonderful story. During the book launch of 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth', he talked about how he started writing for kids. He said, "My grand-daughters always ask me to come up with new bed-time stories and what I know thoroughly is animals and plants. So, I thought I must create a character who could be the protagonist of all my stories."

It was then that Dr. Gadgil conceptualized Muchkund. "I wanted a character rooted in mythology, perhaps a spirit or a ghost, which could assume the form of any animal and consequently speak their language. And once the character was set, I embarked on weaving stories based around it."

Read this interview of Dr.Madhav Gadgil to learn more about his work and how he created this book.

The story, 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' has been published by Pratham Books in five languages and you can download it for free.

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