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LOVE OUR CITY

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Saturday, June 01, 2019, 08:05 PM IST

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APPRECIATE WHAT NATURE HAS GIVEN MUMBAI, SAYS BITTU SAHGAL

I was born in Shimla on October 12, 1947 and studied in more than eight different schools since my father was a government official with a transferable job.

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My interest in nature was born thanks to our family’s travels and also because of the schools in which I studied, including Hyderabad Public School and Bishop Cotton School, Shimla.

Follow your own path A leader must have vision, courage of conviction and a sense of adventure. Baba Amte once defined a leader for me and his words have guided me all my life: ” Don’t ever chase people… if you do that how will they ever be able to follow your path?” My influences have been many. Books by Jim Corbett, Charles Darwin, E. O. Wilson. Men like Dr.

Salim Ali, Kailash Sankhala, Fatech Singh Rathore, Baba Amte, Dr.

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George Schaller, Sundarlal Bahuguna and so many more. One turning point in my life was when, as a 17- year- old, in Kakdwip, Sundarbans, Kolkata, hundreds of dog- faced water snakes swam all around me as I stood knee- deep on a jetty. Since that day I have never known fear of any animal. Respect yes.

Awe yes. Fear no.

Health and education After 30 years of squash playing, when exercise was for fun, not to get fit, I am afraid my life has become much less active than I want, though treks are still done and the occasional walk does happen. I do a moderated version of the Canadian Air Force 5B… but my middle nevertheless needs correction.

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Education is not learning formulae Education is being able to understand your relationship with your circumstances, not learning formulae, or ABC. Nevertheless, to get on in life there is no doubt that education even in the traditional sense is now more imperative than ever before. Success is again determined by each person’s definition.

In my case I feel I have failed more than succeeded because I am unable to staunch the hemorrhage of our ecological foundations, or save the tiger. I was not even able to save the 200 trees on Napean Sea Road that were so needlessly hacked down. I am told I work too hard… but what I do is what I seriously enjoy… so is it work? I go to sleep waiting for tomorrow to arrive.

The one important thing in my view that it takes to succeed – find joy in what you have instead of trying to acquire things to find joy.

Appreciate what nature has given Mumbai Mumbaikars could start by loving the city, respecting it, not abusing it with either pollutants, noise or other forms of violence. They could learn to appreciate what nature has given their city… the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a veritable garland of mangroves with 25,000 flamingoes and over a million water birds, a seascape that any other city would give its eye- teeth for.

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Published on: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 08:45 AM IST