WildLife Week Festival Concludes in Woodstock School Mussoorie
MUSSOORIE, 22 Aug: A Wildlife Festival week organised by Woodstock School concluded with a mesmerising theatrical presentation performed by school children of Chhoti Haldwani and Kaladhungi, Kathgodam under the aegis of the Jim Corbett Trust, Nainital, early morning, today.
Tom Alter, author and actor from Bollywood was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The children from MGVS High School, Kaphlani near Dhanolti, were invited especially to witness the play on the life of Jim Corbett.
Before the start of the play, Tom Alter addressed the audience on the need to save the tiger, hence saving the environment. He explained that Jim Corbett was a great hunter, who gave up hunting to save the tigers.
Tykee Malhotra, in her address to the school children, said the play was being performed to save the environment. She further said that school children along with the parents collectively could propagate the message of Jim Corbett to save the tigers and in the process save the environment.
The play depicting the life of Jim Corbett was directed by Shivani, a student of Chhoti Haldwani, and captured the imagination of the audience. The school children from Kaphlani were mesmerised by the lively performance. The play also highlighted the problem of superstition prevalent at that time and how Jim Corbett initiated the eradication of such social evils from the villages in Kumaon.
School children aged 9-14 performed the play with complete ease and confidence and the synergy of the children enacting the play was noteworthy.
The musical treatment and incorporation of local elements of the Kumaon region were the highlight of the play.
The school children were assisted by Pankaj Chaudhry, the well Kumaoni film actor.
Dinesh Krishan on Harmonium and Bimal Mamgain provided the musical backup to the play. Shivani Arya, a student from Chhoti Haldwani, recited excerpts from the book “Jeeti Jagti Kahani Jungle Ki”, highlighting the vision and life of Jim Corbett.
Mukesh Mishra as Jim Corbett and Shivani Arya played the lead roles in the play.
The programme concluded with a musical performance by MGVS High School students.
Pankaj Chaudhary, a senior theatre artist, said he had assisted students in theatre education. He added that although he had worked in Kumaoni films, teaching the kids was an invigorating experience.
He also added that theatre was a medium that could spread any message effectively. Tykee Malhotra, founder of the Jim Corbett Trust, said the performance by the school children was the part of a project run by her trust. The trust was founded in 2006 with the support of the British Government to protect wildlife, forest, rivers of the area. Jim Corbett loved and also inspired the new generation of conservationists throughout Uttarakhand and beyond. She added that preserving tigers was important for the environment as each species was dependent on each other for survival. When asked about the role of Government in preserving the environment she said that the trust’s philosophy was: “If we want see the change, we have to create that change. There was no use in finger pointing. It has to be the concerted effort of all to save the environment.”
Speaking about the performance by the school children, she said that they were from rural schools around Chhoti Haldwani. The village was helped by Jim Corbett before leaving for Kenya in 1947.
The interaction with the children was inspiring as they were more tuned to environmental issues than many in the city. She thanked Tom Alter for giving time to such activities in Nainital and other areas.
Tom Alter told GP that it was an emotional moment for him to be back in Mussoorie and especially, Parker Hall, Woodstock School. Reminiscing about his school days, he added that this was the stage from where he started his acting career 50 years ago under the guidance of Saroj Kapadia, the Hindi teacher. “Every 15th August, we used to stage plays like Shakuntala, Noor Jahan on this very Parker Hall stage.” He added that, today, it was a very special day as the children from Uttarakhand had gathered to remember Jim Corbett and his message to save the tigers and the environment.
Highlighting the role of Jim Corbett in saving tigers, Tom Alter said that Jim was a visionary and realising the importance of Tigers to the environment, he gave up hunting.
He also commended the work done by Woodstock School. The school has been a pioneer in promoting the environmental cause in the area, be it through tree plantation or animal rights issues.
When asked about the condition of the tigers in the country, he commended the efforts undertaken by Jim Corbett Park officials. He commended the role of Forest Guards in the park, which had led to an increase in the number of tigers. He was of the view that the menace of poaching had to be stopped through concerted efforts by all concerned. programmes
Mr.Surat Rana Principal of MGVS High School Kaplani said that Such type of events would go a long way in educating rural children about environment thus invoking in them ense of responsibility and becoming valueable citizen of the country.Mr.Vijay Nautiyal-Vice Principle and other school staff were present.
Jim Corbett (25 July 1875 – 19 April 1955) was an Indian-born Irish hunter, conservationist and naturalist, famous for his writings on the hunting of man-eating tigers and leopards. The Corbett National Park in India is named in his memory.
Edward James "Jim" Corbett was born of Irish ancestry in the town of Naini Tal in the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas. Jim was the eighth child of Christopher and Mary Jane Corbett. His parents had moved to Naini Tal in 1862, after Christopher Corbett had been appointed postmaster of the town. In winters, the family used to move to the foothills -- where they owned a cottage near Kaladhungi. After the death of Christopher (when Jim was still very young), his eldest brother Tom took over as the Postmaster of Nainital. From a very young age, Jim was fascinated by the forests and the wildlife around his home in Kaladhungi. At a young age he learnt to identify most animals and birds by their calls - owing to his frequent excursions. Over time he became a good tracker and hunter. Jim studied at Oak Openings School (later renamed Philander Smith College), St Joseph's College and the Diocese Boys School (later renamed Sherwood College) in Naini Tal, but left the latter at age seventeen before completing high school. Soon thereafter, he joined the Bengal and North Western Railway, initially working as a fuel inspector at Manakpur in the Punjab, and subsequently as a contractor for the transshipment of goods across the Ganges at Mokameh Ghat in Bihar.
Corbett was a hunter and fishing enthusiast in early life but took to big game photography later. As his admiration for tigers and leopards grew, he resolved never to shoot them unless they turned man-eater or posed a threat to cattle. Between 1907 and 1938, Corbett tracked and killed at least a dozen man-eaters. It is estimated that the combined total of men, women and children these twelve animals had killed was in excess of 1,500. His very first success, the Champawat Tiger in Champawat, alone was responsible for 436 documented deaths. He also shot the Panar Leopard, which allegedly killed 400 after being injured by a poacher and thus being rendered unable to hunt its normal prey. Other notable man-eaters he killed were the Talla-Des man-eater, the Mohan man-eater, the Thak man-eater and the Chowgarh tigress. However, one of the most famous was the man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, which terrorised the pilgrims to the holy Hindu shrines Kedarnath and Badrinath for more than ten years. In 1986, the BBC produced a docudrama titled MAN EATERS OF INDIA with Fred Treves in the role of Jim Corbett. A TV movie ( based on the Corbett's book -The Man eating Leopard of Rudraprayag) starring Jason Flemyng was made in 2005. Jim Corbett was tall (6'1"), brave and endowed with very keen senses. He would often stalk to within twenty feet of the man-eaters, and at great risk to himself, in order to save at least one human life. He preferred to hunt alone and on foot when pursuing dangerous game.
Corbett was a pioneer conservationist and lectured at local schools and societies to stimulate awareness of the natural beauty surrounding local people and the need to conserve forests and their wildlife. He helped create the Association for the Preservation of Game in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), and the All-India Conference for the Preservation of Wild Life. India's first national park, the Hailey National Park, named after Lord Malcolm Hailey a former Governor of United Provinces, inaugurated in 1934 in the Kumaon Hills was later renamed in his honor in 1957. He also had a deep affection for the people of the Kumaon Hills, and was loved by many of the region. He is considered by some in the Kumaon region as a sadhu.