The Master's course in Wildlife Biology and Conservation is an unusual place. In a literal squeeze of blood, sweat, and tears, students undertake a large part of their learning while scrambling over hill tops, slashing through scrub forests, wading through streams, and walking many sweaty miles looking for animals and plants. Leading from the front, or sometimes whipping tired rears into action, is Ajith Kumar, the director of this wildlife course offered by National Centre for Biological Sciences and Wildlife Conservation Society-India Programme. For over 25 years, Ajith has been mentoring students in the field of wildlife biology and conservation.
As the Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh was known for the cases of Lavasa, BT Brinjal, Adarsh housing complex, Vedanta and Posco. Not known to many, Ramesh played a critical and lasting role in mentoring a young generation of students. During his tenure, the comfort of a lounge room was converted to a vibrant working place where students interested in environmental law, and young wildlife scientists like I were given the rare chance to be a part of the working of his office. The enthusiasm and energy at his office was contagious. The television in the kitchen was usually tuned into Animal Planet, and the channel was changed only to watch the proceedings of Rajya Sabha TV. There was a wedding that I had attended of one of our staff's son. There was no doubt that the gift we had contributed for would be signed from all of us as Team Jairam.