A friend in Bellary

January 24, 2009

Moderating the JLRNTP egroup has benefited me in many ways; I have met a lot of interesting people. One of these is Santosh Martin, who live in Bellary. I had heard of Santosh’s work in researching and documenting the Great Indian Bustard in Bellary District, but when I visited him, I found that he was much more versatile than that!

santosh martin 170109 hampi

He lives with his mother (whose name I never did ask for!), his wife Sonia, an advocate, and their daughter Sunayana, in a 100-year-old pretty cottage in the centre of Bellary town. santosh martin's home 170109 Here he is, with his mother and Sonia: santosh, sonia, his mom bellary 170109 His grandfather had been to Europe and was well-known as a pastor; indeed, the road that Santosh lives on, in Bellary, bears his grandfather's name, and is called Martin Street. Apart from being a keen naturalist and birder, Santosh is also interested in archaeology, and is trying to set up a museum of paleolithic artefacts, with the hindreance help of the Department of Kannada and Culture. paleolithic museum bellary 160109 He has asked some artists/sculptors to make a scale model of the area where the excavation is being done: Photobucket He showed us several potsherds that have been excavated from the site: Photobucket Amazing to think that this pot belonged to an actualy person, about 4000 years ago! He says that the Stone Age people had a regular "factory" manufacturing and selling stone tools; he is holdin an ax in the picture: paleolithic axe 160109 bellary He also started, about a year ago, a nursery school, and Sonia helps him with it. He took me to have a look around, and I snapped both of them in the office: santosh and sonia genesis school 160109 It was nice to meet the teachers and it was obvious that the children were very happy, and enjoying themselves: teachers at genesis 160109 The children happily waved "bye" to me and were very curious about me, too! Photobucket Santosh recently had a workshop on snakes for the children: snake workshop genesis school 160109 bellary (That's a King Cobra the man in the picture is handling..something I wouldn't like to do!) He also had a workshop about the Great Indian Bustard (as Ogden Nash says, "A fowl/ that's saved from ignominy by a single vowel".) too.... great indian bustard 160109 Children in the school seem to be getting exposed to a lot of things, including wildlife, quite early! But his pet project, of course, is the Daroji Bear Sanctuary, and I must say he seems to be running it very well, in harmony with the Forest Department. The population of sloth bears seems to be increasing. He was also successful in getting another tract of land as a sanctuary; though these two pieces of land are not contiguous, he still counts it a major victory in the fight to save the habitat of these mammals, and other creatures, intact.

He took an immense amount of trouble to show me around Daroji (I spotted several new birds whose names I hope I will remember) and also took me to see the ruins of the Vijayanagar empire at Hampi , and truly made it a memorable visit!

A great friend to have found through email and egroup….I do hope he is successful in all his endeavours!