Ran Mangli foundation will have the following mandate area:
1. Wilderness education,
2. Interpretation skills development, and
3. Community partnered conservation
Ran Mangli Foundation will create excellent “on field” opportunities for interested youngsters to gain fruitful experience – in the field of wilderness education, interpretation and community partnered conservation.
It is envisaged that Ran Mangli Foundation will become a World Class institution for learning field skills. The participation will be invited from state/ national and international institutions.
1. The present day education system provides students with very few ‘hands-on’ learning opportunities. Thus field work options need to be created, that will compliment the classroom education. This learning experience should help the students build their careers.
2. While need for safer spaces for wildlife is the most pertinent, for effective conservation, the need of the human society also needs to be taken into consideration. Thus the “Man-Environment” interaction needs to be studied from a whole new perspective – to ensure that the communities are partnered to conserve wildlife beyond the borders of Protected Areas
3. Presently the forest neighbouring people’s extractive pressure on the forest resources is blamed for many of the conservation ills. However as is seen, the existing approach of forcibly keeping the people away from the forests has not worked. In fact, it is these people have paid the price for our conservation ideas – with lack of roads, medical facilities, schools, electricity and even drinking water. Thus the alternative conservation approach should ensure livelihood generation for these communities – to reduce their forest dependence and also thereby reduce the probability of conflicts.
The story of the Fourth Idiot
There were three idiots in the film, and I am the fourth. But they didn’t take me in the film... In fact the script of the film couldn’t accommodate us - a few like me who belonged to the category of the Fourth Idiot.
One of the biggest worries for parents is the upbringing of a child, especially a son- when he is out to meet the world. Many a times, this is when parental preaching would put even the most zealous preachers to shame – making the Maddonas scream, “Papa don’t preach”.
The age of adolescence is more revolting than the Bin-Ladens, and the damage to the institution called family would far surpass that caused to the twin towers. This is the time, when the father generally takes up the role of George Bush and mother becomes the peacemaker.
It is in this backdrop, that I look back and wonder why our relationship did not call for “mediations, interventions, hot pursuits” or even the regular dose of advice. In my relationship with my father, I cannot remember receiving the fatherly medicine- though, I must confess, I was not an abnormally soft or un-revolting young man. I was like most other kids of my age then. I too went through those phases, when I felt that the society and the system were absolutely wrong and only a revolution could set them right.
Everything that was told needed to be outright rejected or accepted only after stamping objections. So what stopped the hell from raining fire? “Baba” as I call my father, despite being from the armed forces, has never been a Hitler, who would crush any uprising. But then he hasn’t been a Gautam Buddha either. He has always been a normal man.
But then there was something in him that set him apart... I remember the only advice he gave me was a simple one line -“Anyone can do what he likes; but very few people can like what they do – You should do that”. This was the mantra that made Baba different. A barber’s shop he said would be an excellent enterprise, if I liked. And I almost did that, though with a small difference. I started with people’s lawns instead of hair. As a profession, I started practicing landscaping and soon also started taking people out into the jungles.
As a Pugmarker, I made them walk in rains, waterfalls and puddles and befriended them with animals, birds and butterflies. And I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this non-formal job. Being paid for it has made it even more rewarding. Today, I am thankful to Baba, in not enforcing a formal career on me. However, only a few of us are lucky enough to fall in this category of the Fourth Idiot... people who were inspired to follow their heart’s calling.
Little wonder, we did not make it into the film... In the process of upbringing me, one most important contribution that Baba has made is that of developing a wide range of hobbies. Today, I have an excellent collection of stamps, coins and artefacts and love to explore wilderness. These passions have managed to keep me away from frustrations and more important drugs, smoke and alcohol. Now is my turn and at Pugmarks, I continue to inspire people to pursue their hobbies and passions in wildlife and adventure and develop them into careers. This, I am sure will make many more satisfied human beings - instead of just "well off" lost souls...