Aptly titled A Walk Up the Hill: Living with People and Nature, this memoir captures the remarkable experiences and expeditions that led to Gadgil becoming one of India’s most celebrated environmentalists and ecology experts. It recounts his experiences living among the fisherfolk along the west coast, collaborating with horticulturists on the Western Ghats, and immersing himself in the vibrant tribal communities of Manipur and Maharashtra. Throughout his travels, Gadgil remains an integral part of a dynamic scientific community, sharing his profound insights and expertise.
Gadgil’s memoir offers a rare glimpse into his deep connection with nature and his unwavering commitment to environmental conservation. His memoir is not merely a personal account but a call to action, urging readers to recognize the significance of preserving India’s ecological heritage and fostering a harmonious coexistence between humans and the natural world. It promises to be a thought-provoking and enthralling read for nature enthusiasts, scientists, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of India’s natural heritage.
Born in Pune in 1942, coinciding with the release of Salim Ali’s iconic work Book of Indian Birds, Madhav Gadgil’s passion for nature and wildlife was kindled at an early age. Guided by his father’s birdwatching, he developed a unique ability to identify birds through their illustrations even before he could read. Gadgil’s interests extend beyond the natural world, encompassing the diverse landscapes, the vibrant tapestry of life they sustain, and the rich cultures and lifestyles deeply rooted in India’s soil. His intellectual pursuits span mathematics, natural and social sciences, history, and public policy.
About the Author
Madhav Gadgil was born in 1942 amid the hills of Western Ghats and, fascinated by its rich natural and cultural heritage, decided, while still a high school student, to become a field ecologist-cum-anthropologist. He was educated in Pune, Mumbai and Harvard University, where he did a doctoral thesis in mathematical ecology and won the IBM Computer Center Fellowship. For thirty-one years he was on the faculty of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, where he established the Centre for Ecological Sciences and engaged in basic as well as applied research in collaboration with tribals, farmers, herders and fisherfolk. He was involved in drafting India’s Biological Diversity Act and has chaired the Science and Technology Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility and the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel.