Malavika Chauhan


Malavika Chahuhan completed a Ph.D. in Wetlands Ecology in 1994 from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, following which she worked with the WWF-India programme, Wetlands International – South Asia and the Institute for Economic Growth, Delhi. She completed a DST Young Scientist Post-Doctorate on wetland restoration in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, and was also a GEF fellow to the East Anglia University, U.K. in environmental economics, and a Fulbrighter with the USGS – NWRC in Lafayette, Louisiana. She has worked in several states in India, and has visited or worked in 14 countries. Malavika joined Himmotthan in 2007 as the Executive Director, and is also a Deputy Development Manager at the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai.

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How is Himmotthan initiative different from the others?

The Himmotthan was originally set up to incubate ideas through pilot projects, upscale strategies, data base management, to coordinate works with the state government of Uttarakhand, and to monitor ongoing programs in the state being implemented by the Tata Trust. It is a different initiative as it focuses on the welfare of the primitive areas of the Himalayan region and constructs strategies to uplift these areas.

How according to you has Dr. R. S. Tolia contributed towards the the Himalayan region?

Dr. R. S. Tolia’s immense knowledge and quest for learning have kept several people motivated to work for the welfare of the Himalayan region. For me too, he has been a mentor. Amidst our connection with the Tata Trust, he gave us many uncredited practical suggestions for the welfare and development of the rural areas.

Why do you think are the mountain regions being ignored?

The negligence of the mountainous regions by the very people living there leads to lack of interest in it by others. However, there’s always another aspect to the story. Lack of adequate facilities in the region and a tedious growth process may lead its people to abandon it and leave for the plains. Nobody likes to migrate and they resort to do so only under severe conditions.

What role will the Literature Festival play in educating people regarding the concerns of Uttarakhand?

Such Literature Festivals stir awareness among people of all sections regarding the issues that maintain the survival of Uttarakhand as a state, be it issues like climatic changes or political involvement. For instance, the fact that Uttarakhand holds a major proportion of forest cover makes it the centre of a lot of interaction among various states across the nation. This Literature Festival is only going to induce the government, the scientists, environmentalists and journalists to ponder over the condition of the state and construct required policies to deal with it.

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