8888677771 | Ecologist Gadgil launches autobiography | Pune News

Renowned ecologist Madhav Gadgil released his autobiography ‘A walk up the hill: Living with people and nature at the Kale Hall, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics — a place closely associated with his family — on Friday.

The book was launched with its translations into eight Indian languages. The book launch also saw an interaction between Gadgil and noted author and historian Ramchandra Guha . Ajit Ranade, Vice Chancellor Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, and renowned economist Vijay Kelkar were also present at the event.

Ranade, who began with an introduction to the event, said Gadgil’s life exemplified pursuit of knowledge for the sake of social benefit, which he did through fieldwork. “In his life, one can see a huge amount of involvement, engagement and embracing of the fieldwork approach to work. I am told there is no part of India that Gadgil has not visited.”

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While recounting his early memories with father and economist Dhananjay Ramchandra Gadgil, Madhav Gadgil said they would go up the hills for birdwatching. His father was a friend of renowned ornithologist Salim Ali and that they would carry his book on Indian Birds and binoculars to the hills. Before Madhav Gadgil could read, he identified birds via the book. He also said that his father did a lot of fieldwork too, working with horticulturists, farmers and many other communities. “He had great love for the natural world and sympathy for the people of India,” said Gadgil.

Ramchandra Guha shared a story of when as a student, Madhav Gadgil met the Nobel Prize winning economist Wassily Leontief. Leontief asked Madhav Gadgil what he wanted to be when he grew up, to which Gadgil replied that he wanted to be a biologist. “Very good. Never take up your father’s profession, especially if your father is really good at what he does,” Leontief had said.

Gadgil said there was no one instance when he decided to be a biologist, but he was always fascinated by its scope and that his father was supportive about his decision. Guha pointed out that Madhav Gadgil’s two most important relationships in life are with his wife Sulochana and the Western ghats. Gadgil said he has walked all over Western ghats to the southern end.

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