CAMEL SAMMELAN 2017
Rajasthan’s camel and pastoralist cultures practice a way of life that is deeply interwoven with nature, with underlying values which are important for the future of food and our health. It is now very much under threat. Losing it undermines rural livelihoods and our chance for the production of healthy food.
How can we change course and set Rajasthan on a path that conserves ecology, biodiversity, livelihoods and rural landscapes and saves India's remaining camels? These are the questions that we will discuss at the Camel Sammelan.
PANELLISTS AND PRESENTERS
Axel Harneit-Sievers is the director of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung / Foundation's (HBF) India Office in Delhi. A historian and political scientist by background, he has published extensively on history and current affairs. His fields of interest and expertise are political analysis, development and resource policy, and gender issues. He has a strong interest in developing engagements on issues relating to the BRICS group of countries.
Sushma Iyengar has worked with rural communities, indigenous cultures and creative livelihoods for three decades and is the lead curator of ‘Living Lightly - Journeys with Pastoralists', the outcome of her longstanding experience and passion to highlight the genius and challenges of pastoralists.
Award-winning scientist Pamela Burger is based at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Vetmeduni Vienna in Austria. She works on genetics and camel conservation and has established an important international network of researchers and camel breeders.
Multiple award-winning documentary maker Sanjay Barnela has made a series of films about pastoralists and their livestock. Besides being creative director of Moving Images, he teaches film making at Shristi Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore.
Studying at the Veterinary College in Bikaner, Dewaram Dewasi is the first academically trained veterinarian from the Raika community and works with Rajasthan’s Department of Animal Husbandry. Born into a sheep-raising family in Rajasthan’s Pali district, he is a strong believer in traditional knowledge and ethno-veterinary practices, but also in the value of university education.
India's renowned camel surgeon is Professor at the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Science in Bikaner and editor and publisher of the Journal of Camel Practice and Research. Besides the journal he has also edited a series of volumes on all veterinary aspects of the camel.
Anil Chhangani is a field biologist and ecologist and is Head of the Department of Environmental Science and Dean of the Faculty of Science at Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Bikaner. He has done extensive research in the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and has received numerous national and international awards.
Nitin Patil is the director of the National Research Centre on Camel, the government research institute in Bikaner. He has a long history of animal science research in the arid zone. Under his leadership, the NRCC has intensified research into the utility of camel milk as functional food.
Best known as Australia’s camel whisperer, Paddy has worked with camels for over 43 years, leading expeditions and working with international film teams including National Geographic, the BBC and many more, and is specialized in capturing feral camels. Paddy fell in love with Rajasthan's camel culture during an Help in Suffering assignment to teach camel handling without nosepegs and has become a great supporter of LPPS and the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy.
Author, journalist and autism parent Christina Adams has pioneered camel milk for autistic children in the US. Her observations and research have convinced her of the efficacy of camel milk for some children, and she has guided parents of autistic children in different countries on how to use it best. Her articles have appeared in prestigious journals.
An architect by training, Sandeep Virmani's life has revolved around sustainable architecture and the ecology, culture and pastoralist communities of Kutch for the last three decades. He is founder of several NGOs, including Sahjeevan and Hunnarshala, and initiator of the newly created Centre for Pastoralism.
Danish agronomist Anne Bruntse has made her home in Kenya for over 30 years, and is a pioneer in camel cheese making. She has trained Kenyan pastoralist women in producing cheese under challenging conditions and consulted in many countries for organizations including FAO, GTZ, KARI and Biovision. Anne first came to India in 2015 and created wonderful feta, cream and halloumi camel milk cheeses which were a hit at the first Marwar Camel Culture Festival.
Our Austrian master cheesemaker Robert Paget keeps his own herd of goats and buffaloes and supplies gourmet cheeses to specialty outlets in Vienna. He has been coming to India for many years and his dream is to establish a mobile cheesery that follows the nomads.
Anita Idel is a German veterinarian with a deep interest in sustainable grazing systems and lectures about them at several universities. She was a lead author of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology in Development (IAASTD) and authored the book 'Cows needn’t destroy the climate: how livestock farming could improve the climate‘, for which she received the Salus-Media Award in 2013.
Kamal is an animal geneticist who worked as a scientist with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research before embarking on a career as a farmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Kullu Karishma, a social enterprise specialized in hand-knitted woolens, and coordinates the Rainfed Livestock Network of India, a consortium of NGOs working on the ground with livestock keepers throughout India.
Ursula Windberger is from Austria and a veterinarian by training who has worked in her own practice and in academia. Currently she researches camel blood, as head of the Vienna Rheology (Blood Sciences) lab. She is fascinated by how the camel saves resources while performing physical exercise and has looked into the properties of its red blood cells which are totally unique among mammals.
As a community activist, traditional healer and midwife, and a board member of LPPS, Dailibai Raika often acts as spokesperson for the Raika pastoralists and has represented their concerns in many national and international platforms.
German anthropologist and writer Amelie Schenk has worked in Mongolia for decades, receiving an award for her achievements from the president of Mongolia. She has authored many books including one about Mongolian nomad cuisine.