The Dara Shikoh Centre for Arts organized the 7th Dara Shikoh festival from 18th to 22nd August 2015. Wildlife SOS was an important partner at the festival and used the opportunity to interact with people from different walks of life, to impress upon the urgent need for the conservation of wildlife. About 250 participants took part in various workshops held during the 4 day long festival held at Almond Villa, Boulevard on the banks of Dal Lake. Workshops related to creative writing, environmental education, photography, arts and film appreciation were conducted by various resource persons from within the state and outside during the workshop.
In a state which is returning to normalcy after two decades of turbulence, it is extremely important to provide children with opportunities related to diverse fields of learning to make the intellectuals for future. Dara Shikoh festival is one such opportunity where students of the valley get an opportunity to learn about the new ideas of conservation and global happenings in various fields.
The various workshops conducted during the festival concluded on 22nd August 2015 with a one day seminar themed “The living Tree” to generate creative approaches to Environment, Education and Society. The main idea of the whole festival was to expose students to more informed ideas of their environment. In the Himalayan state of Kashmir, most students lack basic facilities in their academics and remain confined because of their limited resources. This festival provided students an opportunity to interact with the experts and resource persons from various fields of Environment, Education and Arts, from other states.
The various invitees who interacted with the participants were dignitaries with towering experience in the field of conservation and emancipation. Mr. Kanik Mani Dikshit, editor HEMAL, a trans-Himalayan journal from Nepal spoke as a key note speaker and spoke of the issues pertaining to environmental degradation and wildlife conservation both the valleys of Himalaya , Kashmir and Nepal are facing and are to challenge it out with positives. Mr. Pradip Krishen, author and environmentalist, narrated how he envisaged and set up a desert park at Meharngarh fort in Jodhpur, sourcing and replanting huge varieties of indigenous plants and evolve the concept of “Re-wilding”. Mr. Akshay Shah, an Environmentalist from Ranikhet, displayed his work of cleaning and reviving Nainital Lake and various projects in wastes management for the Nainital and Haldwani areas of Kumoan. Sheeba Hafeez, an environmental engineer from the US, working on several projects in valley, spoke of explication of ecological problems of waste management.
Finally, Aaliya Mir from Wildlife SOS spoke about the critical issues pertaining to wildlife conservation, where conservation education and educating young kids could play a vital role in wildlife conservation. She urged participants to think of wildlife as the most critical entity of the environment and asked them to bear a rational approach towards wildlife conservation. Wildlife SOS had also put an exhibition and interaction stall, with reading facilities and conservation counseling for the students.
The chief guest for the occasion was the Honorable education minister of the State Mr Nayeem Akhter, who hailed the efforts of Wildlife SOS for their work in the field of wildlife conservation, rescue and rehabilitation of man animal conflict and conservation education.