Tuesday December 12, 2017
Home Opinion A life of fea...

A life of fearlessness, passion & purpose: Indian climbers and their love for mountains

0
232

10624593_10152701795398966_1360660949428478116_n

By Shreya Upadhyaya

Chances are that you had never heard of Malli Mastan Babu until there were reports of a missing Indian mountaineer a few days back. The 40-year old breathed his last in the place he lived for – the mountains. Hailing from Nellore in Andhra Pradhesh, he was the first Indian to summit Mount Vinson Massif, the tallest peak in Antarctica. In 2005, he summitted Mount Kilimanjaro on January 20 in three and a half days.

“Mountains retained its favourite child” – a Facebook page, Rescue Malli Mastan Babu, announced on April 4, 2015 after Chilean teams found his body in the Andes range. Several expressed their grief on social media platforms and distraught friends and fellow mountaineers spoke about the inspiration that Malli has been. But in a country where cricket is the staple sport and in a world that doesn’t see very many mountaineers, Indian climbers like Malli continue to scale new heights (literally) one after the other. So what is it that keeps them going?

The one name that comes in mind when one thinks of mountaineers in India is Bachendri Pal, the first Indian female (and fifth female) to ascend the Mount Everest in 1984.

Bachendri was born into a rural working-class family in Uttarakhand and was one of seven children. Once she chose to be a professional mountaineer, Bachendri did not look back, despite stiff opposition from her family. Her persistence led her to guide an all-woman rafting expedition down the Ganges, covering about 1,500 miles. The Padma Shri awardee also led an all-woman team on a successful 2,500-mile transit of the Himalayas, beginning in Arunachal Pradesh and concluding at the Siachen Glacier. “If women are strong, the nation will be strong,” Bachendri has always maintained, adding that as citizens, each of us should be prepared to handle any situation instead of always depending on the army for help.

Santosh Yadav became the first woman in the world to climb the Mount Everest twice in less than a year (in 1992 and 1993) and the first woman to successfully climb Mount Everest from Kangshung Face. Born in Haryana, Santosh’s love for the mountains took her into the unknown range of Aravallis. Determined to take forward this casual stroll, she ran away from home to attend her first mountaineering expedition. She saved money and enrolled at Uttarkashi’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. However it was not a smooth start for the mountaineer. In her own words, Santosh’s parents were “very orthodox and (they) were dead against her decision.” Their focus was on marrying her, and hers was on scaling the Mount Everest. Although she had to fight it out to reach her goal, Santosh says the feeling of standing atop some of the highest peaks in the world is immensely satisfying.

Other mountaineers such as Harish Kapadia, Balwant Sandhu and Captain MS Kohli have been success stories in their own right – at times a helicopter rescue from a 6,200-metre deep gorge, at other times a dislocated hip-joint. These mountaineers chose not to give up in times that tested not only their strength but also their patience. Soon after they continued with the same zeal.

Arunima Sinha, world’s first female amputee to climb the Everest, is a story of inspiration. She attributes her motivation to the horrific incident that made her lose one of her legs. “Life does not stop. I did not want to spend my life on the wheelchair”, she said in an interview. Labeled as “crazy” and discouraged when she talked about climbing, Arunima found solace and encouragement in Bachendri Pal. Even though Arunima did not find support from her family initially, it was not long before her parents came to terms with it. Regardless of constant physical ailments throughout the trek, she knew that there is definitely no gain without any pain.

At the age of 16 years and 11 months, Arjun Vajpai became the youngest Indian to climb the Everest in 2011. He achieved this feat at an age of 16 years, 11 months and 18 days. He broke the record set by Krushnaa Patil who had climbed the summit at the age of 19 years.

India’s tryst with the mountains does not end here. She still produces men and women of steel that leave behind everything to pursue their calling.

Some like Malli leave the comforts of a luxurious white collar job while others rise above physical limitations to conquer not just peaks but will power as well. Each mountaineer has a story to tell and a story to be left behind. For now they are believing in themselves, chasing their dreams and are definitely setting great examples – if only we care to look.

Next Story

5 adventure sports in Dubai you can not miss

To miss out on these adventure and thrilling sports is loss. Give yourself a relaxing and life thrilling experience in Dubai by indulging in these adventure sports.

0
29
Adventure sports in Dubai
Dubai, a place where you can experience all adventure sports (Pexels)

With the shimmering lights of the Burj Khalifa and the famous Pam Jumeriah Island Dubai has been lately attracting a lot of people around the world. Not only these but also a number of extreme sports in Dubai is creating as sensation of chill and thrill among the people. Dubai has never failed to win over many hearts through its mesmerizing architectural buildings which gets lit as the sun sets by. A land with the towering skyscrapers, warm seas and endless deserts you will never have enough of this place.

Dubai offers you a list of various adventure sports to bring out the fears within you. So bring out the daredevil in you as you try some of the most satisfying activities in Dubai. Each location in Dubai has something special for you. Feel the thrill and pump up the adrenaline as you try out the exhilarating dune bashing. Try bungee jumping from the highest feet like you have never imagined before. This time make your summer the most exciting and memorable one with these amazing activities.

Here are 5 adventure sports that will give you an adrenaline rush to your spines.

  1. Skydiving
unotours.com

Dubai has been one of the best destination place not only for me but for everyone for adventure sports. Skydiving in Dubai is famous as it covers the beautiful Dubai skyline as you dive through the sky. It’s the ultimate adrenaline rush. This activity can be done all year round. Feel the thrill of the wind speeding through your entire body. With all the necessary training and safety instructions given by a qualified and professional instructor before you take your flight, and with all the equipment provided this experience leaves you breathless but smiling from ear to ear. Skydive Dubai is located near the luxurious man-made island, The Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Marina.

  1. Sea Kayaking
Time Out Dubai

With access to relatively gentle waters all year round, kayaking is a burgeoning sport that’s captured the imagination of the UAE’s fun-seekers. With regularly organized trips, great scenic spots and no lack of fellow enthusiasts, kayaking can get you into shape in a fun and friendly way. There are essentially three kinds of kayaks; the closed deck, the ‘sit-on-top’ and the inflatable. The sport uses a lot of upper body muscles, so it’s great for anyone looking to gain strength in that area. Single capacity kayaks range from around Dhs2,500 to Dhs4,000.

  1. Bungee Jumping
Emirates 24|7

When in Dubai, bungee jumping is one of adventure sport activity you cannot miss out on. You can try out your adventure skills in several locations in Dubai and some of them are at the Gravity Zone, it specializes in adventure activities like this. Bungee jumps are also popular in Dubai Kartdrome in Motor City. The place has attracted for 500 jumpers since its inception in 2012. You can experience a jump of over 50 meters and you need to ensure you are not above 120 kg for this activity. Bungee Jumping is located at Gravity Zone and Motor City. Single jump can be availed at 339 AED and a Tandem Jump will be priced at 499 AED depending on the location of the activity.

  1. Scuba Diving
Dubai City Info

Scuba diving in Dubai gives you the opportunity to explore the underwater life of the sea animals in the Arabian Gulf. Rich in bio-diversity, it is a home to several species of fishes and is a paradise for underwater photographers. Several hotels, as well as tour agencies, have scuba diving packages for scuba diving novices and professionals too. Explore the lagoon’s stunning underwater world, home to 65,000 marine habitats. A view where you get to see live rays, sharks, and shoals of exotic fish as you drift around the phony ruins. As Dubai has no natural diving location, the Gulf is the only diving location used by many companies and schools. Approximate price for scuba diving ranges from 150 AED to 200 AED depending on the level applied for from advanced to beginners.

  1. Zip Lining
Time Out Dubai

Dubai has the world record in the longest zip lining activity. It is 1800 feet above the Dubai fountains, which takes 40 seconds to complete a zip line, at a speed of 60-70kmph. You must be at least 10 years of age and 130cm tall if you want to take part in it. It starts from Emaar Boulevard, a 90-metre long residential building and ends on the top of the Dubai Mall. You come across various iconic structures and breathtaking views of the city as you fly by.

Next Story

Chandigarh’s landmark Sukhna Lake is no more the picturesque Water Body: Here is Why!

In just under six decades, the area under water of the scenic lake, which has the Kasauli Hills and lower Himalayas in the backdrop, has shrunk by nearly 57 per cent

0
77
Sukhna Lake, Pixabay

– by Jaideep Sarin

Chandigarh, May 16, 2017: Large patches of dry bed, more than 50 percent of the water body showing its dirty and smelly underbelly of weeds, boating limited to a small area and marine and bird-life affected — Chandigarh’s landmark Sukhna Lake is no more the picturesque water body that used to attracts thousands of people every day.

In just under six decades, the area under water of the scenic lake, which has the Kasauli Hills and lower Himalayas in the backdrop, has shrunk by nearly 57 per cent.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

While going dry is not entirely a new phenomenon for the rivulet and rain-fed Sukhna Lake, this year is particularly bad as the lake started drying up quite early in the summer.

With monsoon rains over the region not likely to arrive for the next 45-50 days, Sukhna Lake could be headed for one of its worst dry periods.

With an average depth of eight feet and a maximum of 16 feet, Sukhna Lake is barely managing to stay afloat in some parts. The water depth in some areas, where boating is still being allowed in a restricted area, is just about 2-3 feet.

Built in 1958, the Sukhna Lake was spread over an area of three square km. In 2016, the area of the lake under water was reduced to a mere 1.3 square km.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

With rainfall over the region not being as high in recent years as earlier, the seasonal rivulets have not been able to maintain the supply of water to the lake. The construction of over 200 check dams in the Sukhna choe (rivulet) and other rivulets, which feed the lake from the catchment areas of neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, in the past over four decades, has also meant that the lake gets lesser water from upstream.

“The check dams were constructed to stop silt from coming to the lake. But it stopped the water flow too,” Yogesh Kumar, a retired engineer, who has been coming to the lake since the 1970s, told IANS.

The lake complex, which attracts hundreds of visitors, tourists, regular morning and evening walkers, fitness freaks and even lovelorn couples, presents a picture of neglect as far as the water body is concerned.

“We had heard a lot about Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake. But we are disappointed after coming here. The lake has very little water and looks ugly in some parts,” Suresh Das, a tourist from Kolkata, who stopped with his family while en route to Shimla, told IANS.

Last year, the water level of the lake was not even close to its maximum water storage capacity of 1,167 feet. Even at the end of the monsoon season, the water level stood at only 1,154 feet. It is down to about 1,151 feet now.

Such is the state of affairs that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had to intervene last year and direct the Chandigarh Administration to list immediate steps to save the lake.

Despite the administration, on the directions of the high court, spending up to Rs 15 lakh ($23,000) to pump water into the lake from five tubewells, the effort hardly helped in saving the lake from going dry.

The high court even appointed an amicus curiae to invite suggestions from experts, environmentalists and concerned citizens to save the lake.

Sukhna, the most popular tourist spot in the city along with the Rock Garden, was built in 1958 by making a three-kilometre-long dam on the Sukhna Choe. It was conceived as a place of relaxation, seclusion and sport by the city’s founder-architect, Le Corbusier.

The lake is situated in an upscale and VIP area of Chandigarh, with the governors of Haryana and Punjab, senior officers of the administration and some affluent people residing in its immediate vicinity.

The lake, which is a national wetland, has lost its water body area to silt and forest cover that has grown on this area.

The man-made lake has a capacity of only around 500 hectare metres against the original capacity of over 1,074 hectare metres in the late 1950s when it was built.

In the late 1980s, comedian Jaspal Bhatti and members of his “Nonsense Club” had played cricket on the dry bed of the lake to highlight the plight of the water body. They were chased away by the police.

Boating activity at the lake is very popular with over 100 paddle and rowing boats and some Shikaras’ (traditional boats like those in Srinagar’s famous Dal Lake) being booked by people daily for boating. (IANS)

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organisation. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

Next Story

Exploring struggles and innovations for Environmental Sustainability in India and China: Book

0
192
Solid waste harmful both for humans and nature
Solid waste causes serious health and environment hazard, Wikimedia

Kolkata, March 19, 2017: Exploring struggles and innovations for environmental sustainability in India and China, a new book nudges stakeholders to “rethink” pressing ecological concerns arising in these nations in the context of current rapid industrial expansion and rise in number of protests for sustainability and equity.

“Environmental Sustainability from the Himalayas to the Oceans Struggles and Innovations in China and India” published by Springer and co-edited by Shikui Dong, Jayanta Bandyopadhyay and Sanjay Chaturvedi, presents a historical perspective of social innovations and struggles for environmental justice in the two ‘civilisational twins’, with ecosystems and economies that depend on the ‘Himalayan water tower’.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

“In both China and India, the number of struggles in the form of social-environmental protests and movements is one the rise, demanding information symmetry, transparency, and participatory decision-making. The system of public interest litigation introduced in India exemplifies a judicial innovation to protect and promote the social space,” the book states.

China and India need to get their acts together given their need for providing a better quality of life catering to their very large populations, said Bandyopadhyay, an expert on environmental policy.

“These countries cannot continue with the Euro-centric perspectives of human advancement through merely economic growth. The present environmental issues need to be looked at from the perspective of a new perception of modernity and industrial advancement. The accumulation of greenhouse gases are products of the earlier industrial revolution but these issues should be rethought in the present context,” he told IANS.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

Contending that China and India should lead the world in terms of both modernity and human development, Bandyopadhyay itiin the book: “The regional and global responsibility that accompanies their rise in international system further compels China and India to strengthen the collective pursuit of finding common innovative solutions to multi-scalar and incremental environmental challenges such as climate change.”

“The challenge of finding innovative solutions to the problem of environmental unsustainability in China and India is compounded by global power-political transformations, on the one hand, and the dominance of Euro-centric experiences and understandings of environment, and ‘environmental movement’, on the other.”

Bandyopadhyay stressed on the need to mend the “divorce of social from the ecological”.

He said the trend of putting up a “green” face to avoid criticism and condemnation from the civil society and the voluntary sector, has facilitated a more market-driven, techno-scientific approach to environmental sustainability that leaves “largely unaddressed” the gap between the scientific and the cultural understanding of nature and the environment.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

“A collective note of appeal is sounded in this book in favour of bridging this gap by emphasising the central and strategic importance of social innovation as the fulcrum around which various other approaches to environmental sustainability, including legal and institutional, could revolve. Leadership in science is as important as leadership of equitable social distribution of use of that knowledge,” Bandyopadhyay added.

The book provides a background of environmental history in both countries, and particularly on the deplorable environmental status of the two ‘Mother Rivers’, Yellow River in China and the Ganga in India. (IANS)