Dr. Salim Ali

The Inspiring Life and Legacy of Dr. Salim Ali, The Bird Man of India

The “Bird Man of India“, India’s first ornithologist has made his own place in the world with determination and dedication. He laid the foundation for a branch of science to flourish in India and bagged the Padmabhushan and the Padmavibhushan for his work. This is the story of Dr. Salim Ali, whose contributions have been a boon to research on birds in India, and was a true inspiration for every generation’s aspiring ornithologists.

It takes away nothing from a human to be kind to birds. This line stands true for Dr. Salim Ali, the doyen of Indian ornithology who triggered modern environmental consciousness in India.

He became interested in birds at the young age of 10 and was the first to conduct systematic bird surveys across India. He lost his parents when he was three years old and was raised by his uncle. W.S. Millard, who was the honorary secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society, played an important role in enhancing his interest in birds.

With limited opportunities as an ornithologist in India, Salim Ali often faced unemployment. However, this did not hold him back from going to become one of the most distinguished individuals in Indian history. He decided to take up a job as a clerk at the museum instead while making observations in the field all the while. His first notable document was on the Baya Weaver’s polygamous mating behavior, which generated a lot of momentum in the ornithological world.

He was never short of work since then. He used to travel across the country, in an attempt to document and record birds. He created milestones after milestones and earned a lot of love, respect, and admiration all across the globe.

He played a crucial role in setting up the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan and stopping the destruction of the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala. In his remembrance, Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) was set up in 1990 at Coimbatore by the Government of India.

Akshay Kumar’s role in 2.0 is inspired by none other than the Bird Man of India, Dr. Salim Ali, which definitely has mesmerized the audiences in various parts of the country

Salim Ali will be remembered as the man who taught Indians to appreciate, treasure, and work towards conserving the rich living heritage of the country. Such greatness is what keeps the world from falling into ignorance.

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